Softpanorama

May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Contents Bulletin Scripting in shell and Perl Network troubleshooting History Humor

Coping with the toxic stress in IT environment

News Books Recommended Links Recommended Papers Work Overload
Documenting Micromanager Behavior Enemy at the Gate: Rules of communication with micromanager The psychopath in the corner office Abusive, Authority Based Relationships Learned helplessness
The Fiefdom Syndrome Understanding micromanagers Micromanagement induced burnout Humor Etc


"The problem is never the problem — the coping is the problem."

 — Virginia Satir

The focus of this page is harmful stress that arises from micromanaging. People who are micromanaged live under tremendous amount of stress and often have acute symptoms evident in their health. The most common is sleep disorders, but elevated blood pressure and skin rushes are pretty common too. Stress becomes dramatically more harmful when it is accompanied by blocking of your activities by micromanager.  This phenomenon is connected to so called  Learned helplessness, the phenomenon studied mainly during rather cruel experiments on animals.

Note: Paranoid incompetent micromanagers (PIMM), who successfully combine tight control of minute details/procedures used in performing assignments with compete incompetence are often called "control freaks" (CF). This category of micromanagers represents really nasty beasts of IT jungles.  In this set of pages that include

we will mainly address this menace.

Micromanagement produces tremendous amount of stress from at least two sources:

Implementing successful workplace stress-management measures depends on: Valuing your employees' well-being while they are at work, Being flexible when tackling any workplace stress problem, and Creating and maintaining open lines of communication between you and your employees.

By fostering two-way conversations with your employees about stress issues, employers can encourage employees to suggest solutions to the problems they experience on the job.

Your employees' knowledge of the workplace should be considered in evaluating any suggested solution to workplace stress problems. Just as workplace activities can produce stress in an employee's life, personal factors can do the same, because an employee's personal stress can magnify the effect of harmful workplace stress.

It is difficult to say where one ends and the other begins. While this brochure offers employers a practical approach to identifying and reducing harmful workplace stress, it also recognizes that employees must take responsibility for reducing harmful stress that arises from their personal lives.

This brochure also assists employers by focusing on the workplace factors they can control, an approach that can lead to a reduction in the influence of factors that employers cannot control.

Consider using the following three-step approach to managing workplace stress:

Steps for Decreasing Toxic Worry

  1. Take it easy.  Most of IT activity is useless, anyway; it like creating paintings on the shore. the next technological wave will wipe the sand clean. That means that stupid and nasty boss that block some of your super-useful initiative is a natural part of ecosystem and might even prevent you from wasting your efforts to help the useless corporation that currently employs you. Such broader view on your environment provide better psychological stability. There are a lot of books that provide such an approach.  Some can be bought cheaper the $1, see for example Amazon.com- Don't Sweat the Small Stuff--and it's all small stuff ...
     
  2. You can consider you boss to be an interesting clinical case and try to study him/her as a natural phenomenon. Some danger is not uncommon in studying natural phenomenon as any volcano researcher can attest.
     
  3. Try to improve you "work-life balance". US work culture supports longer working hours, and a culture of "workaholism" all of which in combination with micromanagement produce dangerous amount of workplace stress. Micromanagement is actually the leading causes of workplace stress in the USA. There are two contributing factors: 
    1. Poorly defined and designed work roles.  Clearly defined work roles, and variation in work tasks within work roles, are likely to alleviate stress.
    2. Irregular work schedules. Unpredictable work schedules, particularly caused by  frequent changes in project direction typical for micromanagement.
       
  4. Maintain your sense of humor: This includes the ability to laugh at yourself. Watch a funny movie: the sillier the plot the better. The act of laughing helps your body fight stress in a number of ways. Reading Dilbert books might also be a decent stress reliever.
     
  5. Find a partner to share the worry outside your work environment. Talk to someone you trust—a friend, partner, mentor , etc — about your concerns. Just talking can be a relief, and your listener may even provide some reassurance and guidance.  The rule No.1 here is that the person should in no way be connected to your current company and your boss -- information often has legs. 
     
