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Appreciating Your Stressful IT Job?

Cliff posted more than 9 years ago | from the coping-with-the-heat-in-the-kitchen dept.

Programming 868

in the trenches asks: "I'm a married, 24-year-old male, and like many posters here on Slashdot I work in the IT industry. I currently work as a website developer (mostly design-related work), but I also do some Perl and PHP programming. As most of you probably have, I've often wondered if I wouldn't enjoy working in a less stressful environment. I've even gone as far as to wonder if I'd prefer some sort of factory job or similar over my current field of work. The problem is this, I LOVE developing websites, but I HATE the stress and responsability that comes with a the job. How do you all cope with the stress and responsability that seems to come hand-in-hand with an IT career?"

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HOWTO Slashdot Karma (1, Offtopic)

ReluctantBadger (550830) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958194)

It is 10pm. Do you know where your karma is?
Right! Let us get started...

In order to get maximum karma from Slashdot posting, you can follow a few simple guidelines.

  • The University you go to. Regardless of where you actually study, saying that you're at MIT automagically gains you +2. Slashdot, like the glorified student notice board that it is, has a special place in its heart for anything from MIT - whether it be a teddy bear stuffed with a switch, or some wankers wrapping a yellow banner with elvish text around the main dome. Even if you didn't go to university, qualify every comment with a "My professor told me" to bask in the warm fuzzy glow of +2, Insightful.

  • Linux. The basis of the "Slashdot Experience". Claiming you run Linux also gets you +1, Interesting. It doesn't really matter if you've never actually installed it, or your Red Hat box still doesn't have PPP running after 2 years of reading FAQs. The important bit is - You're part of the community. You can bathe in the refelected glory of years of shoddy, buggy code. You are exempt from the Microsoft penalty (see below) as, of course, your Win 98 install is only used for playing games. And reading Slashdot. And using MS Word. And Photoshop. And....

  • Microsoft. Slashbots and the editors hate Microsoft. Period. Use of a $ symbol in every iteration of their trademarks gets you a +4, Funny. Even though it is far from original, it still manages to raise a grin in those people reading Slashdot between episodes of Cowboy Bebop. You will get a -1, Flamebait or Troll for any post even hinting that Microsoft products are any good / useful / intuitive / user friendly. You will also quickly be shot down with replies about how good GNOME and KDE are, which will then in turn erupt into a flame war.

  • Freedom / Privacy / YRO. The bread and butter of Slashdot. It fits in sublimely with the whole "Linux" thing. You'll get a +3, Informative for any post containing the Ben Franklin quote about sacrificing essential liberty. It makes no difference that the quote is totally irrelevant in the modern world - Hey, you've got karma! Mis-credting the quote will not end up in a karma penalty, as has been demonstrated countless times. You will gain extra karma if you make reference to your experiences of being wire-tapped by the NSA, and throwing in a vague link to Echelon, black helicopters or Tin Foil Hat Linux. Include a link to the First Amendment for a +1, Interesting mod. Give yourself a pat on the back if you manage to include some extra raging paranoia with no evidence to back it up. Nice!

  • BSD. If you use it, don't mention it on Slashdot. Most of the Linux-using friendless wonders that inhabit Slashdot wouldn't know quality and stability if it strolled up and kicked them in the throat with a size 13 HiTec Magnum boot. Any mention of how a Firewall running OpenBSD with pf is far superior to Linux's pathetic offering will soon see you as -1, Troll. Much like the post you're reading now.

  • Yearning for yester-year. Although most comments are written by first year "wannabe-CS-guru" students or links to, there is still the fallout dregs of the dot com boom lurking around slashdot. You can get +5, Insightful for telling how you were so badly treated after the bubble burst. Whining about the lack of jobs where you get paid to fire foam darts at colleagues is a good start. Don't forget to mention how you've now been out of work for months - It starts a "I'm about to graduate and there's nothing going" fuckfest which can spill over into hundreds of comments. Although all the staff who were any good simply got hired into another company, it makes "Good Karma Sense"&reg to hide the fact that your passing familiarity with Perl and C simply can't get you a job. This is also a prime opportunity to show your egregious personality, as Slashdot rewards arrogance and elitism.


You kill yourself... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#8958195)

So we don't have to read stupid crap like this on the front page.


caffeine (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#8958196)

200 milligram caffeine pills. I pop 'em like candy

Re:caffeine (1)

tirloni (681156) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958217)

... or develop a kind of autist behaviour and keep reading slashdot while your boss is crying out next to you (that f****).

Have a baby. (5, Funny)

arkanes (521690) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958199)

Have a baby. You'll leave work each day with a song in your heart, knowing that there will be a minimum of bodily fluids to contend with.

Re:Have a baby. (4, Insightful)

Matey-O (518004) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958261)

And that you really did KNOW stress til you're working with 6 hours of sleep a night.

What, you think 6 hours of sleep is adequate? Try it in three 2 hour doses.

Re:Have a baby. (4, Funny)

BobLenon (67838) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958287)

Theres only a couple of reasonable ideas:

* Drink - often ;)
* Threaten to set building on fire - Milton Style
* Destroy the internet .. after that im not sure ;)

Marry a Bitch (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#8958301)

You could marry someone you hate. Having a wife that sucks makes your job stress seem much less important. Which reminds me, I heard a good joke the other day in a movie I was watching: "Yesterday, over breakfast, I made a Freudian slip. I meant to ask my wife to pass the butter, but instead I said, 'You bitch! You've ruined my life!'"

Here in the night.... (1)

L0stb0Y (108220) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958200)

I don't always care for my IT job, but sometimes there are *amazing* blessings/perks that go along with the job- although given certain current circumstances (see journal) I guess I could consider a career in health care- that too will have levels of stress.

Really stressful? (-1, Flamebait)

Andreas(R) (448328) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958203)

Since when is Coding HTML for food stressful? I can think of a whole lot of other industries which are way more stressful, such as being a _real_ programmer.

