back to article IT pros are a bunch of wedding and funeral-dodging sickos

Over 90 per cent of IT staffers have come into work while sick to ensure a project finishes on time, while two thirds have missed a funeral, wedding or similar event due to work-related crises. Given these numbers, one can only conclude that at least some of those missed funerals were for fellow IT workers who insisted on …

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Yes, this happens

One of my colleagues was supposed to be a witness at my wedding, but there was a total collapse of the network, and he could not make it. Glad I reside in a country that allows two witnesses for the groom and the bride. Another esteemed colleague was able to be my witness though ;-}

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Miserable me

I remember reading the details of this survey somewhere else a few weeks ago.

I think that my comment pretty much sums it up for everyone in IT.

"No-one knows, understands, or appreciates what I do; until I don't do it".

Grumpy old fart icon; because

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Re: Miserable me

Well that just about sums it up I'd say.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Miserable me

I'd agree wholeheartedly. I've spent the last couple of years developing and refining an application for my current employer, which over the time has become the backbone of the department's processes. My colleagues understand what it does, but not how it works. My managers don't even know that. My requests for time to write decent documentation have been ignored, either in a rush to get the thing working initially or in a rush for the latest feature.

When I said I was relocating a little while ago (with notice three times what my contract demanded), my employers just assumed they could hand it to the next colleague in line. I work in a customer services department, not an IT / development one. They got a big shock when they learned a little more and found they couldn't. I now telecommute from home.

Posting anon, for obvious reasons.

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Windows

Re: Miserable me

My requests for time to write decent documentation have been ignored

I used to try to convey documentation to whomever was (in theory) ultimately responsible. The same thing always happened, the person I handed the docs to would call "here, Chompy-chompy-chompy!" in order to summon the office goat which would devour the documentation.

Now I just write documentation for myself and, in theory, whoever the poor f&*k is who comes after me. If it's small enough I'll stick it to the device/server/whatever that it pertains to. Otherwise I'll print out a cover sheet with big, bold letters exclaiming "DOCUMENTATION FOR THING". Then I'll put it in a clipboard and nail the clipboard to a wall as close to THING as I can get it.

Another consistent phenomenon occurs when I use the phrase "I'm going to explain something to you, this is something that you really need to know...". The person or people I'm talking to will tip their heads slightly to the side, their mouths will part and their eyes will stare off into infinity. Looking into their pupils I will see things like sports games, episodes of Lost and the like. Once I saw half a dozen clowns going "doo-doo-dee-doo-doo-doo-de-doo--honk-honk" as they sat astride thermonuclear bombs that were dropping onto Moscow. I still have these "conversations" though, with my phone in my shirt pocket set to record audio. That way I have some recourse when someone gets angry with me because I didn't tell them not to douse the office with gasoline and light it on fire.

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Anonymous Coward

Missing a wedding because of work?

Her indoors would kill me if I did that. [1]

If the boss demanded that I come in then I'd be looking for a new gig pronto.

As for funerals, it depends upon the size of the kitty at the wake.

If the deceased was a tightfisted wanker then I'd more than likely just not go.

[1] Asking yourself who'd come to your funeral is a pretty sobering question to ask.

Who are your real friends then?

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Unhappy

Curious answers

“People call me Jesus because I have long hair and save them from IT issues.”

Nope, balding and beardy

“We are treated like wizards”

More like witches - ritually drowned, burned or beheaded on a regular basis

“Everybody loves me”

Everybody hates me :(

“I am seen like a god and treated incredibly well”

What planet are you on?

“I am a hero or villain, sometimes both at the same time.”

Hmm, I think hero is a bit strong

“I’m either ‘Mr fix It’ or ‘he’s the one that broke it’”

Yes, this.

“My boss always blames me when something breaks.”

Emphatically this!

Also, no-one realises how much you do, until you're not there. The last three holidays I've been rung up or emailed for some stupid question, the answer to which was already well documented.

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Re: Curious answers

I think all except the last were how the respondents saw themselves.

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Funeral dodging

There's only one funeral I'd want to miss for work reasons.....

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Anonymous Coward

Sometimes...

... I wish I'd missed my own wedding :)

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Terminator

I don't care about funerals...

...unless I can chat with the personality construct.

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600 IT professionals in the UK and US

A miniscule sample size then.

"Also, no-one realises how much you do, until you're not there. " This is MASSIVELY true though.

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Re: 600 IT professionals in the UK and US

And a rather specific sub-section of the IT community I would suggest. I really don't believe two-thirds of IT pros have missed a wedding or funeral.

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Re: 600 IT professionals in the UK and US

There's shades of grey in missing a funeral as well, you may have planned to go to the funeral of the missus' third cousin, but I doubt there'd be uproar if you couldn't make it.

