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IT Job Satisfaction Plummets To All-Time Low

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the take-this-job-and-shove-it dept.

Businesses 453

cweditor writes "IT job satisfaction has plummeted to a 10-year low, according to a recent survey. Another on general job satisfaction rated IT a paltry 45%. From the article: 'The CEB's latest survey found that the willingness of IT employees to "exert high levels of discretionary effort" — put in extra hours to solve a problem, make suggestions for improving processes, and generally seek to play a key role in an organization — has plummeted to its lowest levels since the survey was launched 10 years ago.'"

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453 comments

No more working for the man (2, Insightful)

alain94040 (785132) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679546)

IT employees in the category of "highly engaged" workers has fallen to 4%

That's why there is a growing movement toward mastering our own destiny, becoming entrepreneurs and working for ourselves. Putting together a cool app in your spare time [fairsoftware.net] is way more fun, and it you hit the jackpot, bingo! No more clueless boss!

Re:No more working for the man (3, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679560)

There's also a growing trend towards freelance jobs I'm seeing. Not very many small companies need a full time programmer for a endless time... they're willing to pay the premium to get you where they need you for a few months, then wait a bit while you find the next one.

Re:No more working for the man (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30679750)

I became a sole contractor 7 years ago after 13 years in a fantasticly innovative company. There is actually more job security as I usually work for 3-5 clients at any one time and the mix of clients varies. As many in the past have been start-ups, I have seen quite a few go belly-up (especially at he magic 2 year point when they run out of money and decide to give up).

From these jobs, I came to the same conclusion as LostCluster: companies see the value in getting contractors to create and complete the product, then spend most of their time on sell sell sell. It's obvious, there is no money coming in during development.

Based on my experience, equity should be seen as a bonus. Basically there is no money in technology. You have to be very very lucky. Get the maximum exposure to possible successes and keep you eyes open for opportunities.

I also disagree with creating a cool app other than for your own excitement or if you are really an entrepreneur. It takes a team and money to create an app. And don't believe those people who say they created a commercial iPhone app in one week. It is a huge commitment to create a software company.

But working from home, having plenty of time for my wife and kids ... priceless!
Oh, and my productivity sky-rocketed.

Re:And that's a problem (1)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 4 years ago | (#30680174)

Not very many small companies think they need a full time programmer for an endless time.
And of course, if "programmer" means "someone who works 9-5, doesn't stay late to solve problems, never makes an effort outside of what he's told to do", they're right.

Re:No more working for the man (1)

pinkushun (1467193) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679580)

True! Well I sure feel the vampire fangs of 'management' draining any love I had for IT. The only hope I have left is using my skills in an Indie gaming company :)

Re:No more working for the man (5, Insightful)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679688)

Been there done that. It's thrilling trying to go out on your own into the wild blue yonder of a startup, but the failure rate is high, it requires being good at wearing multiple hats, and it's not for people with mortgages to pay.

Re:No more working for the man (4, Insightful)

Surt (22457) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679784)

No kidding. I saw this news item on a guy in san carlos who took out a 1.3million dollar mortgage based on his startup salary. Beyond my lack of comprehension for how he could possibly cover the payments on a startup salary, he apparently didn't consider the risks very carefully, and as it would happen, the startup went belly up. Now he wants people to pay his mortgage for him.

http://helpuskeepourhome.org/ [helpuskeepourhome.org]

Meanwhile, I didn't buy a home I couldn't afford, and for some reason no one wants to just give me money.

Re:No more working for the man (5, Insightful)

sshore (50665) | more than 4 years ago | (#30680022)

Meanwhile, I didn't buy a home I couldn't afford, and for some reason no one wants to just give me money.

Hah! Don't you feel foolish now.

My father once said, to paraphrase.. "you can be one of those complaining about the people getting free cash.. or you can be one of the people getting free cash."

+1 insightful, in retrospect.

Re:No more working for the man (5, Informative)

bjourne (1034822) | more than 4 years ago | (#30680364)

Your father is a fucking genius.

Re:No more working for the man (1)

dcollins (135727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30680132)

There's also the 5-kids with a 6th-on-the-way issue. Geez.

Re:No more working for the man (5, Funny)

maestroX (1061960) | more than 4 years ago | (#30680160)

No kidding. I saw this news item on a guy in san carlos who took out a 1.3million dollar mortgage based on his startup salary. Beyond my lack of comprehension for how he could possibly cover the payments on a startup salary, he apparently didn't consider the risks very carefully, and as it would happen, the startup went belly up. Now he wants people to pay his mortgage for him

I seen this one shit on the news a couple weeks ago that made me sick.

Some dude was drunk and drove his mortgage over the top

And had his startup in the trunk and she was pregnant with his debts

And in the car they found a tape but it didn't say who it was to

Come to think about it...his name was...it was you.

Damn.

Re:No more working for the man (1)

Grismar (840501) | more than 4 years ago | (#30680228)

I suppose you can't blame the guy for trying to sucker some fools out of their money at no higher cost to him than the time required to setup that page.

But why anyone would give him any money, considering his own best effort (i.e. "write a game for the iPhone" - brilliant Get-Rich-Quick scheme there) is beyond me.

Frankly, his site gives me that tingle in the back of my mind that's either caffeine deprivation or that feeling I get when a page is run by some guy in Nigeria who happens to be of royalty and needs my money quick.

Re:No more working for the man (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30680278)

Those are some god-awful jumpers!

Re:No more working for the man (4, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679752)

But putting together "your own app" is not IT. That's software. Two different businesses.

Re:No more working for the man (3, Insightful)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679982)

Software development is writing code. IT is going around to people who are never happy because something is broken. I did that as a field tech for 3 years and never once did I walk into a situation where the person was happy. Then it was the mystical game of figuring out if the problem was hardware, software, our stuff, another venders stuff, etc..

Re:No more working for the man (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 4 years ago | (#30680276)

IT is used in a multitude of different ways. And then there's ICT, which is probably not quite the same, but I have no idea what the difference really is. Lots of people consider me to be an ITer, despite the fact that I hate hardware, networks and other infrastructure. I build websites and other software. But there's no quick acronym for that.