  6. Get the facts. Often worry is a small problem blown out of proportion by your imagination.
  7. Make a plan B. Don’t become a passive victim of toxic worry; attack the worry by intensified searching for other job. Even if you never find a decent substitute the activity itself have high therapeutic value. Just make a plan and take it one step at a time, solving one part of the problem first and then the next. Bit by bit you’ll overcome the problem and dissolve your worry. Don't expect wonders; assume that you need to lose something to preserve your health.
     
  8. Get yourself involved in regular exercise. That is vital therapeutic technique for any micromanaged employee. Get a year subscription to a gym ASAP. practice brain maintenance. Maintaining your body helps to maintain your brain.  Exercise every second day (even a short walk will help invigorate your brain as well as your body), and practice relaxation techniques (tune out your critical voice). Yoga provides good relaxation techniques. Buy a massaging machine.  A massage provides some  relaxation too.
     
  9. Fight micromanagement induced speed disorders. Sleep deprivation increases irritability. Use slow walking for an hour before sleep and taking a 15-min warm bath after. A grass of warm milk or red wine might help too. What is more effective depends on your metabolism. People with slow oxidation of alcohol react better to milk. For people with high oxidation of alcohol wine helps better but the problem can be to limit its consumption to a healthy level and avoid becoming another alcoholic.  Valerian is a herb that is widely used for such cases in Eastern Europe and it is availed in the USA too.
     
  10. Get enough sleep: Adequate sleep fuels your mind, as well as your body.
     
  11. Change your eating habits. You need to understand that your body is under severe pressure and  you just need to switch to a healthy diet (cut down on fats, sugar, caffeine). Some alcohol, especially red wine, can be your friend, especially a glass just before going to bed: it might improve sleeping. 
     
  12. In case your manager is really nasty,  increase the doze of physical activity in after-hours. Bicycling, running on treadmill in gym, actually anything that can burn calories. As a more exotic example you can buy boxing gloves and punching bag. For many people this trick helps relieve micromanagement induced stress.  This is a proved Japanese approach.
     
  13. Let it go. When you can’t do anything more about the problem, then let the worry go. Give it up to your past and forget about it. This may be difficult to do, but it is worth the conscious effort.
     
  14. Say no to any work on Sundays.  Take time out from the hustle and bustle of life for leisure time. Too much work is actually inefficient and can lead to burnout. Recognize when you are most stressed and allow yourself some reasonable breaks. When things feel especially difficult, take a walk or change your scenery. Most importantly, try to do things that make you happy.
     
  15. Keep a journal: One strategy that many people have found effective in coping with stress is keeping a journal, sometimes referred as a “stress diary.”

Shape your office environment

If your stress additionally increases due to job insecurity, take stock of yourself.

Update your resume, and remind yourself of your skills and strengths.

Also, make sure you keep up with new developments in your field. This will make you valuable on the marketplace.


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Old News ;-)

[Mar 27, 2013] Most IT Admins Have Considered Quitting Due To Stress

Mar 27, 2013 | Slashdot

Posted by Soulskill

Orome1 writes

"The number of IT professionals considering leaving their job due to workplace stress has jumped from 69% last year to 73%. One-third of those surveyed cited dealing with managers as their most stressful job requirement, particularly for IT staff in larger organizations. Handling end user support requests, budget squeeze and tight deadlines were also listed as the main causes of workplace stress for IT managers. Although users are not causing IT staff as much stress as they used to, it isn't stopping them from creating moments that make IT admins want to tear their hair out in frustration. Of great concern is the impact that work stress is having on health and relationships. While a total of 80% of participants revealed that their job had negatively impacted their personal life in some way, the survey discovered some significant personal impact: 18% have suffered stress-related health issues due to their work, and 28% have lost sleep due to work."

Culture20:

Re:IT admins are special (Score:5, Insightful)

lots of jobs really suck, and lots of people are stressed to the point of health impacts and have considered quitting. Many of these jobs pay significantly less than IT wages.

Whenever I get stressed out, I remember the jobs I did before/while I was in college, and I'm happy to be where I am. I can't imagine what today's grads do without any work experience at low-wage McJobs. Consider quitting I guess?

datavirtue:

Re:IT admins are special (Score:4, Insightful)

Admin is just a step up from help desk, hang out too long and it will begin to suck badly. If you fail to increase your skills (most admins) and your ability to add value, then it will start to suck badly after a number of years--it's boring.

