It’s no secret that my day job is in IT and have been for over 15 years now. I joined this wondrous and treacherous world about a minute and half before that infamous IT bubble burst, and with it a lot of illusions (Not to say delusions).
See, back in the day, IT was code word for fast track, money, terms and excitement. To a great degree it still is (mainly the excitement part) with technological advances and what have you.
It started (way before my time) in old fashion computer labs with a general idea of what they wanted to achieve, and when companies realized they need more structure, methodologies were developed, changed, adjusted and made new on a regular basis. Then came the start-ups with – in very broad strokes – a single goal, big payout in mind, and though very few were very successful, the ones that were, threatened to change the market.
But in the end, and a lot due to that bubble situation, as is normal to many other industries, things “normalized” and the current structure prevailed.
That is not to say the market isn’t changing. A statement such as this couldn’t be farther from the truth, as everything, from investment strategies trough training models and constant re-assessment of working models is heavily impacted by these changes. They may seem small, or trivial, but the slightest shift can make very big waves.
If you work in IT, you don’t need me telling you that.
And that is why we’re here today. Not to talk about the business side of this, but rather to take a brief look at what that means for the individual. The one behind the keyboard. A lot of effort was, and is being made to ensure that the time we spend at work is used effectively and that there’s time remaining for other things in life. We call that – Time Management, Efficiency models and other such names.
I wanted to paint a picture, and you’ll have to excuse me but the data presented is gross estimation, based on personal experience, many conversations with people I’ve met in these 15+ years from different IT companies and others. Though it may not be accurate to the 0.001%, I believe it’s very close to the mark. I can also say that some of it is how people may feel about their lives in this line of business.
OK, we’ve talked enough for the time being. Let’s look at some pie charts like good IT people:
How our time was/is divided:
Before the “IT revolution”:
During the “IT Boom”:
If you worked on a Start Up:
How is it now? Well, I guess that depends on many things. Where you work, what line of business, what environment, etc.
It’s probably none of the above charts, as none of these are sustainable for the long haul (and thus, seen less frequently). I’d estimate that we’re somewhere between chart 1 and chart 2.
What other big changes impact the person inside the machine? Of course, the cycle. It makes perfect business sense that as the market changes, so would the work cycle. Terms like TTM determine how often our work would peak. Competition. Pro-activeness and response. These things are by no means what they used to be (and will not be tomorrow). Again, not exact science, but I’m pretty sure you’d agree with the following generic development.
Looking at the below graphs, You’d see the general trend as the industry reacts to the market needs:
As time progresses, not only do we have more peaks, but the so-called “valleys” are higher up than they used to be.
Hopefully – for my fellow IT people – that means you get a lot of work and that is good, especially in today’s economy. On the flip side of this very coin, there’s the time you have for anything other than work.
In order to handle these changes better, many techniques and methodologies were developed, and are being adjusted as we speak. In business terms they translate, again, to time management and efficiency.
I’m sure many of you are familiar with the demonstration in this video (this is just an example. There are many others out there):
This demonstration hits the nail on the head. It’s a classic because it actually works. Go ahead, try it, I’ll wait.
But I’d like to finish this post by giving a single advice. Whether you already work in IT, or planning to (and don’t be scared by any of the above), you have to remember that while that bowl is being filled to capacity with the big and small tasks of our working day – that bowl is within a far bigger bowl we call life. And the space left in the bigger bowl should be filled and refilled with anything but work. I have my writing, among other things, but you don’t need my help to identify which “rocks” to fill yours with. They’re yours.
So go on. Get a life!