"With great power, comes great responsibility." -- Uncle Ben in "Spiderman"
I read a fascinating question over at Ask Metafilter this week that I've been thinking about ever since. An anonymous tech worker writes that though he loves job, he's over-worked and over-wrought. His two-man department achieved an uptime of "four nines" last year, but he's practically on call 24/7 every day of the year and it's taking its toll on his mental and physical health.
"I feel like when I was a bit younger, I was able to deal with this much better emotionally -- or, at least, I worried about it less. Now, I'm slowly becoming a nervous wreck," he asks. "I'm sure others in small-business IT have experienced this before. What can I do to deal with the stress? What changes can I make -- short of adding experienced staff -- to make this easier to take?"
I've seen plenty of variations on this question posted on message boards over the years but this one is particularly compelling in it's raw frustration.
The responses are just about what you'd expect: Talk to your sysadmin and find a new job. Many suggested he was being taken advantage of or exploited by his company, while others recommend the posts author set boundaries at work and stick to them no matter what.
One community member writes, "I was also on-call for about 10 years...My advice? Change jobs. Really. You wrote,' I cant enjoy life anymore.' From here, it only goes down. I had a flashback when I read that sentence....I remember how bad I felt at that time, and I am so pleased that I make the right choice....get out."
I think that advice is spot-on. At the point where things at work become so dire that it affects your life outside the office, it's time to look for a new job -- perhaps a new career altogether.
What about you? What would you recommend to a tech worker whose job is sucking the enjoyment out of his whole life?