How many servers can you provision or user accounts can you setup before pulling your fucking hair out?

Learn to code, become a professional DBA, or acquire some more skills that makes you valuable, like perhaps getting involved with business intelligence.

Admins are a commodity. Yes, it is easy to hang out and collect a paycheck, but don't whine when your value wanes and people direct you around like a monkey boy.

i kan reed

Re:IT admins are special (Score:5, Insightful)

As an software engineer(and thus not an IT admin), IT admins have it much worse than most middle class office workers. They get shit on over the smallest thing, and are the only IT employees who are expected to deliver within minutes of being asked. I don't think it's a stretch to say their stress levels might be higher than yours.

jedidiah

Re:IT admins are special (Score:5, Interesting)

In terms of certain job expectations they are. These include longer hours and working weekends and during the 3rd shift.

A lot of mundanes don't understand this. They hear that you've got some office job and they don't understand why you would be working those kinds of hours.

Clueless spouses can add to the stress level. Even spouses that are part of the workforce can be ignorant and unsympathetic.

jellomizer

Re:IT admins are special (Score:4, Funny)

No your wife will not understand no matter what your job is. She will undoubtedly have worked more then you did, no matter what.

h4rr4r:

That is only $48k. That is terrible pay for sysadmin work.

Shadow99_1

Personally I was supporting Windows, Linux, and Apple... So no, not just windows. I also was not the only one, I worked with admins from a dozen companies from time to time and pay varied from $40k-55k. Those making $55k were in their 50's and had started (often at these companies) during the 70's or at most 80's...

ZaMoose:

Lying liars and the lies they lie about (Score:5, Informative)

Only 73% have considered quitting? The other 27% are lying to you, probably because they're worried that the survey is being snooped on by the corporate Barracuda firewall.

Spy Handler

Rapid change in IT is the problem (Score:3)

When IT and computer/internet field in general settle down and become mature, things will get better.

Right now there's just too many new technolgies and buzzwords and platforms and architecture and paradigms popping up, and pointy-haired managers and VPs all want to implement this and that and oh by the way make it work with our legacy system and nothing better get lost or you're fired.

Yold

Re:Rapid change in IT is the problem (Score:5, Insightful)

It's not a matter of maturity. Many organizations hide behind the disclaimer "we are not an I.T. company", despite having sizable I.T. departments. And despite having this sizable department, which offers mission-critical applications and infrastructure, zero effort is made towards working smarter. Problems are fixed with mandatory overtime, cutting staffing/costs, and "quick-and-dirty" fixes to long standing problems.

I think some companies are starting to understand that their project management methodologies are flawed, but most cannot connect the concepts of "software debt" to decreasing marginal output in their I.T. efforts. An hour of work today is less effective than in the past because you are paying "interest" on your previous bad decisions.

I think that the 27% is reflective of companies that can connect the longevity and cost-effectiveness of I.T. systems to proper project planning, management, and I.T. expertise. Whether or not this is an upper-bound remains to be seen, because a lot of organizations simply don't understand that inventing your own project management ideas dooms you to repeating the same failures that have happened over the last 50 years.

meatspray

Thats why your #1 priority in an interview is: (Score:5, Insightful)

Picking your boss. If you're not up a creek looking for work, that interview is to let you meet your managers, talk to some workers about the managers.

When I started working it was "If I can just get in the door"

When I was in my 20's it was "What cool things will this job do for me"

Now That i'm in my 30's its "Will I be able to work with these people"

Midnight_Falcon

It's about being "Always on" (Score:5, Insightful)

I'm an IT professional and more than once I've thought about quitting, especially when I was doing high-stress consulting. Clients treat you like meat, like "the help." They have no problem waking you up at 5AM with nonsense problems. If you don't answer and do it politely, they call your boss and then your job/livelihood is in jeopardy.

This isn't just a 9-5 thing where, when you leave the office, you're no longer on the hook -- it's always happening. Sometimes, you're at a bar at 10PM and you get an urgent call -- pick it up, and you in your tipsy state are now on the hook to resolve an important issue.

The fear of getting these calls has made me stay home sometimes when I could have been being social, and not travel away on vacation when I knew some action was going on I'd be needed for. It creates a lot of stress to be depended on so much, and now with telecommuting, you're expected to be responsive at all times wherever you are.

