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Moving Away From the IT Field? 783

irving47 writes 'With the economy the way it is, it's a little iffy to even think about switching careers completely, but lately, I've gotten more and more fed up with trying to keep up with the technical demands of companies and customers that are financially and even verbally unappreciative. While I might be good at it, and the money is adequate, I'm curious to hear from Slashdotters who have gone cold-turkey from their IT/Networking careers to something once foreign to them. How did you deal with the income difference, if any? Do you find yourself dealing with people more, and if so, how did that work out?'
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Moving Away From the IT Field?

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  • I'd never do it, but (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lord Kano ( 13027 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @01:26AM (#29893457) Homepage Journal

    you might want to think about nursing. My ex-wife was an RN and she made really good money right out of college.

    You have to clean up poop sometimes, but it's decent money.


    • by int69h ( 60728 )

      The money is decent, especially if you're willing to travel. You do have to keep your skillset up to date in order to keep your license. From what I can tell there's quite a bit of fraud involved though, especially in home health and rehabs, so CYOA.

      • by wisty ( 1335733 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @02:18AM (#29893697)

        If you want to travel, ESL (English as a second language) teaching is great. 20 hours a week teaching (plus prep time), you see your work being used (as the students get better at English), interesting co-workers. If you know (or want to learn) a foreign language, it's a great opportunity.

        The best thing is - minimal office politics. There's you, a class, and maybe a head teacher telling you what to do. Co-ordination meetings, blame games, and clueless managers are hard to find. You still have a boss (and work policies), but the soft crap is mostly between you and your students.

        Income is much lower in China (where I am), but so are costs. Great news if you have savings and no debts. Other countries have higher pay.

        I wouldn't advise it to anyone with a superiority complex (they make poor teachers), or anyone who hates the idea of living overseas, but otherwise, it's a blast.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          I have a few friends teaching English in Taiwan. The government does not provide working permits for 'English teachers', it's an illegal profession, good money though - expect to have to do a runner or hide out about every other month or so as the government sends out their surprise inspection teams. Sometimes more often, schools will routinely file reports on competing schools in their area.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Penguinisto ( 415985 )

          The best thing is - minimal office politics. There's you, a class, and maybe a head teacher telling you what to do. Co-ordination meetings, blame games, and clueless managers are hard to find.

          ...wanna bet? I'm speaking as a former CompSci instructor who had to deal with school districts, the Utah Board of Regents, some uber-clueless collegiate administrators, and to top that off, a colleague with few technical skills, but one hell of a penchant for back-stabbing. Fortunately, the latter was easy enough to handle, but the former three were raging nightmares, and could make your life a living hell at the slightest whim.

          I still remember when an exceptionally bright student I had, decided that he r

    • I hadn't thought of that. I just LOVE to clean up poop. In fact, I'll sit there waiting, watching, anticipating, ready to catch it before it can fall onto the mattress. I'm perfect for that job, and I'll even do it for free.

    • I moved from IT to the business of the same organization. I still deal (in a much smaller aspect) with the IT department, but do so working as a business analyst. From a HR point of view, it's great because I am able to REALLY talk to the business about what they want and whether it is plausible, and I am able to make excellent requirements that the IT folks can follow and not cock up because they are too vague to really know what is wanted.

      Oh, also, within a year of moving over, my salary was around 25%
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      A friend of mine went into trades - just picked up a mature aged apprenticeship and become a fantastically rich electrician. Seems like the geekiest trade to pick up. There's a demand for qualified electricians in Australia at the moment from what I can see, but I'm not sure if it's a worldwide trend.
    • by CarpetShark ( 865376 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @02:42AM (#29893831)

      you might want to think about nursing.

      You've obviously never been treated by a nurse who was in the job for the wrong reasons. Please don't ever SUGGEST nursing to people, unless they demonstrate a genuine compassion, patience, and willingness to help others even on their worst days.

      • by TheLink ( 130905 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @05:06AM (#29894431) Journal
        That's very true.

        But for a similar reason I find it stupid that "everyone" keeps promoting IT to people who would not normally consider it.

        Plenty of other jobs, especially jobs that can't be outsourced to India or Vietnam or wherever on somebody's whim.

        Hairstylists and plumbers aren't going away or going to be outsourced any time soon.
        • by vlm ( 69642 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @07:14AM (#29895001)

          Hairstylists and plumbers aren't going away or going to be outsourced any time soon.

          "Insourced" Habla espanol. The key is to find a position where the job can't be sent to China or the worker can't be imported from Mexico. Mostly, this seems to revolve around sales, management, some medical (not all), some education (certainly not all), organized crime/politics and marketing. Anything else?

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by BitZtream ( 692029 )

            The key is to find a position where the job can't be sent to China or the worker can't be imported from Mexico.

            You realize you just ruled out every single job in existence right?

            Both Chinese and Mexicans are more than capable of doing EVERYTHING an American can do. Second generations immigrents born here generally speak better english than most Americans who have been here for several generations.

            Whats best about it all is they have actually had hard lives most of the time so they don't have their head up

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Grishnakh ( 216268 )

              Both Chinese and Mexicans are more than capable of doing EVERYTHING an American can do.

              Wrong. A Chinese person can't fix your car, for instance, because that would require shipping the car to China for repair. That would cost far more than just having an American fix it. A Chinese person can't tend to patients in an American hospital (we don't have robotics that advanced yet). A Chinese person certainly can't teach English to kids at an American school.

