IT Job Rant [Long]

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Kirk Gunn, Feb 7, 2004.

  1. Kirk Gunn

    Kirk Gunn Screenwriter

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    Darn - Title supposed to be "IT Job Rant".

    I’m about ready to declare job burn-out…. In the IT Field as an Exchange Admin, I was offered a “supervisory” position about 3 yrs ago, which I jumped at. I supervised the team I was currently on of 5 admins, plus the team maintaining hardware and operating systems of ~500 Wintel servers with 7 hardware techs. Of course, it was a “lateral” move (i.e. – no increase in pay). Very stressful since a lot of the servers were 5+ yrs old.

    Fast forward 2 yrs and they offer me a “Project Manager” position to manage the migration to a new e-mail system for the entire corporation, not just the member company I was originally responsible for. I received a 3% merit increase.

    Well, now I’m halfway through the migration and supervising not only the migration efforts, but also the legacy mail systems and upgraded mail servers. Again, no pay increase, and I’m working 60-70hrs per week to keep up.

    I went away for 1 week to the Bahamas needing to “get away from it all”. Came back Sunday and by 1pm one of the admins left me a voice mail stating to call him before reading my previous week’s e-mail. Apparently they let a mail server for the execs run out of disk space and crashed it for 2 days….. So much for relieving stress.

    Enough venting, I’m wondering if other IT folks are putting up with this. It’s really hard to work 60+ hrs the week before vacation, then 60+ hrs the week after. And still deplete my earned vacation by 40 hrs on the week inbetween. Especially when 60hrs is the norm. And of course they keep throwing more urgent work at us…

    So, in your jobs, what is the normal work time ? Does your company show any type of compensation for extra-ordinary effort or is it just expected ?

    Sorry for the long rant.....
     
  2. Leila Dougan

    Leila Dougan Screenwriter

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    IT in my company is 40 hrs a week. Sometimes it's 45 or 50, but not often (maybe like once every couple of months).

    I suggest you start looking for something else. That's what I did anyway and couldn't be happier. My previous job had me working 60 hrs a week and I got burnt out which causes some problems in my personal life. I found another job. When I resigned I was offered a counteroffer but you know what? It didn't matter at that point. If they hadn't managed to pay me what I was worth (I had the no raises thing too) and hire additional help before, they weren't going to do it now.

    So I bailed and am now working for a company that knows how to treat it's employees better. I will say that my current job doesn't carry as much responsiblity as my previous one, but the lack of stress, sane working hours, and extra pay make it worth it.
     
  3. Eric_L

    Eric_L Screenwriter

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  4. Michael Pineo

    Michael Pineo Stunt Coordinator

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    There was a time I would have agreed with this, but in the current IT job market, it is simply untrue. Most of us in this field are not in the position to simply quit our job and get another one. I personally went 2 years being either unemployed or doing contract work. During that time I sent out hundreds of resumes and had only 3 interviews. One job I didn't get, one interview turned into a 7 month contract, and the last turned into my current job. I also went from being a network admin to working on a helpdesk and took a 35% paycut.

    Having said that, I'm not going to complain about it. There are always going to be ups and downs in the job market, and you just have to deal with them. At this point, I am just glad to be working. And, to be honest, I am much happier now than I was, even after the paycut. This job has absolutely no stress and I work with a great bunch of people.

    Now, to answer Kirk's questions, I work 40 hours each week. Every 5 or 6 weeks, I have to be on-call and might put in a few extra hours. Because of the current job market, management just expects extraordinary effort, because they know how easily anyone can be replaced right now. I consistently get the highest marks on reviews and my manager refers to me as the "Helpdesk Poster Boy" and her "Star" employee. In the past 2 years I have received exactly one 2% raise which was immediately negated by an increase in the cost of my benefits (actually it was more than negated. The increase in my benefits cost was larger than my raise).

    I hope things get better for you Kirk. I know how frustrating working in IT can be right now. We had it really good a few years ago and now things aren't so good, but hopefully it will swing back in the other direction to some reasonable middle ground and things will be better.

