Technology burnout, the downside of the IT industry

For those of you who read my blog often, you’ll know that most of the time I write about how to fix a CSS problem or what to do to improve your WordPress effectiveness but coming out of the holidays, I’ve spent a lot of time over the past two weeks talking to friends and I’m starting to notice a trend among a lot of IT workers … they’re giving up, moving on and simply done.

I have a friend from college, who I consider to be one of the smartest people I know. Last Christmas, at age 33 he was the Chief Technology Officer for an IT company in Canada’s largest market. Well published, respected and at the top of the industry. This Christmas he’s backpacking in Asia with no intent of ever working in the industry again. In fact, I don’t know that he even has a computer anymore.

Isolated incident right? I wish.

Another close friend left a management meeting where he was the Director of Information Security, cleared his desk and began applying to jobs as a bartender. Later that same year, a third close friend left his position as the IT Manager for a large shipping company and sells computers on commission at a local big box store. Of the dozens of IT workers I know, these may be isolated cases or statistically irrelevant but it’s begun to make me think that as a community need to look at the stress levels involved in working in our industry.

The one thing that all of them seem to have in common is that they started in the early ’90s and survived the bubbles, the busts, the millennium and nearly 20 years of ups and downs in the industry. The three I mention here all did very well, so well in fact that by the time each was 30, they’d paid off their mortgages or come close to it. Each had reached a respectable level in their industry and left on their own terms.

Maybe for a generation of video game players, this is enough?

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