              Second generations immigrents [sic] born here gener

        • by SQLGuru ( 980662 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @02:49PM (#29900887) Journal

          Most important thing I learned from my something you love because you have to work for around 40 years and that's a long time to hate your job. My dad started at a paper mill when he was 18 and retired at 60. He hated it but had the obligation of providing for a family (and by the time he could change, it was really too late to bother changing). He was always miserable. I program because I love it (don't tell my boss, but I'd do it for less money). When I'm not at work, I'm programming on the side or for fun or taking programming classes (game programming, I work in business apps) or just generally being involved in computers. My worst day as a programmer is still better than the best day doing something I hate.

          It's ok to change fields, but don't be miserable doing it.

      • by apmonte ( 1235058 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @07:45AM (#29895225)

        you might want to think about nursing.

        You've obviously never been treated by a nurse who was in the job for the wrong reasons. Please don't ever SUGGEST nursing to people, unless they demonstrate a genuine compassion, patience, and willingness to help others even on their worst days.

        I'd also suggest that you get out of IT unless you have a genuine passion for helping a company make the most of it's IT resources. And by that, I mean helping to make its user community make the most of its IT resources. (The user community IS the company) To many admins could care less about the end users (My brother calls them DFU's) and lock computers down to the point that it's very had to do our jobs. (And we hate you for it) When my IT department makes it harder to do my job, (blame it on company policy if it makes you feel better) I'm less inclined to do my job. Provide us with the tools (both hardware and software) to do our jobs more effectively and listen to feedback from the user community. Otherwise, please get out of the field.

        • by mrboyd ( 1211932 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @09:54AM (#29896533)
          Hey I tried to install windows 7 alpha but now my computer doesn't work? I have a problem with my computer since I installed mega-zob-toolbar; please fix it. My kid gave me Adobe CS12 Mega Ultra Designer Pack-DOMINO-REPACK-XXXX to edit that PDF can I have admin right to install it? Hey, I've been trying to send that DVD by email for the last three days but it doesn't work and by the way the email server is very slow. Oh that? That's my home wifi router so I can work from the rec room. Really?? This Azureus software prevents other people from working? I can't see why. Hey IT guy why do you pretend it's my statistical report that i made myself in access that slows the database? I'm not even using the database; only access. Why won't you let us send .exe file by email!!!! THIS IS A BUSINESS REQUIREMENT!!!! You're working AGAINST the business!!!

          Granted some admins go overboard. But users are a pain in the ass.
          • by Voyager529 ( 1363959 ) <[voyager529] [at] []> on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @12:28PM (#29898763)

            Users *can* be a pain. Where I work though, there's an extremely small chance that a situation like this would happen.

            Hey I tried to install windows 7 alpha but now my computer doesn't work?

            Our company machines require a password to boot from anything but the hard drive. This user would be more likely to call me about getting it installed rather than asking for support after the fact. Even if he somehow managed to guess the password, the fact that he had to do so likely indicates that he's not going to be calling my helpdesk to get support for it, and the fact that he can't log into the domain to access his documents or e-mail means that his machine would be re-imaged by lunchtime.

            I have a problem with my computer since I installed mega-zob-toolbar; please fix it.

            We have a corporate antivirus to help reduce attacks like that, but if they fail, then this is part of my job. Most users, realizing that it takes significant amounts of time away from their productivity, tend to ask what they can do to avoid it in the future. The majority of virus attacks I get are based on ignorance, not malice.

            My kid gave me Adobe CS12 Mega Ultra Designer Pack-DOMINO-REPACK-XXXX to edit that PDF can I have admin right to install it?

            First, a quick google search shows that DOMiNO releases DVD rips of movies and isn't a software release group. That said, the majority of the users at work will call me if they need help editing the PDF file in the first place, not asking for help installing 5 DVDs and running a keygen. They know their coworkers can do it, and if they need Acrobat installed on their machines and don't have it, they know that all it takes is a phone call to my desk and I'm going to work on solving their problem.

            Hey, I've been trying to send that DVD by email for the last three days but it doesn't work and by the way the email server is very slow.

            This one I could technically see happening, but AFAIK the only person here who uses ISO files is me. On a more generic note (i.e. sending stupidly large files via e-mail), our Exchange server has a 10MB limit; users who try to e-mail something larger than that will instantly get a failure message. If they do genuinely need to send that large file, I can arrange for that file to sit on an FTP server so that all the recipient has to do is click the download link. If they don't really need to send the file, then, well, they're not going to call.

            Oh that? That's my home wifi router so I can work from the rec room.

            Our building has encrypted wi-fi already. The people who need it access it, and if someone starts needing it, you guessed it, they know to call. Even if my building didn't have wireless, if they can see it so can I. We don't have live ethernet jacks anywhere they shouldn't be, so if it's underneath their desk, it's a trivial matter to track down a linksys router. From there, I'd present my case to my boss as to why we shouldn't have wireless access here (or why we should, but at least done properly), and let her decide what she wants me to do about it.

            Really?? This Azureus software prevents other people from working? I can't see why.

            I haven't had to deal with this one yet, either. About the worst issue I've had so far with regards to bandwidth is that half my office uses Pandora or something similar. Still, our internet speeds are acceptable, I take a peek at our gateway's traffic log to see if there's any high-volume traffic going through abnormal ports, and so far so good. Should this become an issue, I have a supervisor that makes the decision as to what should be done about it.

            Hey IT guy why do you pretend it's my statistical report that i made myself in access that slows the database? I'm not even using the database; only access.