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Re: 600 IT professionals in the UK and US

"I really don't believe two-thirds of IT pros have missed a wedding or funeral."

I suspect it's closer to 100% that have missed their own birthday.

I spent one of mine stuck in a plane at Nairobi due to a customer crisis.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 600 IT professionals in the UK and US

I missed eight birthdays in a row. I made the ninth because of conniving between my boss and CEO to have an urgent fix 10 miles from home that turned out to be a pop and I went home a day early.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 600 IT professionals in the UK and US

CEO in this case being the wiff

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Mystical creatures

I had a colleague who was small and skinny, who wouldn't bother to speak to the users but simply turn up and immediately crawl around under their desks to sort out cabling, etc. Users would refer to him as "the computer goblin".

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Re: Mystical creatures

I used to do that (years ago) but I was young and big. I spent many an hour under the desks in summertime when ladies had computer problems - it didn't matter the problem, it was always "I'll just pop under the desk".

Many happy views, er I mean days.

Probably couldn't get away with that nowadays.

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Re: Mystical creatures

I had a call center deployment for National Rail Enquiry Service, I always did one table & have to adjust the cabling, whenever one young lady would sit with one of her feet positioned to rub\press a certain bit of her anatomy as she would "bounce" herself against the foot while she gave out timetabling information.

That with a tea lady dispensing tea throughout the day (I was averaging 4-6 cups a hour), made it one of the best, but sadly short term contracts I was on.

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Re: Mystical creatures

I spent many an hour under the desks in summertime when ladies had computer problems - it didn't matter the problem, it was always "I'll just pop under the desk". Many happy views, er I mean days.

Probably couldn't get away with that nowadays.

Well no, it'd seem a bit odd, what with them all using latops or tablets....

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Not allowed to have a life - ever

Is how you sum up the life of an "IT Pro". You are expected to be available 24/7 on a whim, cancel whatever plans you have (you soon learn not to make concrete plans of any kind) to answer the call of work. You are expected to check in via email and answer cell phone even whilst on vacation. You develop unhealthy eating habits due to long hours and unpredictable breaks. Your mental health suffers as a result of irregular sleep patterns. This leads to a dependency on sleep aids as well as caffeine or perhaps something stronger to help maintain alertness.

There is a thick, short chain that runs from your neck to your workstation. You can't see it, but it's there.

There is NO ONE who loves this kind of existence for an extended length of time. It is done out of necessity, not because "us lot love our jobs".

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Stop

Re: Not allowed to have a life - ever

I'm guessing you're describing the life of a IT pro in the good ol'US of A. Civilized countries have laws against the kinds of abuses you describe.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not allowed to have a life - ever

@Uncle Slacky

I had to downvote your post, because I live in a civilised country (the UK) and it doesn't make the slightest difference. My bosses freely admit that they have no regard for the law. Unpaid overtime is standard. They decide when (or if) you get a lunch break. They'll quite happily visit you at home (unannounced) if you call in sick. And if you don't like it, you can leave.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not allowed to have a life - ever

Crumbs - mind mentioning who to avoid if I ever want to leave my civilised but hectic job?

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Re: Not allowed to have a life - ever

@Uncle Slacky

I don't know where you work, but I'd stick to it like glue. For me, Joe Drunk has got it spot on, and I work in an allegedly civilised country.

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Re: Not allowed to have a life - ever

@Uncle Slacky:

You forget that IT pro's are, in some ways, like lawyers, doctors and mechanics. As soon as someone finds out what you do, the inevitable "i have this problem that i haven't bothered to talk to anyone else about for the last X years, but i really need your help desperately and urgently".

Then we have the constant phone calls from family, friends, friends of family, family of friends, and random other people you don't know, who got your number from one of the aforementioned people.

Peace, quiet, sleep? I've heard of them.

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Re: Not allowed to have a life - ever

I bet you're also one of those people who can't see the point of unions, either.

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I missed my OWN funeral

Yep, dropped dead Monday evening, but got an urgent call from the boss demanding I come in anyway to fix a problem.

Three years later and I'm still undead.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I missed my OWN funeral

Not just IT professionals according to Messrs Atkin & James

" I’ve got the sessionman’s blues

I’m booked up a lifetime ahead

I get a sessionman’s news

The voice on the blower just said

They want me to work on the afternoon after I’m dead "

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Re: I missed my OWN funeral

If you read a VMS error message backwards it can summon the undead

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Happy

Re: I missed my OWN funeral

Yupp been there done that.

Spent 2 hrs dead and being sawn up and put back together by bunch of loons in Southampton.

