IT Got me depressed

This topic was created by Beelzeebub .

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IT Got me depressed

Working for a consultancy which I cannot mention.

30 years in IT now I'm on the junkheap.

Ta for that IT.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: IT Got me depressed

Fuck that shit.

It's over when they put you in the ground.

That is all.

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Meh

My Dad was chatting to an IT manager socially....

who blatantly said he did not hire anyone over 40 in a technical role, because if they were any good, they would be in managment by now. He also pointed out that anyone over that age was getting paid over the odds for skills they have accumulated which they would probably not use.

We're a commodity, people. Like mathematicians, our best work is done in our 20s and 30s.

I am repatriating to the southern hemisphere shortly, and fully expect not to get a job in corporate IT aged in my 40s. I expect I will teach grannies to surf the net in my spare time while serving coffee at Starbucks during the day.

Thems the breaks.

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Silver badge

Re: My Dad was chatting to an IT manager socially....

"He also pointed out that anyone over that age was getting paid over the odds for skills they have accumulated which they would probably not use."

This is only a problem if you try and get paid based on the skills you have, not on the job that's required or the skills needed to do it.

I work in the public sector where pay scales are based on the role that's required and there is no negotiation which is fine by me, as far as I'm concerned if you're not happy with the pay don't take the job in the first place.

But I've met all to many private sector consultants who expect to be paid based on their wide array of knowledge and skills that have nothing to do with the task at hand, rather than based on what they've been asked to do.

Unfortunately the reality of a depressed and stagnant economy is that the majority of companies are not going to pay more than they absolutely have to to get a job done, even if it means inferior workmanship.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: My Dad was chatting to an IT manager socially....

What rubbish. That guy sounds like a nob. I've seen and heard of people joining IT teams over the age of 40 and not in management roles.

He obviously has no clue. Why wouldn't you be any good if you weren't in a management role anyway? You would spend less time on the technical side for a start. Not everyone wants to be a manager.

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Re: My Dad was chatting to an IT manager socially....

what they mean is that the managers see themselves as better than the engineers. i mean its dilbert all over. so the manager see's someone who still holds the lowly title of engineer at 40 as some kind of failure. that is because he himself as a manager is management material, and basically fits in with most of the other useless c*nts that get made managers. (ymmv, and im not saying that all managers are c*nts, just that most of them are in my experience, which is why i now work for myself - the thought of working for someone else gives me the screaming heebie jeebies now)

this is whats wrong with society.

a lifetime of solving problems in different (say, languages, platforms, products, techniques) and situations is invaluable to further problem solving. i think you only get better at it. but then i would as i am now 40

so my friend, take heart - start your own business - i did 11 years ago and have never looked back. its tough to start with, but you can do it, and whilst it can be tough and demanding and long hours, you are in charge, from cleaning the toilets to advertising to fixing things/writing code/advising etc etc.

its liberating, and you no longer work for the man or their stupid bullshit, and it goes some way to pulling you out of "the machine".

you can also make pretty decent money from it, although dont expect to for the first few years

dont see this as a downfall - see it as a fresh start. go get em mate!

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I've been making money from IT for nearly forty years ...

... but I've been a self-employed conslutant for about the last quarter century ... at least when I want IT work (rare these days).

Comment above, to whit "skills they have accumulated which they would probably not use" is total bullshit in my mind. I use skills I learned on Honeywell, Amdahl, DEC & pre-mini IBM kit every time I go in to troubleshoot a modern data center. The speaker had no idea what he was talking about ... which is a good sign that you want to "fire" that company/division/department before becoming employed by them.

The above mentioned bit of manglement will not understand my above paragraph. That's why I finally got an MBA on top of my more techie comp/engineering education ... THEY think it means something, but in all reality it hasn't changed my approach to IT.

Suggestion: Any IT bod finding advancement difficult after a decade or so ... get an MBA. If you can program in any of the major languages, an MBA will be a cake-walk. It's not exactly rocket-science ... look at all the idiots you('ve) work(ed) with who have one. If you already have any kind of degree, it shouldn't take all that long. Will jump-start your career. Will also give you the financial tools to strike out on your own, should you decide to.