    MikeP
     
  5. Kirk Gunn

    Kirk Gunn Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the encouragement, I am keeping my eyes open for other opportunities, but don't want to jump from the frying pan into the fire. But at this point I'm in a blast furnace, so not much could be worse.

    It's too bad. Even through the rough times our company was growing with good job security (for knowledgable folks). But as the company grows, in comes new management that change IT's direction. With that comes new projects, more urgent change that can't be properly tested, etc..... We seem to change supervisors every 9-12 months.

    Thanks again
     
  6. Eric_L

    Eric_L Screenwriter

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    Times change. Buggy-whip makers have been out of work much longer. Truth is your industry is saturated. In the late 90s every college punk wanted to make a quick-buck in IT. As a result there are many IT people today - they are dime/dozen. Switching is not easy after being experienced and trained - just ask the buggy-whip guys - but can have tremendous dividends.

    Also, word of advice - mailing 100 resumes is not the best approach. Think of all the junk mail you get. For HR people and biz owners resume's are similar. They get tons - often of questionable accuracy. Old saying amonger marketers - "Mail and fail".

    Best bet is networking (human style not I.T. style) and personal visits. There are entire websites dedicated to getting interviews.

    Best advice anyone ever gave me when I considered a career change: (which, I dare say, was tremendously successful) "You'll never get to do it when your younger".
    Alot of consideration in that statement.
     
  7. WayneO

    WayneO Supporting Actor

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    Don't feel bad, I graduated in October with honors from DeVry University with a Bachelor's degree in Network and Telecommunication Management and can't find a job anywhere. When I went in late 1999 the field was booming and made a leap of faith to start a new career, I'm now 30 by the way. Now, I go to school sponsored job fairs and I can get a job as a salesman at wireless cellular companies....a complete joke. I got $40,000 tuition to start paying in two months with no promise of a decent job. I shoulda went into Nursing like my wife........[​IMG]
     
  8. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

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    I worked as Sr. Administrator for retirement communities networks for a while; the hours were, to be said, enormous, up to 60-80 hours a week. So I left.

    Right now, I run my own shop (network consulting) and while it seemed like a risk (at first) a lot of the networking (people type) I had done with retired execs there paid off, and after a short gasp of "is this going to work" I went from $60k a year to over $100k a year, and I work less then 20 hours a week, so I get to stay home a lot more [​IMG]

    How can you beat that? The IT industry is growing in unique ways.. your certifications/etc. mean far less then practical field work and connections [​IMG]
     
  9. Keith M.

    Keith M. Second Unit

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    I would have to agree w/ the sentiments expressed. I have been a Snr Software Engineer since the late 80's. And I came into the field when nobody even cared about computers. I experienced the "boom" in the mid 90's and am now experiencing the "aftermath".

    I agree the market has been flooded by what I refer to as the "Wannabees". These are the individuals who had no reason being in this field, but were attracted to the bloated salaries and stock perks. These same individuals would read a few books or take a few classes and jump into the market. Some got lucky and landed a job, others are too late in the game. The ones that did land jobs were underqualified to begin with and overpaid. Companies have wised up to this and most are very strict on their hiring practices now. This has also mandated strict salary requirements and caps.

    Now the few that have paid their dues and are qualified w/ experience have to suffer. We can nolonger competitively market ourselves. We have to put up with extensive work hours, no bonuses, and no annual salary reviews/raises...

    In the end, I am fortunate to be working and that is all that matters. Most new graduates think simply because they graduate they deserve a job.

    Welcome to the real world...
     
  10. MikeAlletto

    MikeAlletto Cinematographer

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    These days its only stressful if you make it stressful. Take it all in stride and it seems so much easier. Surround yourself by good "minions" and the work load and stress decreases. The people that let the email server fill up should be fired. So basic yet so important.

