InformationWeek Daily Archives
Improving The IT Workplace
In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: Improving The IT Workplace
2. Today's Top Story: Careers
- IT Jobs Are Growing In The Big Cities
- Opinion: Are IT Jobs Good Jobs?
- Fortune 500 Boards Lack CIO, CFO Representation
3. Breaking News
- Europe Faces Battle Over Open Source Versus Proprietary Software
- New York Attorney General Targets Internet Fraud, Deception
- Dealing With Data Theft: After The Fact
- Exploit Against Popular 'Snort' Network Utility Close At Hand
- Apple Updates Desktops, Laptops
- ZoneAlarm Sniffs Out Spyware Behavior
- Online Video Revenue Expected To Soar
- C2C Archive One Extends Archive One To IM And RSS
- HP Tries To Bridge Blu-Ray, HD-DVD Formats
- SAP Profits Rise On U.S. Orders
4. In Depth: Personal Tech & Reviews
- Overview: Sun's StarOffice 8 Could Give Microsoft A Challenge
- Review: Sun Microsystems' StarOffice 8
- Review: Contenders Challenge The Microsoft Office Monopoly
- Review: Palm Hits Sweet Spot With New High-End PDA
- Review: FileMaker Pro 8.0
- How To Buy The Best Mouse
- Security Outsourcing: How To Do It Right
- Smaller, Faster, Cheaper Storage
5. Voice Of Authority: When An Analyst Works For Your Competitor
6. White Papers: A Better Approach To Securing Networks
7. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
8. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription
Quote of the day: Anger
"When anger rises, think of the consequences." -- Confucius
"Anger at lies lasts forever. Anger at truth can't last." -- Greg Evans
"But when [people] get angry, they bring about a change." -- Malcolm X
"I have a right to my anger, and I don't want anybody telling me
I shouldn't be, that it's not nice to be, and that something's
wrong with me because I get angry." -- Maxine Waters
Can you smell it? There's something in the air, but it's not the autumnal hearth. A smoldering anger, something I'd call "code rage," is everywhere, spilling over into, permeating, and often dominating every discussion we've had with readers this year about the state of the IT industry, IT careers, and education. For each commentator who loves the industry and offers upbeat advice, you'll find 10 or more cynical, resentful, and seething posts.
Maybe, as some readers suggest, this is just to be expected--either from displaced or older workers struggling to find their footing in a changing IT landscape or as the inevitable tumult that proceeds the death throes of what some see as a dying industry.
But maybe we should be a little less blasé and a little more proactive about trying to defuse this rage whenever and wherever it flares up. As author Harriet Lerner says in The Dance Of Anger, "Anger is a signal, and one worth listening to."
If you search our blogs in the career category and read the posts, it's true you'll find a lot of posts from the disaffected that start with "I've been in IT for 25, 30, 35 years ..." But if you look closer you'll also notice two things: Many of these people are employed, and mixed in along with their posts are entries from a younger generation, some also very angry, but more often bewildered, concerned, and uncertain of an IT career.
Alarm bells--hell, air-raid sirens--should be going off right now for anyone managing an IT department anywhere. These are some of your workers. This could be lurking in your office. Don't think for one minute this won't affect your projects, your teams, your results. It will. Maybe you'll complete projects, but will they be as good as they could have been? Will team members have enjoyed the experience and learned as much as they could have from each other? Will they be willing or able to pitch new ideas, projects, fixes? Do they have any sense that what they do matters or is appreciated? I'm thinking no on the latter. So what are you doing to let them know they do matter?
Having worked in middle management myself, I can guess your lot in life isn't exactly the berries, either. You get to juggle complaints and demands from above and below. Trying to make the best of unrealistic project schedules or skimpy budgets can leave your staff thinking you're the one who's unrealistic. If you think that's an easy perch from which to work, it's not.
Nonetheless, code rage is a very real, very now staffing issue bubbling under the surface at many IT shops. I know the fundamental underlying issues fueling that rage are unlikely to change for many workers, but perhaps there are adjustments, changes, and accommodations that can be made in the workplace to make work a better place for everyone. I wonder how IT managers and HR departments are dealing with workers who feel undervalued, overworked, underpaid. Of course, there's a degree of that in any industry, but it seems like a full-blown epidemic in IT. And regardless of how the business side views or values IT's role in your company, IT managers have to address this issue. You can't change the reality of the industry or even necessarily the attitude of your business compatriots, but you can, at minimum, effect some changes within the confines of your department. In other words, how can you make a tough situation easier to bear?
You have no choice. Your ROI depends on it, your future workforce depends on it. If you as a manager have done anything specific to mitigate the funk many IT workers seem to be stewing in--or if your department has--and you've succeeded in muting it, however minimally, we'd like to hear about it. Your peers would like to hear about it. And if you have a deployable idea that you think helps or should be adopted, we welcome those contributions as well.