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Unhappy

Pah!

I'm with Jake on this one.

I have been in IT since 1980 and most of the skills I learned back then are still relevant today. The hardware and software may have changed but the principles remain.

Frankly any manager who is prepared to make sweeping statements like "we don't hire anyone over the age of 40 in a technical role", is an idiot who is not up to the job and should be sacked.

This is clearly a manager who believes that management is a "profession" that everybody should aspire to.

When you have managers who believe everything that happened before they were appointed is irrelevant, then you do not have a culture which values experience.

I'm basically an engineer and pretty good at what I do, I also enjoy my work. Why should I have to take a job that I'm no good at and would hate doing, just to "get on"?

I was once interviewed for a contract updating the embedded software for a ten-year-old piece of control equipment.

At one point I was reprimanded by one member of the panel:

"You seem very sure of what can and cannot be done with this system."

"Yes", I replied, "I should be, I programmed it. I also designed the hardware."

I didn't get the contract as, according to the agency, I didn't have the relevant skills.

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IT Angle

I made the mistake...

...of getting into IT because I was interested in it, pretty good at it and presented with the opportunity to build up my knowledge and experience.

What a stupid boy I was, of course I quickly got as far as I could go. After collecting years of knowledge and experience I found myself in a position where I was doing the job of the guy above me better than he could, stupidly thinking I'd get a promotion at some point.

I tried every which way to make it happen and had to face up to the fact that people get paid more because they know the right people, the duties of the job are just made up in order to justify that pay on paper. Those duties still get done but only because they have fools like I was to do them.

I ended up getting out of IT and I'm now doing something completely different which I have no background or experience in and guess why... because I knew someone at the company who got me the job.

Have I become the thing I hated the most? Probably. Was it that pre deterministic inevitability that I hated? Or was it just plain old jealousy? Probably the later, I hoped I would be doing more of the same and getting paid more because I'd be doing it better and found out that I'd been concentrating on completely the wrong thing, I ended up on the wrong side of that fence and I felt bitter about it. I didn't like it, I still don't but its just the way the world is and if you can't beat em...

I can't exactly say I'm on the right side of it now, I don't think it matters what the job is there just comes a point like being initiated into some secret society where you will either be given a bump up the next level based on your connections, or you won't. Knowledge, experience and being able to do whatever job they bump you up to really doesn't come into it. Half the manager's I've ever met couldn't manage to organise a gangbang in a brothel, its simply that a management job pays more so making these people managers was the only way to give them a bump up.

As BC pointed out, being the absolutely perfect most qualified person for a position won't get you it and I don't think it just applies in IT, you'll get jobs based on whether or not they like you and it seems to me that in the world we live in being a techie isn't just un-attractive, its positively repulsive.

As OB quoted "any good they'd be in management by now", obviously whoever said that didn't think it through as it basically translates to "If this person was any good at being a <WHATEVER> they wouldn't be asked to do that and instead would have been asked to do something completely different instead of the job they are good at." Of course I make this poor translation based on my old definition of 'any good', I'm sure the original speaker wasn't thinking of how good the candidate is at doing the job in hand but rather taking 'being in management' as a sign that this person must be 'the right kind of chap' ... after all, someone made him a manager so he must be one of the club.

I still do the occasional bit of software dev but only where it benefits me, I've learnt that I'm never going to get paid any more than I am now no matter what I do, the numbers might go up but then so will the rent and the price of gas over the years.

The best thing you can do as a techie in my opinion? As little as is required to keep your job, why work your arse off if no-one is going to reward you for it?

As OB said about best work being done in 20s and 30s, perhaps that is true and if it is I can only speak from my own point of view here but I think its because by the time we reach our 30s we realise the above and stop trying. Management like to hire young people because they don't know the score and are prepared to give you their moments of genius thinking they can prove themselves and that rewards may follow... when they didn't I learnt not to waste my effort, all I got from it was a sense of a pride and maybe a pat on the back. Then I got home and realised I was living in a shitty little bedsit with a damp problem and didn't have a girlfriend, the pat on the back really didn't make a lot of difference to the bank balance or my life.