Re:No more working for the man (2, Interesting)

rgravina (520410) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679826)

I don't know... I have briefly tried freelancing but I can't shake the feeling of just wasting my time. I really don't like being a lone programmer sitting in my room trying to find ways to fill my time, doing whatever work I can find. Even if I go out, I waste so much time travelling from cafe to cafe. It's fun for a while, but when I really want to get stuff done, I *need* an office. Perhaps if I was freelancing in a shared office setup it would be different. I just can't work from home. I also miss things like having other people to bounce ideas off and larger projects.

Also, I found that I just don't like looking for work and worrying about finances. I want to spend as much as my time as I can actually writing software, so perhaps I'm better suited for employed life.

I find it interesting because I also see this trend towards freelancing, and the majority of programmers I meet are very happy with the lifestyle.

Re:No more working for the man (4, Interesting)

mlts (1038732) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679850)

There are two problems with that statement: First, the app market is saturated, and not just the iPhone. Even Android's market is starting to bulge at the seams with fart apps and Tetris clones.

Second, a lot of IT people would form companies, but there are products which just can't be made in the backyard. They require some initial VC funding because it requires a machine shop, studio, crypt, or other place with specialized equipment, and money to invest in equipment.

For example, say I wanted to go into business selling some type of enterprise equipment. I'd need to have an office. I'd then need to have the machines and the raw material (studio and tapes, CNC machine and billets, etc.) Even before the first thing I wanted to sell rolled off the line, I'd have to have hundreds of thousands invested. And there isn't any way around this with a number of things. Maybe you could do a prototype on a shoestring, but you can't sell these to a customer unless you find someone ready, willing, and able to take a gamble with your product so it goes from a prototype and into customers' hands.

So, starting a business is a lot harder than you think. If your city has a SCORE, visit them with your ideas. It may hurt finding out that what you have isn't doable, but it is better to find it out there than after you sold your house and are hundreds of grand invested... and don't even have a single dollar in income yet.

Re:No more working for the man (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679980)

I think the problem is with anyone who expects to get rich by writing fart apps and tetris clones. There's money to be made from original and useful apps. Of course writing such an app is easy compared to actually coming up with the idea in the first place.

Re:No more working for the man (3, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 4 years ago | (#30680122)

The other problem is that most apps on phones (android or iphone) are small efforts that can be written in 200 or 300 hours. If you write a popular one that's that simple, it will quickly have an open source or freeware clone. There was a market there when it was a new thing, but not now. Non-simple apps may make money, but those take real time, real effort, and real investment in QA and development.

I know what the problem is (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30679570)

The problem is due to the lack of nigger-free code. If there was more nigger-free code like in the Windows NT kernel, IT satisfaction would go up.

Re:I know what the problem is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30679600)

Colored's are not the problem. It's those damn tweaking, purple and green dyed-hair, tattoo sporting spooge bags that think IT is a career.
Dumb ass bozos.

Re:I know what the problem is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30680026)

They're still better than the MBAs. And I don't need that colorful language you guys used - calling someone an MBA is way worse than what you guys said.

Re:I know what the problem is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30679616)

I don't know, I much prefer Ubuntu to NT, and that code has a bit from everyone in it to make it all work in harmony.

True, you have to debug by singing kumbaya, which while a trifle annoying at times is much better than the old "Burn a Cross Booting" of NT. Now we have less smoke in the workplace, fewer files going up in flames (except in accounting for some reason, must have a legacy server in there.), and much more colourful Samburu clothing is brighter, happier, and far more comfortable than the old white robes and hoods.

Re:I know what the problem is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30679870)

You seem to be posting in every thread. Isn't there a Tea Party you're missing?

Agreed, but (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30679590)

This article is so poorly written it is hard to take it as a valid source.

My anecdotal evidence suggests that they're exactly correct in their conclusions that we IT workers need to GTFO, misplaced double negatives aside.

Re:Agreed, but (2, Interesting)

mcvos (645701) | more than 4 years ago | (#30680290)

My anecdotal evidence suggests the job market is in better shape than ever before. I had no problem finding a new job with a significant pay raise (and had to disappoint several very interesting employers). The previous crisis (in 2002) hit my sector very hard, but this time it seems to be everybody else's turn.

Or maybe it's my country, and it's different in the US? Then the best advice is to look across the border. Immigration is usually easy when it's for a well-paying job.

Bad Economy = Bad Management (3, Insightful)

hedgemage (934558) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679626)

Its no secret that when the economy goes south, management philosophy becomes much more "conservative" which means that managers revert back to a stragey of cracking the whip to get results rather than more modern philosophies involving team dynamics, encouraging self-regulation by employees, and so forth. The old-school tactics are easier to explain to the uninitiated shareholders or board members whereas touchy-feely empowerment strategies don't have a x=y effect on a balance sheet.
I'm coming from the hourly IT support side of things and moving into management (getting an MBA in the process) and the traps that managers fall into when dealing with shrunken budgets and raised expectations are so blatantly obvious to me that I'm having a real hard time not grabbing my superiors (who're by no means techies) by the collars and shaking some sense into them. We're in a transitional period of history, IMO (did I mention I'm a historian too?) where the status of employees as resources rather than liabilities is in danger from too many people thinking that better/faster/cheaper can apply to people as well as processes.

Re:Bad Economy = Bad Management (5, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679692)

Around 1999/2000 there was a thought that tech was going the highest paying major in college, and that attracted a few people who would have otherwise gone into other fields. The best tech people are the ones who live around it, read tech news such as this site here, and come home to more pixels than they have at work. Anybody who believes the only tech they need to know is the one or two programs they use at work is blindsided by world events too often.

Re:Bad Economy = Bad Management (2, Insightful)

YXdr (1396565) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679718)

No, the best tech people are the ones that solve the problems that their business needs solved. Sometimes that comes from the guy who knows the technology, and sometimes that comes from the folks who understand the problem.

And when you're really lucky, you get both parts of the equation from the same people ...

Re:Bad Economy = Bad Management (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30679836)

You must be an MBA, or stupid. Wait, that's redundant. You can't solve a tech problem without knowing the tech. You might think you solved it, but in reality either a) the guy who DOES know the tech and really DID fix the problem is just letting you feel good about yourself, or b) you really just made even bigger problems for some poor techie down the road.

Re:Bad Economy = Bad Management (3, Insightful)

Imrik (148191) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679898)

Yes you have to know the tech you're working with, but that's not what he's talking about. The "guy who knows the technology" is someone who is knowledgeable about all kinds of technology and not just what's being worked with, which may or may not be useful depending on the problem.