Easy (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#8958204)

Simple. Be unemployed... Also seems to go hand in hand with an IT career.

Wrong, my dear (4, Insightful)

Karamchand (607798) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958205)

IT doesn't automatically mean less stress. There're stressfull jobs in other areas as well, just as there are relaxing IT jobs.
So just change your job but stay in the IT industry, specially if you like it. There's nothing better than a job in an area you like!

Working to your full potential (5, Insightful)

prodangle (552537) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958210)

Stress and responisility come with any skilled job. You'll certainly feel less stress working on a production line, but you'll constantly feel undervalued, as you won't be getting used to anywhere near your full potential.

Saying that, my friend's father has a PhD from Oxford, and now drives a bus. He's far happier than he used to be. Maybe you should eventually give up the hard work, but not until far later in life.

Stress, growth, individuals (5, Interesting)

sydb (176695) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958211)

Stress is what we feel when our current abilities are being challenged. It's also at these times that we grow as individuals - we learn to deal with situations which once caused stress, and hence become more capable. This applies whatever the cause of stress, even if it's a stupid boss that's doing your head in, you have to learn to deal with stupid bosses.

I think you're much to young to stop growing, much to young to run from stressful situations. I also think you're too young to be married, but your early marriage is associated with your personal needs to grow as individual. Maybe you've already grown all you want.

So obviously it's a personal choice how much stress you want to endure, taking into account how much you have already grown, how much you want to grow further, and your capability to do so.

Re:Stress, growth, individuals (5, Insightful)

nycsubway (79012) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958307)

Stress is what we feel when our current abilities are being challenged

That is true, but when you feel your stress is going toward something worthless, the stress gets worse, because there is no sense of satisfaction that you've done something worthwhile.

For some people shoveling data from one database to another and processing it in between is worthwhile, for others it is not.

Medical school is stressful, possibly just as stressful as working 80 hour weeks at a software company to get the product out on time (although no one really does this anymore, its all been outsourced :) ) Some people would find working for no money and learning how to help the sick is more rewarding and therefor more worth the stress than getting paid a lot and producing something you dont feel is worthwhile.

I used to work for an insurance company as a programmer. With a bachelors degree I was one of the most educated people there. I was NOT challenged to use my education. The stress came from office politics and the boss saying "whats your status." every hour. To produce reports for management, this just wasn't worth the stress. It paid well, but not worth all the stress.

So I recently moved on to a new job [] . It pays a lot less. The stress now comes from being challenged to do something that I feel is more worthwhile.

Your choice of how much stress you endure is related to what you think of as good stress or bad stress. When ever I'd complain about something at my previous job, a coworker would always say "It's just a paycheck.. It's just a paycheck"

Re:Stress, growth, individuals (5, Insightful)

Llurien (658850) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958320)

Correct, but also consider what happens when the challenge is over your head. It's all nice to assume that stress automatically makes you a better/smarter person, but if the challenge is too big for you, the stress becomes harmful. This is exactly the reason people get burn-outs.

Re:Stress, growth, individuals (5, Interesting)

Kingpin (40003) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958323)

Bravo. Your post basically sums up the experiences I've had during the past 3 months. Until late January, I was on my 6th year as a J2EE consultant. I was doing good - but I had run out of challenges in the company I was in. So I changed to another company, where I knew the CEO and I knew that he would just put me "out there", and I'd have to swim to survive.

The first 3 days in my new job, I spent on a project management course. The 4th day I was leading a meeting with a newly won customer, and for the past 3 months I've been working as a technical project manager for this customer.

For the first time in my life, I felt stress physically. I could feel my body complain about my concern for the project. I hated it. I managed to cope fairly good with it, as it was a passing sensation that lasted for only a couple of weeks.

I took a chance that challenged my abilities, I knew that I was asking for trouble doing it, I grew. I'm looking forward to using my newly won self-confidence on the next project.

My point: If you can cope with the stress (take it seriously, buy a book, talk to people), it will help you grow. If you cannot, well.. Some do postulate that IT workers are the modern factory workers.

stress? (1)

m00by (605070) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958212)

personally, my IT job is for the state of new york, so it's stressful, but not overly so. let me give an example... the other day, I dropped a server. now, I know intel commodity hardware is cheap and all, but still, this bothered me. =D it luckily fell on the corner that has the least amount of useful hardware in it, and thus, I only broke the power plug plugs. my friend and I glued it back together, and it even works, so all is well. I have to think that if I'd done that at a corporation, I'd have been fired within minutes, whereas at the state, I could commit felonies and still work there! but none before you get hired... save the crime spree until after you're hired =D

Re:stress? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#8958292)

nope. I was a $40,000 server dropped and the company went "eh"

also if you make it a habit of being a nincompoop and trying to carry servers yourself then YES you will get fired after the 2nd dropping.

Helpful Advice (1)

cua (692193) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958214)

When I find myself in this situation I usually quit my job and make room for the unemployed... Hope this helps!

Pull your 40/week and stop (5, Insightful)

Saint Stephen (19450) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958219)

In my early 20s, I like everybody worked 14 hour days 5 days a week. Then at some point (marriage, probably) I realized that the *better* people get their shit done in 8 hours, and go home. If you find yourself working superlong, you're probably not operating correctly. You should just go home and do better tomorrow.

It's all about planning. Now I no longer look on 70-hour week people as heros; actually the opposite, why can't they get their work done more efficiently.

Re:Pull your 40/week and stop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#8958259)

In my early 20s, I like everybody worked 14 hour days 5 days a week.

? I'm 24 and don't do more than 44 hours a week. That's on a bad week. What sort of idiot would work 14 hour days week in, week out?

It's all about planning.

Exactly. Also bear in mind that "Failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergancy on mine."

Re:Pull your 40/week and stop (1)

fruitbane (454488) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958263)

You seem to discount that, what with companies wanting everything they can get out of you, many IT workers, particularly in underfunded areas like public works and education, often have more on their plate than they can reasonably finish in 40 hours. Sometimes overtime is expected simply as par for the course (and not paid because you are salaried) and sometimes there is policy that what doesn't get done doesn't get done.

