back to article Brit IT workers are so stressed that 'TWO-THIRDS' want to quit

About two-thirds of IT workers quizzed in a new poll are so stressed, they want to quit their jobs. The survey, conducted in the UK on behalf of GFI Software and published this month, found that 67 per cent of tech bods consider their job stressful, while some 68 per cent want to quit. 36 per cent of the 200 respondents said …


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  1. LarsG

    Because most of them are worried their jobs may be outsourced, threats of redundancy and that they are being asked to do more with less and for longer.

    They do not have a monopoly on stress, pretty much everyone is in the same boat.

    1. 1Rafayal

      I dont entirely agree with the thought that we are worried about job security.

      I am more worried about making dates and dealing with disconnects between teams. I think the only time job security would enter my mind is if I let too many delivery dates slip.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Except of course if you are in a public services IT department with short working hours long breaks and little to do except spend your working hours between 9.30am and home time at 3.30pm and 9.30 to 12.30 on a Friday reading El Reg and generally surfing the net for discount vouchers.

      These obviously account for the third that have no worries or stress.

      As it is now 9.15am I expect the down votes to peak at around 11.55 just before they go for the obligatory 1 hour 30 minute lunch break. Afternoon down votes are generally slow as they digest their large meal.

      1. msknight

        Oh, yes, right, like the 40+ hours of overtime that I've had to put in to my local government IT job this month, and more needed next month to keep things running ... and not leaving work until 4am some mornings during telephony system upgrades ...

        ...and someone in the private sector moaned at me the other day because they'd taken a hit from 45k to 35k and i had to tell them that they're still a fair few grand above me. Take you're private/public crap and kindly put it somewhere that the sun doesn't shine.

        1. LarsG


          I can hear a symphony of violins playing in the background....

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @msknight

            And a private sector IT worker would have done the job more efficiently and in less than half the time, as they are paid for their performance.

            1. msknight

              Re: @msknight

              @Ac - Oh, you crack me up! You really do! Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to stop reading the reg and get on with some work :-)

              1. LarsG

                Re: @msknight

                Up voted for being honest.... With all that overtime you earn you'll be able to book a great holiday while signed off on the sick.... through stress.

                1. msknight

                  Re: @msknight

                  @larsg @bearden - actually I started in programming, then went to hardware maintenance as a European engineer and now I'm technical lead on a multi-customer cloud telephony project ... and there are actually days when I get up and look forward to coming to work because I'm "engaged" with what I do, and that is worth the few grand loss at the moment. However, I could do with a holiday ... now where'd I put that sick form...

                  1. Pete 2 Silver badge

                    Re: @msknight

                    > I've got to stop reading the reg and get on with some work (published an hour ago, at the time I write this)

                    same person wrote this, 39 minutes ago:

                    > @larsg @bearden - actually I started in programming ...

                    So what happened to the work?

                    Newsflash! and again, just now:

                    > @Caaaptaaaain kick arse - in my case

                    So is that you done for the day?

                    And yes: this IS a case of "I've been watching that (insert job title of manual worker here) for the past half an hour and he/she/it hasn't done a stroke of work". But then again, I'm sitting here in a sunny Andalucia: the birds are tweeting (mostly inane comments about food or nests), not a cloud in the sky and the bells on distant sheep can be heard wafting across the countryside. Bliss.

                    1. msknight

                      Re: @msknight

                      @Pete 2 - rebuild(s) going on. Couresy of sccm. Bring back ZEN works!

                      I could actuall add that you're a right one to talk ... but then ... I wouldn't stoop as low as you ... oh ... wait...

                  2. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: @msknight

                    "actually I started in programming, then went to hardware maintenance"

                    You mean you were a crap programmer so they put you in charge of humping PCs around the building and plugging in cables.

                    "now I'm technical lead"

                    Oooh , get you! You'll be CEO before you know it.

                    "multi-customer cloud telephony project"

                    Cloud telephony? As in internet telephony perhaps? As in you need some sort of network for phones to work unless you plan on using 2 baked bean tins and some string?

            2. Les Matthew

              Re: @msknight

              Having observed 35 years of the private sectors involvement in State IT projects I'd call the above post absolute bullshit.

          2. msknight

            Re: @msknight

            @Larsg I don't ask for violins playing ... just for anonymous cowards to stop spaffing utter jibberish.

          3. Caaaptaaaain kick arse

            Re: @msknight

            Walk a mile in his shoes, then you can complain, esp if they're too tight.

            1. msknight

              Re: @msknight

              @Caaaptaaaain kick arse - in my case they'd be complaining about the strain on the legs after wearing high heels all day ... or on second thoughts, knowing some people in IT ... maybe not!

        2. Bearden

          If you're on less than 35K you could easily find a new job with better pay (unless you kinda suck at programming). There are way more jobs than decent programmers.

          1. Vanir

            @Bearden: 'There are way more jobs than decent programmers.'

            Shouldn't that be 'There are way more crap jobs than decent and crap programmers put together.'?

          2. Charles Manning

            If you're earning 35K....

            and you've been in the industry for more than a year, then you're probably crap and not even worth that.