It's a lot of stress even in the best setup/most-redundant environments, and the job is not for everyone. And when projects come up that are difficult and highly user-facing, it's hard to avoid this type of a situation.

mjr167

Re:It's about being "Always on" (Score:2)

How is that different from being... a doctor, a fireman, a nuclear plant operator, a plumber, or an electrical line repairman?

Welcome to the world of essential services. When your job is to keep things working, you don't get to pick your hours cause shit happens.

[Mar 27, 2013] Most IT Admins Have Considered Quitting Due To Stress

Mar 27, 2013 | Slashdot

Posted by Soulskill

Orome1 writes

"The number of IT professionals considering leaving their job due to workplace stress has jumped from 69% last year to 73%. One-third of those surveyed cited dealing with managers as their most stressful job requirement, particularly for IT staff in larger organizations. Handling end user support requests, budget squeeze and tight deadlines were also listed as the main causes of workplace stress for IT managers. Although users are not causing IT staff as much stress as they used to, it isn't stopping them from creating moments that make IT admins want to tear their hair out in frustration. Of great concern is the impact that work stress is having on health and relationships. While a total of 80% of participants revealed that their job had negatively impacted their personal life in some way, the survey discovered some significant personal impact: 18% have suffered stress-related health issues due to their work, and 28% have lost sleep due to work."

Culture20:

Re:IT admins are special (Score:5, Insightful)

lots of jobs really suck, and lots of people are stressed to the point of health impacts and have considered quitting. Many of these jobs pay significantly less than IT wages.

Whenever I get stressed out, I remember the jobs I did before/while I was in college, and I'm happy to be where I am. I can't imagine what today's grads do without any work experience at low-wage McJobs. Consider quitting I guess?

datavirtue:

Re:IT admins are special (Score:4, Insightful)

Admin is just a step up from help desk, hang out too long and it will begin to suck badly. If you fail to increase your skills (most admins) and your ability to add value, then it will start to suck badly after a number of years--it's boring.

How many servers can you provision or user accounts can you setup before pulling your fucking hair out?

Learn to code, become a professional DBA, or acquire some more skills that makes you valuable, like perhaps getting involved with business intelligence.

Admins are a commodity. Yes, it is easy to hang out and collect a paycheck, but don't whine when your value wanes and people direct you around like a monkey boy.

i kan reed

Re:IT admins are special (Score:5, Insightful)

As an software engineer(and thus not an IT admin), IT admins have it much worse than most middle class office workers. They get shit on over the smallest thing, and are the only IT employees who are expected to deliver within minutes of being asked. I don't think it's a stretch to say their stress levels might be higher than yours.

jedidiah

Re:IT admins are special (Score:5, Interesting)

In terms of certain job expectations they are. These include longer hours and working weekends and during the 3rd shift.

A lot of mundanes don't understand this. They hear that you've got some office job and they don't understand why you would be working those kinds of hours.

Clueless spouses can add to the stress level. Even spouses that are part of the workforce can be ignorant and unsympathetic.

jellomizer

Re:IT admins are special (Score:4, Funny)

No your wife will not understand no matter what your job is. She will undoubtedly have worked more then you did, no matter what.

h4rr4r:

That is only $48k. That is terrible pay for sysadmin work.

Shadow99_1

Personally I was supporting Windows, Linux, and Apple... So no, not just windows. I also was not the only one, I worked with admins from a dozen companies from time to time and pay varied from $40k-55k. Those making $55k were in their 50's and had started (often at these companies) during the 70's or at most 80's...

ZaMoose:

Lying liars and the lies they lie about (Score:5, Informative)

Only 73% have considered quitting? The other 27% are lying to you, probably because they're worried that the survey is being snooped on by the corporate Barracuda firewall.

Spy Handler

Rapid change in IT is the problem (Score:3)

When IT and computer/internet field in general settle down and become mature, things will get better.

Right now there's just too many new technolgies and buzzwords and platforms and architecture and paradigms popping up, and pointy-haired managers and VPs all want to implement this and that and oh by the way make it work with our legacy system and nothing better get lost or you're fired.

