Positive thinking guru Norman Vincent Peale once wrote: “The life of inner peace, being harmonious and without stress, is the easiest type of existence”. And about 30 years ago, singer Bobby McFerrin said basically the same thing with the song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”.

Well, with apologies to Mr. Peale and Mr. McFerrin, it’s tough to be harmonious and happy on the IT landscape — especially in October, which tends to be an especially hectic and demanding month. That’s why in last month’s poll question, we asked you to share the most stressful part of your job, as well as some tips for dealing with it.

The response was great — which is a bad news/good news thing. The bad news is that many of you are in fact stressed out, and we’re sorry to hear that. The good news is that it gives us the opportunity to put together a pretty big list of frustrations, pain points, and stuff that makes you want to conjure up your inner Darth Vader and scream: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

What Stresses You Out [Plus Your Tips for Dealing with Stress]

  • Trying to stay ahead — or at least keep up — with some of the IT related curves. [Tip: Play PC games to destress!]
  • Staying on top of accounting. [Tip: Give as much work as possible to an accountant.]
  • Fixing a problem when the client is watching. [Tip: Keep calm and focus.]
  • Too many tasks requested/ordered by too many people, and everyone wants their work done NOW. [Tip: Write all of the tasks down, and get the manager to prioritize and/or delegate them.]
  • Every breakdown, failure and outage of a clinical system. [Tip: Rely on experience and stay calm while troubleshooting problems.]
  • Explaining to management that a serious problem will occur unless an issue is fixed — which management ignores, and three months later everything stops working. [Tip: Prayer…lots of prayer.]
  • Systems that stop working after an update, or they don’t do what the update was supposed to accomplish. [Tip: Call the developer and try to remain focused and calm.]
  • Trying to make customers happy when you’re on the vendor side. [Tip: De-stress at home by vegging out watching TV, eating your favorite foods, and trying not to think about work after hours.]
  • Not knowing who will be hired or fired as the company makes plans for next year. [Tip: Keep hoping for the best.]
  • Troublemakers who intentionally do as little as possible to “punish” the company for reducing a benefit, such as having to work 40 hours a week instead of 37.5. [Tip: Look for quiet moments to enjoy the peace. Pour a good cup of coffee and start checking on things, which helps to stay motivated and calm.]
  • Worrying that the backup will fail — especially because backups are arguably more important than the data itself, since you can break the data, or overwrite the bad file, or get a crypto whatever, and still restore it from backup. [Tip: If the backup is broken, freeze the servers and don't change anything until it is fixed. Backup! Backup! Backup!]
  • When multiple systems fail at the same time. [Tip: Try to stay cool under pressure.]
  • Dealing with unclear communication, unspoken expectations, misinterpretations of what was said during meetings, and demanding clients (and their rationale for cutting budgets or corners). [Tip: Try to relax with teas and soothing music, plan in advance for changes, spend a weekend away doing something else to distract the mind.]

RDM to the Rescue

A couple of community members also noted that RDM helps them deal with work stress.

  • !BRNDMG shared: “When it comes to stress, I tend to keep things organized. When working on different topics at the same time, RDM helps me by keeping different projects organized in tab groups :)”
  • Scott Weaver shared: “I'm going to flip the script here and say that without RDM in our organization, writing this poll would be a lot easier... RDM helps us bring order to chaos and without it, we'd be lost. We've looked at other tools and nothing else compares. This is not an idle boast — RDM solves some of the major problems all IT departments have in trying keep it together. With 2,300 objects and counting, this is the tool I will not give up.”

Wow, thanks guys! We definitely didn’t expect RDM to be featured in the responses, and we are very happy to learn that it is helping mitigate some of the stress you face. We are in the trenches with you every day!

The Winners Are…

And now, it’s time to announce the two randomly-selected winners of a $25 Amazon gift card — which is more than enough to buy a copy of Norman Vincent Peale’s “The Power of Positive Thinking”. Congratulations to Scott Weaver and Rosie! Please email me to claim your prize.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the October poll. The November poll is coming soon!