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posted by LaminatorX on Friday June 13 2014, @03:49AM   Printer-friendly
from the Whackathon dept.

A recent article from Dzone highlighted how overwork can lead to Chronic stress. The workaholic nature of IT coupled with a culture that deems late night hacking a good thing can cause problems IT workers, and the list of systems lines up perfectly with many experienced coders.

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  • (Score: 4, Funny) by c0lo on Friday June 13 2014, @04:46AM

    by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Friday June 13 2014, @04:46AM (#54814) Journal
    TFA

    Well it's true: too much coding can kill you Well it's true: too much coding can kill you, the real question is "what is the reason?" and the answer to that is; Chronic Stress.
    So why write about this; well it's personal. You see: it happened to me

    What's it, precious? "Chronic Stress" or "being killed by too much coding"?

    --
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0 https://soylentnews.org/~MichaelDavidCrawford
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 13 2014, @05:44AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 13 2014, @05:44AM (#54830)

      Think about it for some time. I know you can figure this one out :-)

      • (Score: 5, Funny) by c0lo on Friday June 13 2014, @06:04AM

        by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Friday June 13 2014, @06:04AM (#54833) Journal

        Think about it for some time.

        Tried to follow your advice (thanks for it), unfortunately I feel the onset of Chronic Stress; I'll stop now.

        --
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0 https://soylentnews.org/~MichaelDavidCrawford
  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by anubi on Friday June 13 2014, @04:54AM

    by anubi (2828) on Friday June 13 2014, @04:54AM (#54815) Journal

    I ended up doing some things to alleviate stress much like the article pointed out.

    It wasn't the work that was so hard, rather it was the office politics and being required to take responsibility for that I had no control over.

    I got laid off.

    Never had another steady job since.

    Would I recommend STEM to a kid? Only if this is what he likes to do in the first place.

    Otherwise, its really a dog eat dog world out there. STEM is an awful expensive way to go to acquire a fungible skill. Especially these days where one must rack up thousands of dollars of student debt before even attempting to compete with either older skilled workers or H-1B's.

    If you want to make sure you can support a family, go for skills you can sell directly to the public without involving a corporate umbrella... think auto repair, plumbing, construction, home maintenance. Those people get work regardless of office politics.

    Code for fun. If someone sees what you do and offers you a job, go for it! However, I will warn you right here and now if you think spending a lot of money getting papers from universities will get you in, its been my experience that its who you know, not what you know, that will get you in. Trying to get in through Human Resources is a lot like getting heat through a styrofoam insulator. Your best bet is do a good job and hopefully someone who has power to hire will become aware of your existence and bring you in. The biggest problem I have had with HR is the first thing they want to do is mine me for every bit of personal information they can while providing only a "chance" that I be "considered" for employment. I have already gotten off to a bad start by questioning why they have so many blanks for me to fill in on their application form. It has gotten so disgusting to deal with HR I do not even try anymore.

    There is where all the stress is.

    The job itself is fun. The office politics is not. They will do you in if you let them, or lay you off if you don't. There are people out there paid top dollar whose job it is to get everything they can from you. That is where all the stress comes from.

    --
    "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 13 2014, @09:52AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 13 2014, @09:52AM (#54879)

    I'm not a coder per-se, but IT infrastructure development and design is part of my ever-changing-role. I'm currently going through Stress recovery. Six months ago I just went pop; started having panic attacks, and regular anxiety attacks. My job had become a nightmare. I couldn't focus or concentrate on anything, I stopped sleeping and eating and my life just went to shit.

    I was diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder [wikipedia.org]. I (and many others at the firm) had been riding a 3 year roller coaster of redundancy cycles and countless managerial and policy changes, along with ever-increasing workloads and it all became too much.

    I'm now coming out of it, and having counseling and medication, but boy it's been a nasty six months.

    So, yeah, the job is great, the politics are not. I wouldn't recommend large scale IT to ANYONE these days.

    (AC for obvious reasons)

  • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 13 2014, @02:22PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 13 2014, @02:22PM (#54968)

    Here is a related article about how how sleep deprivation contributes to startup failures.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelthomsen/2014/03/27/how-sleep-deprivation-drives-the-high-failure-rates-of-tech-startups/ [forbes.com]

  • (Score: 2) by RaffArundel on Friday June 13 2014, @03:05PM

    by RaffArundel (3108) on Friday June 13 2014, @03:05PM (#54984) Homepage

    and the list of systems lines up perfectly with many experienced coders

    Say what you will about Active Directory, it is the AIX boxes that are actually murderous to support. Frick, we just got RHEL6 across the VM's, now you want me to build out a 7 based image and test all the applications?