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Skills not Syntax

Blofeld may be right that the manager should be sacked, but although it may be his fault, it is *your* problem.

What I've seen is that any given job hires you for what is basically "syntax", ie knowing how to declare some absurd pointer to a function that returns an array of pointers to doubles, or the differences between Oracle and MS SQL or some parameter to a firewall, the thing that keeps your career going is deeper skills which allow you to blag your way through changes in fashion.

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Happy

Re: Skills not Syntax

The other approach here is to know something inside-out that's arcane, ancient and yet still widely-used in business-critical systems.

Nobody else is learning it and the sunsetting going on doesn't keep up with the retirement and death of others who can scry the runes.

Your friends, who you will learn to love, are the big consultancies. They'll continually talk execs into some mind-numbingly complicated and bleeding edge approach to replacement, ensuring that the legacy crud will be around for years to come when the replacement project inevitably goes titsup.com.

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COBOL is dead! (was: Re: Skills not Syntax)

Long Live COBOL!

Seriously, there are more functional lines of COBOL and Fortran working in big business today than the average kid who never used a dial telephone could possibly imagine. I do not know of a single COBOL or Fortran programmer who is currently out of work. I can't say the same for Java(script), VisBas, C++, C#, and what-have-you. Not a month goes by when I don't get email from a former student, thanking me for suggesting COBOL or Fortran as another programming language to learn ... The two are pretty much ubiquitous in big business.

(First posted 8th January 2009 here.)

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Smile

Why depressed, man?

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Bronze badge

learn PHP, IT comes into play coding all the backend if a web design firm actually codes their own CMS or big online shop/bank etc. then you can earn the £35k+

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

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::memo to self:: (was: Re: A few cam corder product critiques which you may positively learn about)

Never hire anyone who isn't truly multi-lingual to do cross-cultural marketing. Unless the plan is to come off as being completely silly and/or cartoon-like, of course.

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the world change so fast, we sometimes can not keep the pace with time. we are out now.

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@ forbistim

"the world change so fast, we sometimes can not keep the pace with time."

For "world", do you perhaps mean "tehintrawebtubes"?

Quite honestly, "the world" is still functioning exactly the same as it did before "Flag Day", when we swapped out NCP for TCP/IP. That was 01/01/83.

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Maybe, need to go in traveling... Why not? :)

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Anonymous Coward

"Should I stay or should I go now?"

I realise that this is an old discussion which seems to have recently come back to life, but it seems worryingly apposite to where I am just now..

Please excuse some catharsis here, but any advice on where to go next, welcome..

Like many people, I have had a somewhat varied career so far, not always in IT. I grew up when home computers were starting to become commonplace and the Spectrum, the Amiga and the Mac were starting to show all of the fantastic things that you could do with computers. Like many people of the same age, I tinkered with BASIC programming (I know, especially with hindsight, that that should be on the "considered harmful" list..), but I was always equally, if not more, interested in the 'creative' (not that programming is not creative in itself, far from it) things you could do with computers: desktop publishing, graphic design, etc.

What really fired my neurons at that time, however, were languages, human languages, I should add, rather than programming languages, although BASIC seemed to stroke the same parts of my brain and was something that I just seemed to grok fairly intuitively, probably because it did have a fairly similar human-language-like grammar/syntax.

When it came to time to go to university, languages were what I really wanted to continue with, but I had domineering parents who were somewhat forcefully insistent that (in their opinion) I had to study something "useful" and scientific (I had a dream of becoming a translator or interpreter, hardly non-useful), and unfortunately, I gave in to their pressure, and so Computer Science it was, without really knowing what I was fully letting myself in for over the duration of the course (yes, university prospectuses, etc, were far less detailed back then).

My studies started off reasonably well, Pascal, do-able, introductory C (flow control, strings, arrays, etc), do-able, but then we started moving to lower level stuff that started to hurt my head: pointers, linked lists, memory management, etc. There were also a lot of 'hard edged' mathematical and theoretical concepts coming into the course that really started to hurt my brain. Although I had been reasonably equally balanced between science and arts until then, it was becoming clear that I was reaching the limits of my capacity for 'hard maths' concepts (eg, lambda calculus just fried my brain entirely). I was able to keep studying human languages as outside subjects initially and was realising that these were indeed more where my interests lay, and which better suited the way my mind worked.