            Go become a barista or something.

            The industry needs good programmers. There is no real use for a "lower tier" of reduced capability players. These are the people that break stuff and leave a mess that more competent, and higher paid, people have to fix.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          40+ hours of overtime

          Of course they are paying you overtime rates for that aren't they? If not and you are doing it for nothing (or not overtime rates) you just have yourself to blame.

          1. msknight

            Re: 40+ hours of overtime

            @notauser - and you're bashing me for what exactly? I get bashed for being lazy, then bashed for doing overtime, bashed because I actually do like my job enough to not want to give it up for a few grand more ... what are you going to bash me for next? Giving a fuck? ... 'cause here's the kicker! I don't!

            1. msknight

              Re: 40+ hours of overtime

              @Pete 2 - Andaluca - lucky you; you've probably worked hard for it, and good luck to you. me? I'll be enjoying two weeks in a static caravan in the New Forest ... again.

              The sad thing is that you feel the need to look down on me from on high and berate me for things that you think are happening, but in reality you haven't got much of a clue as to who I am, or what I do.

              Now that's what I call sad, and why I don't give a fuck about what you say about me in here.

              1. Pete 2 Silver badge

                Re: 40+ hours of overtime

                > in reality you haven't got much of a clue as to who I am, or what I do.

                En contrario, mi amiga!

                I can assume your gender, that you wear high heels for an IT job (which leads to conclusions of it's own - but let's not go there). I know that you are IT-literate and I know where you are going on holiday and roughly how much you earn. I also know that you have a lot of time on your hands, right now. That's as well as feeling stressed and overworked (which leads to yet more conclusions that I'm too polite to dig in to) and that you feel very, very defensive about your work: which leads to more conclusions, too.

                And all that is only what you've divulged to the world in a few posts on a single morning. Who needs to go snooping when people volunteer so much personal info without even being asked?

                1. msknight

                  Re: 40+ hours of overtime

                  @Pete 2

                  Actually ... I'm wearing ankle boots which have rounded heels for driving. OK, I'm IT literate but I don't have much time on my hands. I am snatching the dead time that happens between installations; I'm a 70wpm typist, I just ramble quickly ...

                  I'm also not stressed and I'm just defensive about moronic claims from people who think they know the truth about my job and what life is like in the public sector when in reality they know sweet FA.

                  I thought you were an IT pro; and you tell me that you beleive everything you read on the internet?

                  Also, I'm actually transsexual; I have worn suit and heels in my time on this planet, and I left my nearly-silver status after a discussion more than a year ago. This very thread is just more proof that I should have not bothered to comment again; partaking in some discussions is just not worth the grief.

                  Truth? Lie? Do I care? No. Believe what you like.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: 40+ hours of overtime

                    "Also, I'm actually transsexual"

                    Nobody fucking cares. Spare us the right-on political agenda angle.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: 40+ hours of overtime

              Who's bashing you? You're the one whining about working 40+ hours of overtime, if you're not getting compensated properly for your time it's your own fault.

              1. msknight

                Re: 40+ hours of overtime

                @notauser - Nice try. Now go back and read it properly ... from the start ....

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: 40+ hours of overtime

                  Oh I read it all, so you're willing to work for less money because it makes you feel warm and cuddly?

                  OK, so why are you complaining about working long hours and making less money than everyone else?

      2. Chika

        Ah, yes. The obvious troll. *YAWN*

      3. OptiCoder
        Thumb Up

        Spot on. I worked for a year in the Public Sector with 60-70 IT bods. By 3:30 on a Friday I had the whole office to myself.

    3. Inachu

      More than that!

      There was a great article last year written how IT always backstabs itself to death in a rotating wheel of futile wannabe trends and this vicious circle never stops.

      When working in IT right away I can do away with those new trendy keywords the industry always uses.

      Canned responses instead of putting the human touch on things.

      Forgetting to keep the company intranet simple with the least amount of clicks with the least amount or no cascading style sheet tricks that make the older generation cringle in fear on mouse overs.

      Pay attention to the customer and make new policies that dating with co workers is terms for being fired - no need to have war of the sexes while on the job.

      The IT manager always has the latest hardware for Microsoft Office but the account admin has a pc that is 5 years old.

      Allowing new hires to take vacation or time off and they have not even met their 6 months at the company yet.

      All dept head teams have close access to the building but all IT employees must park very far away from the building and no emergency park area for IT for those dead computer emergencies for quick repairs or pc swaps.

      IT should get their own lunch rooms so other depts do not hear the chitter chatter about people who treat their pc like crap.

      IT dept is always the last part of the company to get their carpets replaced.

      Shoving IT under boiler pipes looking like a scene out of nightmare on elm street(georgetown university in downtown washington D.C.)

  2. Khaptain Silver badge

    Biased from the start

    The actual title of the survey is the IT Admin Stress Survey", wouldn't that on its own set the footing for negative responses?

    If the title had been "IT Admin - Satisfaction within the role" even though the questions were exactly the same I am sure the results would have been different.

    In the key finding they only list the negative responses even though there were some quite happy IT admins.

