Saturday, April 21, 2007

Women and IT

Computer World is running an article on why women seem to be leaving IT.

The gist of the article is basically that women don’t want to put up with the BS, insane hours, and perpetually being on-call.

Slashdot got wind of this story, and most of the responses there were along the lines of “if they don’t want to put in the same hours that we do, forget them.”

Personally, I think that what they should be asking is why *they* are working the insane hours to begin with.

You shouldn’t live to work. You should work in order to get money to do other things like pay the rent and pursue whatever you enjoy doing.

Your job is just a job. It doesn’t love you, it won’t care if you work yourself to death doing it, and it can be done by someone else should you leave. Don’t fall for the fake macho BS of “you are your job” and don’t be guilted, intimidated or manipulated into working insane hours.

The trend to make every person do the work of several people and constantly being on call is not a positive thing. It leads to stress, very costly mistakes, burnout, and a wasted life.

Do your job and then leave the building. Go to the lake. Enjoy the scenery. While you’re there, toss that damned Blackberry as far out into the water as you can.

You’re better off without it.

Work belongs at work; just like you do – for about 8 hours a day, 5 days a week barring the very occasional overtime.

Current mood: annoyed
Current music: AFI – The Missing Frame


Dan said...

ah, so true. I do my job very, very well. In fact, I've always done every job of mine very well. But in every job, it seems that the IT guys can never do enough.

It's interesting to see people who naturally feel you're part of the network, available any time, and for whatever reason - their work or their private IT person.

I recently went on a scheduled, one-week vacation and had users furious with me upon my return because I wasn't available - they actually reported me to my boss and tried to get me written up. Everyone knew where I was, and I had sent a mass email telling people who to talk to for their issues while I was gone...

I'm looking for somewhere else to go, but it seems like most IT personnel aren't treated like humans, but part of the machinery. I know everywhere I've been that's been the case. Maybe someone knows how to find out before being hired?

(My fear is that I'll find a good company and be all weird from "PTWS" - Post-Traumatic Workplace Syndrome. :-) )

Oh, and for the IT people put there, I just didn't let their arguments affect me. Eventually they got to the point where I was making them outright say that I should have been working on my vacation, and they backed down... somewhere in there they must know it wasn't right to ask that of me...

James Hollingshead said...


Unfortunately, most people have the tendency to take for granted things that Just Work ™. The huge downside to this is that the people who make it Just Work often get lumped in with the thing that Just Works.

Think about how often you think of how your paycheck gets processed. It’s the same sort of thing for most people with regards to IT.

The big difference, though, is that they constantly want the IT infrastructure to work (whereas a paycheck only happens periodically), and, to them, you are the system (stupid, I know, but true).

Couple this with the fact that most people in IT tend to be insecure and have a hard time saying “no”, and you start to see the problem – the users come to expect their every whim to be catered to.

For good measure, lump in the fact that some people just get a power trip from trying to push around the “unimportant” people, and, let’s face it, a lot of people, ironically, consider IT to be unimportant. (One of my former bosses and I butted heads over that one because he kept up the mantra of “IT is a cost center and the only important people are the ones who do work that brings in money”)

Boy are those sort of people surprised when they meet me. At 6’ tall, built rather like your average brick wall and with more than enough self confidence, I tend to be a little intimidating and nothing at all like what they think an IT guy should be like.

It cuts down on a lot of the requests that they have no reason to be making. =]

Karyl said...

IT people and SECRETARIES. Thankfully not everywhere, and seems to be happening less, but good lord you wanna talk about another job that gets taken for granted.

Thankfully, usually all that it takes to shovel a little respect in people for that one is for the secretary (oh, pardon me, "administrative professional" - we must be PC about this) to get sick for a day.

When the stack of paperwork becomes mountainous in a VERY short stretch of time, people start to realize just how much you do around there.

I don't necessarily speak so much from my own experience as my mother's.