I wanted to drop out and start afresh, but my parents would not let me. So, I somewhat despondently continued with Computer Science, and, unfortunately, although I did not realise it at the time, I was becoming depressed (and not for the first time in my life, but again, I did not realise that until much later). It did not help that I did not make many friends on my course: I did make some good friends (who unfortunately moved away after graduation, and we lost touch), but many of the other students were far more of the stereotyped unsociable programmer sort (at that point in time, there was far less common awareness and understanding of the autism spectrum, and it just made me, as a (paradoxically) shy but outgoing person, feel unworthy of having many friends). I don’t mean any criticism: everyone is who they are, and has their own abilities and talents, even if society doesn’t always appreciate those (and appreciate, understand and tolerate the difficulties that may happen to come with some of those talents). I think it’s just that like-minded people need to find like-minded people otherwise the clash of character differences can lead to unhappiness in different directions.

I had a few other outside interests that were keeping me going, but being shy, I did not get involved in as many student societies as I should have, to widen and diversify my circle of friends. To cut the story short, as the course progressed further, I started to struggle with some of the more advanced (and, especially, theoretical) topics, and also various things happened in final year that meant that I became extremely depressed, ended up failing almost all of my exams (although my final year project was fairly good) and ended up losing touch with many of my friends after graduation because of how depressed I became (it seems unbelievable now, but this was back in the days when only the CS students had email, none of us had mobile phones, and not even all of us had landlines, and we were all moving around from flat to flat a lot, ..easily done).

I felt that I needed to retrain, to prove myself. Low-level programming constructs clearly were a step too far (or a step too boring, although I have utmost respect for those for whom that ‘works’ and which does spark the Matrix-patterns in their minds), and so I moved into another (non-IT) area of interest (the problems of being interested in many things..). However, the web had just come into being, and I became interested in this, from an information and design (such as was possible with early HTML) perspective.

Unfortunately, the postgrad course that I chose was (with hindsight) not an ideal student experience: lectures, essays, but no tutorials and workshops and therefore little opportunity to actually get to know or socialise with other students. I became depressed again, and although I passed the diploma I somehow didn’t feel that I had properly achieved anything, didn’t feel able to apply for proper graduate positions, and ended up in a charity sector job which did very closely match my interests, but was very over-worked and paid abysmally, and I had student debts to pay off.

My remaining friends started to move away, and I was unable to afford to visit friends elsewhere as often I wanted, to properly keep in touch. I did however, manage to involve some web development as part of my job, content, design, some fairly rudimentary Perl tinkering (although Perl is a little too cryptic and symbol-heavy for me). You can probably guess what happened next: again I became depressed and burned out completely, to the extent that I felt I had to quit my job. I eventually managed to get sickness benefit, although more for a physical health problem - then, as still now, help for mental health problems was extremely limited and patchy.

Many of my friends had ended up in the same, different, city and so I moved there, to try to make a fresh start. Unfortunately, my depression was so encompassing that I was unable to do so for some time (and so became distant from a number of former friends). The records of my depression problem did not transfer over, and I only got treatment for the physical health problem, and was by then in no state to try to ask for further help.

[continues..]

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Should I stay or should I go now?"

[..continued]

After eventually managing to drag myself up, I stumbled back into IT by chance: a job that was supposed to be part systems support, part web developer (You can see the warning signs again here, can’t you? Unfortunately, I couldn’t at the time). Expected to be jack of all trades, master of none, and eventually not heading in the direction that I (thought I) wanted, and the web part became more about server maintenance and less about development or design. At least I was able to get more experience in PHP, but the more you know about PHP, the more that you realise it has ..imperfections.. I know now that I should have moved on far sooner, but my confidence was shattered and I needed a stable job for at least a while to build up some emergency savings.

I have been worked into the ground again, and it is now definitely time to move on, really not helped by the fact that the group that I am part of is tiny - 3 people - and does not gel well. The question is, what now? Web design and development gets ever more complicated and seems to suffer from ever-changing constant 'latest cool thing', whether it be add-ons to CSS, JavaScript frameworks, PHP frameworks, ever-increasingly complicated CMS systems, etc.