The morphine was wearing off 2 days later... managed to send a text to work saying "Yay I'm alive...ish" answer : "when you coming back? we got a shitload for you to fix/repair/re-program"

Followed by

"Whats such and such? how do we do this? "

Thus the first number on my blocked list was entered

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Coat

@Valerion -- Re: I missed my OWN funeral

Well, I imagine then that you're probably pretty hungry since management doesn't have any brains.. or at least more than one very small hor d'oeuvre.

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At a previous job I was nicknamed the Necromancer for a while after a particularly bad month of hardware failures meant there was a lot of resurrecting going on.

The unreasonable demands of employers to IT staff being permanently on call with no though of additional remuneration is pretty much the reason I became a contractor.

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Happy

I'm a lucky bastard, and know it!

I and another chap are the all-purpose IT department for a small-ish non-profit. We handle everything from jammed printers to SQL development and security. The company pays us well, trusts our word and opinions, and supports us totally. We're technically not on call after regular hours, but we do it anyway out of gratitude and loyalty.

Our users love us, we're their heroes, they DO think we're minor gods. They are our customers, we visibly bust our butts and they appreciate that. They approach me with "I know this is a stupid question" and I reply "why should you know that? None of us are born knowing computers, which are badly programmed and twitchy things anyway". We never pretend to knowledge we don't have, I frequently admit I don't have a clue but will figure it out. They trust I'll be back with an answer as soon as I can.

The article examples sound surreal in the general IT world, but such places do exist, and I'm lucky as hell to be here. Especially given the Charlie Fox companies I worked for previously!

And there's the phone, printer offline, gotta go!

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Re: I'm a lucky bastard, and know it!

you jammy bastard!

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Go

One man IT band

To quote Leo Sayer (a first, that's for sure) -

Well I'm a one man band

Nobody knows nor understands

Is there anybody out there want to lend me a hand

With my one man band

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Anonymous Coward

Weddings, are we sure it was the IT?

I was criticised for not taking my sisters wedding seriously enough, "it's a once in a lifetime event you could at least make an effort".

Didn't even go to her second.

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Pint

Accurate

The article seems accurate as I always miss weddings due to "having to work" but somehow I always make it to the open bar receptions.

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As one who is old enough to have gone by the title "Mister DP" (data processing for you youngsters) I was guilty of many of these things. When I started I carried a pre-cell phone beeper 24/7. I remember one contract where I threw my back out and worked lying on the floor with a laptop on my chest.

Then I grew up and learned that failure was, indeed, an option. My boss started calling me "Moriarty" (from Kelly's Heroes, not Sherlock) because of my "negative waves". It's amazing what telling people, up front, that any project will take longer, cost more, and do less than they expect, will do for your credibility. Because you'll almost always be right.

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Re: HildyJ

Nobody likes being told the truth. Managers especially do not like being told that the estimates that they gave to the higher-ups is totally unworkable. Your negative vibes very quickly become career limiting.

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Re: HildyJ

Career limiting? Maybe, but definitely less stressful. OTOH, I got in the habit a long time ago of padding the estimates for time while downplaying the "features". I'd have project I know will take a week... tell the PHB "three", he'll go to upper manglement and come back with "be done in two". That leaves a week for the unexpected and also adding "features". If I get done early, I sit on it until the due date. Just because I don't want to fall into that "we expected you to have it done early" trap.

They (manglement) play the system to their advantage, we need to learn how play it back and one-step better.

And then there's the CEO of (I forget which company right now) who arbitrarily picks a deadline date after all the estimates are in. There was an article on El Reg about him. A project would need a year to deliver it and all the features and he'd come back with some random number. A true-power tripper he is.

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Re: HildyJ

It's only career limiting if you want to be a manager. If you've got the IT addiction, being good is all you need. And if your current company doesn't like it, another company will.

And as for padding, the more, the sooner, the better.

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Anonymous Coward

Oi! Jesus....

Ironically I cut my hair short before getting back into the dev game (5 years ago I was a happy but poor liquor merchant... i mean who in their right mind wouldn't enjoy being able to drink on the job?) to avoid the Jesus comments.

That said, the new colleague I met on my second day had hair nearly as long as my own so I ended up growing it abit longer again (though he wasn't Jesus, more... Oi, Hippy!).

As for the documentation and a project being left to rot when your gone, yep I can relate *evil grin*

Annon to protect the Guilty/Innocent

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last year my appendix burst in a very unpleasant way........I was in casualty awaiting transfer to the ward when one particular pushy customer tried repeated phone calls to get me to leave hospital immediately and fix her e-mail server problem

After several repeated days of this she was asked "FFS what part of 'I am ill following an operation, have blood leaking out of me, have no bowel control, have tubes feeding antibiotics into me 24/7, and wont be able to drive for about three months do you not understand'?"

Her response? "Well stuff you, if you won't help I'll find someone else"

Guess my reply.....

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