Every workplace has its challenges. Being an IT Professional brings some unique problems with it. In this blog, I am sharing some of the difficulties faced mostly by IT Professionals because of the nature of their work. The information shared here is based on my observations and insights while working closely with some Tech geniuses in the past.
1. Negative Bias Syndrome - Negative bias is an innate tendency to focus on what is not working well. It is defined as following, "even when of equal intensity, things of a more negative nature have a greater effect on one's psychological state and processes than neutral or positive things." It has its evolutionary significance, as it helps us focus on what needs to be fixed or what can be made better. It comes more from Survival Mode. We all as humans have this tendency. But if we operate in this tendency for long, it has its side effects. It can lead to increased feeling of dissatisfaction and disturbed state of mind. We all struggle with this innate natural tendency and try our best to manage this tendency by looking at the bright side of any situation.
As an IT Professional, even your work requires looking for bugs and finding errors in the code. The nature of work itself reinforces this tendency of focusing more on what is missing or what could have been better. This tendency gradually becomes a generalized tendency and later becomes a transferable skill. Transferable skills are skills developed in one situation which are transferable to another situation. When the trend to look for faults and finding errors is unconsciously transferred in an everyday situation. It is no surprise that it is common for IT professionals to become very critical of everything, sometimes including themselves and life in general.
2. Working to meet Deadlines - Deadlines are part of most of the jobs, and they have their significance. But when the entire nature of work is about chasing deadlines, it leads to a dysfunctional tendency of pursuing something in the future, without being present in the moment. Most of the work includes working on different projects and what comes with each project is its deadline to finish the job. Most of the conversations are about meeting the deadline, no matter what that might entail. This adds to a lot of pressure. Also, this impairs the quality of work done. When primary focus is to meet the deadline, then creativity at work begins to take back seat. It affects not only these professionals but also the work they create.
3. Negative Feedback - While working with some IT Professionals, I noticed this as a common theme. Most of the complaint is about the fact that no matter how good they perform, their appraisal and feedback focuses on what was not achieved. Their accomplishments are considered as part of their role and responsibility and hence ignored. What is unaccomplished is highlighted as their inability. This lopsided feedback adds to their dissatisfaction with their work.
4. Desensitization - We all are familiar with physical side effects of working long hours sitting in front of computer screen. It brings with it many psychological side effects as well. One of them is desensitization. As Erving Polster has said in his book Gestalt Therapy Integrated, "When you play with a machine it may make a machine out of you." We experience life through our senses. Too much exposure to similar kind of activities could be very limiting to our senses. It may lead to an impersonal deadening effect which makes it difficult for an individual to engage with something fully. If it keeps accumulating it may lead to a heightened feeling of emptiness and futility.
No surprise retention rate for IT Companies is getting lower and lower, with each passing year. More and more people are joining IT industry, but it is difficult for them to stay at one company. Most professionals feel dissatisfied with their work and work culture. They switch from one role to another, from one company to another in hope for something better. But their dissatisfaction doesn't end with changing companies. The challenge is inherent in the nature of their work. It becomes the responsibility of the organizations to notice these challenges and work towards managing them better. If you are an IT professional reading this and relating to some or all the aspects of this article, my advice is to be aware. The first step towards any change is Awareness. Notice how these challenges are affecting your personal and professional life and ask yourself what is it that you can do at your level to make things better.
If you think that these challenges are affecting your personal and professional life and you want to take some action to change that, schedule a free consultation with me to explore how I as a leadership coach can help you through this. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill the consultation form available on my website.