Re:Pull your 40/week and stop (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#8958286)

You seem to discount that, what with companies wanting everything they can get out of you, many IT workers, particularly in underfunded areas like public works and education, often have more on their plate than they can reasonably finish in 40 hours.

So? Because management can not plan work loads and schedule properly, that's somehow your problem?

Sometimes overtime is expected simply as par for the course (and not paid because you are salaried)

Overtime might be expected but they might not get it. If an employer wants overtime from me they need to earn it; either through being a good employer generally or paying me for it. Why is working for free seen as acceptable? It isn't! You're being ripped off! Stop working for free!

Re:Pull your 40/week and stop (1)

grommitfry (724492) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958290)

I am in the field too and have done the same thing. After 4.5 years of 60-80 hour weeks and losing my vacation time because I just couldn't take it (I would take a day off and they would call me at home all day anyway, so it hardly seemed worth it) I decided that I had to pull the plug. Now I am married (3 weeks yesterday) and I am there at 8:30, leave at 5, and if work piles up, there is no one to blame but the management, who dim-whittedly decided that 1 IT-support person was enough to support 110 users. I have looked into leaving, but it's still a tough market and the only leads I have gotten come up with less cash and poorer benefits than I have now, which is 30% less than I should be making for what I do. So for now, I make the best of the bad situation, until I truly can't take it from the poor management anymore, and decide that I will go work in retail or something so I don't have to think about my job beyond the clock.

Re:Pull your 40/week and stop (1)

maelfius (592856) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958343)

*ahem* Where do you work again? -- I, for one, could use the 60-80 hour weeks, even in light of this new initiative [] [].

but in all seriousness

I understand where you are coming from (I have been there), but there are those of us who thrive in this environment of stress. However, if one of us is willing to do the 60-80 hour weeks, does this mean the management will expect this from everybody; probably. Unfortunate as it is, in the economy as it is (even now that it is appearing to turn around) we have kindof a conundrum here...

*** This is in no way meant to exclude other /. readers ***


Re:Pull your 40/week and stop (4, Insightful)

KDan (90353) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958297)

That's not always true. In the software industry, especially in projects which have not been structured as well as they should be, there always comes a "crunch time" where you just have to put in extra time to get the stuff done before the unrealistic deadline, and make the deadline realistic through your own sweat.

Now, sure, somebody fucked up along the line if you're working a 70+ hour week. But it's not necessarily you. It could be anyone all the way up the chain - you for being inefficient, the project manager for telling his boss that things can get done faster than they really can, his boss for putting too much pressure on the PM or simply being completely out of touch with reality, the boss above that for setting unrealistic targets in terms of how much a project should cost (which is directly correlated to how long it should take), etc...

So sometimes, when somebody above you fucked up majorly, you might find yourself having to do 1.5 days' worth of work every day. And you can do it - just not for extended periods of time. If you find yourself working big overtime for more than 2 months, and that's despite you being very efficient with your work, just get the hell out of the place as fast as possible - there's too many people fucking up around you and it will fuck you up as well eventually, and being at the bottom of the food chain you'll probably get all the blame too.


Re:Pull your 40/week and stop (1)

niteblade (764045) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958325)

I 100% agree with this. I work for a large multinational and rarely work more than the low 40's. It's not that I couldn't (many in my area work 50+) but I simply refuse to. An occasional overtime week to meet a tough deadline I can understand - but when overtime is required because of imcompetance of others (mostly management), sorry - it's my life and I highly value my time. As the old cliche goes, no-one on their death bed ever said "gee, if only I could have worked more hours".


What stress and responsibility? (1)

Hot Summer Nights (771962) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958220)

Aren't we talking about fscking websites here? Just cool down, relax. The world isn't coming to an end if your website isn't up on schedule.

Hobbies/friends/other interests (2, Insightful)

MammaMia (764083) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958221)

I also enjoy the work I do but it can also be a very stressful environment at times... I find it best to try to keep work at work, and unwind on the off hours with entertainment, the company of friends & family etc. Or, if it's really TOO stressful, look for another job. The frustration of the job search might just help you appreciate your current gig.

Re:Hobbies/friends/other interests (1)

MammaMia (764083) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958253)

Or better yet, spend some quality time with your wife. (Not just *that* kind of quality time, though that's important too!) Pursue some interests you both already enjoy, or try something totally new together - hiking, salsa dancing, music, the NYT crossword, whatever. Your relationship will thank you.

Here's a troll post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#8958222)

Ever since I got into MIT almost 10 years ago, I have loved computer software. I loved it even MORE after finding out about Linux and writing some really fun Linux software applications that we used on the Athena system (in emulation, even!).

It's almost 10 years later, and I still love software. I have my own company now, competing with Micro$oft, and it's great because even though I have a ton of stress, I love all my workers like they're my best friends and with every challenge comes an opportunity to work toward a great RESULT. Sure, we're not THERE yet, but give us another 10-20 years, and M$ will be GONE.

Re:Here's a troll post (1)

Caseylite (692375) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958241)

You left out the Ben Franklin quote. :-) Mod -6, Can't follow directions

New Job (5, Insightful)

nycsubway (79012) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958223)

Get a new job. A less stressful one. Chances are if your stressed out over what you are doing, you dont actually like what you are doing. If the stress bothers you that much, its time to look for something else.

I've noticed in IT jobs, the more you talk and interact with your coworkers in a positive and joking way, the less stressful the job is. When you sit there and stew over what your boss might say next, it gets stressful.

You might actually enjoy working as a web developer, but perhaps not at the company you are at now. Having fun with your coworkers can make the day go by a lot faster and be more enjoyable. Look elsewhere!