    Anyone thats gotten a raise over the last few years consider yourselves lucky. I haven't seen jack in 3+.
     
  11. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Producer
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    What is with comments like these?

    In the first case. Were you never a "wannabe?""? Were you automatically blessed with the skills and experience needed to operate effectively in the field? Didn't you have to take courses and classes in order to gain the skills to do the job? Wasn't there someone in the business that gave you your break and hired you, even though he knew that you were inexperienced? If people who were in the business before you had had the attitude you seem to have to new entries then you wouldn't be where you are today.

    In the second case. The simplest thing I can say is, "and you didn't?"

    In the third case. It is easy to say that someone should be fired; however, the circumstances that led to the problem are not known. Who knows exactly why their mail server got overloaded. For all we know the company didn't provide for adequate staffing, and the individual doing the work couldn't keep up with all of the duties that were imposed.
     
  12. Keith Plucker

    Keith Plucker Screenwriter

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    Kirk,

    Do they not pay you overtime? I am no labor law expert, but at least in California, just because you are a salaried employee doesn't mean you are exempt from getting overtime pay. It depends on the job and your responsiblities. You may want to look into that.

    -Keith
     
  13. Kirk Gunn

    Kirk Gunn Screenwriter

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    So true, but some companies only allow hiring of contractors since they are overall cheaper (don't pay benefits). Nothing against contractual help, but their advertised skill set varies all over the place. Plus there is a large amount of qualified workers that are employed and won't consider leaving for a contractual job with an uncertain future. Makes hiring the good minions very difficult....

    Fortunately I have 2 new people starting in 1 week that seem bright, hopefully this will be a case of "getting the right people on the bus". They will replace 2 others that lasted about a week before being booted out the door.




    And... no OT.
     
  14. KyleS

    KyleS Screenwriter

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    Kirk,

    I am an IT facilities Manager and I can sympathize with what you are going through right now. Before taking this job I was a Senior Systems Analyst/Project Manager. We are currently working around 50-60 hours per week but we were able to negotiate one important item OVERTIME. IT people around the country have started to look at laws and more states are allowing specialized IT jobs to have it. Check into the laws in your state and call the state employement office to find out if you are allowed OT for what you are doing you may be pleasantly surprised. That being said if they say you are not allowed OT then start looking for another job in the meantime. It cant hurt to start networking with people you know in the business because someone you know might have a job opening and didnt think you were interested because of what you are already doing. Heck wouldnt you take a cut in pay to work a 40-45 hour week and really in the end maybe make more if you figure in the lost hours you had to spend at your current job.

    Remember it really is a lot about who you know and how well you network in the business world. Get out and see what you can find.

    KyleS
     
  15. MikeAlletto

    MikeAlletto Cinematographer

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    Of course, but it takes a certain person to be the correct wannabe. Not everyone can go into admin or programming just because they are good with computers and their parents and families always look to them to troubleshoot. Its not about just knowing the syntax or a language or just being able to run the redhat installer. There are a lot of people in this field today that are there because they didn't know what they wanted to do. They are smart people and they could pass all the classes but they either don't have discipline or can't adapt and therefore don't make very good employees. You can't just have book knowledge. If you don't know how to apply it then forget it, go back to school or learn something else.

    Of course all people make mistakes, I've made some big ones at work, but the worst mistakes are the ones that could have been avoided if the employee were more on the ball. Unfortunately a lot aren't.
     
  16. Patrick_S

    Patrick_S Producer

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    I don't want to sound harsh but what does that say about you?

    Perhaps a company or career change is in order?
     
  17. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    It means he's in IT.


    I've seen so much gloating and pettiness in the media and from lots of non-IT folks towards IT workers because they were jealous of the brief but huge success the industry had in the .COM boom and are enjoying it's down-swing way too much.

    The industry is normalising itself- painfully, but naturally.

    I'll agree that a lot of people got into it because they thought it was an easy way to make a buck. Most of those have moved on to something else. For me, it's the only thing I love and the only thing I want to do, and I'm damned good at my job, despite what the buzz and the economy have to say about it.

