original thread

I LOVE developing websites, but I HATE the stress and responsability that comes with a the job. How do you all cope with the stress and responsability that seems to come hand-in-hand with an IT career?

OK, I just have to get this out of my system first: web design is stressful? Try real programming some time. There, I feel better now. ;-)

Whenever I start hating my job, I think about how the non-techie population lives – and how I lived, once.

  • I work in a nice air-conditioned office. I know the AC is there for the machines, but I get to come along for the ride. I don’t have to work outside on rainy days, or worry about sunburn on sunny ones.
  • I sit in a chair, stare at a monitor and type if I’m in my office or stare at other people and talk if I’m in a meeting. My job doesn’t leave me physically tired and sore at the end of the day. The chances of physical injury are extremely low.
  • I have flex time. If I’m fifteen minutes late to work, it’s likely that nobody will even notice let alone care. If I have to run errands or stay home to wait for a plumber I can just do it without having to make special arrangements.
  • I’m very lightly supervised. I’m accountable for results, not time on task. Nobody’s watching over my shoulder to make sure I’m working every minute. If I want to take fifteen minutes to chat with a coworker about the latest gadget, or go out behind the parking lot and watch birds for half an hour, nobody cares.
  • Relatively speaking, I make a ton of money. Believe me, not having enough money to pay the rent creates its own kind of stress. So does worrying about how to pay for kids going to college, or for retirement. As it is, the money I make allows me to surround myself with nice stuff at home and go on neat vacations, and I’ll probably be retiring early.
  • I get to work with smart people. If you’ve ever worked with a bunch of dullards you know how much of a difference that can make.

Sure, my job can be frustrating. The technical challenges are the least of it; sometimes I think Sartre (“hell is other people”) was right. When I start getting annoyed, though, I try to think of what it would really be like to have another kind of job – working on an assembly line, delivering packages for FedEx, picking up trash, … no, thanks. Even the cushy-seeming jobs (doctor, lawyer, stockbroker) and the “fun” jobs (ski instructor, river guide) have their own trials and tribulations. They call it work for a reason. If you really think about it, working in high tech is about as close to a perfect job as you can reasonably expect.