Re:New Job (2, Insightful)

sydb (176695) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958271)

You're right that laughter and cameraderie in the workplace helps lots. I'd add that working with people you respect helps too. There's nothing more irritating than feeling you're carrying your colleagues. When I moved from such a team to one where everybody has their own skills and experience and are able to add value other than just turning up and saying the right thing, I got a lot happier.

But I don't regret working in the first team, it's made me appreciate the second much more!

Only downside is I no longer feel indispensable...

Tai Chi (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#8958226)

Develop your life in a way that suits your personality, whether through social interaction outside work or reflection. I personally do Tai Chi. The way I deal with stress at work is to make everything into a joke -- my boss, for example, is insanely negative and insulting. All of us in the department used to get very upset about it. But with enough talking amongst ourselves and building of a mutual solidarity, we now pretty much laugh in his face: we take control of our environment and refuse to let him dictate stress onto us. He doesn't like it that much obviously, but we do. Something that REALLY helps is to think: what is the worst that can happen to me? As the Tao Te Ching [] says: Do your work, then step back.


One word (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#8958228)


Re:One word (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#8958273)

and weed

Same here... ...but you learn how to cope. (4, Interesting)

nordicfrost (118437) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958229)

I work as a journalist. I'm 26, and starting to learn how to cope with stress and the fact that a single small slip of the keys could land my employer in a multi-million lawsuit.

The answer is; with the years, you get more confident in yourself. You know that the abaility to do it is in you, and is neing used, so it's nothing to worry about. Focus on teh task instead.

But occasionaly, I do get a bit worried. Like five minnutes ago, where the competing newspaper said (indriectly) that my story about the returing caskets with soldiers from Iraq was dead wrong (Among the pictures from were some pictures of caskets frome the columbia accident). I paniced a bit, yes, but though calmly about it, investigated my case, and discovered that the pictures I had discarded (since they wer taken during the day, while the pictures I used were in the night) from columbia had not been included in my article. And therefore it was 100% correct.

In other words: Trust your instincts.

Re:Same here... ...but you learn how to cope. (1)

MammaMia (764083) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958285)

"a single small slip of the keys could land my employer in a multi-million lawsuit.... Focus on teh task instead... Like five minnutes ago... I paniced a bit... since they wer taken during the day..." "

That's what *I'm* talkin about... Leave work at work.

No offense, man - I couldn't resist. =)

BTW seeing the casket pic was quite a breath of fresh air.

Re:Same here... ...but you learn how to cope. (5, Funny)

sydb (176695) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958298)

I work as a journalist... abaility... neing... teh... minnutes... (indriectly)... returing... paniced... wer...

Yeah, I'd be stressed too!

Re:Same here... ...but you learn how to cope. (1)

nordicfrost (118437) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958312)

I'm at work, hence the stress... ;) And the fact that I have a very, very bad writing position. :(

Re:Same here... ...but you learn how to cope. (1)

Jobeyonekenobi (695807) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958317)

I work for Royal Mail in the Uk as a delivery office manager. Having just turned 25 I can say that it is very stressful, but on the days off I get, I look back over what I have/am achieving and feel proud. (that and the paycheck I get every week). My advice to you - take a week or two off. Read some books. Kick back and have beer for breakfast, go do some stuff that you want to do (complete a game, go trekking, start learning Tai Chi). You'll find that doing what you love whilst getting paid for it is worth the stress. Just learn how to manage it.

Martial Arts (2, Interesting)

HapNstance (38538) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958232)

Take up a martial art as a hobby. I recommend Judo for maximum stress relief. I would link to the article about how to be a hacker but I can't remember who wrote it (maybe RMS?). In the article, whoever wrote it said being involved in a martial art is very important to becoming a successful hacker (not cracker). Many days I can't wait to get to judo so I can imagine the idiot who is causing me stress at work as I beat on someone else (who then thanks me for beating up on them). I sleep great at night, have good blood preasure, and only accumulate a days worth of stress each day before working it off at the dojo.

Debug yourself (4, Interesting)

newsdee (629448) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958234)

Find out what's really bothering you. Is it really the stress and responsibility, or is it the money, the lack of advancement, or something else? This is very important, because if it's really the stress then it means that (e.g.) no matter how much they pay you, you would feel the same.

Once you know what really bothers you start thinking what you can do about it. Maybe a lack of advancement is because maybe you didn't finish college (I don't know you - I just know several people that work in IT in that exact situation). Maybe the stress is because you have several bosses that ask stuff for yesterday and you just need to come up with a way to prioritize everything effectively. And so on and so forth.

Changing job fields like that is risky because you don't know what awaits you. And if you don't address the core problem and make sure that changing job is the best solution, then it's going to come up again in any job that you do.

I became team leader. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#8958235)

Now everything is my fault, your problem. :)

Cheese (1)

datadriven (699893) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958239)

You want some chees with that whine?

you're married?! (0, Offtopic)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958240)

I dont even have a girlfriend you insensitive clod!

(but I do have a hot date tonight; wish me luck)

Re:you're married?! (1)

nharmon (97591) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958283)

Good luck!

Another sort of question (3, Interesting)

dema (103780) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958242)

I was going to do an Ask Slashdot about this, but this topic is somewhat related. So I have a question for those of you with degrees and such that moved into careers: I may have the opportunity to take a Web Development job in another state doing PHP/MySQL work and Mac OS X support. The job description falls squarely into my interests. The problem is, I'm only 19 and finishing my frosh year in college. Would it be worth it to a take a full-time job like this and go to night classes to get an associate's degree? Does anyone here have specific experiences with the difference between earning an associate's and a bachelor's degree in the high tech field?

Re:Another sort of question (3, Insightful)

gandalf_grey (93942) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958308)

Go to school. Have the full experience. Those 4 years will see you evolve into the person you are to be for the rest of your life. While you're there, be sure to take a least 1 history and one philsophy course.