    I understand that I'm not getting a major raise or promotion anytime soon- neither is anyone else in my company. It sucks. But at least I'm making the same I was before I got laid off from my last company, the company is small and specialised (less worry about outsourcing), and I'm using technology that's relevant and current.

    I used the time between jobs to update my skills via very expensive and timely training. That's the kind of risk one needs to take to stay relevant in today's market.

    Still, the biggest threat to programmers is outsourcing to India.
     
  18. Ron C

    Ron C Stunt Coordinator

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    Since there seems to be a lot of experienced people here, what type of skill sets/education do you look at when hiring? Right now I've graduated with an associated degree and have been doing helpdesk for about 2 years. I don't want to stay at helpdesk forever...

    Are certifications important or even worth getting? Or should I go back and go bachelors degree. I kinda regret not going to associated and bachelors at once, but I needed money. My long terms goals are to eventually get into IT/management. Ayy suggestions?
     
  19. Kirk Gunn

    Kirk Gunn Screenwriter

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    Ron - good questions.

    In IT, the first question you've got to ask yourself is:

    Do I like the analytical work, or do I enjoy supervision and teambuilding ?

    There are an incredible amount of talented IT professionals that get promoted to management and totally flounder because they lack "people skills". IT folks tend to be introspective and "heads down" into the technical issues. They tend not to acknowledge impact to end users, they just want to get the problem solved and quickly. These are great traits, (a strong work ethic and urgency will get you far), but unfortunately these alone do not neccesarily make a great manager/supervisor.

    An IT Supervisor is familiar enough with technology and client impact to judge the overall effect certain actions will have on business operations. Try rebooting a mail server with 1000 client logins at 10am Monday morning and see who gets the call....

    I've got a co-worker that is amazing with firewalls and internet security. Decided he wanted to get into management and achieved his MBA. He is floundering while supervising a small team tasked with getting a HelpDesk tracking system running (and not doing a great job). He is a very nice guy, but sucks as a public speaker and is not effective at presentations. Remember, part of supervision is selling your ideas to a large number of peers and supervisors. Public speaking skills are a must.

    Our IT had a change in management, and now his past technical prowess is gone. All that remains is how ineffective a supervisor he currently is.... not a good place to be. I encourage him to get back into the technical arena, but there appears to be a certain ego attachment to an MBA...... A degree will open certain doors, but does not keep the door from slamming shut on your fingers.

    I would advise a BS or higher degree, but balance the technical aspects with good people skills. Unfortuntaly an AA degree does not mean much anymore. For IT management, I personally would not get an MBA without a thorough IT background. I've seen so many MBAs without IT knowlegdge fail in IT supervision.... nothing like an MBA supervising an e-mail team when he/she does not know the definition of SMTP.

    On the flip side, an MBA may help current IT supervisors gain the proper business skills to enable the company's growth. Driving IT to grow the company's bottom line is a guaranteed way to get noticed. (just try not to burn-out in the process or you will be the next author of this thread !!!!)

    Good Luck !
     
  20. Leila Dougan

    Leila Dougan Screenwriter

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    Nothing beats experience, and that's not something you can get overnight.

    Truthfully, I've never taken an IT/computer class in my life (I've got a BS in Biology). I also don't have any certs whatsoever. I'm getting by just fine and finding myself advancing nicely. Everyone very knowledgeable person I've had the pleasure of working with has been the same way.

    The best thing I've done for my career is teach myself. I've got several computers networked together and just did everything with them that I may foreseeably need to know.

    I started a new job 6 months ago and after I got hired my supervisor told me flat out that they picked me *because* I'm self-taught. They said there were just way too many people with IT degrees that thought they knew something but had never actually done it. They said that while a degree or certs didn't necessarily hurt them (assuming they had a lot of experience) it didn't help them either. Of all things, those two things were at the bottom of the long list of things they were looking for.
     

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