Re:Bad Economy = Bad Management (4, Insightful)

mlts (1038732) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679958)

What I find so ironic about MBA programs is that one of the required things they teach in the class lineup is management and employee morale. Employee morale isn't just liquid latex Fridays or coffee in the break room. It takes actual diplomacy and person to person interaction, so people don't just go to work for a paycheck, but actually feel valued.

Why is this important? A lot more work gets done at a company where salaried people are willing to work on something, just to make sure the company makes a sales goal, as opposed to people just wanting to "do their eight and out the gate." Don't forget that high morale makes the need for internal security less pressing because employees will be proactive in security issues.

The MBA degree isn't the issue as much as the people who get the degree tend to not heed what they are taught, and had to pass in order to receive that degree. So, a PHB who has an MBA who runs a company into the ground does know the consequences about bad company morale, and has no excuse about not knowing what would happen.

Re:Bad Economy = Bad Management (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30680248)

But all that "person to person" stuff is work! and with your inferiors too!
I really don't care about maximizing their work as I care about minimizing my work.

PHB ;-p

Re:Bad Economy = Bad Management (1)

hedgemage (934558) | more than 4 years ago | (#30680274)

When shopping for MBA programs, I was surprised how few of them were completely devoid of any kind of engineering management options. I don't see engineering and management as mutually exclusive skills, and I would like to be able to understand both so I can lead a group of techies to be as efficient and effective as possible. Managing tech people is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT from managing a sales force, but most MBA programs don't seem to recognize the fact that having someone who understands the money/paperwork/organizational side of things may not be sufficient in a manufacturing or technical service environment.
Since I couldn't move to another town near the school with the ideal program, I chose a program that I felt would at least give me the management side of things, and I'll have to do a bit more work to make sure that I can work well with engineers. Not all of us are lucky to have a boss who is a techie also gifted in management.
Motivating tech people is much more than the occasional pizza party or free coffee mugs, it often takes effort to explain why a certain goal or project is important to the organization rather than simply saying "do it because I said so". Most employees respond better when they're informed this way, but tech people tend to be more interested the "why" of things - that's why they're tech people!

Re:Bad Economy = Bad Management (1)

Marcika (1003625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30680384)

[...]liquid latex Fridays[...]

I find your ideas intriguing and would like to subscribe to your newsletter...

Re:Bad Economy = Bad Management (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 4 years ago | (#30680330)

No, the best tech people are the ones that solve the problems that their business needs solved.

There's a lot more than merely solving current problems. It's just as valuable to be able to anticipate future problems and opportunities, and for that, you need to know which way the wind blows. You don't learn that ticking off issues at the office.

Resources? (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679726)

We're in a transitional period of history, IMO (did I mention I'm a historian too?) where the status of employees as resources rather than liabilities is in danger from too many people thinking that better/faster/cheaper can apply to people as well as processes.

"Resources" can be bad enough for the worker, if management thinks of a resource as something that has to be exploited to the maximum.
"Liabilities" usually means that the layoff is being prepared (and never mind that the company really needs the employees - many managers seem to go by "fire them first, then ask who is going to do the job in the future").

Re:Bad Economy = Bad Management (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30679758)

I have to agree. I notice that far more companies no longer have an on site tech person within the company and out source to a servicing company. Which is great for a business because you can buy packages for like 1 hour a week of tech support for 300 bucks a month. Or other packages like on call, for a discounted price (with package). And so forth. So an I.T person is no longer the "go to" guy of the company but more or less a called in guy to "fix this in 2 minutes" guy. Almost like a mechanic..how many of us have close bonds with the mechanic? probably none, we drop the car off, pay large and pick it up. If he tries to talk to us about the problem, we don't want to nor think we have time to listen. I.T seems to have went this way. I personally worked for a company like this, I would go in, get my list of jobs "that had to be done" and with a time frame that was NO way possible since most of the companies have old beat up computers that take a year to install something.

Re:Bad Economy = Bad Management (1)

plastbox (1577037) | more than 4 years ago | (#30680138)

I've always been opposed to outsourcing of any kind, since I am after all an IT person and as such realize that we are the most important people in the World and every big business should have a few of us around.

Jokes aside, from the perspective of someone who does everything from server maintenance, virtualization, software development and "IT chimp" stuff like helpdesk and replacing end-user equipment, I really do think it is in a company's best interest to keep a few competent IT guys around. The level of service we can provide as well as the knowledge we possess about our own systems cannot cheaply be equaled by an external company. Management doesn't really see this though, and they seem to be heading into the ever-recurring outsourcing-cycle that always ends in a proverbial slap across the face, huge monetary loss, malcontent employees and loads of work rehiring and training a competent IT-staff.

That being said, I have a friend who works for a company that sells remote IT services. His paycheck is roughly 150% of mine, his work more varied, his job satisfaction considerably higher and his company regularly puts together social events like parties, lazer-tag etc. With me having a huge amount of personal responsibility at work while making less money than a just-out-of-school kindergarten teacher, no say in where resources are spent (wasted on things like Altiris in an environment where we're running almost exclusively Citrix and thin clients), no money spent on building competance...

Let's just say I'm keeping my eyes open for a new job while reconsidering my views on outsourcing...

Re:Bad Economy = Bad Management (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30679786)

I watched as a company I consulted to was outsourcing its IT work (admin and programming), and morale fell through the floor. They went through multiple CIOs, all of whom were dumb and only motivated by cutting costs. They ignored the desirability of having a stable and knowledgable staff. IT management charged ahead, fueled by PowerPoints from Indian outsourcing companies on how much they would save. After awhile the good staff had quit or been laid off, and then it was up to the foreign companies to keep operations afloat. Well, Bangalore doesn't get out of bed at 3 AM to come over and bring the network and apps back up when the server crashes or a database is screwed up. Maybe as a culture the US has reached a level where it self-chokes itself as stupidity reins and incompetence and lack of foresight becomes dangerous. On both corporate and governmental levels. Both will destroy us, I fear.

Re:Bad Economy = Bad Management (1)

phyrz (669413) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679976)

Funny thing is your C levels must've gone cheapo in Bangalore as well - as Bangalore should most certainly be up at 3am to fix things. Most serious IT outsources run 2 to 3 shifts to give 24/7 cover. Hell, most hosting companies in the US do that.