Online job recruitment is strong in major metropolitan areas despite a struggling economy and a slight decline nationally, according to online recruiter Monster.com.
Opinion: Are IT Jobs Good Jobs?
While Bill Gates peddles a rosy vision of a bright future for IT grads, employers are cutting payrolls and squeezing more work out of beleaguered staff.
Fortune 500 Boards Lack CIO, CFO Representation
Study finds most Fortune 500 companies are lacking when it comes to adding tech know-how to their boardrooms.
A recent survey of Europeans found overwhelming support for open-source software. Meanwhile, a new software industry alliance looks to represent vendors' interests.
New York Attorney General Targets Internet Fraud, Deception
Eliot Spitzer targeted accused purveyors of charity, mortgage, and marketing scams, as well as adware.
Dealing With Data Theft: After The Fact
What if the worst happens and your customers' data is stolen or goes missing? Take a few tips from the financial-services industry, which is fast making an art form out of dealing with security breaches.
Exploit Against Popular 'Snort' Network Utility Close At Hand
Security researchers say it is imperative that users patch or apply a work-around for an intrusion-detection system vulnerability announced earlier this week.
Crooks are using a new technique, called "JS/Wonka," to obfuscate their code, and it's spreading fast.
Apple Updates Desktops, Laptops
Apple Computer refreshed its top-end desktop and laptop lines, adding dual-core PowerPC processors to all Power Mac G5 desktops, and DVD burners and higher-resolution displays to PowerBooks.
ZoneAlarm Sniffs Out Spyware Behavior
Zone Labs targets consumers and small businesses with a proactive approach that bases its defense on firewall technology.
Online Video Revenue Expected To Soar
The global market for online video content downloaded to a computer is expected to more than triple over the next several years.
C2C Extends Archive One To IM And RSS
The E-mail archiving and compliance package now supports the archiving, search, and retrieval of instant messages and RSS feeds.
HP Tries To Bridge Blu-Ray, HD-DVD Formats
In the latest attempt to unify the divergent Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD optical disk formats, Hewlett-Packard has formally appealed to the Blu-ray Disc Association to incorporate two key technologies.
SAP Profits Rise On U.S. Orders
Enterprise software maker SAP reported third-quarter revenue up 13%, while net income rose to $1.29 per share, up from $1.22 per share in the same period last year.
In today's episodes:
Chief Of The Year
Who's the CIO that inspires you most? What IT leader has led a revolution at his or her company? Who deserves InformationWeek's 2005 Chief of the Year Award? Vote now by sending an E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
RFID is positioned to revolutionize retail and supply chains. But early adopters are encountering their share of difficulties. These problems are documented along with deployment drivers and adoption plans in InformationWeek Research's RFID--Wisdom Of Pilots report.
You determine the nominees and you choose the winner in TechWeb's second annual Blog-X Awards. Nominate your favorite tech blog, and be sure to return when it's time to vote for the winner.
Offering many of the same features as the ubiquitous Microsoft Office suite, StarOffice could prove to be a low-cost alternative.
Review: Sun Microsystems' StarOffice 8
With most of the features for a fraction of the price, StarOffice 8 promises improvements on its already efficient office suite with Windows-like functionality.
Review: Contenders Challenge The Microsoft Office Monopoly
CRN's Test Center reviews EIOffice 2004, Sun StarOffice 8, and Corel Word Perfect Office 12.
Review: Palm Hits Sweet Spot With New High-End PDA
Palm's newest PDA strikes a surprisingly good balance between features and price, and boasts Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity.
Review: FileMaker Pro 8.0
New version maintains its reputation for ease of use with new templates and features that make it particularly good for sharing databases inside a business.
How To Buy The Best Mouse
Precise mice are nice. The trick is to both cover large screen distances and give you pixel-precise control.
Security Outsourcing: How To Do It Right
Outsourcing your organization's information security can expose you to great risks. We show you how a well-planned strategy can realize benefits in cost, efficiency, expertise, and peace of mind.
Smaller, Faster, Cheaper Storage
Small businesses in need of fast storage that doesn't take a bite out of their wallets or office space should check out NexonNAS 1000, a nifty little NAS.
Review: Three One-Touch Hard Drives
External hard drives from Maxtor, IOGear, and Seagate let you back up your data at the touch of a button.
So what happens when an analyst whom you've trusted with confidential information about your company and your customers takes a job with one of your competitors? It can have some clients crying foul, says Stephanie Stahl. She examines some suggestions on how research firms might handle such a situation.
Securing networks and their PC end points has grown increasingly challenging. The answer to these problems is Total Access Protection, Check Point's strategy for defending enterprise networks by ensuring that every PC is secure before it connects to the network.
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