            A clear, simple explanation usually curbs this one. The majori

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by drsmithy ( 35869 )

        Please don't ever SUGGEST nursing to people, unless they demonstrate a genuine compassion, patience, and willingness to help others even on their worst days.That is to say, unless they're pretty much the antithesis of the average Slashdotter. :)

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Aggrajag ( 716041 )

      I changed from IT to nursing and haven't regretted the switch. And yes,
      the job does include poop cleaning (and really nasty stuff especially
      if you specialize to become a paramedic) but you get used to anything.

      Why would one become a nurse? If you like interacting with people and
      are prepared to help them when they *really* need help then the job
      might be what you are looking for.

  • by FPhlyer ( 14433 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @01:31AM (#29893483) Homepage

    I'm an ex-Navy guy. My military career field was journalism and public affairs. When I got out of the service I went directly into IT.
    The same factors that governed my career change would likely work in this, and any other similar situation:
    1. Identify things that you LIKE to do.
    2. Of the things that you LIKE to do, do you also possess marketable skills doing them?
    3. Can you put those skills on a resume?
    4. What can you do NOW to add credibility to your new career?

    Work those things out and making the leap should be fine. Beware, leaving IT can often mean leaving a good paycheck. You'll want to get your finances and lifestyle in check before making the jump.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bagboy ( 630125 )
      Off Topic but... "I'm an ex-Navy guy. My military career field was journalism and public affairs. When I got out of the service I went directly into IT." This is also me - 9.5 years Navy Journalist (NMC and AFRTS - Diego Garcia, Adak,AK, Naval Base Seattle Public Affairs, Gitmo) and now 10 years network engineer.... Small world isn't it. :)
    • by TikiTDO ( 759782 ) <> on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @02:21AM (#29893707)
      I am with you, pick what you like, and move in that direction.

      It is so refreshing to see someone really follow their passion. A huge percentage of the population today is stuck in jobs they do not like. This leads to resentment, anger, and eventually very negative release of these emotions. What's worse, the smartest of these make it to the top of the food chain, then take out all of this amassed anger on society. Had they not been pushed into fields that did not suit them, they would have most likely contributed a lot more to society, and left the positions they now occupy to those that could fill such roles while living a happier life, and contributing much more to the world.

      The way I see it, the purpose of life is to do what you want, enjoy doing it, and enjoy helping others do the same. It is very unfortunate that this does not happen.
      • by netpixie ( 155816 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @07:55AM (#29895315) Homepage

        >The way I see it, the purpose of life is to do what you want, enjoy doing it, and enjoy helping others do the same. It is very unfortunate that this does not happen.

        I enjoy seeing my children have food to eat and clothes to wear. I enjoy being able to take them out to exciting places. I enjoy being able to send them to school. I enjoy keeping them safe in a reasonable house. My wife enjoys being able to stay at home and look after them.

        All of these things are possible because of the cash I earn at a job I don't enjoy.

        So, while universal joy is a good aim, in the real world it doesn't usually work like that. You have to choose which bits of your life you are going to enjoy and which bits you are going to endure.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        A huge percentage of the population today is stuck in jobs they do not like.

        One thing to realize about this is what Marx wrote about 150 years ago about alienation of labor. He said, and I think it's true, that to work for anyone else inherently renders that work less satisfying. This means that the essential nature of -any- economy is that production is less satisfying than we would like. This is true whether it's a capitalist, socialist, or communist society. To work for The Man sucks, and always will.

    • by BillGod ( 639198 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @02:35AM (#29893785)
      I was laid off from my IT position.. I live in Ohio.. everyone is laid off. All I know is computers. In a past life I was a paramedic but figured I didn't have the compassion needed for that job. I understand computers and love to do it. Thats why I chose IT. About 6 months ago I took a leap and opened my own computer repair shop. Only cost me about 2k to get the doors open. No stock of parts except the boxes of crap I had around my house. I am now making profit after 6 months. I love it. I have no one to answer to but myself. The customers are very thankful that there is some place they can go that will actually fix there issues. I even have some older retired guys who just come in to hang out. I have no experience what so ever in running a business. Learning curve is not all that hard. Luckily my neighbor is an accountant and helped me in that area. The first 2 months were kind of scary not having anything to do. Played a lot of pocket tanks with my friends. Now I have an office that I don't even go into because I have so much to do. If your an honest person that truly knows how to fix computers. I am sure you would be a welcome asset to your community. Oh yeah and the 2 mile drive to work is SWEET!
  • by joeyg1973 ( 1199299 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @01:40AM (#29893521)
    I used to work on the docks in NJ as a longshoreman during the summer and winter breaks from school in the early to mid 1990s. If I had stayed down there I would have close to 20 years in already, be getting paid close to the same amount I get now considering the hours that I put in plus the extended periods of no work each and every time the economy takes a down turn. I would have 6 weeks paid vacation every year, great medical, stable work, and no politics or being treated like an overpaid janitor. Unions are very good things people and sooner or later this country is going to figure out. The books are now closed and probably won't be open again for 5 years so even though I still have a union card, I can't get a job down there till federal government determines that it needs more workers thanks to the NYSA, not the union. I am trying to get a job as a US Customs Agent now. Sure I ain't going to be making a lot of money, but the benefits, 40 hour work week, and stable steady work means that it actually comes out to about the same as I make now.
    • by Xest ( 935314 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @05:53AM (#29894559)

      "Unions are very good things people and sooner or later this country is going to figure out."

      As someone who has worked public sector, was a union member, and even striked with the union I can say that this is not entirely the case, unions are dangerous and I would rather see them severely weakened in the UK.