Its always a sad thing to see a medium-large company die - so much hard work building it up sent straight down the drain.

Re:Bad Economy = Bad Management (3, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679790)

But in the last couple of decades, this has been a chronic problem in many companies. They have increasingly relied on IT as an essential resource, but have also increasingly devalued it as a commodity (which it is not, of course... I am simply referring to treatment of employees).

I think in these tighter times, companies need to start re-evaluating which resources are most valuable to their business. And in my opinion, if they do this objectively, they will begin to realize how much value IT adds to their operations. If they don't, this rebellion will simply continue, and they will be SOL.

Re:Bad Economy = Bad Management (1)

nmos (25822) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679858)

Its no secret that when the economy goes south, management philosophy becomes much more "conservative" which means that managers revert back to a stragey of cracking the whip to get results rather than more modern philosophies involving team dynamics, encouraging self-regulation by employees, and so forth.

Something I've been seeing for a while is a trend toward a much more regimented workplace. I don't know whether to blaim the MBAs who seem to think that every aspect of the business can/should be programmed like a giant robot or the lawyers act like "individual initiative" is just code for "potential lawsuit" but it's getting ugly IMHO.

Re:Bad Economy = Bad Management (1)

Tim99 (984437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30680030)

Something I've been seeing for a while is a trend toward a much more regimented workplace. I don't know whether to blaim the MBAs who seem to think that every aspect of the business can/should be programmed like a giant robot...

I suspect that it is all part of capitalism's ideal of making all employees interchangeable parts - This is so that you can plug new ones in when the old ones get stroppy/expensive/or, worst of all, knowledgeable.
As you say all initiative must be crushed, and every tiny decision must be sent up through the ranks of management - Otherwise the low/middle management drones who impose this crap are amongst the first to get the bullet.

Re:Bad Economy = Bad Management (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30679916)

That is a great short term philosophy. However, what I see that is causing US businesses to fail, while offshore companies are thriving is that the American theme of business is to focus on this quarter's sales figures über alles. This attitude means that they treat employees as disposable (short term good, as it is easy to find people who work cheap. Long term, bad because knowledge that is crucial to business operations that is owned by the veterans gets tossed out the door, forcing people to have to reinvent the wheel, or find a new way of doing things.)

Of course, we have a negative feedback cycle here. Focusing on what's about to hit the tire on the vehicle (obligatory auto analogy) means that the company isn't focused on the ditch up ahead. So when the company hits the ditch, they go into more of a panic mode and think that firing/offshoring is the answer.

American companies are also losing the fact that morale is important, and low employee morale will cause firms to die by a thousand cuts. Yes, a PHB can crack the lash of outsourcing, but what will happen is that employees will start either passivly not worrying about security or actively hacking. It isn't uncommon for people to leave logic bombs behind so there would be some revenge if they got fired. This will cost the company in both reactive stances (getting consultants in to deal with a security breach), as well as added protective measures (more draconian systems to catch employees.) And having to enforce these security policies costs far more in revenue and productivity than just keeping morale high.

Another benefit of high morale is that employees are more forgiving, and tend to work longer hours. The same company who drinks the Cool-Aid of offshoring will have people who will only do what is needed, and no more. While a company where the employees like working there will have people not just do what is needed, but perhaps invent stuff to add on what a company sells.

ManicMonkey (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30679630)

Maybe this is due to the dumbing down of people working in IT management in general. Nowadays an untrained monkey can become a CIO after attending a corporate brain washing seminar from Microsoft and learning the industry key buzzwords eg (sharepoint). These "managers" hire people who use buzzwords and the cycle continues.

Re:ManicMonkey (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679744)

The latest non-iphone-related buzzword seems to be "social media". Want ads everywhere are screaming for people with experience reimplementing FaceBook.

Re:ManicMonkey (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679806)

And it's been proven the best way to make money if you think Twitter is hot is to make something that makes Twitter better... there's no way you're going build your own networking site and get as much traffic, so siphon off what you can building on top of the existing sites.

Re:ManicMonkey (2, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679828)

But this has been going on for a few years now.

Today I would not even look twice at a job offer to create a "social networking" site for somebody unless it were already an existing, viable enterprise. Because if it's not, there is about a 99.9% chance it is somebody who just wants to jump on a bandwagon they don't understand. And that's a job I'll pass by, thank you very much.

Re:ManicMonkey (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30679746)

Don't knock it. All games of bullshit bingo depend on the untrained monkey CIO cycle (or UMCC as we call it).

Not attracting new blood, good suggestions ignored (5, Interesting)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679632)

As you get older, your priorities shift. Putting in extra hours is something you do because you have to do it in order to do your job well, not because you are enthusiastic. You have other demands on your time, and other responsibilities such as family. So the fact that the IT boom is long gone, job security is low due to outsourcing, and respect for the industries that pay most is at an all time low means you're not attracting as much new blood.

There is also a (somewhat well earned by some, unfortunately) pervasive view that IT staff are propeller heads with no business sense or social skills. Most work with absolutes that are either right or wrong that are difficult to describe to the IT layperson (ie most business customers). So a lot of the time when a techie goes the extra mile and comes up with a good solution it is not implemented, or worse they are chastised for wasting their time on it. Again this is even prevalent in the currently depressed economy where decreasing costs and expenses is more important than new innovative ideas in the eyes of many business people. There are only so many times an intelligent person will go that extra mile, get rewarded with a proverbial kick in the teeth, before they learn not to bother.

If you want innovation, people doing crazy hours and going the extra mile etc, I think we'll need another tech boom - one that doesn't revolve around outsourcing.

The film "Office Space" is so well known around here because it can be a very accurate picture of the life of a programmer in many companies. Complete with bureaucratic paperwork and outsourcing of jobs. A case of "it's funny because it's true".

Re:Not attracting new blood, good suggestions igno (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30679708)

I think we'll need another tech boom - one that doesn't revolve around outsourcing.

Since bubbles aren't sustainable despite the continued failed attempts by the Federal Reserve and other government entities trying to make them so (because it's the politically right thing to do), there will be a bust period and the state of things will be either the same or likely worse than before.

Re:Not attracting new blood, good suggestions igno (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30679810)

As you get older, your priorities shift.