    This appears more to be some poor attempt at preparing the scene for hiring their "unstressed staff" or to encourage employers to come to GFI for support rather than "further stress" in-house staff.

    Smells like the cat's supper.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Biased from the start

      "In the key finding they only list the negative responses even though there were some quite happy IT admins."

      I suspect the pool of happy IT workers is a much smaller scale than the ocean of unhappy, stressed IT workers. I'm not biased - I don't work in IT any more, and I just sit on the outside looking in, with good contacts who are on the inside and are feeling the pain.

      However, rather than worrying about the motives of the survey's commissioner, the two pieces of jigsaw that I'd put together are the skills shortage that IT employers spend entire lifetimes carping about, and the fact that said IT employers often treat their staff like s**t. CIO's probably don't read the Reg (1), but if they did then the message would be that if they managed their staff with competence and respect, they wouldn't then spend 80% of their working time fighting to cover vacancies, pi55ing off users and fellow managers with cr@p service, or embroiled in life-sapping recruitment exercises.

      Note 1: I suspect some CIO's do. But like a useless manager reading a Dilbert cartoon, they laugh without realising that they are the butt of the joke.

      1. Billa Bong

        Re: Biased from the start - That moment of realization

        "Note 1: I suspect some CIO's do. But like a useless manager reading a Dilbert cartoon, they laugh without realising that they are the butt of the joke."

        Wait... that's me... *sobs quietly until home-time*

  3. DAN*tastik

    At times because of management's bad choices, not always because of the job

    I definitely considered quitting a few years ago, before I became self employed. I worked on a project which had very interesting technologies involved and could have easily been delivered long before the deadline. But a few people's decision to chuck every possible framework available on the Internet in it made it become hell on Earth. Any simple database SQL query had to be programmed using XML or Java annotations because Hibernate HAD to be used. Which added complexity and verbosity, and a magic touch of worse performance. All so that any variable with the same name of the corresponding table could be automatically populated - even if you didn't need that specific one. Bit of HTML and Javascript? No, too easy, let's use GWT instead. Nightmare to just pick up Javascript widgets already available for free, nightmare to code and - at least at the time - crossbrowser compatibility. Hard to control the HTML generated so to adapt it to most browsers, spent weeks on trying to make it work on most browsers, final result: more and more browsers dropped from the list of the usable ones. Something which I found even harder to understand was the use of Spring everywhere, and integrating it with Hibernate and GWT even if they could have both done without. Files and files and files of XML programming, and use of strings everywhere instead of normal object instantiation. Every syntax error - even typos, which Eclipse would have immediately highlighted - became a treasure hunt hidden within a 60cm runtime stacktrace. And worse performance because of the use of Java reflection. That was 2010 and I am still traumatised enough to type all that just to get it all - once again - off my chest. A colleague resigned saying that, after that project, he would have appreciated the joy of selling balloons outside the circus. So it's not always the work that has to be done, but the magpie management which wants to use every possible shiny acronym under the sun. Rant over - apologies.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: At times because of management's bad choices, not always because of the job

      I feel stressed looking at your eyes, my eyes....

      1. DAN*tastik

        @ Lost all faith...

        Apologies, have an imaginary pint. It's on me :)

    2. TwoWolves

      Re: At times because of management's bad choices, not always because of the job

      So basically you're saying that the project was hell because it used Spring and Hibernate?

      You need to man-up a bit mate, most of the enterprise is using these and while they aren't perfect hand-coding your CRUD isn't common now.

      1. Bearden

        Re: At times because of management's bad choices, not always because of the job

        When you say "most of the enterprise" you mean the section of enterprise dominated by large bureaucratic software houses.

        Those technologies are simply a pain to work with (spent 2 painful years with Spring/Jboss etc.) and I pity the fool who works with them.

        I wouldn't take a job with a company that used this tech again in a million years. Scala Play framework, Ruby on Rails, Mean stack etc. all so much better (as in can get more done with teams less than a quarter of the size).

        1. TwoWolves

          Re: At times because of management's bad choices, not always because of the job

          You just have to face facts. In 25 years of IT its always been the same, if you want to play with the cool kids you have to work in a start-up. Otherwise you have to use what the Enterprise are using - it can still be done right if everyone RTFM.

          I have a family to feed.

    3. JeeBee

      Re: At times because of management's bad choices, not always because of the job

      Poor sod. Still, if you use Hibernate with annotations, and Spring with Annotations (or Guice with programmable modules), things get a lot better within an IDE with regard to not getting errors because you had the sheer temerity to rename/move a class, etc.

      There are things that are good about Hibernate, compared to raw JDBC. Not a lot if you've got the JDBC architecture correct, but sadly too many people get it wrong with regards to transactions, depth traversal in the DB, try/catch/finally in the DAO, etc.

      As you can see - once you've got it right, then there's no reason to really use Hibernate, although boilerplate code in DAOs is a PITA to write.

      As for dependency injection, quite simply - use it.

  4. Cliff

    I left the industry, kept the girl.

    I found I was using a small part of my brain 100%, the rest of it atrophying. I wasn't good at 'listening' or 'feelings', and was frankly always knackered so hardly at my peak in those couple of evening hours we were together.

