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Dealing with work stess

chamberlainchamberlain Registered User regular
edited September 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
To be brief, I am a brand spanking new IT manager/Network admin that has managed to get in way over his head. I haven't run into anything terrible yet, but I am constantly paranoid about everything, to the point of losing sleep. No one at work is yelling at me or making odd demands, but every time the phone rings I get knots in my stoumach. Every error message, even if I know exactly what do to fix it, is a tragedy. It has gotten to the point of walking out being seriously considered.

I have never had a job stress me out like this before, and I was a retail manager for 10+ years. What do I do? It's a good job, if a bit long of a comute, but is any job worth losing sleep over?

chamberlain on


  • SpherickSpherick Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Have you done this type of work before?

    And how long have you been at this job?

    If you havent done this kind of work before or new to the job, its possible that you are just worried about "failing."

    I think that you just need to realize that you are good at your job and everything will be fine. Talk to your boss and see if you can get an evaluation so you have reassurance that you are doing a good job.

    Spherick on
  • edited September 2008
    I do pretty much the same job as you're describing, and what's recently worked for me is making sure that I take the time needed to feel as though I've done a task right and understand it.

    I've felt a lot less stressed doing a wierd procedure on a domain controller if I spent the evening before with a nice cold milkshake and the documentation.

    And hey, if you're diligent about spending a little extra time on research, it'll pay off big time when you end up in what would have been uncharted territory, except that you read an article on it last week.

    Edit: And network, network, network. Get to know other IT nerds, there are a bunch of us here for example. Chances are somebody knows the answer when you don't.

    deke55555 on
  • chamberlainchamberlain Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    This is all pretty new to me. About a two years ago I got fed up with retail, got a few quick certifications and landed a job as an IT assistant/Dekstop Support. It was great: no preassure, an understading supervisor who took on a very mentor like role. I thought I learned a lot.

    Company closed, mostly because of the mortgage market going to shit. Interviewed at two places and now have this job. I really think that the people who hired me underestimated how complicated their operations were. I feel lost most of the time, but am really good at hiding it, and have been calling in favors for help left and right. It just seems that every day something new breaks, and I am aways fighting to figure out how to fix it.

    chamberlain on
  • SpherickSpherick Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Well at least you are learning a ton at this new place, and like deke said, there are ton of IT nerds on this site. We can help and start befriending others in the industry.

    Spherick on
  • edited September 2008
    I'm pretty much you before the company closed. :)

    Don't feel bad about asking for help, either, that's how to learn.

    deke55555 on
  • bigpandabigpanda Registered User
    edited September 2008
    I can sympathize. I got thrown into a situation where my IT Director was fired and I had to run the ship in the interim which was about 2 months. I was lucky that I didn't want the job and just had to hold out until they hired a new boss. Still I had a couple anxiety attacks (one resulting in a 911 call) and also put on about 35 lbs since I eat like shit when I'm stressed.

    You mentioned that you were over your head. Was your previous experience just the retail management; what is your level of IT expertise, do you have any certifications (MCSA/MCSE) or other formal training? Do you have subordinates and if so what are their responsibilities? Why I'm asking is that if you're an IT Director you might not necessarily need to know how to run every system that the department manages but your people will. You'll also need to trust those people and they'll need to trust you. Are you part of a larger network where you can reach out to other IT Managers for advice?

    If it's just you then it might just take some time to get used to things. IT in general can be a stressful field depending on what your role is. If you're an engineer then you have deadlines and customer requirements which, imo, isn't as bad as having to fix problems when they occur (i.e. helpdesk).

    If what you're looking for is a yes or no as to whether or not you should quit, that's really up to you. If the job is causing you health problems then that's a serious concern.

    bigpanda on
  • .kbf?.kbf? Registered User
    edited September 2008
    Just think about it like this. Every time something goes wrong it's one more problem you don't have to worry about because you now know how to fix it.

    Also, google is your best friend. Get to know it and how to use it.

    .kbf? on
  • bigpandabigpanda Registered User
    edited September 2008
    Since I'm still not a pro yet, I was able to get my company to allow me to expense my monthly cost for and a ton of books. See if they'll do the same for you.

    If I don't work late and I spend the evening going over some of the books I keep on my desk. A couple things that I haven't dealt with yet is administering SQL servers and Sharepoint servers. Both of which I'll need to do in the coming year so I picked up some books on it.

    bigpanda on
  • oncelingonceling Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    I don't think there's an overnight solution to the problem you are having. Is it worth it? That's really a question only you can answer. Some people get a lot of benefit out of achieving success in a role they find stressful (even though its a rocky road to the success sometimes). Others are better off cutting their losses. Depends what type of person you are.

    However, the goal you might want to investigate is whether your anxiety is based on reality, or whether it is coming from your own feelings of inadequacy at the job and such. That is, are you really doing a good job and can achieve success - or are you actually going to impact the business you are working for through inexperience.

    It is not an easy task to sit down and answer this question. However, you need to work on recognizing the difference between your own anxieties and realistic fears based on true possibilities.

    Sit down and write out your concerns, then assess if they are realistic concerns or if you are driving them from your own anxiety. You can assess them based on the liklihood of them happening and the impact to you/your job if they do happen if you want to take a mathematical approach. For example:

    "if dell don't ship me the parts I need for the new server by monday"

    Likelihood of happening = 5/10 (somewhat likely)
    Impact to me/business if happens = 2/10 (perhaps not very important)

    Score = 5 x 2 = 10, which is not too bad compared to a possible 10x10=100

    Then you can assess all these problems against each other, see which of them is realistically a problem. This is one possible way to get your fears under control. You can then start making contingency plans if you want, based on this. If you're going to stay up late worrying, you may as well do some risk management.

    onceling on
  • Jimmy KingJimmy King Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Just relax. Seriously. I know that's not very helpful sounding, but just forget about it. Things are breaking and you're fixing them? Then you know what you're doing and are probably pretty good at your job.

    As a developer, I know where you're coming from. When I first started writing code for my job, I was terrified of every code release. "Oh, god, what happens if there's a bug in my code that I didn't catch? Will I get yelled at? Fired?". You know what it turns out the answer is? Nothing happens. I get told about it, I fix it, and people are happy that I fixed it rather than pissed off that it happened in the first place. It took a few bugs in code releases to learn that. Upon growing as a developer and digging into the software at work I learned another secret which helped me feel even more comfortable. It turns out other people, guys with more experience and education than I have, also make mistakes. They haven't been fired, either.

    Just relax. It sounds like you're doing a good job. Things break unexpectedly, things go wrong when you're doing them, etc. your managers know that. They've been there while it happened to other people and to themselves. As long as they know you're doing your best and are doing everything that could reasonably be expected to prevent the issues you shouldn't have any trouble.

    Jimmy King on
  • AtomBombAtomBomb Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    I'm in kind of the same boat as you, except I don't have any formal training. This forum has been helpful (although I think I finally burned everyone out on the mundane tech questions), as is google. You can also use experts-exchange without paying for it if you scroll to the bottom of anything that comes up in google (you just can't make your own posts).

    IT is more about knowing how to find answers than it is about knowing all the answers, at least in my experience. I say keep the job and do your best, but don't get too stressed. Even if you were an expert you'd have people bitching about you not solving a problem that is really difficult quickly enough. You'll also get people thinking you're amazing for some really easy shit. Most folks really don't understand what we do.

    Maybe we should start a group of IT "professionals" that need help, or want to help us newbies out. We could make a forum or at least do an email list....

    AtomBomb on
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