IT merry-go-round is out of control, say readers

Professionals from across the industry have written in response to's Special Report on Stress and the overwhelming...

Professionals from across the industry have written in response to's Special Report on Stress and the overwhelming verdict is that stress is not a figment of the imagination or just a limp excuse for laziness.

Read Special Report on Stress>>

Phew! We're all certainly feeling the strain in today's work-obsessed - or some might say exploitative - society.

The increasing ease of communication - mainly in rather impersonal forms such as e-mail - is identified by our readers as a major villain in increasing workload and creating interruptions.

However, it's also clear that readers are - as you might expect - problem solvers and have given thought to the best ways to keep the screaming ab-dabs at bay.

Ian McDevitt agrees that there is a difference between pressure and stress: "It must make sense to accept that the pressures are unavoidable and the stress is caused by how much of a threat we take them as."

He adds: "The increase in communications is causing an overload. I've noticed how a much wider range of people are now able to make requests on your time from a distance, which was previously not possible.

"Years ago, somebody had to find you to give you more work. The only way out of this must be to say no when you know you can't take on more. Better to be up front than to let people down later."

The IT world is spinning faster
The development of faster and faster technology is also singled out as one of the villains when it comes to stress. These days we are not always driving our systems, but being driven by them.

"There is little
"Technology has not helped because it has released many from activities they did not like, but they have merely filled the space with other activities"
James Stanfield
doubt that work and life generally have become more stressful," says Paul Bulmer. "Because the increasing pace of technology is felt more in IT than any where, this is an area particularly prone to stress.

"Even jobs like programming are now under greater stress. Years ago a programmer had plenty of time to reflect on the changes they had just made while the computer chugged away compiling and linking their code.

"These tasks are now done in the blink of an eye, and even while coding the computer is flashing up windows with messages that distract and often bring more work."

"Sell, sell, sell" is "hell, hell, hell"
David Walker blames the suppliers' drive for sales for piling on the pressure. "Marketing, marketing, marketing is the be-all and end-all, and never a week goes by without a new operating system that is even more flabby, overcomplicated, unreliable and incomprehensible than the last effort. Ye Gods, no wonder we got stress!" he cries.

David Smith points out that a great deal of stress comes down to nothing more than the old story of companies trying to squeeze more and more work out of staff without sufficient financial compensation.

"Stress on the lower rungs of the career ladder is increased constantly not just by companies wanting ever increased profits, while continuously screwing down their overheads, but also through managers passing their stress levels on to their workers, expecting them to work harder and longer in order for the management team and sales people to make their targets and thereby bonuses," he says.

But Smith believes that ultimately it's the individual's responsibility to vote with their feet. "Even stress comes down to choice," he concludes. "People working for a company that instils high stress levels and are not willing to move, should shut up and put up. Alternatively, they should exercise their choice, move on and let companies that 'manage' by constantly increasing pressures and stress work out why they can't hire staff anymore and effectively force such companies out of business."

IT support manager John Harper adds the failure of higher management to interest themselves in IT: "No set hours, high expectations, assumptions that you will turn out or stay behind to fix whatever has broken whatever the hour or whatever your personal plans may be. Job insecurity, undermanning and insufficient management training. Most of all a refusal by superiors to even attempt to understand this 'black art'.

Reach the still, silent centre
Finally a touch of Zen is brought to the debate by James Stanfield. "Many people now have more activity in their lives than they used to," he writes. "Filling every waking moment with activity is very fashionable and the thing to do. But of course it is not right for everyone and those for whom constant activity is not right should accept that and act accordingly.

"Doing something active when in truth you would probably benefit from some prime time contemplation is not the way ahead. Technology has not helped because it has released many from activities they did not like, but they have merely filled the space with other activities.

"Chill and contemplate."

Thank you to all who responded - our apologies if your views were not quoted directly.

All reader feedback on is published only with the specific authorisation of the correspondent.

Read Special Report on Stress>>

Read more on IT strategy