      Unions are okay if their power is kept small, but in the UK they go out of control- Unison, one of the UK's biggest unions claims over 2 million members, and despite the fact half the working population are taking paycuts right now, Unison is still pushing for pay rises, even though basic IT technicians are still getting paid £29k in some local authorities where their true market worth in private sector for the low levels of ability would be around £16k to £18k. Governments are powerless to say no though, because they simply can't deal with the damage caused by a union that can put a good portion of it's 2 million members on strike. The story is the same with teachers whereby you have teachers strikes because secondary school teachers are underpaid whilst the same union covers primary school teachers who hence get the same rises and who are hence now heavily overpaid for their job, but what can the government do? risk having an entire generation of kids education disrupted setting them back for life?

      Similarly, unions have a habit of protecting people at work regardless of the merit of that. This makes it impossible to get rid of dead weight, because you can't afford the associated costs with doing so - it's cheaper to keep those useless people in the job, providing a shit service than it is to get rid of them.

      We also have them acting as a strongly political tool, they mail out regularly to their 2 million members telling them who to vote for and who not to vote for, in my opinion this type of political lobbying is far beyond the remit of a union, particularly one with 2 million members who have distinctly varied political views.

      I agree a country entirely without unions really would kind of suck for workers, but on the same note, as someone who lives in a country with unions that are simply far too powerful, and as someone who now, looking back wishes they had not given any support whatsoever to such unions I disagree that you want unions to become more popular or more powerful. They can bring countries to a standstill even when their argument has no merit- you only have to look at the current UK postal strikes for evidence of that and note also that the Royal Mail is having to pay £20m a year to provide premises and time off work for it's staff to perform union activities. That's a hell of a burden on a company when the only result is for the company to get screwed over for that £20m it has had to spend. It's hard to tell what the Royal Mail strikes are even about as the official line seems to be changing daily from the union involved- originally they admitted job cuts were needed and that that was not the issue but now they are saying it is about jobs. The Royal Mail has lost a £25m Amazon contract because of this, you simply can't have a union holding a company to ransom like that at the expense of the company, particularly when the union doesn't even seem to be able to remain consistent in what it's actual demands are!

  • by serps ( 517783 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @01:43AM (#29893533) Homepage

    Seriously. You can start with one bag of seed and a few plastic buckets and sell to local businesses (especially organic businesses and asian stores since they sell larger quantities) and scale up from there. Inventory isn't a huge problem since it only takes 72 hours to grow the sprouts, and you can buy the seed by the 25kg bag.

    Obviously, I'm simplifying things, but honestly it's a business that's incredibly easy to get into, resistant to non-local competition due to the perishability of the sprouts, and if you can 'get it right', you can definitely market on quality

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @01:45AM (#29893547)
    Actually man, I make more money selling magazine subscriptions, than I ever did at Intertrode!

    Only bad thing is I have to pretend I'm a recovering crackhead.

  • ex-DBA here (Score:3, Informative)

    by Dexter Herbivore ( 1322345 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @01:46AM (#29893553) Journal
    I was working as a DBA in the mining/exploration industry until a few years ago. I got sick of constant corporate takeovers and mergers that went with the industry at the time, it's not fun looking for a new job every 14 months because some other company bought out the exploration rights and had their own staff and systems. On top of that, after my last redundancy I travelled around Europe and swore to never again look at a drillhole data log. Now I work as a civil servant overseeing the Thoroughbred, Standardbred and Greyhound racing industry. It's taken me 5 years worth of work here to finally get back to the level of income that I had at age 23, but the job satisfaction now is immense. It did take a few years to adjust and slowly work my way up the food chain but I wouldn't go back to IT and ungrateful/idiotic/anti-technology positions again. Ultimately I found that job satisfaction and regular hours far outweighed the extra money I made in IT.
  • by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @01:49AM (#29893573)

    IT jobs get absolutely no respect any more.
    They get paid crap.
    They have *ON CALL* work.
    They have to read the minds of dolts who make more money (and work in a more sex balanced environment and who often get to go out drinking on the company dime).

    I had to beg our manager to take the guys to lunch. And he wouldn't spring 15 bucks for an appetizer.

    Meanwhile the other side of the building is meeting for drinks at the bar at night dropping easily 10 to 20 bucks per person.

    At my friend's company, the IT folks get up at 6am, get left at work while everyone goes out drinking for extended lunches (because they are "sales and executives")-- entire company is smaller than my last team. Executives my ass.

    Somehow, we let them do this to us. When I was getting into the field, we were priest kings in air-conditioned rooms with complete power. But with each passing year, we underbid each other and passed control over to people who worked us to death.

    Leave the field.
    If your in it, learn to fail gracefully.
    Negotiate for more money and leave when they don't give it to you. Leave them in a lurch.

    This all sounds like a troll but it's more bitterness seeing complete idiots making 6 and 7 figure salaries while the "intelligent" folks are working as slaves.

    How did it come to this?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Splab ( 574204 )

      The bubble bursts and a lot of people realized that quite a lot of "professionel" IT had absolutely no idea what they where doing.

      Look on the bright side though, currently bankers, real estate agent etc. are getting the same treatment.

      Also, IT is hard to quantify, a "key account manager" is quite easy to quantify in terms of turnover, and IT is often socially inept people, they aren't good at fighting back.

    • by Money for Nothin' ( 754763 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @02:24AM (#29893719)

      Simple: there are too many in IT who actually believe in the philosophy of "Atlas Shrugged" - a race-to-the-bottom, out-compete-each-other-for-the-good-of-mankind philosophy.

