Information Technology is one of the most popular fields in the job market. As for demand, it can also be very demanding for those who fill that role. Stress in IT can be enormous for many people who find that they are underpaid, understaffed, and unappreciated. Experience also with end users can be less than desired. Especially if there is a shortage of personnel, many end users may consider the quality of service to be inadequate. IT professionals naturally face special problems and challenges. What can they do to deal with work-related stress specifically for Information Technology?
Information Technology professionals today, along with the current economic situation, find themselves very often under-powered and underpaid for what they do. Information Technology Professionals are similar in function to maintenance staff. Often, especially in smaller organizations or educational institutions, other employees do not really see what information professionals do every day and they certainly do not see its value until a large system outage occurs and the business cry stops. Many companies don’t see the need to fill positions adequately especially if IT professionals do their work too effectively and efficiently. What do we mean by that? Often IT professionals are very good at what they do, they can make it appear that other positions are not needed because they take care of all important tasks adequately. What can an IT professional do to explain the staff shortage situation?
Documentation is not a positive word for some professionals because many think of the tiring time of documenting technical details, audits, etc. However, the type of documentation that is sure to benefit IT professionals is to document time. Management needs to look at the time you spend doing your work as well as other time you spend after work hours. Remember, most management personnel do not fully understand what is involved in maintaining system functionality. Assuming things run smoothly, every additional time spent by IT professionals ensures the system is up and running unnoticed. Make what you do really for them and try to help them understand why the things you do are important. Whatever documentation you have that you can highlight specifically at department-level and management meetings helps keep everyone on the same page with certain challenges or workloads that hinder progress. Documentation provides strong ammunition in terms of justifying the number of additional heads. Don’t let yourself get stressed out just because the appropriate headcount isn’t available. Help everyone to understand that the timeline is affected when the number of heads is too low to cover daily activities let alone improve system functionality and performance. Make sure your documentation reflects this.
IT professionals need to communicate with management and supervisors about what’s happening in their “world”. Helping management understand the business impact of a system failure or improved performance helps put what you do in perspective with how they are accustomed to feeling the effects on the business. Simply stating facts about the complicated way of a system or performance number that is not translated into fact management can be considered as important. Find ways to bridge the gap between the technical aspects of the system and how it really affects daily operations. Management will appreciate this and it will help highlight areas of weakness in staffing, etc.
The stress of Information Technology jobs is becoming increasingly common especially with tighter budgets and economic situations. However, with proper documentation and communication with everyone involved including management, the factors that influence stress-related problems in IT must at least be easier to handle. IT professionals need to ensure that they are not overcome by ever-increasing demands and technical boredom which can certainly be mentally and physically burdensome. Don’t be overwhelmed and take more than you can handle just because management doesn’t see the need to increase the budget or staff.