Call it the JetBlue blues, but it seems that flight attendants aren’t the only ones fantasizing about a trip down the exit chute. Just a few days before Stephen Slater decided to be the first one to disembark a JetBlue flight arriving at New York’s JFK Airport, IBM users met during a Boston Share conference to discuss “The Mythical 40-Hour Week.”
It wasn’t a gripe session as much as a chance to share notes about what’s going in IT workplaces since the Great Recession began, according to Patrick Thibodeau, who wrote about the session and the increasing frustration among IT professionals in Computerworld. Although the workers asked not to be identified, they described 60-hour work weeks and frequent interruptions during time off and vacations as the new norm.
Thibodeau quoted a source from the nonprofit research group Corporate Executive Board, who said IT employees are less willing to put in extra time or exert high levels of discretionary effort in the wake of the recession. He noted the unique motivation of IT professionals and why they’re more likely to become disenchanted and quit.
“IT workers are usually motivated around a different set of factors than your rank-and-file employee,” said Conrad Schmidt, executive director of the human resource practice at CEB. “They care a little bit less about whom they are working for than the technologies they are working with and the work they are doing.”
The recession has changed conditions for these workers, he said. While recent restructurings may have created new opportunities for motivated workers, organizations may not be making that clear to their employees.
As a result, valuable IT employees might leave organizations for those “that are better able to articulate the role of IT,” said Schmidt. If there isn’t a coordinated vision that links IT to a firm’s future, “we’re going to lose these folks.”
Are employers demanding too much from IT professionals? Are you ready to jump ship?
— Leslie Stevens-Huffman