    I now work in a very different industry with a very different work pattern and so have blocks of time for 'listening' and other partner-appropriate behaviour. It saved my marriage to do so. I still love IT but it can be hard on relationships.

  5. king of foo

    sounds like

    They need to start treating the bofh as an instruction manual...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Obvious rant

    Not surprised.

    IT staff are contracted by companies to companies and they pay shit rates. Training is not offered. Most co-workers are happy to follow instructions and carry on with work - May be , I am the odd one, who wants to understand how things work and spends money out of my pocket to buy the books and training material that I need.

    No clue whether this effort is going to lead anywhere, but I sure as hell hope it does. I hope things are not bad in every company. Tired of getting kicked in the gut.


    Down under!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Working in corporate IT today.. an horrific experience, the red-tape, the bs, the endless hours, the expendability....The chasing down of salaries and the general lack of respect for IT workers is appalling. I'm not surprised we've had so many major security breaches in the past two years and this is only going to get worse. I'd rather live below my means and work specific contracts only, and then leave before I overstay my welcome than deal with this IT corporate nightmare...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Working in corporate IT today..

      Spot on. In my experience, other areas of the business don't consider IT to be a core part of the business and are often disrespectful towards the employees in IT (although this is not always the case).

      I'll stay in a job as long as I'm happy the work is interesting, I'm treated well, and I'm getting paid enough for the work I do. If I feel this isn't the case, I'll look for something else.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Working in corporate IT today..

        "Spot on. In my experience, other areas of the business don't consider IT to be a core part of the business and are often disrespectful towards the employees in IT (although this is not always the case)."

        I have to say that unless a company's business *is* IT then I don't think IT should be considered core. Important, yes. "IT drives the business" as I've seen said here so often? Yeah, I'm going to believe someone who says his own job most important. IT staff deserve respect? Yes, as much as the other departments. Do as you would be done by. Totally agree with your second paragraph.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Marketing ahoy.

    "The poll, conducted in the UK on behalf of GFI Software..."

    In other words 'Buy our systems management software, be less stressed.' Nice marketing angle, dodgy poll.

  9. WalterWonkite


    The profession has been devalued and probably deliberately, so between the corrupt banks, and the thieving outsourcing companies, IT is no better than being a garbage collector and in some cases its paid no better.

  10. zaax

    Its not just IT workers - you want to try a zero hours contract and see how stressed you get when you can't pay the bills or can't get a mortgage

  11. Longrod_von_Hugendong
    Thumb Down

    although anyone familiar with IT types might...

    suspect other factors are at play.

    Gee, thanks for the stereo typical, slightly racist view of IT people, coming straight from an IT site.

    I know El Reg is not a bastion of journalistic excellent, but come on.

    1. ShadowedOne

      Re: although anyone familiar with IT types might...

      I was thinking the exact same as you, then I read the initial comments and came to the conclusion that the writer may have a valid point.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: although anyone familiar with IT types might...

      I thought it was because we all get to flirt with so many female users it's tricky not to jump from user to user / relationship to relationship ???

    3. Tom Maddox Silver badge

      Re: although anyone familiar with IT types might...

      I was not aware that "IT people" were a race, so thanks for clearing that up for me. Also, there's a reason you never see a Reg headline like Socially Maladroit Geek Butthurt About Being Mocked, and that's because it's not news.

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: although anyone familiar with IT types might...

        "Also, there's a reason you never see a Reg headline like Socially Maladroit Geek Butthurt About Being Mocked, and that's because it's not news."

        *snerk* Upvoted.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    As someone who is both a part time Emergency Medicine doctor, and a part time software developer, I can honestly say that the IT world is significantly less stressful. Grass is always greener and that.

    Though letting my employers know that I've got the ability to fuck off and do the other thing full time, is an immensely powerful bargaining tool which I like to use on a regular basis.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pussies!

      Buckaroo Banzai! You are alive!!!! Joy...

  13. Sooty

    Stress in my role is from not being allowed to tell the truth

    I deal with 'developers' non-stop who have the sort of problems anyone with half a brain could sort out themselves. They haven't read the documentation, and aren't following standards so things don't work as they should, and just don't understand what they are doing. They also can't perform the most basic diganosis checks on things or understand simple coding concepts.

    Trying to hold back my outrage that these people are allowed to develop production code and trying to stop it bleeding through in my replies to their problems is unbelieveably stressful. Trying not to swear and question their parentage isn't easy.

    a recent example, i was asked to investigate and resolve an SSL error, could i check all the config, certificates, etc... The devs provided me with the error message they were seeing. After banging my head on the desk a few times i replied that 'Host not found' isn't exactly an SSL issue, and that their url was wrong.

    1. Mike Smith

      Stress in MY role is from telling the truth and being pulled up for it

      "They also can't perform the most basic diganosis checks on things or understand simple coding concepts."

      Or worse, when they do try to do some checks, make a complete balls-up of it and won't believe you when you tell show them where they went wrong.