Re:Another sort of question (1)

SuperficialRhyme (731757) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958321)

Personally, I wouldn't - though it might depend upon your financial situation. Education is great - and college is an excellent experience, for both intellectual as well as personal development. That said, if you would be leaving college anyway (for financial reasons) and you want to work in that area, then I guess it would probably be a good job to take and get some experience. You might say you can take the job now, and go back to college when you're older - but education is at times quite passionate (not really the best description... but the best I could come up with) - and sometimes when you've grown older you've lost that passion for learning and you're more set in your ways.

Re:Another sort of question (1)

MammaMia (764083) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958324)

When employers look at your resume later on, your degree is generally less important than experience. It probably depends on your ultimate career goal - though that can always change later on. Through taking this job, you might realize this isn't really what you want to do, without wasting the time and money on that specialized degree that won't help you anywhere else. Besides, it's probably not wise to lock yourself into any one career path, especially at 19 when all your options are open... just ask the grads who believed this field would only keep growing and are now unemployed.

I vote take the job if you can get it, and take night classes.

Re:Another sort of question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#8958328)

Funny, I was just talking to someone last night that gets no respect in his IT job because he only has an associates degree.

He is getting passed over for promotions, not being listened to in meetings, etc.

I have 3rd party verification that he is telling the truth.

Re:Another sort of question (1)

g0sub (582599) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958339)

If you can afford going to college full-time, I would do it. Taking night classes or going back to school after working for a period is difficult.

Keep it in perspective (2, Insightful)

BooRadley (3956) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958243)

Remember that your occupation is not your identity, and be sure to keep your social networks in good shape outside of the office. Also, try to keep your personal debt to a minimum. If you balance your personal and professional life, you can avoid most of the stress typically associated with most IT jobs.
Unfortunately, this is never as simple as it sounds, but if you keep the simple goal of balance in mind, you can look forward to a good career.

Re:Keep it in perspective (1)

cperciva (102828) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958322)

I ie o eae a e ooa ou o o. I ae o o ie o ie u i a ai i e a o ea a ae e oo ie a oee ii.

Stress (4, Insightful)

Isldeur (125133) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958247)

The problem is this, I LOVE developing websites, but I HATE the stress and responsability that comes with a the job. How do you all cope with the stress and responsability that seems to come hand-in-hand with an IT career?"

Hey man. Just take it for what it is, enjoy it, make sure things are done right, and then be done with it. I work 100-110 hours a week and when I'm on call spend around 34-36 hours at the hospital straight. The hours *sork hard*, but I love the work.

But that's what you have to do - enjoy the job and then leave it behind and get on with your life. Time is precious.

Take a Vacation (2)

idiotnot (302133) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958248)

Think about your situation, and quit whining.

You like what you do -- great. If you don't like the conditions you're working in, work for someone else, or go to work for yourself. Stuffing your talent into an assembly line isn't going to make you happy in the long run, most likely. It also is going to waste the ability you've got.

Whenever I get stressed out about my job, I consider a few things.... 1. There are people doing much more stressful things than I am (soldiers, EMT's, police officers, etc. etc.). 2. I realize how boring things can be, and how slowly time passes when I don't have things that challenge me.


stick it out a few more years, save up and plan (2, Interesting)

cydrigs (774130) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958249)

I was in the same position as you were about three years ago. I love developing web sites with PHP and MySQL, etc., but I absolutely hated working in a corporate environment with the associated stresses. My advice is to stick it out for a few more years, while simultaneously hoarding as much money as possible and planning your next move - to a job that you enjoy that is a variation on your current one. For example, I now work in the adult industry developing porn web sites. There is still some stress, but I love my job, and I still get to use my primary skill set.

And here I thought (1)

WebCrapper (667046) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958255)

I swear I had wrote this in my sleep or something... Same age, recently married, web developer...creepy.

Stressed Out? At the End of Your Rope? (1)

gibbonboy (162143) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958258)

Everyone feels stress. Workers are expected to produce more in less time, or else there's always someone waiting to take your job.
There's a club for people in your situation- it's called The Rest of the World. We meet in the bar on Fridays. Get over it.

IT Jobs are no different (1, Flamebait)

evil_roy (241455) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958260)

Being in IT is no more cause for stress than any other role. It is no harder, no more elite and no better than many other roles.

Why do you think the guy in the factory has it so easy?

How the hell did this little whinge session make it as an article?

Take some advice from Dr Dennis Leary and shut the fuck up.

Re:IT Jobs are no different (0)

Matey-O (518004) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958289)

Perhaps you slept through that whole excercize known as the dot-com-era? You know, the one where the workers worked inhuman hours sleeping under desks cause after 6 months of inhuman labor they 'just knew' they'd be rich, and the bosses kept pushing harder because after this batch of codemonkeys burnt out, there'd be a long line of OTHER code monkeys waiting to take their place...knowing that 6 hours of inhuman labor would make them rich.

Some thoughts? (1)

SmackCrackandPot (641205) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958262)

Just my perspective, but:

Consider yourself lucky that you are employed and that you are in a creative position, which many people could only dream about.

Just about any IT job is going to have some stress; contractors worry about finding the next contract, project managers worry about meeting deadlines and retaining their staff, Software engineers worry about the company staying afloat, keep their skills up to date and whether or not they're going to be bumped out of the way to make for one of the directors friends.

couple of things you can do (1)

motiv8x (658048) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958265)

Work from home occassionally. I find this to be a great stress reliever.

Hire a second person to help you.

Ask for a raise, or find a better paying job doing the same kind of work.

Find a way for your wife to work during times when you get laid off.

What exactly are you stressful about it? money? mortage? fear of loosing your job?

I work as a web developer, and have had a lot of stress the last 2 years from fear of loosing my job. I recently found a job, and then after 5 months was laid off. Stressing about it will only make it worse. I've come to accept that I work in a field where job security is non-existent. The best you can do is keep that resume polished (put an html version online so google picks it up), and post your resume on lots of sites once you do get laid off.