    I'm guessing we mean "symptoms" and not "systems" here.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 13 2014, @03:25PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 13 2014, @03:25PM (#54999)

    Stop giving a shit.

    No, really.

    In a great environment, you can wind yourself into a ball of stress without anyone's help.

    In a lousy environment you can handle things with equanimity.

    What makes the difference? How much you identify with your job, as opposed to accepting that it's a daily price you pay for food, clothing, shelter and so on.

    Why does this matter?

    No matter which job you have, no matter where you work (other than self employment) everything can turn to quicksand tomorrow. Your great manager can be hit by a bus, your awesome director can get an awesome job elsewhere, and the far-sighted corporate overlord can retire. You can have a sadistic manager, a demented director and a bloodthirsty corporate raider ruling your job before your next paystub arrives on your desk.

    If you bound your happiness to your job, you're screwed. If you will reflexively jump in every direction they demand at the drop of a hat, sacrificing every aspect of your private life just because their medication changed, you have no defences.

    How do you arrange this in your life?

    First:

    Stop identifying your job with your life. You are not a great codemonkey. You are a human being who spends some time writing code for a living. You are not, to use the cliche, your job.

    Second:

    To prevent your boss from holding money over your head, accumulate 6 months of living expenses on the side. Difficult? It can be. But worth it, if you care about stress. If you're working for minimum wage and living in a shack? (I've been there.) 6 months can be as simple as a stack of dry goods so that you don't starve.

    Third:

    Keep an eye on the job market. Build your skills, build your background, see what is going on. Knowing what your options are (and you always have options) reduces a lot of stress. Even if it means that one morning you stare into your bathroom mirror, and say: "Today is the day when I use those savings to go to a tech school and learn to weld.". Knowing that you can go to your boss and say: "Dude, I quit, I got an opening as a heavy equipment mechanic and I will make more money than your budget can pay me in two years from now." is a hell of a stress relief.

    Fourth:

    Learn how to say "No." If you're in a deeply abusive situation and you need help doing so, get a therapist and an employment lawyer to help you do so, but learn it. You're not their bitch, you're paid money to do certain work in the context of employment law, and while you can choose to give a little extra, you should remember that you don't have to. You can also remind them that you don't have to.

    Fifth:

    Get a hobby. No, not coding. A different hobby. Ideally, one which could make some cash on the side, because why not? Ideally, something physical. Learn glassblowing and pottery and sell awesome sex toys on Etsy. Whatever. Something which gives you a life outside of work, and as a bonus demonstrates around the watercooler that you have a life which your boss doesn't control.

    Citation:

    Me. I spent two decades in the tech world. The first five years were shit-eating misery until I burned out, lost it all, went broke. Got back on my feet, but with clearer vision. Worked for some of the most demented, crackheaded dysfunctional maniacal organisations this industry has, and came out with a smile on my face. Why? Because I had an exit plan, which I executed successfully and now life is pretty sweet.

    Illustration:
    (names and serial numbers filed off to protect the guilty)

    Boss: So, if you could just run two consecutive all-nighters this weekend and be in on time on Monday morning that'd be great, yeah.

    Me: Hey, overtime! I'm gonna buy me a new car.

    Boss: No, you're exempt. You get your salary. And you don't get fired.

    Me: Awesome, comp time here I come. I'm going to Vegas!

    Boss: No, we need you in here.

    Me: Actually, if I'm an exempt professional, that means I have discretion as to how and when I do my job. I don't think I need to pull weekend all-nighters, so I won't be doing it. Sorry.

    Boss: If you're not in here this weekend, don't bother coming in on Monday.

    Me: OK. I'll be going back to my desk and calling back that recruiter. Take it easy.

    I got fired, got about three days worth of unemployment, walked into new job (but I had the financial slack to be out of work for a year if necessary). Boss, from what I understand, had a hell of a time getting anyone to even apply to replace me because the place's reputation was so toxic. He still smokes like a chimney, I'm happier and healthier than before.

    Central message: in the modern world your boss can only make you as miserable as you let them. Don't let them.

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by My Silly Name on Friday June 13 2014, @04:25PM

      by My Silly Name (1528) on Friday June 13 2014, @04:25PM (#55035)
      Excellent and relevant post. Why AC?