      Not long ago, I was asked to create some dummy data to populate a DB2 database for performance testing. Not exactly a taxing job - a wee bit of PL/SQL in my trusty Oracle Express and hey presto, out came some sample text files for loading into the database. A quick test by my tame DBA showed all was in order, so I generated the full set of data. No code changes needed, just a runtime parameter to control the number of records written.

      So imagine my surprise when I received a flood of snot and tears from the test data development team. The files were all complete pants. The dates were ALL in the wrong format and wouldn't load. They could not sign the files off, the test schedule was completely wrecked and it was all my fault.

      But there was nothing wrong with the files that I could see. One bad-tempered trip across town later, I showed the files to the whinger and stepped through each character, proving the format was OK. Nowt wrong wi 'em, lad.

      "But we are using Excel to check the files," bozo told me, completely straight-faced. "And look, the dates are all wrong. The file cannot be correct." This guy was supposed to be a data expert and an experienced developer.

      After I'd spent about twenty minutes trying to explain that Excel does what it likes with fields it thinks are dates, and he was wasting his time and mine on non-existent issues, Mr von Braun had to go to a project control meeting, where he would escalate his concerns.

      The written summary I sent to him, his manager, my manager and half the project board landed me in a bit of hot water, but sod it. Sometimes you have to tell it like it is.

      Fortunately, I no longer work for that company.

    2. Gordon 11

      Re: Stress in my role is from not being allowed to tell the truth

      The devs provided me with the error message they were seeing.

      Could have been worse. I was usually told, "It's not working", with no indication of how to reproduce the failure, nor any indication of how they knew it was failing.

      1. Sooty

        Re: Stress in my role is from not being allowed to tell the truth

        "Could have been worse. I was usually told, "It's not working", with no indication of how to reproduce the failure, nor any indication of how they knew it was failing."

        That is actually the norm, mostly it's split 50:50 between "it's not working" with no further explanation, and an error message that they are incredibly proud of having provided, but that gives no useful information on its own.

        If the error hadn't been blindingly obvious I'd have had to go back and ask what environment they were using, and what code they were running.

    3. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Stress in my role is from not being allowed to tell the truth

      Oh hell yes.

      Had a similar issue. Was called to troubleshoot an email issue. Seems a fancy HTML email layout was failing for some reason. They started blaming the email program settings because well, it just couldn't be the code, could it?

      I look it over and realize, yep, it is the code. A simple HTML image tag was not right. Told them so. One manager says fine the other doesn't believe it.

      Get a call later from the doubting manager telling me to never say that again. Get a call from MY manager saying almost the same thing.

      Needless to say I didn't stay there much longer.

      Why yes, the doubter WAS marketing. How did you know that?

  14. John H Woods Silver badge

    I love IT ...

    ... and I hate working in it. Reason: much of the decision making, whether buying, selling or managing, is done by people who hate IT.

    1. king of foo

      Re: I love IT ...

      NAILED IT.

  15. heenow


    This is what happens when you make a career decision to work with crap, set yourself up as the Lord of Crap to the innocents in your company, and then wonder what happened when the crap gets flushed.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    They start out eager to learn, get to be real experts on OS(N) fill up nearly half of all they know on the current technology, boy they are good.

    The technology changes and half of what they know becomes useless to like a good geek they learn about OS(N+1) until it is 35% of what they know and with the 25% of what they remember of the previous version they remain really useful in the workplace.

    The technology changes and half of what they know becomes useless to like a good geek they learn about OS(N+2) until it is 30% of what they know and with the 25% of what they remember of the previous version and 10% of the version before that they are quite useful in the mixed workplace.

    Then someone scraps OS(nn) and invents incompatible OS(mn), moves all the buttons in the main Office software and reinvents the interface to use just Yoga moves as input.

    They try, but their protestations that a mouse is easier than downward facing dog are met with derision from the younger hip crew, they are classed as "inflexible" unwilling to change or embrace the new. They get old and bitter and their only outlet is to use TheReg to pour scorn on the IT children happy to bend over backwards for anyone if they can post a selfie at the same time.

    That's not me of course.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 40pc

      "The technology changes and half of what they know becomes useless"

      Or do what I did - stick to systems programming, in my case on Unix, where not much changes from year to year. The Stevens APUE book I bought in the 90s is almost as valid now as it was then - I've only had to but 1 revised edition in 20 years. I'm guessing Windows people who stuck to Win32 C/C++ are pretty much in the same boat whereas those who jumped on whatever trendy bandwagon that went past (VB, powerbuilder, C# etc) constantly have to play catch up now or become irrelevant.

    2. Vanir

      Re: 40pc

      Blimey, for a minute there I thought I was reading Big O notation! On cynicism?

  17. John 203

    Public v Private Nonsense

    I've worked pretty extensively in the private and public sectors and, let's be honest, there are people who haven't a clue what they're doing in either and there are good hard working people in both.

    But the solution is simple: if you're a public sector worker who thinks the private sectors pays more and you want more money then find a job in the private sector; if you're a private sector worker who envies the supposedly cushy number public sector workers have then find a job in the public sector. Just stop moaning about the job other people have.