These are all the places I maintain my resume [] , on their web sites, as well as search for jobs, as I'm currently looking for work. I have been getting about 2-3 calls a day, and I live in Silicon Valley, where it was dead for about 3 years for IT jobs. I'd say 50% of the calls I get are from people finding my resume in google. I've been doing search engine optimization for 2 years, and it has definitely helped me to get my resume up to the first page in google for my targeted keywords.

I haven't landed anything yet, hopefully will get an offer next week. I've been on several interviews at least, so things are picking up.

For more info, checkout my site: Search Engine Optimization Information []

Don't -let- it stress you out. (5, Insightful)

Simon Carr (1788) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958266)

I know where the stress comes from. Most people in this field want to do their best, and a lot of us are (or started out as) young kids, so we take things way too seriously.

So I ended up giving 110% to companies that didn't give it back and I found myself up at 3:00am on many nights, trying to save the dumbest crap on the Internet like I was trying to save the International Space Station or something. The dedicated server for Joe's Discount MP3 Warehouse would reboot, and there I'd be investigating like there was life at stake. It's pretty similar with coding, the people that give you the orders want it done -now- and with -no bugs-. Which, of course, is unrealistic.

It's an attitude that's not discouraged by management, a lot of times. Remember if they can "push you harder" they get better results. You get an ulcer.

  1. Don't take it so seriously.
  2. Remember that you like other things outside of computers (right?)
  3. Remember why you like doing this in the first place.
  4. Slow down, give your masters a realistic timeline for things, and don't budge.
  5. Allow yourself to make mistakes, you're not a computer yourself.
  6. Allow others to make mistakes, hell, laugh at them.

I think the most important one is the first. Remember that life is not at stake (unless it is at stake, then panic).

Re:Don't -let- it stress you out. (1)

gorbachev (512743) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958284)

Amen! Excellent advice, and exactly what I did wrong when I was younger.

Mod the parent up, peeps.

Stop being a PU$$Y (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#8958267)

You cry like a baby. And you wonder about a factory job? The union wouldn't have you because you would probably complain that the toilet paper is too hard for your butt. Plus you're a web programmer. Please. Learn C++, be surrounded by 20 onsite Indian programmers who only talk about how they are CMM certified level 5 and you're only CMM level 1, but they all suck, and the company you work for started to look at China for outsourcing. Then come back and worry about stress...

The Grass is Always Greener.... (2, Interesting)

ChibiTaryn (646855) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958269)

Ah, you lucky guy.

I'd love to be developing websites or something. I love the challenge of trying to do that kind of stuff, but I also know the stress it can cause as well (just from my hobby website stuff)

Thing is, having done a lot of less-stressful things I don't love so much, I can tell you now, you're lucky being in the more stressful job you DO enjoy. You go home with a wonderful feeling of achievement when you're doing something challenging that you enjoy. You won't get that with a factory job.

Best advice I can give you is to find ways to manage the stress a little.

The stress will pass (4, Insightful)

gorbachev (512743) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958270)

When I was younger I was the same, stressed about everything and everyone. Every little thing that was not going right was a major catastrophe.

You're going to have to learn to treat your work as just that, work. It is not your life. Do not take it home. When you leave work, forget it. You're not responsible for other peoples' work and mistakes. You can only do your best and if that's not enough for others, then that's THEIR problem, not yours. Also don't be afraid to ask for help, if you're completely overwhelmed.

I had to learn this the hard way after all that made my life miserable when I was working at my first professional job. I made a conscious effort to chance my attitude from the "worry about everything" to "don't sweat the small stuff". I haven't been miserable at work ever since even though there always is some level of stress involved.

But it's not the stress that you should be worried about, it's how you react to it.

|\/|a|2ij|_|a|\|a (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#8958272)

just smoke a bowl every day before work

Do the same as everyone else here (1)

andih8u (639841) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958275)

flaming someone on /. always seems to work well for a rage dump. Or take up a relaxing hobby, like making fun of michael.

the only difference (1)

rnd() (118781) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958276)

The only difference between the homeless and the rest of us is that they like to party a bit more than we do. They also like to avoid workplace stress.

Obligatory spellcheck reply (1)

Caseylite (692375) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958278)

"How do you all cope with the stress and responsability that seems to come hand-in-hand with an IT career?" Well, in MS Word, I use F7. =-= The Tree of Learning bears the noblest fruit, but noble fruit tastes bad.

try a job that is really stressfull (1)

robbhar (148844) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958280)

While I understand the stress in IT positions, it is nothing compared to the medical field! I have been a nurse for 20 years and the double stress of having someones life in your hands and malpractice is the worst.

well, the grass is always greener... (1)

re-Verse (121709) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958281)

But for one, working in a factory, worrying over machine malfunctions that could eat your arm while worrying about not making enough to provide for you and yours could prove to be pretty damn stressful. I get pretty stressed when driving... my friend who drives a truck for a living is at his most relaxed when driving. Its all a matter of figuring out what stresses you out. I'm relaxed even when the servers explode and management start throwing knives... its my job to be around when these things happen, and fix them... and I'm pretty good at it - so why should it stress me out?

If you find web design and php stressful, its probably not for you - find something you really enjoy, and put your soul in to it... it will turn out to be its own reward, and stress will be an empty word.

Re:well, the grass is always greener... (1)

beacher (82033) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958337)

"the grass is always greener on the other side". Well jump sides. Guess what.. "The grass is always greener" happens again.

I personally don't care if the grass is always greener, I just want a field with less bullshit in it.


RE: resons/A/bility (1)

BReflection (736785) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958282)

To negate the side-effects of stress in my IT related job I parallel it with reading books.