Somewhat off topic, but I'd note that the fact that this is true for some people does not make it a universal maxim of human existence.

People who choose to reproduce choose with eyes wide open to have their priorities alter; it's not something that mysteriously happens as an inevitable result of the aging process.

Re:Not attracting new blood, good suggestions igno (1)

ppanon (16583) | more than 4 years ago | (#30680092)

Are you sure? [xkcd.com]

What... (5, Funny)

i58 (886024) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679644)

You mean a career in IT isn't about reading /. all day? Man, this sucks!

Re:What... (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679818)

Nah, it's just an effective way to kill time between gigs.

Re:What... (2, Funny)

phissur (1285832) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679936)

It is if you like getting paid in mod points.

When you get down to it, it's pretty monotanous... (3, Insightful)

PhantomHarlock (189617) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679664)

I think people are just waking up to the fact that the actual work is largely just drudgery, after you get past all the hype of being a part of the 'computer age'. I gave up all work associated with sitting a desk all day and changed my direction. And I was doing something ostensibly interesting for a living, computer animation at an A-list production facility. But in the end it was sitting at a computer in a dark room for at least 10 hours a day. After I turned 30 I lost my taste for it. The output was great, the process not fun. I'm much happier doing various tasks in a multi-hatted job in a very interesting field. Syousef has a good point about shifting priorities as you get older, and that's why IT is largely a young person's job. It's something you do to gain experience, then move up or on to something else. We are lucky in America to have that kind of choice, given enough self initiative. If you don't like your job, do something else. As a white collar worker you generally have that choice if you're willing and capable of learning a new skill set.

What field? (1)

XanC (644172) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679748)

That's a great story. Can you give us any hints as to what you're doing now?

Re:What field? (1)

PhantomHarlock (189617) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679880)

one of those crazy NewSpace rocketeers.... :)

Re:When you get down to it, it's pretty monotanous (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679864)

Sitting in front of a terminal all day doing graphics is not an "IT" job! Come on, let's get our terms straight. Look it up.

Being a full-time programmer is also not "IT". IT means being a systems administrator or analyst (or tech). And I should know: I have done both. Even so, I still agree with the sentiment offered. IT is not the most fun or challenging job I have ever had.

Re:When you get down to it, it's pretty monotanous (1)

PhantomHarlock (189617) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679940)

I have also had roles managing IT for small production companies, before I became an animator full time. It was definitely my least favorite aspect of the job. It's thankless, as many people here will attest. It is important though, and the right type of person can thrive on it.

Re:When you get down to it, it's pretty monotanous (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 4 years ago | (#30680134)

Gotcha. I assumed (bad, bad me) that you were one of the painfully many who do not understand the difference.

Attracting too much new blood (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30679676)

Maybe it's down to the number of "commodity" IT employees in the game these days. People who are in it for a job and nothing else.

It's because the view of IT is changing (5, Interesting)

rennerik (1256370) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679704)

Back maybe a bit more than a decade ago, IT and everything around it (computers in general) were pretty specialized. IT technicians were well-respected almost to an engineering/scientist level. Most were well-versed in their field; they were professional and experts in what they did.

But nowadays, when people think of computer people, they think of Geek Squad or the neighborhood computer nerd. Just fiddle around with some software and BAM, it works. In fact, it's so "easy" to "do computers" that you can find "Idiot's Guide" books on it, people who aren't really technically savvy going to places like ITT Technical Institute, and end up working with computers in a place like help desk, or maybe in the lower echelons of the IT department... so couple this with the fact that most people don't realize that programming and information technology (especially the higher-level jobs in those departments) are basically engineering-grade/scientist-grade positions, and the fact that the knowledge required to call yourself a "computer person" or "IT technician" is getting less and less... IT people, especially professionals, become less well-respected. Some even get treated poorly by fellow employees. Management tends to treat them as "just tech guys" -- like any other employee -- not really realizing that your data-entry person or secretary might be easily replaceable, but an IT person is a valuable asset because of his/her knowledge and experience. The more they know, the more valuable they are to your company, etc.

So, being an IT guy ain't what it used to be... at least to the public at large. And I think that lack of respect/not being appreciated for the kind of work that we do/etc is what's causing a disconnect and a need for professionals to become *consultants*. Because, once you bill at several hundred dollars an hour, people start listening to you a lot more, and respecting you significantly better.

Re:It's because the view of IT is changing (3, Interesting)

rafaelolg (1248814) | more than 4 years ago | (#30680184)

I really don't think that IT workers are not satisfied because they are underrated. I think IT employees that got enginerering/CS degrees were expecting more exciting and innovative research and development kind of jobs and not to do some scripting using excel or some plain web data-base oriented systems. They are not underrated, they are overeducated.

Re:It's because the view of IT is changing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30680288)

I remember seeing some comic strip that portrayed a few different professions and the IT person was 'computer guy'. How many other fields get disrespected like this on a regular basis? I dont call Teachers 'overpaid babysitters' or Pharmacists 'drug dealers'. I started correcting people that I was a Computer Technician or System Administrator and made them feel bad, which they should be. If you are going to call a janitor a 'custodian' you better fucking use the formal name for someone with a college degree.

Huh, I wonder why? (4, Insightful)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679722)

Job satisfaction is at an all time low in the only skilled career where the employees are routinely treated like crap? Who'd have guessed?!

That's why I'm planning on changing careers ASAP and am already sending out resumes. I've only been out of college for a few years, but it's more than enough experience in IT to know that I don't want to do it for the rest of my life.

Perhaps... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30679734)

Every year, the news comes out that US workers are some of the most productive, and every year their productivity rises....

Yet actual wages have stagnated, and even retreated since the 1970s.

Perhaps the days of a free lunch are over, and companies are gonna have to start compensating people appropriately for their work.

Re:Perhaps... (3, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679888)

If you adjust for real inflation (as opposed to government figures), it is even worse. And unless you were a union member or government employee, there never has been anything like a free lunch in the U.S.

But you can still be improperly devalued, as IT has been.

Re:Perhaps... (2, Informative)

compro01 (777531) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679938)

He was meaning the free lunch on the part of the employers, not the employees.

Re:Perhaps... (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 4 years ago | (#30680142)

Ahah. Well, I stand corrected.

