IT manager burnout

I just read an article on CIO.com about “CIO Burnout” and thought I would post something about it.

CLICK HERE if you would like to read the CIO.com article.

In essence, an IT Director seems to be burned out about his job so he posed a question to other CIO’s about, “How do you get yourself motivated every day to do the same old job?”.

The feedback results were summarized into 7 responses, plus an additional commentary response:

  1. Take pride in your team
  2. Look for a new challenge on the job
  3. Keep a pet project
  4. Promote your work
  5. Give yourself a pat on the back
  6. Delegate your dirty work
  7. Remember why you went into IT
  8. If all else fails, , , take a vacation

Here are my two cents on each of the responses:

1.  Take pride in your team
You betcha!!  Your team’s performance and the ability to work with great people is one of the best parts of the job. Not only take pride, but do something that shows your team you appreciate their hard work and the successes you are having.

2.  Look for a new challenge on the job
I left a CIO role to create my company in 2000. In talking with one of my former employees, I asked, “How’s it going?” The answer was, “We are pretty bored, not much going on and we aren’t all that busy.”

Well, I was shocked because when I left just 3 months ago there was all kinds of things to do, , , it’s virtually impossible to be in a company and not have anything to do in the IT organization, , , unless you aren’t looking for it.

3.  Keep a pet project
Be careful with this one. All your IT projects should be initiated based upon a legitimate business need. Don’t do work just because it’s a neat technology to play around with, , , unless it is realistic research work to explore the viability of a new technology for your company.

4.  Promote your work
Absolutely !!!!

Let me say that again, , , ABSOLUTELY !!!.

If you aren’t communicating and promoting the positives of what your IT organization is getting accomplished, no one will know. You owe it to everyone to keep other managers aware of the successes you are having, , , senior management, department managers, your staff, , , and the company.

5.  Give yourself a pat on the back
Yessirreee, , , but I would pat your team on the back, , , it is the same as giving yourself a compliment, but it has far more effect.

6.  Delegate your dirty work
I’m not too sure about this one. It depends on what the dirty work is, , , some things need to be handled by you, , , such as dealing with a problem client, focusing on a weak employee, developing your budget, etc.

7.  Remember why you went into IT
I agree with this one, but if you have been in IT for a long time, this might be a bit difficult. I tend to take an inventory of what I like about work and my career and try to focus my attention on the positives.

It’s also good to do a status check on yourself from time to time. It’s possible you have ended up in a job that you just don’t like, , , or you aren’t well suited for. If that’s the case, you ought to let someone else have the job and go seek something that you can truly have passion for.

There is nothing worse than working at a job that you hate, and life is simply too short for that.

8.  If all else fails, , , take a vacation
Great idea, , , burnout can be caused because you haven’t taken care of yourself and you are simply tired. Vacations are there for a reason, , , lets you recharge your batteries and re-energize yourself. It helps to get away from the office.

Sometimes, we get to believing that the company can’t operate without us so we can’t afford to be away from the office. If that’s the case, you have some serious problems. There isn’t a company in the world that won’t operate without their IT manager. It may cause some problems, , , sure, , , but, if the company has to replace the manager and make some adjustments, it will. Life will go on after you, , , or without you there for a week or two.

Take care of yourself, , , it will make you a better employee.

Personal reflection
I’ve been in a job where I was burned out. It was so hard to get up and go to the office, , , I’ve never been so depressed in all my life. The company had been a great young company but had become extremely political and essentially lost it’s way, , , what was a great situation turned into one of the worst I’ve ever experienced, , , and I couldn’t do anything about it.

Ultimately, I made a change by leaving the company and going to another, , , my sense of duty and the old feelings of excitement and interest in what I was doing snapped right back in place.

Right now, we are entering vacation time in the US. You need to think about the fact that if you can become burned out and lose interest, your people can do the same. Every year, you want to encourage your staff to take their vacations for two key reasons

  1. It’s important for them to take some time and get away from the work so they can recharge their batteries.
  2. You don’t want everyone to save their vacations for the end of the year and holiday season, , , you need some people in the office during the holidays to support the business.

It’s Friday, , , time for me to start thinking about the weekend and what to do to recharge my batteries. Hope you do the same!!

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