Reduce the # of petty requests (4, Insightful)

beacher (82033) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958288)

I've found that if I dress badly, act angry, yell at my computer, and do really weird stuff that people tend to leave me alone. Granted I can get away with this because I get the job done in record time and I've never missed a deadline. Also - listen to music in headphones (it increases your personal space theres an article around here but it's too early and I've only had a sip of coffee). It's entirely up to you to defend your personal space and to repel the cube invaders. I don't officially take a lunch ( it's in my desk drawer), so my work mates never see me take lunch. Use the phrases "Under the gun", "there's no time for that" a lot. Really create the image that you're too damn busy for their petty shit. Read slashdot between your sandwiches ;) Sit with your back to the cube door but have a reflective surface where you can see in back of you so you can detect cube invaders.
You really only have two options.. deal with them on your terms, or on their terms.

I've found that reducing the petty bullshit makes life easier.

Stress? (4, Insightful)

pompeiisneaks (168217) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958291)

I would LOVE to be doing that, heres the reality check, I am in the Army, just got back from the War in Iraq in July 03 and have to go back for another whole year in Jan of 05, so, always remember, what may seem stressful can always, always get much worse, and most of what we sweat in life is really not that big of a deal, I used to think my IT job was stressful, but not even close to having things explode around you and having bullets whizz past (A sound I will never forget) Please don't take this as a flame or insult, just as a reality check.

IT Stress and your life (5, Interesting)

Embedded (105939) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958294)

Quite frankly I have been lucky enough to have a job as an Embedded Firmware Engineer for 25 years. Remember the catch phrase"Intel first from the begining" I was there. Beta'd the 8051, 8086, 80186, 29000, 29020 and the list goes on.

This led to marrige breakdown of two marriges something that happened to a lot of my co-workers.

My advise is simple. Try and make your family first and advise work your family / life / health comes first.

When picking a mate try and find someone who would partner with you at work and shows a genuine interest. This might be an artist that does books as well for web sites and the graphic artist can rise in them. Anyway you get the picture.

And finally try and work towards a end that you can live where you want run your own business and the work comes to you. All you need is that high speed connect. Work when you want. Go fishing or ? when you want.

That's what 25 years tells me. And no I didn't, I wish someone had told me.

Regards John

Factory jobs (1)

madfgurtbn (321041) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958296)

The opposite of job stress is not boredom, it is job satisfaction. You will not find satisfaction in a low-skill factory job or other similar employment if you are used to exercising your brain.

There are many jobs in manufacturing, however, which are quite challenging and interesting. Get into precision machining, tool-making, maintenance, automation, etc., and you'll find the work is challenging, well-paid, and rewarding.

who needs stress? (1)

stuffedmonkey (733020) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958299)

I'm a married 25 year old male in the IT industry, and I have to say, there is nothing forcing you into a stressful job. My last job was incredibly stressfull - after working there for 2 and a half years I felt more like I was 50 then 24. So when I started looking for a new job, I made the working conditions my top priority. There are jobs out there that arent 70 hours a week, carry a cell at all times, buy antacid tablets at Sams Club in bulk jobs out there. The problem is they usually aren't as exciting or pay as much overall. What I always tell people is look at your overall *hourly rate* - someone who makes 60 thousand working 60 hours a week and someone making 40 thousand working 40 hours a week are making the same amount per hour! Goverment contractor jobs are good, as well as jobs for more progressive copanies. Avoid startups like they are radioactive - having worked for two (one my father's small buisness) - I can honestly say that I will never do that to myself again. At the end of the day - I go home to my wife, and my other interests.

I was fortunate - since I was nearer to the start of my career - I was able to change jobs to a much lower stress job, that was right by the subway, and paid more then the job that was trying to kill me :) - It took me a full year of looking though.

get a new job, or make one yourself (1)

Tedium Unleased (764661) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958302)

Work on smaller, less critical sites.

Oh right, but it's less money. Can't buy as many Ipods per year.

I compare it to the alternative... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#8958303)

... not having a fairly well paid job with interesting work.

It's like the old joke :
Growing old sucks, but it's worse than the alternative.

Market maker (3, Interesting)

Stile 65 (722451) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958305)

I've got a nice cushy IT job now, working as a security engineer for a nonprofit. About half the staff at the organization are developers or system/network engineers. It's not very stressful.

Last year and the year before, I was working as an engineer for an IT consulting company. It's great experience, but it's a lot more stressful than working in one department for one set of people on one small set of projects.

I don't know if I'm weird, greedy, or just a masochist, but I'm giving up my cushy IT job to go finish a degree (any degree!) and become a market maker (that's a term some stock/options exchanges use for a floor trader that provides liquidity). Talk about a stressful job. The nice thing is the money and the skill you gain in doing it - if I wanted to retire after 5-10 years with a mil or two and just trade a few hours a day/week for the rest of my life, I could. Plus, I hear they have LOTS of vacation time! :)

The paradox, I guess (4, Interesting)

pantycrickets (694774) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958309)

I used to love computers. Seriously.

I used to have a passion for everything. I used to love learning every minute detail I could about whatever it was I was interested in.

And one day, it all just stopped. I think it was when my interests became intertwined with my job. When what I was "interested in" was dictacted to me by whoever was paying me.

I have often times thought about pulling and "office space", and just ditching the whole thing, and doing something physically rewarding, but somehow, I end up stuck in that part of the movie where you're getting paid more and more for doing less and less. And like with crack cocaine, it's just hard to say no.

boo hoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#8958310)

There's no more stress and responsibility in IT than any other job.

Trust /. to believe they're not only the smartest, but work the hardest.

Similar situation, but I LOVE my job (1)

dubdays (410710) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958311)

I am 23, married, have a baby due in July, and director of IT at a fairly small business (130 employees), and I LOVE the amount of stress I get, and it is substantial. I think it's all in how you approach it and the corporate culture that surrounds you. I honestly do like coming in Monday morning ready to take-on the day.

However, I used to work for a HUGE company in IT (5000+ employees), and I HATED it, because I was paid like an illegal immigrant but had more direct impact on the company than the CIO. But, I had to pay the bills, and there really wasn't any alternative without a college degree (the "need" for which is another argument altogether). Ultimately, you need to either change the way you look at the job, or try to find another. And, yes, even in post-.COM there are quite a few jobs out there for programmers of your nature.

