No Holiday for IT

By Deb Perelman  |  Posted 2007-11-21 Print this article Print

Once he finally made it home from his hellish weekend, someone remarked to him, "Isnt it great just to be thankful?" "As if!" he thought. "We had a Thanksgiving pizza."
Holidays and weekend such as that one can take their toll on IT pros, even when a job offers them comp days or overtime pay, Light said.
"They tell you that you can take the next Thursday or Friday off, but youve still missed Thanksgiving dinner," he said. "You cant get that back next week." Often, its not one or two missed holidays that cause technology professionals to hit their breaking point, but the combination of this and the lack of sympathy or thankfulness from the people who were lucky enough to spend the holidays with their loved ones. The IT work force lacks resilience and durability. Click here to read more. "So many companies dont realize that the people who get screwed are those left on the holidays or the less-senior workers trying to earn their stripes," Behr said. "Something always blows up and the people who leave on the lights are screwed. They have no context to try to figure out what went wrong." In Terpstras case, his bosses did finally say thank you two weeks later when there was a period of accountability, but there was certainly no bonus. "Their real concern was that it had been a very costly affair, and how it could have been avoided," he explained. Behr argues that these repeated situations—especially considering that he estimates that 80 percent of outages are self-inflicted by companies—can eventually make IT professionals hate their jobs. "There are a lot of really sharp folks doing their time, but too often the reward for good work is more work… often, these IT guys were worn out even before Thanksgiving came," he said. "Thanksgiving is just one piece of the pie." In many cases, the smallest human acts from managers and bosses can make a huge difference in IT worker morale, reassuring them that their employers arent just taking advantage of them. "I had a boss one year who brought down a plate of dinner from his house, and a bottle of wine, even though it was forbidden to have any alcohol on the job," Light said. The boss hadnt given him the night off or a reprieve from the work that the company needed done, but he had shown some thankfulness and understanding, something that Light has never forgotten. Check out eWEEK.coms Careers Center for the latest news, analysis and commentary on careers for IT professionals.


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