      Ayn Rand and the army of philosophical libertarians in the U.S. whose intellect (required to understand the philosophy and economics behind it) naturally puts them in positions of influence and power via which these ideas are implemented (example: Alan Greenspan, a deep fan of Rand), along with the army of free-market economists who use their own work as faux-empirical justification for libertarian economic policies, NEVER talk about the humanitarian downsides of a hyper-competitive feedback loop/death-spiral... except to mock them in "Atlas Shrugged" (America's second most-influential book after the Bible, according to one survey conducted in the early 1990s).

      I say this as a slowly-recovering right-libertarian (and developer) myself, turned moderate left-libertarian.

      We in IT have cut our own personal income profit margins and raised our hours in an attempt to out-compete each other; we've raised the bar year after year on ourselves. We have, in short, cut our own throats. We now, and increasingly-moreso, live in the cutthroat environment we (and admittedly, I) have so often advocated.

      • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @03:29AM (#29894037) Journal

        You can thank Clinton and Bush for making it so easy and profitable to outsource American labor. When consumer spending owns 70% of the economy because there is no manufacturing or business spending left in the U.S. it is a huge problem.

        In past recessions business spending brings the economy up and then consumers follow. Now it does not make a difference as invested money just goes to China and India and not back to us. Consumers are working for less and working more hours cut back on spending until things improve.

        We did not allow this. THe corrupt lobbiests and politicians did. We need to fight back and form a third party or get involved with other workers like auto and factory workers who can't compete and end free trade. Only then will we get our salaries and our jobs back. Yes in a recession like this one I am willing to cut throat and kiss b*tt not to go homeless and its hopeless trying to have us all agree to stand up when so much labor is available.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Aladrin ( 926209 )

        I agree with Rand's philosophy to a point, but it has -nothing- to do with why IT is like it is.

        IT is staffed mainly by people who love doing the job. That means that when it comes to taking a little crap to keep your job, you take it because you love the actual job. More and more get piled on until it's the standard way to do things in the industry.

        On the other hand, Atlas Shrugged was all about getting the respect and recompensation that you deserve for your hard work. It's pretty exactly the opposite

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by CaptSlaq ( 1491233 )

        If "a race-to-the-bottom, out-compete-each-other-for-the-good-of-mankind philosophy" is all you got from Rand, you missed the point.

        "I swear, by my life and love of it, I will never live for the sake of another person, nor ask another person to live for the sake of me."

        I'm not seeing what you say in that sentence, which was the money quote for the ENTIRE BOOK of Atlas Shrugged. If you feel that you're "living for the sake of another", you need to be job shopping *now*, because one of two things is hap

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by thynk ( 653762 )

      How did it come to this?

      We let them take away our over voltage cattle prods. Plain and simple.

    • by jandersen ( 462034 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @04:10AM (#29894199)

      This all sounds like a troll but it's more bitterness seeing complete idiots making 6 and 7 figure salaries while the "intelligent" folks are working as slaves.

      How did it come to this?

      I don't know, mate, but I do know the feeling.

      I hit the low point some 4 years ago. , when it suddenly dawned on me that I tended to wake up in the morning thinking how much easier it would be just to give up; take an overdose of something pleasant and say goodbye. Except that you can't, really, when you have children adn a wife that love you - sometimes hope really is the worst thing.

      Instead I started thinking about what it was that I hated about my job and my life, and what role I played in maintaining the status quo. Why didn't I have any friends at work? Well, to be honest, I was a grumpy git that never tried to fit in - I had all the right reasons, like I can't stand idiotic smalltalk about nothing, but the truth is that I was simply intolerant and fairly obnoxious. And why didn't I get any of the interesting projects with career potential? It's easy to see now, of course, that nobody wants to work with a contrary idiot, who seems to begrudge the very existence of his colleagues, but back then I didn't have the courage to admit it.

      I didn't turn all that around in an instant, but I found that I could start out small, by standing up for myself on a few points. The thing is - I realised that a lot of the reason why I was that way was that I didn't have confidence in my own value. And how can others respect you if you don't respect yourself? Standing up for myself in small ways built up my self-confidence, which made me work to a better standard and it also helped others believe in me. I found the energy to be a little bit of an "idiot" like the rest and be more tolerant; now I am The Almighty UNIX Manager - in a small way - and the bosses actually talk to me with respect. It's not all wonderful, far from it, but I think I can see the light at the other end of the tunnel sometimes.

      Of course this is just my story, but I think the morale is that it doesn't all have to be bad; if you find you are knee-deep in shit, bag it and sell manure.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @04:50AM (#29894361)

      How did it come to this?

      What do you mean, come to? Didn't high school teach you that jocks run the world?

      Working hard and being useful just means someone else is working less hard, being less useful, and making more money. That's life.

      I blame my parents for raising me with morals.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mauddib~ ( 126018 )

        Then you didn't really understand the morals, or maybe only part of the morals were given to you.

        An important moral is to not have greed, you just showed greed.

        Yesterday I saw a movie about farming in the 1920's in the Netherlands. People farmed because it was a necessity. Nobody had greed because greed meant others would not work for you the next year. I'm not a jock, but I have a beautiful life with ups and downs, a beautiful girlfriend and the opportunity to learn every day.

        If money is not the thing you

      • by 4D6963 ( 933028 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @04:28PM (#29902187)

        That's utter bullshit. "Jocks" don't run the world, real jocks end up working at an auto plant and become alcoholics by the time they're 35. Hustlers run the world. If you want the world you can't be a sheep. You can't follow the other sheeps and wonder why you're not getting anywhere special.