      The thing is not to be too firmly stuck to a single career path. I was a sysprog for many years, but jumped from a toxic workplace in the middle of the economic recession in 1990 to train as a blacksmith. I carried on doing that for 10 years, then took a degree course in molecular biology and ended up as a cheesemaker. Meanwhile, I make stringed musical instruments, which is something that has fascinated me since I was a teenager.

      It makes it complicated to answer when people ask "what do you do?" but at least the answer isn't totally boring.

      One of the saddest things I have heard in my life is when an old(er) guy gave way to me in a checkout queue at a supermarket, saying "I've got nothing to do, and all day to do it in".
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 13 2014, @04:50PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 13 2014, @04:50PM (#55046)

        The main reason people go to work is to make money to support themselves and their dependents. Yet that aspect is almost never addressed in posts about career changes.

        If you wouldn't mind, could you tell us if you had a family to support, and a vague range of how much a blacksmith or cheesemaker brings in per year? Just ballpark.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 13 2014, @05:05PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 13 2014, @05:05PM (#55050)

          The main reason people go to work is to make money to support themselves and their dependents. Yet that aspect is almost never addressed in posts about career changes.

          If you wouldn't mind, could you tell us if you had a family to support, and a vague range of how much a blacksmith or cheesemaker brings in per year? Just ballpark.

          Can't speak for the blacksmith, but I can tell you that I do have a family (and did back when I burned out and went broke, which isn't good for a family in case you're wondering), and as a writer I knock down six digits in annual income.

          My biggest love: all the new indie author options (Amazon rates a special mention).

          My biggest gripe: Pelosicare's demented meddlings which invalidated my previous healthcare and left me with no good options. Fortunately, I'm sufficiently productive and well off to absorb the costs.

          • (Score: 2) by velex on Friday June 13 2014, @05:50PM

            by velex (2068) on Friday June 13 2014, @05:50PM (#55067) Journal

            Questions if I may. How did you get started as a writer? Was it indie or through a traditional publisher?

            What genre do you write? How often do you publish?

            I'm considering this option and was interested by Amazon as well although I don't know enough yet to properly judge that option. I probably couldn't knock down six digits (won't know until I try though I guess) but it would be nice to have an additional source of income.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 13 2014, @06:17PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 13 2014, @06:17PM (#55076)

              Questions if I may. How did you get started as a writer? Was it indie or through a traditional publisher?

              Don't confuse writing with getting published. One is a prerequisite for the other, that's all.

              I got started as a child. When I'm not creating, I itch. Then I twitch.

              Publication: I started free, using blogs. I built exposure, and built my following. Ultimately, I published for money, all electronic, all indie.

              What genre do you write? How often do you publish?

              I write in a couple. Classic fantasy. Near future dystopia. Hard science fiction. I try to get something new out once every six months, but that's more aspirational than a hard timetable. In a good year, I get three out the door.

              I'm considering this option and was interested by Amazon as well although I don't know enough yet to properly judge that option. I probably couldn't knock down six digits (won't know until I try though I guess) but it would be nice to have an additional source of income.

              Amazon has not done me wrong, but it's good to consider your options.

              What helps you hit a living wage is exposure, and a tribe of people who know you, like you, and will reliably purchase what you put out. That, and a back catalogue so that new readers who find you will probably put a few bucks in your pocket at a time just to catch up on you.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 13 2014, @04:53PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 13 2014, @04:53PM (#55047)

        Excellent and relevant post. Why AC?

        Thank you. AC because the excellence and relevance do not depend on an attached identity.

        The thing is not to be too firmly stuck to a single career path. I was a sysprog for many years, but jumped from a toxic workplace in the middle of the economic recession in 1990 to train as a blacksmith. I carried on doing that for 10 years, then took a degree course in molecular biology and ended up as a cheesemaker. Meanwhile, I make stringed musical instruments, which is something that has fascinated me since I was a teenager.

        I was less of a programmer, than a devops/sysadmin/dba sort. Paid my dues with CAT5 in my teeth crawling under desks.

        The pervasive, pernicious ageism of the industry helped me make up my mind to leave it. Now I write for a living, and make wine as a hobby.

        It makes it complicated to answer when people ask "what do you do?" but at least the answer isn't totally boring.

        One of the saddest things I have heard in my life is when an old(er) guy gave way to me in a checkout queue at a supermarket, saying "I've got nothing to do, and all day to do it in".

        I'm always willing to allow for people who have found their zen. If your life's goal was to be able to put your feet up, that's your idea of heaven. It's not mine, but I won't judge someone for it.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 13 2014, @03:58PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 13 2014, @03:58PM (#55018)

    The lucky ones drop dead. The rest of us are still coding.