I know that I don't have the right experience (or mindset) for complex 'low level' programming (although hopefully for desktop or mobile development, most of the icky stuff is abstracted away by libraries (or is it?), the last time I did any of that sort of code (and toy code, at that) was in the days of fairly clunky early X libraries, I'm afraid), but I'm starting to see the warning signs that web development is also diverging into, on the one hand, website-builders and SaaS systems that will eat away at the 'smalltime' web developers (and probably not be particularly profitable for those that do remain), and, on the other, ever-increasingly complicated CMS systems that require a lot of experience, are ever-changing, often with a steep learning curve (and poor documentation), and, also nowadays, are an area of work at great risk of being off-shored (along with many other aspects of IT work).

So, what I guess I'm asking, is, from where I am now, is it probably best for me to jump off the web treadmill and retrain into another (non-IT) field of work entirely, than attempt to keep running to catch up with the ever-changing (and increasingly stressful, and probably decreasingly rewarding) web/IT environment?

I realise now that a significant part of the hole I currently find myself in is due to the unpleasantness of my current working environment, but I wonder if it is more than that. Every type of work evolves and changes over time, but I can't help but feel that the pace of change in IT is just so much that, unless you are prepared to spend every waking moment constantly keeping on top of new developments, it eventually just becomes impossible to keep up and learn a new system or language in-depth (far more so than the equivalent learning in many other fields of work?), especially perhaps as you get older. Back when I was a bored teenager learning BASIC, nowadays the equivalent teenager has that same time (that I don't really have) to be learning the appropriate language, CMS, etc, for today ..although are they going to then find themselves in turn in the same position as myself, with the next generation of bored teenagers learning whatever the appropriate new technology is by then..?

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Re: "Should I stay or should I go now?"

Honestly? Become a "tech counsellor".

As we all know, mental health is a big issue in all high pressure industries. So, set yourself up with a anonymous Skype account, allow clients to talk about their work pressures and stresses, and figure out a billing system. Hell, if you can figure out with an appropriate techie a method of delivering all these things (video / billing) combined, you could sell it as a service itself.

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Bronze badge

Re: "Should I stay or should I go now?"

this is a boom industry. i have a few customers that do "life coaching". the utter bollox they spew is hilarious. the stuff they try and sell (coloured waters for "healing", magnetic bracelets, quantum configured hair dyes alright i made that up but you know what i mean) actually sells.

i have heard a conversation whilst fixing someones pc in an office between 2 elderly female secretaries along the lines of

this miracle mud (a gagillion pounds per gram almost) cures excema, (some other stuff that i cant remmeber) and then at the end cancer, and aids

really?

yes it really does.

oh, i must get some.

the level of education in this country, the total absence of rational thought, the ability to detect bullshit or to investigate anything beyond what theyve been told is truly staggering.

i have a friend who has become a raiki practitioner. she believes that on a weekend course, you can learn to emit healing warm rays from your hand that cure anything from simple midedness to a broken toe. she has absolutely no idea of how to go about conducting an experiment, how to verify your results, or of occams razor. she also told me about an "experiment" that she had heard of (probably via facebook) that had tested a group of sibling rats, that were divided into 2 (not the actual rats, but the group of rats)placed on either side of the planet. one lot were taught which way to go down a maze to get the cheese. the others lot then apparently "knew" how to do it, instantaneously. so it apparantly prooves some kind of energy connection between all living beings that is global. she believes this. when i pressed her on the evidence she just said "oh, i cant read that stuff...i'll forward what i have to you. still waiting for it. like its worth the wait.

ive seen posters in waiting rooms (i go to the physio for my back, but they have chiro there too) going on about how you can immunize your kids through chiro. im mean, how are they allowed to put this shit on the walls?

and on it goes....

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Angel

Re: "Should I stay or should I go now?"

"the level of education in this country, the total absence of rational thought, the ability to detect bullshit or to investigate anything beyond what theyve been told is truly staggering."

Maybe something to do with how most people are specifically trained to accept magical things with no evidence from a young age...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irreligion_by_country

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