Wasting time at work is stressful
I know that lots of people love to be lazy at work but I hate it. I always try to find something to keep me occupied.
It has been the desire to keep busy that has allowed me to learn many technologies that I face in my job as an IT person. I like to dig into the software and see what options are available and what it can be upgraded to for additional functionality.
One of the other interesting things is that when you have free time you tend to be pulled to things that you are interested in as a hobby. So I find myself reading about computer security or many other interesting IT topics. One of the reasons that I love working in IT is that it is stimulating to always be learning things. You don’t have to know everything, but being curious is a big asset in doing computer work.
Now to be completely honest at times your curiosity does get you into trouble. At least for me, it causes me to discover problems and then of course I want to fix them. I bring them to the manager in charge and discuss possible solutions and how I can help fix them. This of course is usually meet with something like “Thank you for your feedback we are considering solutions to fix the problem.”
Rarely are there problems at work that aren’t known. The problem in working in most companies is the interpersonal relationship that you have with your coworkers. So when you feel you might be wasting time, it is because the structure of the company is something you are discovering.
Let me give you an example. I have worked for many companies that have lost customers and profits in a dramatic fashion. What happens is that instead of buying new systems to replace old systems managers always want to hold onto less efficient and costly systems. I don’t know why, but most managers seem to think that using the soft costs of labor is always better than paying for the hard costs of equipment. This reasoning never makes sense to me. If the soft costs are equal to the hard costs, then replace it. At the very least when employees aren’t bored, they are more motivated to do their other tasks.
However the reality is that most mangers hold onto old systems and that requires lots of labor to keep it running. You do the labor, and then what happens is there is nothing else to do. With less employees from not being hired, and less new systems to implement you start looking for things to do. Then when you have been told no we don’t want to do things that cost money or even are free, you wonder why you are there.
I never understand why but some companies think of IT as fireman. They don’t really want to invest in making things better but just fix the current problem. Almost every company I have worked for has this view. They think that by investing in better systems the training is too much for employees and so it shouldn’t be done.
Or a company might say “There is so much employee turnover it doesn’t matter what they use.” It is clear from research that employees leave when a company does not invest in the tools and software people need to efficiently do their jobs. When people are asked to produce and have poor tools to do this, that is very stressful and people leave.
Where is the balance? It is individual per company. However I see most companies not spending enough, and losing talented and key people that could have made them successful.
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