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Does IT demand much Commitment ?
Human Resources » Technology

Chrm Message From: david Total Posts: 26 Join Date: 23/08/2006
Rank: Executive Post Date: 29/08/2010 00:47:39 Points: 130 Location: India

Hi Friends,

Just came across this latest musings by Chad and thought of sharing with members.


By Chad Dickerson | Posted April 26, 2005 5:00 AM Pacific Time

It's no secret that IT is not a line of work for the strict 9-to-5ers who walk among us. Even at a relatively small company like InfoWorld, the IT staff deals with issues spanning half the globe, from Paris to Honolulu, and our revenue-critical Web site is a 24-by-7-by-365 operation.

I've never believed in the dreadful style of IT management that sees level of commitment as directly proportional to hours spent on the job, but I do expect my team to respond in critical situations at odd hours (fortunately, we've succeeded in creating a stable environment, so calls at odd hours are rare). A good night's sleep and relaxing weekends are the rewards for good planning and architecture -- but everyone realizes that we might need to convene a SWAT team to solve unforeseen problems at any point.

That's just the way IT works. For most IT professionals, a generally flexible schedule and stimulating opportunities to solve problems and learn new things keeps the IT game interesting, despite the long hours. (And, of course, IT is fun.)

The dark side of this is that a job in IT can consume every waking hour if you let it. Successfully managing an IT career demands that you achieve a balance between personal life and career -- and to a large extent, the example set by CTOs and CIOs within a company set the overall cultural tone that determines how IT staff approach the issue themselves.

Recently I read the glowing profile of a prominent IT executive that outlined his typical day: 10 to 12 hours at the office, three to four hours online at home at night, usually followed by intense late night conference calls from home with developers. Although the piece painted a portrait of a real get-things-done IT mover-and-shaker who clearly met his performance goals, I found myself feeling anything but inspired by the story as a few details caught my eye. The executive's wife had banned his use of the speakerphone for the late night developer conference calls so she and the kids could sleep. His assistant noted that during a recent family vacation, he had threatened to check his family out of their hotel because it didn't have broadband. For the late-night
conference calls, developers in this IT organization were expected to dial in unless they had a "legitimate" family excuse. Presumably, winding down with a spouse after an already full workday would not pass the legitimacy test.

For me, these particulars add up to an aggressively unhealthy culture that views family as an impediment to IT success. I'm reminded of an old Loretta Lynn song called "Success," with a fictional neglected wife singing the biting chorus, "Success has made a failure of our home."

It's true that, thanks to the march of globalization, the sun never sets on IT. I suppose you could use that indisputable fact as a rationale for around-the-clock IT hours: When it's nighttime in New York, it's morning in Bangalore and there's work to be done.

I have a novel idea, though, for the busy IT executives out there who are so narrowly focused on bottom-line ROI. Delegate some of the late-night work to a trusted lieutenant and use the time to help your kids with their math and science homework. You probably won't sacrifice any significant short-term ROI for your IT organization, and the longer-term ROI for your family is incalculable.

Chad Dickerson is CTO of InfoWorld.



Chrm Message From: rammohan Total Posts: 26 Join Date: 23/08/2006  
Rank: Executive Post Date: 29/08/2010 00:49:56 Points: 130 Location: India

Dear david,

Thanx for posting this article.

Chad Dickerson has very nicely articulated the travails and turmoil which a person, working in an IT organization undergoes.

However, it appears that he has no knowledge of any industry other than IT.To that extent, his article is "Frog inside a well" view.

Wish I could convey to him that in a "round the clock" process industry handling inflammable raw materials and products, the tensions are much the same/similar as those of IT organization and the expected level of commitment is no less Let me highlight some of them :-

1. Sleepless nights for meeting stringent quality requirements.
2. Sleepless nights to make sure that there is no fire or accident incident in the plant.
3. Quantum of products to be neccessarily same or more than targets.
4. Procurment of some consignment of raw material from International Markets where, quite often, the business is on, when it is sleeping hours for us In India. This requires spot decisions for spot purchases 24x7x365.
5. Keeping telephone at the bedside.
6. Responding immediately to plant problems by going personally even if family is disturbed or unhappy.
7. Cancellation of leave/holiday program in view of plant exigencies.

And the list can go on.

I have personally gone through many of such situations.

To summarise my view point, commitment is needed not only in IT Industry.It depends on the nature of business, IT being one of them.Basically, commitment is needed in every enterprise if it has to survive.


ram mohan

Chrm Message From: prabhakar rao Total Posts: 35 Join Date: 23/08/2006  
Rank: Executive Post Date: 29/08/2010 00:51:03 Points: 175 Location: India

There is much truth in that.

The pressures and intricacies of corporate life is not limited to a particular industry, but to the business itself. Life is not a smooth sailing anywhere particularily in business. Whenever there is a requirement for a task to accomplished in a given time, the pressure starts. Pressure comes out of responsibility to perform and perform better. The better one performs the better is the outcome, and this outcome furthers business objectives.

The reason for work pressure/committment of IT executives is being better highlighted can be traced to the kind of publicity of the industry and all facets attached to it.

Chrm Message From: david Total Posts: 26 Join Date: 23/08/2006  
Rank: Executive Post Date: 29/08/2010 00:56:39 Points: 130 Location: India


I fully agree that every field has its own woes and shortcomings. My intention was to share this here as the article was trying to address the issue of work-family balance (relevant to HR) irrespective of the industry it would apply where such a work engagement (round the clock) is needed.

I would still defend Chad as he can speak for his own field and not for the others. It cannot be viewed as "Frog in the well" view as it is just about authenticated and self experienced view.

I feel at times, a frog in the well would know the depth of that well better than a monkey which would peep into several wells!!

I hope we agree on this.



Chrm Message From: rammohan Total Posts: 26 Join Date: 23/08/2006  
Rank: Executive Post Date: 29/08/2010 00:59:01 Points: 130 Location: India

Dear David,

Thanx for your response.

My submission is as below :-

* As I have understood, Chad has talked of IT Executives and not of HR.

* Chad has used the word "commitment". Had he talked of life and struggle of IT executives, I would have had nothing to say.

* Knowing depths of the well or monkeying around for it, is the choice of individuals. Quite very often, we all prefer to remain in our zones of comfort and, at the same time, feel that difficulties faced by us are more than anybody else in the world.

Hyping about self can be good but having a look at the other side ( or all sides ) of the world might make us wiser.

I appreciate your views, which are more balanced than those of Mr Chad Dickerson ( though you prefer to defend his concept/interpretation of the word "commitment" ).


ram mohan