eWeek: Which gets back to the original question: Is this a temporary thing? Do those numbers make sense? Luftman: Its not that its not going to come back. The question is, when is it going to come back? We thought maybe the spring. Well, maybe the summer. Maybe the fall. A lot of people have basically given up. Theyre saying, "I dont know when its going to come back." Its going to come back, but Im not going to predict it.Barrett: As we come up from the bottom, were not going to go through that dot-com boom where were buying and throwing money at high-risk stuff as fast as we can. It will be a slower, gradual climb out of this one. Luftman: Some of the more senior folks who were going to retire cant anymore. ... Thats a whole [different] problem. D. Brown: What Im seeing is people in their 40s and 50s seriously thinking of moving out of IT, where you never saw that years before. eWeek: From the sound of it, IT cant promise what it once did: It doesnt have the security or jobs. Where are we getting the leadership from if we cant promise that? Three years ago, there was a lot of discussion about upgrading the image of IT to attract the best people to IT. Is whats going on now setting that back? Luftman: I teach graduate programs. I have seen nothing but continued growth. Divinere: I still think IT is the best profession to go into. It doesnt mean that its terrific. But I dont know if anything right now is terrific or guarantees lifetime employment. I think there are a lot of opportunities there. Its certainly one of the most dynamic environments. D. Brown: Its challenging. You can come in every day and look at problems and have issues that youve got to deal with and youre not going to run into anywhere else. Barrett: Thats whats different in the IT industry compared to operations or even HR or finance. A lot of them do the same thing every day. In IT, most people do something different every day. Even at the help desk, you always hear, "Oh, boy, you wouldnt believe what happened to me today." Youre not bored. IT, to the people inside it, is a tough job. We put in long hours, we have to work weekends, we get long, big projects. Were always under fire, under the gun. And yet people in the other parts of the organization say, "Gee, I wish I could work in IT." For some reason, it still looks like its fun. ... The problem is, those people cant get into the IT business.
Weve not experienced the kind of things weve experienced in the last couple of years. You have the threat of terrorism, war, Enron-itis. One thing after another. Any one of those things would cause a big dip in the economy.