        Look at John D. Rockefeller, that guy was the perfect example of the successful aggressive hustler. From co-owning one refinery he pulled every possible trick to become more competitive than anyone else, eat the competition to get even bigger until he had a complete monopoly and became the richest son of a bitch in the world. No one told him what to do, no one showed him what to do, no one made it easy for him, he didn't follow anyone or complain like a big loser.

        At the other end of the spectrum you've got people complaining in this topic that their quasi-janitorial job isn't getting them anywhere. I mean shit, the type of jobs we're talking about here partially consists in making sure people don't have CAPS LOCK turned on when they login in the morning. What the hell did you expect?! No one gets anywhere special by following the safe, pre-designed path that you've borrowed. What you do isn't special, you're probably spending most of your work day typing in some MySQL when you're not typing rants on Slashdot with your Cheetos-scented fingers.

        I was just watching the Colbert Report and there was this thing about the university degrees the world's billionaires had. And guess what, a lot of them had none. Steve Jobs had none. Bill Gates had none. John D. Rockefeller had none. And you know what else these guys have in common? They're hustlers, and they got rich as hell. They didn't work for 20 years for some large company waiting to realise their career is shit, they took the bull by the horns, created their own damn company and strived to make it successful.

        You don't want to create your own company? You don't have any sort of entrepreneurial spirit? You don't want to quit your day job? Well too bad for you. In life you can only choose two of the following three things : have it easy, do something you like, become rich and respected. You chose the first two, don't complain you'll never see the third.

  • Very timely... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jon-ZA ( 788176 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @01:51AM (#29893579) Homepage
    I'm completely jaded with the IT industry after having spent the past 10 years installing toner cartridges and mapping network drives for people that show very little gratitude. I tried my best to move up the corporate ladder, so to speak. I started out at the bottom and slowly worked my way up passed junior admin, helpdesk, and into senior technical support. Then I hit a vertical limit at one company, with no choice for further career progression. I looked around and evaluated my skills, but everything pointed to a horizontal move. With my desire to have a stable, decent paying job, I had inadvertently boxed myself into a position which was going to be almost impossible to get out of. My skills were clearly tailored around supporting users, with some network admin and even lecturing experience. Then, a miracle happened, I got laid off from that job and that's when life started. Suddenly a thousand possibilities entered my head. And that's where I'm at right now. I'm taking 6 months off, I put my condo up for rent and I'm going traveling to Africa! I'm hoping to accomplish quite a few things when I get there, re-focus my efforts and rejuvenate my enthusiasm, when I get back I want to start my own company, I'm tired of working for people. I want to experience owning a company firsthand and seeing my efforts pay off, literally. I'm tired of making shareholders richer and richer with each passing month. So if you skipped all of that here's the sum up. If you don't enjoy what you do, take some time off to figure out what it is that you want to do with yourself. Emphasis on 'time off'. They say that people change careers 5 times in their lives. This change, for me, will be change number 1 and I'm looking forward to it like you cannot believe.
  • Some IT guys I know don't have degrees. If you have a bachelor degree in anything it would be a lot easier to change careers. Go to school part time.

  • by siddesu ( 698447 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @01:53AM (#29893591)

    I got out of IT after more than 10 years in the field (and CTO-ing for a public company in my last job) as I finally got fed up with it. After a longish sabbatical, I started a small bakery/coffee shop. I'd say it is as big a change as you can axe for, and I have been pretty happy so far. I still use some of my mad skillz, but since I went the hard way - designed and built my shop and equipment more or less from scratch - I had to learn (and I am still learning) a lot of stuff - from carpentry, construction work and machinery to advanced chemistry. ;)

    At the beginning, the money wasn't that good and it was hard work and long hours, but eventually things picked up and now I am better off than I used to be. The biggest benefit outside of the pay is the free time -- now I have a lot of time for side projects. Half are somewhat related to extending the business, the other half are just things I like. I don't push it very hard though, because that was what I was running away from in the first place. Overall, I regret it I didn't run away from the field earlier. That said, I got into IT by accident, and I didn't like it that much.

    Good luck.

  • Oi (Score:5, Funny)

    by Turbo_Button ( 1648215 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @01:56AM (#29893599)
    I'll take your job!
  • Teaching and working in industrial engineering are popular sideways career moves for IT people. There is still a market in the US for large-scale industrial engineering (heavy machinery, chemical processing, construction). It is typically a similar environment, lots of technical savvy required, not too much customer interaction, but with reasonable hours and less stress than the typical IT position. Teaching is an obvious move, since it is government subsidized, benefits from the recession, has a history

  • by grcumb ( 781340 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @02:04AM (#29893637) Homepage Journal

    I hit the same point about 2002. The Dot Com thing had soured and I was just tired of the whole game. I did a two year volunteering gig in the South Pacific... and never left.

    It's fascinating, because a lot of the stuff I was doing when I first arrived here was the same I'd been doing 10 years before (I mean literally the same technology). Since then I've moved along and now I'm pretty much current with the kind of things I'd likely be doing back in Canada (technical manager for a local university institution). Just this week I submitted patches to a wireless network driver for the latest version of Ubuntu. So what's changed for me? Just this:

    IT work in development has taken me to cities, towns and villages in Fiji, the Solomon Islands, East Timor and Vanuatu (where I now live). I'll be off to South Africa in a little over a month.