    1. Tom Maddox Silver badge

      Re: Public v Private Nonsense

      BLASPHEMER! Stone him! STONE HIM!

  18. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Well as a contractor currently working in a bank, the IT admin doesn't (yet) know about IP but he is planning on learning it one day. The staff/work ratio is unbeliveable. If I was in charge we could reduce the 20 head count to 3 (to cover for holidays etc). Most IT people basically should not be in IT but they joined for the large salaries,wild parties and loose women (I know I did and I'm happy). Just because you get a degree doesn't mean you're clever/intelligent/useful to the world in general.

    People who get stressed at work (IT or not) basically can't manage their time/workloads properly. If your superiers says do this in x time and you know it's not possible then you should say so to *their* superiors. Just being a pussy and putting in unpaid overtime is frankly stupid and leaving you open to be abused later on.

    My biggest stress is do I pop out and get another bottle of Coke or pop into M & S and get their freshly baked donuts. Am I working hard? I did a weeks worth of work in an afternoon by not running around like a headless chicken but sitting back, looking at the problem and then automating it. After all, that's what technology is there for, to make my life easier.

    So, anyone whose a wimp should downvote this because it's the first step to manning up and growing a pair. I dare you.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Just being a pussy and putting in unpaid overtime is frankly stupid and leaving you open to be abused later on."

      Quite. Start as you mean to continue I think is the phrase. If you consistently do overtime the management will *expect* you to do it in the end. I hardly ever leave work after 5.30pm though admittedly I am a contractor. However regardless of that , the way I see it , a company is paying me to do a job for a certain number of hours. Want me to work more hours? Then pay me for them. If I wanted to do voluntary work I'd get a job with a charity.

      It does amaze me how management in IT seem to think peoples time is free. Good luck trying that with a workman - "Hey, I know I paid you £1000 to rebuild this wall, but how about you redo all the windows for free on your own time too?". Yeah, that'll happen. So why are people in IT such mugs?

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        "So why are people in IT such mugs?

        Been wondering the same thing myself. Especially as I get closer to retirement... age. It's one of the biggest problems in the industry.

        IT is sitting in the catbird seat of human civilization and yet most tech workers let themselves be treated like shit.

        Of course being unemployed and blacklisted isn't much fun, I'll grant that.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      In many ways I agree, but ...

      ... there are other stressors than not being able to manage your workload.

      I can manage mine. It's easy - too easy. I'm not allowed to code because my charge-out rate is too high, so I have to draw pretty pictures and write documents. Then a bunch of incompetent offshore people misinterpret the same (or, more likely, ignore them totally) and make really stupid basic errors creating their code. Yes, we're still *accidentally* loading the server's entire DB over the network and doing operations on the client --- those sort of errors. Why are the systems slow? Why are they so difficult to fix? Why do I have to spend half my working life in meetings with people who really cannot speak English? Why is it implied that I'm a racist when I say that they can't?

      tl;dr - workload is not always the only issue

      1. Calens

        Re: In many ways I agree, but ...

        In the vast majority of my work, I've often found that the important decisions are being made by people who have no technical knowledge at all. I have worked with many decision making executives who haven't the foggiest about the topic they're making a decision on, but instead look at the numbers in terms of cost and resource and make a best guess from there. As someone who works primarily in projects as a techie contractor, I've seen an increase in project managers who've just come off their Prince 2 course who then make a complete hash of stuff, which means the likes of me end up having to work longer hours (daily rate, no extra pay there - depends on the contract of course!) in order to get last minute requests sorted that should have been decided or considered months prior.

        I personally don't mind working longers hours if it gets something finished. The stress for me comes in when things are changed at the last minute, making all the preparation done; pointless.

        I would actually say that for those people who are good at their job, they spend a lot of time trying to undo the mistakes of people in technical and non technical roles who are either out of their league, or just plain stupid.

        1. codeImp

          Re: In many ways I agree, but ...

          Incompetent PMs... I couldn't agree with you more. I recently worked on a project which was hitting targets mainly due to a lack of a project manager. Half way through, they assigned a PM who brought another developer on board and between the two of them they destroyed productivity, made deployments a hit-and-hope approach, rendered all the automated testing we'd done almost redundant etc... And then expected us to stay late (offering a hotel nearby to drain every last drop of productivity from us) to fix the crap they'd caused.

          I'm not saying PMs are bad... just that PMs who don't understand what they are doing are more damaging that no PM at all....

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: In many ways I agree, but ...

        "here are other stressors than not being able to manage your workload."

        I _can_ manage my workload, but I'm not allowed to, my project manager manages my workload by declaring: we've decided it takes you one hour to do each deployment (local gov. Win7 rollout). Telling them that a lot can take 2, 3, 4 hours and I don't have the power to make the little electrons move down the network cables any faster, and that the reason we're replacing crappy 15-year-old 1G PCs is *because* they're so crap they lose the race to Aesop's tortoise, and sometimes I'm waiting 30-40 minutes while all the lusers are too busy to let me furtle with their machine.

        What I _do_ do is make sure I meticulously type up all the issues encountered so hopefully it filters upwards.

    3. Pete 2 Silver badge

      Oi! less of that talk, if you please.

