IT has nothing new and exciting going on. In these “economic times” of layoffs and furloughs, IT teams are being kept quite busy (if not overwhelmed) with just the mundane day-to-day operations that are needed to keep the organization running. There is little time or budget to experiment with the innovative, fun, and ground-breaking new technologies. It’s hard to justify spending money on anything unless it promises to cut costs by at least the cost of the new project/program/work-flow and then some.
In this environment, morale of IT Pros is of concern to their managers but to IT Pros themselves (ourselves) there is concern of getting burnt out. Maybe the job doesn’t seem fun any more or the daily work has shifted from technical tasks to moderating political discussions. CIO.com has an article published yesterday that discusses eight ways to fight the burn out once the “thrill is gone.” I’d be interested in continuing the operation and seeing what methods people have found effective for recovering from near burnout whether it be one of the eight or a different suggestion.
The article was inspired by a LinkedIn forum discussion and it goes into detail of each recommendation. IT Career Burnout: What to Do When the Thrill is Gone can be read from the CIO.com site. The 8 recommendations include:
- Take pride in your team.
- Look for a new challenge on the job.
- Keep a pet project.
- Promote your work.
- Give yourself a pat on the back.
- Delegate your dirty work.
- Remember why you originally went into IT.
- Take a vaction, sabbatical, or a new job.
Do you use any of these methods?
In a time when there are no raises to be had and said raises were previously tied to annual performance reviews, I find #6 (Give yourself a pat on the back) to be pretty critical. I’m working to satisfy my own work ethic and pride I take in the job I do.
I also think some of these like #3 (Keep a Pet Project) and #8 (Take a vacation) could be morphed into saying another method: that IT Pros need to have a hobby outside of IT and computers. Although I speak hypocritically and we might realistically need to work 24/7 to stay caught up at some point IT might need to start saying ‘no’. Everybody else is making cuts and reducing services, so why doesn’t IT? A smaller step instead of taking a vacation day could just be unplugging for a few nights so you’re not available and not working from home. If you have your e-mail being pushed to your smartphone, ignore it for a bit and wait until you’re back on the clock to reply.
I also fear #6 (Delegate your dirty work) because people higher up passing off their routine work just because it isn’t fun seems likely to accelerate the process of burning out to those that choose to pick up the slack.
What’s your experience? Are you starting to feel burnt out? IT has everything new and exciting going on. What are you doing to take part of it?