We’re not surgeons. We’re not paramedics or police. We’re not in the Armed Forces. We’re not airline pilots or air traffic controllers. Yet we’re stressed. Who are we? We’re professionals in the independent PC support business. Believe it or not, it’s very easy to feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders in this business. Heck, I’d venture to say that even if you are an IT Pro that’s part of a larger team or IT department, you’re more or less in the same boat. While it’s true that we’re not in a profession where lives are at stake, we still can feel tremendous pressure.

People react to stress differently. Some, like myself, hunker down and focus on what they think is the cause of that stress in an effort to eliminate it (it doesn’t always work). The danger in that is that I sometimes lose sight of other things in that I become immersed in problem-solving mode. Sometimes those “other things” are very important. Others choose to ignore the stress or channel their energy into other endeavors. I have certain clients that bring me instant stress (I’ve written about them before), but thankfully they are in the minority. Most of my clients are great to work with, which is where I get a lot of my job satisfaction from.

Let me come back to what causes stress in our particular profession. It’s the frequency, and almost certainty, that systems and networks will break. We can insulate our own systems by various means: imaging, various backup techniques, UPSes, security and antivirus software, etc. We try and educate and inform our customers while we set up and fix things for them. We even try to engineer things to minimize the chance of them breaking (again), and oftentimes we do a pretty good job of it. But things still break, no matter how hard we try to stop them. And people have become so dependent on technology that when they do break, they get stressed. And then they transfer that stress to you and the challenge becomes how quickly and efficiently (and cost effectively) you can fix what’s broken. This is the crux of how we make money for ourselves. If PCs and home networks didn’t break, we’d be, well, I don’t know where.

A little stress can be a healthy thing in my opinion. It motivates us, and can make us think differently about a given situation. Constant stress, however, is not healthy. The trick is finding that balance, which is different for everybody. So step back, take a deep breath, and think about what you can do to find that balance.

[tags]health,energy,focus,job satisfaction,it stress,pressure,worry[/tags]