      > I did a weeks worth of work in an afternoon by ... looking at the problem and then automating it.

      Don't give away all the secrets. Yes, we know about automation and how it can do all the tedious tasks, while allowing you to do the work of four people (I could give you their names, except for the confidentiality clause) AND keeping abreast of developments, new languages and skills AND being able to do the crossword while waiting for the clock to strike 5.

      But there are lots of IT workers who's only skills are tedious cut'n'paste: data from one spreadsheet into another. Who will see what's presented on one screen and dutifully type it, manually: new mistakes 'n' all, into an application's form and who STILL print out data and then highlight fields in yellow or pink, depending on whether they are above or below some fixed limits. One assumes it's these people who are in the two-thirds who want to quit and who feel the stress.

    4. Jim 59

      I RoCk !!!

      Every so often somebody writes a post which basically translates: "I'm absolutely great, me!". Sometimes they are trolling. When they are not, that just makes it worse, somehow.

    5. ecofeco Silver badge

      Wait. What? You have an admin who doesn't understand IP?


  19. Conor Turton

    Another quality factually correct article from The Reg....

    "Many IT staff also reported working above and beyond the 48-hour week set out in the EU working time directive, which the UK is not subject to."

    Err yes we are. All EU countries are.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Another quality factually correct article from The Reg....

      Yes, the Reg got that part wrong.

      In the UK it is possible for an individual to opt-out of the maximum working hours rule, but it's not possible to opt out of the other parts. Also an employer can't (legally) force you to opt out.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Another quality factually correct article from The Reg....

        "In the UK it is possible for an individual to opt-out of the maximum working hours rule, but it's not possible to opt out of the other parts. Also an employer can't (legally) force you to opt out."

        *hollow laugh*

        No, they can't force you to opt out , but they can have the opt out in the initial contract and if you don't sign away your rights you don't get the job in the first place. And that IS legal.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  20. M.Zaccone

    If it hurts, stop doing it!

    I get rather tired of those who go on about how much they hate their jobs, that the money is crap, the boss is an arse, the hours are too long blah blah blah! And what do they do about it ? Sweet Fanny Adams!

    If you hate your job or are stressed but don't do anything about changing the situation then you deserve what you've got. If you don't quit then your bosses aren't going to change a damn thing 'cos if you are still there everything must be okay.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If it hurts, stop doing it!

      Well, if it's a choice between a crap job or starving to death, what's the options?

  21. Lyndon Hills 1

    "About two-thirds of IT workers quizzed in a new poll are so stressed, they want to quit their jobs."

    The rest read El Reg.

  22. Stevie


    A Halo team is not a "relationship".

  23. Bluenose

    Working Time Directive

    According to the article this does not apply in the UK, sorry but that is very wrong (ask junior doctors). The directive applies and the time is calculated over a three month period however, individuals can elect under the UK implementation to waive their rights in this area so that they are not bound by the directive.

    In my experience most people have "opted out" without actually knowing they had the right to be covered by the directive.

    As to most of the posts on this article - lots of very biased individuals out there with their own stereotypes in mind from which they don't appear to want to move. Public sector is not an easy place to work for contractors, staff or outsourcer and I know having been on all sides of the fence.

    Then again have seen the easy life in private business as well as the stress and strains that go with it. Funnily enough I find that the world is different in every single organisation I work in.

    1. RealBigAl

      Re: Working Time Directive

      EU working time directive does apply in the UK and, while there is for now still an opt out clause for the weekly working limit, employers have a duty of care to ensure their workers have sufficient breaks and rest periods between shifts.

  24. calm fella

    Started IT, or DP back in the 70's. In the early days I really enjoyed the work, but now counting down the days till I retire - biggest bugbear? Incompetent IT managers who've somehow managed to take over the business, especially since the late 90's

  25. Florida1920


    These 2/3 are clearly not reading the excellent instructional articles published in El Reg, "BOFH." There is no stressful situation that can't be solved with the careful application of a cattle prod.

  26. Nelbert Noggins

    2/3 of the 200 respondents is as meaningless a sample size as the 83% of 79 people tricks the cosmetics advertisers use.

    Out of all the IT Admins in the UK it's probably only the 200 who actually thought it was worth the effort of reading the email inviting them to the survey who responded. Why did they feel stressed the day they filled in the survey? They overshot a deadline? Were having a bad day in general? Get stressed by everything in life?

    If there had been 20,000 respondents then maybe it could be taken seriously... but 200, sigh. GFI have obviously started using the same ad agencies as the cosmetic companies

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I worked for an absolute foaming at the mouth shouty dictator who knew nothing about IT, but never stopped telling me how to do my job for three years. In the five years prior to taking that job I took only one sick day. On that job, I used 3/4 of my sick days every year, keeping the rest in reserve just in case I got really ill.

    I quit in disgust one day after being subjected to a tirade for something unjustified and completely the bosses fault. I left, and he replaced me with consultants. After seven months of unemployment, I lost my house and if not for a friend, I would've been a tramp.