Re:Perhaps... (5, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679922)

Imagine that you are a sizable corporation that relies heavily on road vehicles. You are likely to have your own automobile mechanics (a whole repair/maintenance department) on salary. And if you have half a brain, you let the mechanics do their jobs... you don't stand over them, arguing about how to tweak a carburetor.

But if you were a typical sizable corporation over the last decade or so, you also had your own IT department, and thought nothing of demanding the equivalent of a Lamborghini, as of yesterday, for the cost of a Volkswagen... and at the same time paid the IT pro less than your senior mechanics.

That kind of situation cannot last forever. Sooner or later companies will learn that this is loser behavior.

Re:Perhaps... (2, Insightful)

plastbox (1577037) | more than 4 years ago | (#30680222)

That kind of situation cannot last forever. Sooner or later companies will learn that this is loser behavior.

So I hope! I, and most IT guys I know, make less money than your average teacher, secretary or convenience store manager. Imagine if every teacher in the world went on strike for two weeks.. wohoo! Two weeks off from school!

Now imagine if every person in an IT-related job went on strike for two weeks. The world would end. No shit! People would likely loose electricity, gas and communication (phones, cell, internet). Hospitals are completely dependent on their IT-systems working. Trains, large boats and airfaire would stop dead.

No, I'm not saying every system would die within two weeks without maintenance, but enough of them would that it would create som real freaggin' huge problems! Not to mention the user's need to be led by the hand through the nigh unfathomable maze that is finding files you've saved, finding the right icon to click to launch the application you use every day, sending e-mail, etc.

Re:Perhaps... (1, Informative)

TheWizardTim (599546) | more than 4 years ago | (#30680352)

You would think that companies would have to pay appropriately for the jobs done, but wait! In the 80s the current man in charge granted amnesty to illegal working. Thus increasing the available worker pool, and lowering wages. Then the government started a war on unions. About 25% of the workforce in the US was unionized. One of the functions is to limit access to jobs, decreasing the supply of qualified workers, thus increasing the wages. With a decrease in unionized jobs the worker pool increased and lowered wages. Then someone realized that people in India speak pretty good English. Why pay an American a good wage to take calls when you can pay someone in India a lot less? Thus increasing the available worker pool, and lowering wages. Then in the 90s we passed a trade agreement that opened the borders around the world for large companies. Now it was easy to offshore jobs to other countries, and import the goods back in to the US. Why pay an American a good wage to make a thing when you can pay someone in China to make it for 10 times less? Thus increasing the available worker pool, and lowering wages.

How do we solve this? Get corporate and union money out of politics. Have publicly financed elections. Get out of the WTO. End NAFTA. Enact the Free Choice Act. Make things in the US. Charge a lot of money to import things made outside of the US.

Go after companies that higher illegal works. Put the CEO and head of HR in jail. If the supply of jobs for illegal works goes away, then the illegal workers will go away too. Right now we go after the workers. That does not help.

lazy coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30679796)

I was searching for a job in IT because I didn't want to work an outside job in Austin's blaring summer heat. I'm not lazy and I come from an Outside tech background working in cramped quarters. I told my wife that with experience under my belt i could work from home and so on blah blah blah. Wow, come to find out folks are smart to say "Hell No!", when their company IT dept offers them a shiny new Laptop(leash) If any one is thinking of going into IT, do a priorities check, consult a proctologist and have your head removed from your Ass, i slowly eased my own cranium out. Unfortunately for some it's too late and they can't see past the shit to realize their "IT" lifestyle is full of crap.

Limits (1, Insightful)

FatherDale (1535743) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679812)

There are limits. Even the happiest, most optimistic IT pro gets weary of dealing with morons, asshats, and people whose sense of entitlement far exceeds their actual worth to the organization.

More mature IT is just... less exciting (5, Insightful)

poopie (35416) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679894)

... and that's in the best interest of the business. The business likes predictable systems and services.

Most of us slashdotters with low userid numbers can vouch for the fact that a whole lot has changed in the last 12 or so years.

IT used to be the wild west. UNIX was not widely well understood -- even by software developers. UNIX servers were inaccessible. UNIX servers were big bucks. Linux was obscure. Hardly any computer hardware or software did much of anything out of the box. Sysadmins, consultants, and IT workers were worth their weight in gold -- because that wasn't any other option.

Now... IT is mature. Hardware is cheap and reliable. Linux is ubiquitous. Linux admin experience is not rare. apt-get or yum can deploy massive amounts of useful, nearly preconfigured software in minutes that would have taken sysadmins WEEKS or MONTHS to build, deploy, patch, etc in the past.

When I first started in IT, building a server was an *ART*. Each one was unique -- from the hardware to the disk layout to the partitioning, to the OS, to the locally installed software. Building a server was like building a Stradivarius.

Now, building a server is like stamping a kazoo out of tin. I can make 500 kazoos a day. They're all the same. I don't even need to log into them once.

In the past, general IT folks were quite often the white hat security experts who learned by doing/experimenting. Now... most companies have security teams an intrusion detection systems that sound alarms if anyone runs nmap on nessus.

Your average IT guy USED to have endless opportunities to be a hero by introducing opensource software options that almost nobody else in the company knew about. Linux in the mainstream has changed all that.

A *GOOD* IT worker used to have almost magical abilities to do orders of magnitude more work. Now, large scale admin processes are much more widely understood, there are many more tools, and those magical processes are well documented and demystified so that even the junior IT folks can do them.

How many IT jobs today involve compliance? How rewarding is compliance-related work? I bet that some of the lack of willingness to suggest process improvements is somehow tied to the process baggage of IT compliance.

I still like my job, but it's changed a lot. I don't *just* do IT. I add value to my company. Today, IT needs to be much more closely integrated with the business. IT needs to be a business partner. I doubt any businesses today would hire a BOFH.

Re:More mature IT is just... less exciting (3, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679968)

That is what I was saying earlier. The IT field has matured... but that still doesn't mean it's a commodity, and that's where people (managers and HR, in particular) get confused. The fact that it is ubiquitous does not mean that anybody or their nephew can do it properly. Managing a project is still managing a project, and systems design is still systems design, even if putting together a simple household system is something a high-schooler can do. Anybody can be a backyard auto mechanic, too... but master mechanics still get paid very good money.

Metaphorically speaking, the real problem is that management has not learned to recognize the difference between a backyard mechanic and a master mechanic.