    I have faced crazy demands in the past (Windows activation from a place with no networks and no telephones? Keeping the minutes for a week-long meeting in a town with no power?) I've had malaria and been hospitalised with kidney stones from dehydration. I've shared the room with rats, roaches, fire ants and geckoes. I've slept on cement and eaten more cold rice than I ever thought possible.

    But I've also had breakfast in the clouds, been to the brink of volcanoes, rambled in rain forest and snorkeled in coral reefs so often that it's run-of-the-mill, dined with Ministers of state... and helped make people's lives a little more liveable.

    The work is engaging, challenging and stretches one's creativity to the limit, trying to figure out how to mesh Internet technologies with cultures largely unchanged in the last 3000 years. It pays a tiny fraction of what I used to make, but the rewards are infinitely greater.

  • I tend to get bored if I stay in the same job too long. Also cash, promotions, and respect are easier to come by when you switch companies. Sad, but true. My progression has been tech support, NOC, Network Engineer, Windows Admin, Network Eng/Sys Admin, Sys Admin/DBA/Network/Developer/IT guy, Application Operations, and finally head Application Engineer which is mostly capacity planning, architecture review, project management, and trying to catch issues before they take the service down. Most of what you l

  • by shashark ( 836922 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @02:14AM (#29893677)
    - Skills [read buzzwords] change every few years - Check
    - Buzzword compliance resume is more valuable than actual skills - Check
    - Your job can be shipped off to India, China or the Next-Offshore-Location any single day - Check
    - You make a lot less than what people think you do - and a lot of your staff hates you [esp for Administrators] - Check

    Did I miss anything ? So what's there NOT to hate an IT Job ?
  • I had to do a couple of years in college to redirect my skillset for my new life as a nanoscientist.

    It's the best thing I've ever done in my life.

  • by hyades1 ( 1149581 ) <> on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @02:26AM (#29893723)

    I just started lighting Altadis Behike cigars with $1,000 bills. As long as I smoked at least a couple a week, my income stayed about the same.

  • Family? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by corychristison ( 951993 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @02:30AM (#29893755)

    Do you have a family? If so, will you be able to continue to support them?

    I am expecting my first child any time now (5 days over due date). I am currently self employed and make great money doing it. Especially this time of year, as opposed to the 8 week 'vacation' I have every summer because business dies and income dries right up. Although that is easily manageable with some basic savings and balancing of numbers.

    I've been hmming and hauing the thought of finding something more stable and doesn't require me to be on my toes 24/7. There are some openings at [a very large local employer] that I've been considering applying to in the spring.

    You always have to weigh the pro's and cons. For me I am actually quite torn but I suppose we'll see what happens when my child is born.

    My Pros of current job:
    - Flexible. I work when I want and don't when I don't want (it's great when the wife is in and out of false labor all week)
    - Good money for the amount of work involved.

    My Cons of current job:
    - Can be long days if they work out that way.
    - No stability in the long run
    - Keeping my own accounting for taxes, etc. (trivial, really)

    The new job would be a 30% pay decrease, but would be stable all year 'round.
    My days would most likely be shorter than what I am pushing myself to do right now.
    I would have most benefits and coverage for dental, drugs, etc... which would be handy although i've been fine without it so far! (might change with the baby)

    My biggest worry with jumping into a new job would be that I would probably have to ask the wife to go back to work. Which turns into paying for day care, etc. etc..... just a bunch of crap I'd rather not deal with.

    So, to the point. If you have family and you are making ends meet no problem right now, stick to it.
    If you don't have family and could take a potential pay cut, go for it. Your happiness is worth a lot.

  • SciOps (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Shag ( 3737 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @02:32AM (#29893771)

    I spent about 15 years in IT (programmer, sysadmin, webmaster, web dev, consultant). 5.5 years ago consulting was slow (if you knew my town, you'd know why) so I was looking for a full-time sysadmin gig. Just so happens the biggest local UNIX shops are observatories - the kind with telescopes.

    I was applying for sysadmin jobs when a part-time gig operating a small telescope came along. I didn't know a whole lot of astronomy (okay, I knew woefully little, and had never had a single class in it) but the telescope was controlled by UNIX and Linux boxes, and I sure as heck knew those. I had to learn about "right ascension" and "declination." I picked up some other part-time jobs, so my worst year (2005?) ended up only being 80% less than my best dot-com year (2002).

    About a year later, I started doing sporadic laser-safety stuff at a couple other observatories. Not in terms of actually working on the lasers, but in terms of making sure they didn't, um, hit any airplanes. :)

    A couple years in, some folks who were using the telescope a lot decided that since I was a techie, curious, and actually talked to them (they used an AIM chatroom for communication between collaborators on a couple continents, and all my fellow operators were thoroughly non-instant-messaging sorts), they'd train me to use their data-taking setup (xterms and some custom GUI apps, running in VNCs over an SSH tunnel). So before long I had entries in ADSABS and a .gov email address and life was getting weird.

    Last year, after 4 years of being a computer geek surrounded by astronomers, I signed up for an online graduate certificate program in astronomy, in hopes of learning what all those strange words meant. This spring, being in a graduate program weighed in my favor and I got a full-time job as an operator-in-training at a (much larger) telescope, which basically pays enough to live on, here (and has a lot of upside potential).

    So... pros and cons of going from IT operations to technical work in science operations...

    You'll never hear anyone talking about crazy dot-edu or dot-org pay. ;)
    The survival of your job depends in part on survival of their funding.
    If you're a lone wolf or primadonna, operations is not the place for you.
    Work ethic may be different; no foosball table.