    I caught a lucky break and now live and work IT in Bermuda. I make a tax free salary, work in an office with floor to ceiling windows overlooking palm trees and water. I scuba dive on weekends, am a part time dive instructor, have my own boat, and am forced to look at Ukrainian and Russian ex-pat legal secretaries in tiny bikinis oiling themselves up on the beach in front of my apartment on the weekends. I married a local lady and will be staying here for a bit. This will be my last job as I plan on retiring soon.

    The one thing I have learned over the years is it is the people in the company and not the job that makes your life hell. The job is easy. Its making sure you don't step on toes, tick people off, or say something others don't like. The idiots love to pull you down to their level of misery and that causes the grief.

    If you are not happy, do something else. Do it intelligently, don't leave a job until you have another, for example. However, don't stay somewhere you are not happy. Life is too short.

    1. Vanir

      AC in Bermuda

      Just gone 00FF00.

      Any jobs over there? I'm fed up with massaging old code to do new tricks. This skill may have some potential uses over there.

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      We'd all love to AC, but that's not reality for most people.

      Good for you, but pray for the rest of us.

    3. Jim 59

      Cool AC. Can we have pics of windows, scuba, bathers...

      Ahem. Unfortunately, IT workers have caught the brunt of globalization. Also, I think the treatment of IT workers as lowest-of-the-low is a kind of UK culture thing. I would recommend staying away from generic IT if possible, which can be outsourced anywhere and is seen as a cost to be supressed not a tool to be invested in. Try to move sideways into hi-tech areas using your IT skills.

  28. Spoonsinger

    I like IT!!!!

    You can go balls deep into to an area you know nothing about, (initially), and come out with congratulations & money. It also let's you have quite a lot of time off to follow other interests. The cycle tends to be in my experience around about five years, so no point in going for a mortgage, just suck it up in the downtime - which is going to be significant, and use cash for the up times. So:-

    a) Don't make plans.

    b) Have other interests which can keep you occupied

    c) Scan for those 'little' gigs which actually are interesting and worthwhile and make you happy to do them. (This is quite important because it shines through in the interviews).

    d) All HR departments are run with f**kwits.

    (Fairly sure this isn't is how it should be done, but it can be done).

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It doesn't matter if two thirds quit. I have it on good authority (Ms. Lottie Dexter no less) that coding can be learned in a day, so we can always hire more people.

  30. Joel Cholakians

    The reason they are so stressed now, is because they are all really working for the CIA & new formed KGB, they are surrogate spies, who if they went out on dates would have to tell their partners the truth like honey, Google is robbing UK AU NZ FR DE IE etc domain name holders from millions of dollars by shoving them bellow the #1 website.

    So of-course then the partners would turn around and say your a paranoid psycho, but its too late, they get dumped and Google runs off with all the money. SIMPLEZ.

  31. Hans 1

    Of course they are stressed out ... rebooting 40 Windows servers 3 times every month when comes patch Tuesday cannot be fun when you also have other things to do like cleaning windows and desktops.

    Our sysadmins are lazing around all day and everything just works.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Island of pain

    Worked for 28 years (17 years contract) in UK Corporate IT, then after 6 month at the Jobcentre thanks to our Governments and the corporates love affair with Intra Company Transfers I left these sceptered Isles to work first in Germany then the Netherlands.

    What a difference!, managers who had come up thought the ranks and (gasp) knew what you were talking about, and what was sensible work practice, 40 hour working week (Always remember German manager worriedly asking me one night if my work was urgent, if not then could I go home now please), good permanent salaries social programs and consumer rights laws (BTW, the companies I've worked for are also large Corporate companies).

    I notice my workmates are awake and on the ball, and most of the Brits here (and there are quite a few) vow never to return to the UK.

    Britain's biggest problem is it is run solely for the benefit of big business, they are the ones who have the Governments ear, and for that reason I'm very suspicious of the UK Governments, and other parties pledge to "repatriate control of lawmaking from Brussels", as when people suggesting this have been pressed the Laws they generally mention as key to "repatriate" are The Working Time Directive and the National Minimum Wage, any guesses how they will be reshaped by a benevolent UK Government?

    Saw a guy (think he was from Institute of Directors) the other day commenting on a need for a "Living Wage", his response was that UK businesses are competing with India and China and the UK needs to pay similar salaries to stay competitive, there in a nutshell is the UK's attitude to all workers

  33. Truth4u

    I'm never leaving IT

    "they worked so hard they didn't spend enough time with their families"

    What if you don't actually like your family?

    "while the same number claimed long hours had prevented them from attending social occasions."

    And have no friends to visit either?

  34. Ian 41

    Working Time Regulations *do* apply in the UK

    A significant error in the article "Many IT staff also reported working above and beyond the 48-hour week set out in the EU working time directive, which the UK is not subject to". The Working Time Regulations are part of UK law:

    No wonder IT workers are getting such a raw deal if we don't even know our rights.

    It's time more of us joined a union.

  35. ecofeco Silver badge

    Wished I wrote this

    Programming Sucks - by Peter Welch

    Satire on a rocket sled.

  36. SineWave242

    Maintaining a Linux based network is much less time consuming and stressful... yawn.

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