Re:More mature IT is just... less exciting (1)

Evil Shabazz (937088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30680042)

You make a good point. Most management doesn't seem to know a Ferrari from a Pinto - all they know is they want "car." They go shopping, find the cheapest dealer around, buy the cheapest model on the lot, take it home, and then get really really pissed when they find out they don't have a Ferrari in the garage.

Re:More mature IT is just... less exciting (4, Insightful)

poopie (35416) | more than 4 years ago | (#30680050)

IT is a commodity. Sharp IT managers see that virtualization will bring extremely powerful APIs and with a little bit of workflow and orchestration magic, their needs for the most skilled IT talent will stay the same or reduce as quantity of work increases over time. As much as people in the IT trenches may wish things to not change, change will continue. Fewer people with less skills will be able to manager larger numbers of systems and services.

Google for just about anything IT related, and you'll find THOUSANDS of hits on how to do it. Step-by-step instructions. Video walkthroughs. Preconfigured VM images. Despite what us IT folks may think -- that's UNUSUAL and somewhat unique for computers and IT. How many people can google "ubuntu ldap kerberos" or "linux drbd mysql" and follow the steps?

The "master mechanics" become architects and software developers who design "cars" that require fewer visits to the mechanics. They design process that is simple. They implement service menus that look more like a fast food menu. They automate their jobs and move on to more interesting work.

Re:More mature IT is just... less exciting (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 4 years ago | (#30680158)

I thought that was very amusing. I take it that you were being serious?

Re:More mature IT is just... less exciting (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 4 years ago | (#30680200)

Excellent way of ending up with a complete mess.

Yeah, any monkey can google, and set up a LDAP server, and put a couple entries on it. But things like that don't exist in a void, they're used by other servers on the network. You need to have an understanding of what is really needed, what is going to use what, what the load will be like, any special requirements and so on.

You'll likely end up with a LDAP server with a "password" password, the wrong schema, on hardware that can't handle the load, or without replication when you really should have it.

Yes, you can google about all that stuff too, but you have to be aware of its existence, what it's used for, figure out which of those things are needed at your company and so on. And figuring all that out properly will take quite a lot of googling, or screwing up a few times. Screwing up the production network is generally seen as a bad thing.

Re:More mature IT is just... less exciting (4, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 4 years ago | (#30680298)

To clarify what I meant: SO WHAT?

There are also thousands of online resources describing how to be a CEO, and how to be an accountant, and even how to make $14,000 in 3 days.

Does following those instructions make you an expert? Hell, no.

You could probably follow those thousands of pages of instructions to assemble a replica Shelby, complete with chrome valve covers and dual stripes, in 6 months or so... but that doesn't make you a mechanic. Nobody would pay you to do it for them, because they could do the same thing.

But give the parts to a master mechanic, and (to illustrate just one advantage), he or she could probably do the same thing in a week. And do it better. Because they know what they are doing.

There is an old story, nearly a century old now. There are multiple versions of the story, but there is strong evidence that it was originally about Charles Steinmetz, who, as an early electrical engineer, occasionally did contract work for that up-and-coming company, General Electric. Keep in mind this is early 1900s.

GE had spent a lot of money designing and building a new, large electrical device. (Generator, motor, HV device, who knows? Doesn't matter.) But their machine didn't work, even after weeks of their best efforts to find out why. So they called in Charles Steinmetz, who had done work for them before. Steinmetz agreed and went to their plant to check it out. He walked around the machine, from time to time putting his ear to the side of it. Finally, he took a piece of chalk out of his pocket and made a big "X" on one of the access panels.

"Your problem is under there," he said. And he left.

The GE techs removed the panel and sure enough, they found a defect, and after they fixed it the machine worked as it should.

But GE management was surprised, about a week later, when the mail contained an invoice from Steinmetz for $10,000.

Astonished that he would try to charge that much (a lot of money in those days) for what amounted to a few minutes' work, they wrote back to Steinmetz, requesting that he itemize his bill.

He sent them back an itemized bill, as follows:

Marking an "X" on the side of a machine: $1.00

Knowing where to put it: $9,999.00


Did they pay his bill? Goddamn right they did. He saved them a shitload of money.

Never underestimate the real value of an expert.

Re:More mature IT is just... less exciting (1)

raddan (519638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30680000)

When I first started in IT, building a server was an *ART*.

Today, IT needs to be much more closely integrated with the business.

I'd argue that there's still some excitement (and art) in the latter statement that you make, especially for businesses whose product is information. Where I work (publishing) we have a lot of very talented and creative people, but they don't know squat about using technology to better do their work. I can and do build tools for them to take the monotony out of their own jobs. This requires a lot of thinking, a lot of programming, and it generally makes my job a lot more enjoyable. Now that a lot of pre-packaged IT tools are better out of the box, I can spend less time dealing with the day-to-day chores of network maintenance, and more time on the fun stuff.

Re:More mature IT is just... less exciting (1)

Krishnoid (984597) | more than 4 years ago | (#30680002)

I doubt any businesses today would hire a BOFH.

Even the BOFH [theregister.co.uk] has ways of keeping up with the times -- it's all about being able to adapt to changing conditions.

Re:More mature IT is just... less exciting (1)

zlogic (892404) | more than 4 years ago | (#30680144)

Hardware used to be expensive, meaning an extra $300 (better parts, better case) was a good investment if it meant that your computer wouldn't break in less than a year. Today most computers are cheap and it breaks, most people just buy another one, instead of taking it to an IT guy for repairs. The new computer would be faster anyway.

Software is even worse, because of outsourced programmers being paid for the amount of lines of code, they don't bother writing good or efficient code, after all computers are fast and will handle a 400+MB monitor driver without questions.

Re:More mature IT is just... less exciting (1)

Aceticon (140883) | more than 4 years ago | (#30680306)

I think we need to split what is meant by "IT" here into two streams:
- Systems administration, Database administration, Network administration and all kinds of systems and services administration tasks.
- Software development (and by this I also mean software design and architecture).

What you say applies to the first but not that much to the later: there are still a lot of exciting things going on in the Software Development world, although not quite as much as during the Internet boom.

Software Development is still far from a proper Engineering discipline (standardized and predictable) and there's plenty of evolution going on in there everyday.