    Science abhors a vacuum between people's ears, so everyone you work with will be smart in some way or another.
    Scientists actually recognize and appreciate the fact that You Make Things Work. (egad!)
    Hiring authorities often equally happy with a degree in their science, some other science, technology, or engineering.
    Stress level can be significantly lower in some cases (like mine).

    Oh, and FWIW, science-y places also need electronics engineers, electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, programmers, sysadmins, builders of instrumentation - all kinds of techies.

    Just sayin'.

  • by adamkennedy ( 121032 ) <adamk@c[ ].org ['pan' in gap]> on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @03:09AM (#29893939) Homepage

    I hear people complaining about their shitty IT conditions, and I really do sympathise.

    I used to be in a similar situation, before I learned a bit more about Economics and applied it to job hunting.

    Supply and Demand alone suggest jobs in places like the Games industry (to which most male gamers under the age of about 25 aspire) will be horrible. The massive supply of labour will be chewed up and spat out by the fickle industry, paid low money and treated like crap.

    Likewise, many people in IT are on the cost side of the ledger, where a company is always going to be seeking for reductions in cost and increases in efficiency.

    My suggestion? Find an industry which is old (and thus has well established work principles), deeply unsexy, and (if you can) look for jobs on the income side of the ledger. And then be the guy that steps up to take responsibility for safe-guarding that income, the guy that can step up and speak truth to power and be taken seriously because it's your job to make sure that $100m, or $1b, or $10b revenue stream never ever ever stops.

    In my case, I discovered the logistics industry and found a programming job at the largest company in my country maintaining the codebase responsible for 80% of their sales (and climbing).

    Good money, normal 9-5 hours, prohibited from doing overtime, a proper infra team to manage the hardware, a proper ops team to deploy and run our software, and a reasonable ability to requisition just about anything we need, because The Spice Must Flow.

    I would imagine that similar jobs to mine exist in all kinds of places that sound really boring, places like power companies and garbage recycling and anywhere else that needs a lot of IT but will never be mentioned on the front page of slashdot.

    • Performance Testing (Score:3, Informative)

      by pnuema ( 523776 )
      I think I really have managed to find the sweetest spot in IT. I make as much as a developer, my work is technically interesting, and best of all, I have absolutely nothing to do with production. Good performance testers are hard to find (mainly due to the high signal to noise ratio from the resume mills over seas), so when you are hired and recognized as such, you have some job security. Best of all, almost no one really understands what you are doing, but everyone understands when the website goes down, w
    • My suggestion? Find an industry which is old (and thus has well established work principles), deeply unsexy, and (if you can) look for jobs on the income side of the ledger.

      I know a woman, in Denver, who works as property manager for an office building. Basically the job is hiring contractors, collecting rent, paying the bills. The job pays $90K a year, with perks up the wahzoo. She does not know anything about plumbing, electronics, hvac, or anything like that.

      If you own the business, community (HOA) management, can be even more lucrative. Seems like it would hard to get started, but if you could get started, you have a very stable income.

  • Lose the boss (Score:5, Interesting)

    by arielsom ( 1636959 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @03:43AM (#29894081)
    I think there are a lot of things being mixed up here. My job in IT sucked. So I left and am now a freelancer doing web related stuff, and working as a teacher, also on IT related subjects. My point: it's having a boss that sucks, not the actual IT. When I come in from the outside and I'm being paid big bucks for it, I get respect that I wouldn't if I were a wage slave. The reason they treat salespeople better is that they know how to market themselves, whereas there is this persistent image of IT people as Rainman types who you can kick around. Unions would help, but just leaving works too. In France we call this "voting with your feet".
  • by drteknikal ( 67280 ) on Wednesday October 28, 2009 @12:04PM (#29898471) Homepage

    I spent two decades as a network/pc tech and a systems administrator. When the time came to look around again, I was depressed by the thought of going through the job search, rolling the dice, settling in, performing triage and rebuilding, and then waiting to see how much management would allow to be done right in the long run. In my mind, it was the prospect of going somewhere else, doing the same things again, and spinning my wheels for a few years while I discovered which ways I'd be thwarted this time.

    For background, I started off in the military (US Navy) and then transitioned to military/defense contractor (NAVSEA), then to civilian government contractor (USAID/STATE), and then I went corporate. I worked for a law firm, mistook the frying pan for the fire and jumped into the fire, went to work in a drug lab (a pre-clinical drug-development facility), was treated worse than the lab animals, found a K Street (Washington, DC) law firm with a casual dress code, and went back to working for lawyers. After about 5 years, I realized it was time to leave, and I no longer had much interest. Absent a carte-blanche startup opportunity, I walked away. Not the American Beauty deal, but I got 18 months of COBRA paid for, and continuing retirement plan contributions for the same term.

    I bought the farm. Mortgaged my house, bought a 10-acre farm in West Virginia, and renovated. When complete, I sold the old house and decamped. Now, I grow peppers and make hot sauce. I keep bees and pack honey. I do what I want, when I want, and I answer to me. The farm's paid for, living expenses are minimal, and my retirement funds are intact. I'm a packrat, and I have a lifetime of collected stuff that's easily sold on eBay as needed. Even with medical expenses, I still have a positive cash flow.

    There are many ways to do it. One of the easiest is to flee the big city for the middle of nowhere. My new place cost 1/4 of the old one, the new house is 20% bigger, and I have 80x more land. The trick may be funding the transition. I was lucky, my old house was paid for and I could borrow against it so the new place wouldn't have a mortgage.

Nothing makes a person more productive than the last minute.