Stessed out....? (1)

RangerFish (770981) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958313)

Strangely I don't feel stressed that often. In fact, at the moment it's the manager getting stressed trying to resolve a load of design issues. I get more of a free reign than most people I guess. That helps a lot.

Keep a sense of perspective (4, Interesting)

darylb (10898) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958316)

Any profession has a basic problem that, at some point, it becomes a job. The bigger question is how to keep it in balance. I'd encourage you to develop hobbies that are not related to computers; I took up woodworking and woodturning. You're married (and presumably not all that long), so it's worth thinking of cultivating your marriage and spending time with your children (once you have any, if you don't have any yet). Working for charitable causes is helpful also, especially in that it helps you see the value of your own career. (There's always someone worse off than you are.)

That having been said, some jobs simply are not conducive to this. Bad hours, bad boss, tedious work, etc. I stand by my oft-stated assertion that working with a good team of people (defined as coworkers you enjoy working with) is worth a LOT of money. In that case, look around for a position that's better for your soul. But even then, it'll become work some day.

In any case, there is a bigger picture to be kept in mind. I cannot speak for other faiths, but from my vantage point as a Christian, there is a lot to be said for developing an understanding of vocation. Your abilities are not purely of your own doing. What you have been given (money, ability, etc.) should be used for a greater purpose, as the parable of the ten talents [] (Matthew 25:14-29) shows. When viewed with this attitude, it's easy to see the "job" as the grunt work that provides for the real, but unpaid, task of giving time, money, or ability elsewhere. Speaking from experience, the stress becomes bearable as you realize that you tolerate it for a reason.

Don't change the part you love . . . (1)

StateOfTheUnion (762194) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958326)

If you love design websites, then changing what you know that you "love" is probably not the answer. Perhaps you have a bad boss? hostile work environment? poor working conditions? problems from home brought to the office? unprofessional colleagues? etc. . . . Make sure that you have an understanding of the root cause of yor unhappiness before making a change. Change for the sake of change may not solve anything and if you change the aspect of the job that you "love" you may make things worse.

Not enough to do is stressful too (1)

BuddieFox (771947) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958327)

In the place I work currently as a developer I don't have enough to do, and I have to chase up my boss every now and then to find something to do. Not having a constant line of "things to do" is even more stressful in my opinion than having lots and lots to do! Personally, I am terrified that someone will see thru my work and realize how little I actually do and think I am a lazy sod. Its not lack of will to work that is causing this, it is plain and simple a lack of things to do, and I hate it. Although, I have tended my resignation, so I will be leaving at the end of the summer because I dont like the lack of action. But I wouldnt want to be "found out" before so they give me bad references.

Depends (1)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958329)

It's hard to say. You might be the type of person that belongs in a university setting. You have less abusive assholes to deal with there.

Some people go into business and become obnoxious jerks. They think they have to be tough to make it in business. (who knows, maybe you do, but I know enough small-business guys who are moderately successul and aren't 100% asshole). Some bosses hire people just so they can abuse them and take their stress out on them.

You have to look at your situation and figure out what the deal is. Is is short term stress because of a change in the office? A new client? Or is someone in the office a major rod, and they're nopt going to change, ever? If that's the case, leave, but don't leave until you get

  • a year's time in there
  • a raise
  • a certification
  • a set of projects, or a major project, accomplished
  • a new job

In a word... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#8958330)


Surprised this one hasn't already popped up. :) A little m.j.(pot) and a brewski and all the stress of the day just melts away. Of course, then if your wife doesn't approve you have the stress of dealing with her when you're all toasted.

Definitely.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#8958332)

go get a factory job. IT is not for you. You'll be much happier at Tyson Chicken or General Motors.

Factory jobs can be stressful too . . . (2, Insightful)

StateOfTheUnion (762194) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958336)

I would make sure that you research your potential career change before plunging in. You mentioned a "factory" job as a potentially less stressful career. Most "factory" operators would love to do nothing more that sit in front of a computer clicking the mouse and pushing buttons on the keyboard rather than sweating an upset in the factory that could potential lead to an enviromental release that at best will result in an EPA investigation and at worst lead to an evaculation of the local area or poisoning all the fish in the local lake (I seen the effects . . . it really does happen). I'm not trying to say that your job is easy or unchallenging, but if you plan to make a change, make sure you do your homework first.

Do What You Want (1)

fdiskne1 (219834) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958338)

I had this problem before I got into IT. I was working in retail management, then office management and was always stressed out. I couldn't figure out how to relieve the stress. Then it occurred to me that I wasn't doing what I wanted to do for a living. I dropped everything and started work on a path that would eventually lead me to my IT job. Yes, this was a conscious choice for me. This was the best thing that I could have done.

Then when the stress of my IT job was getting to me, I sat down and tried figuring out why. The reason was because while I was doing what I wanted to do for a living, I wasn't doing what I wanted to do in the off hours. I thought to myself "What do I really want to do that I've never done before?" The answer was SCUBA diving so I took classes and have gone on a couple of dive trips so far.

In my opinion, this is the secret. If you are stressed all the time, it means you are not doing what you really want to do. Figure out what it is you want to do and just do it. Simple, but many people don't understand it.

Pressures? Responsibilities? Grow up, man!! (5, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | more than 9 years ago | (#8958344)

Okay... I'm sorry about this, and don't take it too personally, but you really need to wake up and take a good, honest look at life. You say you're married... that entails certain pressures and responsibilities. You don't say whether or not you're a father, but you might be, or may be some day, and that entails a _huge_ responsibility and adds its own pressures. You are already working at a job that you say you enjoy (which puts you ahead of a lot of people right there!), if you give up on something like that because you don't like the pressure or responsibility, what does it say about your character? What does that say about how much you can be trusted with even bigger and more important things like being faithful to your spouse in hard times or raising a child?

Growing up is all about taking responsibility... if you can't handle that, then I have no idea how you expect to get anywhere in life.

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