Of course we're dissatisfied (5, Interesting)

CopaceticOpus (965603) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679956)

You only need to read the summary to see why job satisfaction in IT is so low. They see it as a problem that IT employees are less willing to work long hours for free, but I take this to be a very good sign. It's high time that IT workers stand up for themselves. I understand that the nature of the job may lead to occasional overtime work. But when required overtime is the norm, and it is not even well compensated, that is a sign of mismanagement and/or gross disrespect for employees. No wonder the workers are dissatisfied. (And this is just one of the ways many IT workers are treated poorly.)

It is really frustrating to me to see so many workers in this field willing to give up their lives for a job. It makes things so much harder for those of us who seek respect and reasonable working conditions. If I can't pay my bills, I don't go to my employer and ask for extra free money. My employer shouldn't be asking me for extra free work week after week because projects were poorly planned.

Re:Of course we're dissatisfied (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30680150)

Heh. Coming out of university I had an interview trip with Bell Northern Research in Ottawa. I remember one of the interviewers asking me how I felt about overtime. My reply was basically the same as yours: overtime is occasionally a necessity in IT/development but if it's a near-permanent occurrence then the managers aren't doing their jobs properly. BNR apparently had a bit of reputation as a sweat shop at that time and that answer didn't help my case - I didn't get an offer. Of course given that they later got folded back into Nortel and got heavily cut in the dot.bomb, it was just as well.

Re:Of course we're dissatisfied (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30680170)

While I do agree that we are underpaid as a group, I dont think money can solve all the issues.

Like one of the earlier answers - IT has matured. Earlier it was a frontier.. almost the wild west - now it is like any other suburb, and if you always wanted to work in something 'cool' or even 'kewl', IT was not too bad, now IT is definately not cool (and I dont think it ever else will be). So if your happiness about a job is based on what others think of it, you are screwed.

To add to this mess is the fact that a lot of IT jobs are vulnerable to outsourcing.

  So there we have the combo for dissatisfaction: Underpaid + 'uncool' job + job may disappear (for ever)

yeah, well... (0, Troll)

anarking (34854) | more than 4 years ago | (#30679996)

fuckit. nevermind.

playing key role (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30680048)

It's very hard to play key role and improve processes - as soon as you do that, your work is suddenly serialized and outsourced because you're too expensive and you demand too much (and remember now that you've improved the process, you're not really needed anymore either).

After this repeats couple of times you simply get tired of constantly losing your job - or constantly worrying about your job being moved to lowcost outsourcing. It's not really the best motivator to work long hours and play key roles in process improvement.

It would be great if organizations would realize this and reward the keyrole participation in some other way than moving your job and giving you the boot.

In many ways the status of working in IT has degraded a lot in the past 10 years. Maybe that's a sign of maturing branch or just sign of increasing corporate greediness, I suppose that depends on what side of the fence you happen to be.

Government/Defense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30680098)

Stick with Government or Defense jobs and accept that you'll never be 'satisfied'. But, you'll be much more secure in your job. No one funding a government contract will accept failure as an option and the money (and your salary) keeps flowing. :)

Working conditions differ... (5, Interesting)

Veneratio (935302) | more than 4 years ago | (#30680152)

I was just discussing this article with my colleague and we agreed this was probably a US-oriented survey. We're Dutch and working in The Netherlands as system engineers, and compared to the US our working conditions are great! On average, we work 40 hour weeks (sometimes less!) and get an average of 24 days paid vacation a year. Overtime is PAID overtime. These conditions apply to pretty much ALL jobs here, not just IT.

Comparing that to the US, its not strange that Americans are less satisfied. From what I picked up over the years reading articles like the ones on Slashdot, Americans in IT generally work 10+ hours a day, don't even always get overtime paid for and only receive about 5 vacationdays a year. And the pay, even though admittedly living is cheaper there, sucks too.

Is it any wonder that people are dissatisfied?

Re:Working conditions differ... (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 4 years ago | (#30680348)

Ditto in the UK. I'm in a software dev-centric "research" job with a 37 hour week, 25 days annual leave (that's the minimum in our company after they brought all employees up to that level because of "age discrimination" for varying holiday based on length of employment), paid overtime, paid travel time and flexible working hours. Some aspects of America interest me as a place to live, but the work ethic sure as hell isn't one of them!

Companies are sowing what they seeded (4, Insightful)

Aceticon (140883) | more than 4 years ago | (#30680268)

The jobs of half of your colleagues have been outsourced to India or replaced with Indian "consultants" in temporary placement, your "time flexibility" is always seen as "you need to work more hours today" never as "you can go home earlier today" and, especially in these times, you know that you can be fired for any reason whatsoever that has nothing to do with your performance.

Mosty of us working in IT know for sure that the company will not be there for you, so why should you be there for the company above and beyond the call of duty?

(I do know one or two examples of small companies in which the Directors are close enough to the employees to actually care about them. In big companies, however, you're just another number in the ledger).

I long ago left "traditional" employement in IT for freelancing: I came to the conclusion that "the company" didn't care when the technology bubble burst when companies started firing the same people that just months before had been working their asses of giving their 110%.

Everyday when I come to work I'm surprised how so many of my colleagues still settle for getting less that half as much as I do in exchange for the illusion of job safety and a fickle bonus which has little relation to their actual performance (I work in the Finance industry now, bonuses are mostly dependent on the performance of the business unit you work for which pretty much just follows the market for the types of instruments they trade).

WTF? The Reg damn near says the exact opposite! (1)

phonewebcam (446772) | more than 4 years ago | (#30680272)

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/01/07/actuary_beats_software_engineer/

"Yes, actuaries have beaten software engineers - just - to scoop the title of best job to have in 2010, according to a survey by site Careetcast.com. Coming just behind software engineers were computer systems analysts. Web developers ranked number 15."

Perhaps its a cultural US/UK thing ;-)

Only just realising? (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 4 years ago | (#30680372)

'The CEB's latest survey found that the willingness of IT employees to "exert high levels of discretionary effort" -- put in extra hours to solve a problem, make suggestions for improving processes, and generally seek to play a key role in an organization -- has plummeted to its lowest levels since the survey was launched 10 years ago.'

What? Has it taken people ten years to realise that you don't get credit for the extra hours (unless you're working horrendous amounts, which is almost seen as "expected") and that suggestions are generally ignored because they cost money? I thought technology was supposed to speed things up - how long would it have taken to realise that without IT?!

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