Yold

Re:Rapid change in IT is the problem (Score:5, Insightful)

It's not a matter of maturity. Many organizations hide behind the disclaimer "we are not an I.T. company", despite having sizable I.T. departments. And despite having this sizable department, which offers mission-critical applications and infrastructure, zero effort is made towards working smarter. Problems are fixed with mandatory overtime, cutting staffing/costs, and "quick-and-dirty" fixes to long standing problems.

I think some companies are starting to understand that their project management methodologies are flawed, but most cannot connect the concepts of "software debt" to decreasing marginal output in their I.T. efforts. An hour of work today is less effective than in the past because you are paying "interest" on your previous bad decisions.

I think that the 27% is reflective of companies that can connect the longevity and cost-effectiveness of I.T. systems to proper project planning, management, and I.T. expertise. Whether or not this is an upper-bound remains to be seen, because a lot of organizations simply don't understand that inventing your own project management ideas dooms you to repeating the same failures that have happened over the last 50 years.

meatspray

Thats why your #1 priority in an interview is: (Score:5, Insightful)

Picking your boss. If you're not up a creek looking for work, that interview is to let you meet your managers, talk to some workers about the managers.

When I started working it was "If I can just get in the door"

When I was in my 20's it was "What cool things will this job do for me"

Now That i'm in my 30's its "Will I be able to work with these people"

Midnight_Falcon

It's about being "Always on" (Score:5, Insightful)

I'm an IT professional and more than once I've thought about quitting, especially when I was doing high-stress consulting. Clients treat you like meat, like "the help." They have no problem waking you up at 5AM with nonsense problems. If you don't answer and do it politely, they call your boss and then your job/livelihood is in jeopardy.

This isn't just a 9-5 thing where, when you leave the office, you're no longer on the hook -- it's always happening. Sometimes, you're at a bar at 10PM and you get an urgent call -- pick it up, and you in your tipsy state are now on the hook to resolve an important issue.

The fear of getting these calls has made me stay home sometimes when I could have been being social, and not travel away on vacation when I knew some action was going on I'd be needed for. It creates a lot of stress to be depended on so much, and now with telecommuting, you're expected to be responsive at all times wherever you are.

It's a lot of stress even in the best setup/most-redundant environments, and the job is not for everyone. And when projects come up that are difficult and highly user-facing, it's hard to avoid this type of a situation.

mjr167

Re:It's about being "Always on" (Score:2)

How is that different from being... a doctor, a fireman, a nuclear plant operator, a plumber, or an electrical line repairman?

Welcome to the world of essential services. When your job is to keep things working, you don't get to pick your hours cause shit happens.

Work stress can raise risk of heart attack by 23%, study finds Science The Guardian

Research claims those most at risk are those with high demands on them but little control over how and when to do the work

People with highly stressful jobs but little real control over decision making are running a 23% increased risk of a heart attack, according to authoritative research.

Many people in today's world, where the pace of life is fast and money is tight, may consider themselves stressed at work, but the definition used by authors of the study in the Lancet medical journal is precise. They considered job strain to involve high demands on the individual and little freedom to make his or her own decisions about how and when to do the work.

This sort of stress is to be found among all sorts of people, holding down all sorts of jobs on both high and low salaries, said one of the authors of the study, Professor Andrew Steptoe of the department of epidemiology and public health at University College London.

"It is the coupling [of high demand and low control] that is problematic," he said. "It is more common in low income jobs where people are doing the same thing again and again, such as assembly line work, but it is across the whole social spectrum.

"A doctor could be someone who has very high skills but might well feel that they have very little control over how quickly they can work, and they have high demands on them."

Some stress will inevitably be subjective, he agreed. "It is a combination of what you are expected to do and how you perceive that and experience that."

Airline pilots are another group who have a high status job with moderate demands, but the control levels are quite low – constrained by schedules and weather.

The large study, involving nearly 200,000 people from seven European countries, is more accurate in its findings than previous research on the issue, the authors contend, because they pooled the findings of both published and unpublished previous studies in a meta-analysis.

"Our findings indicate that job strain is associated with a small, but consistent, increased risk of experiencing a first CHD [coronary heart disease] event such as a heart attack," said Professor Mika Kivimäki, from UCL, who led the research.

The 200,000 people in the studies were followed for an average of 7.5 years, during which time there were 2,356 heart attacks or other first-time coronary heart disease events. Among those who met the definition for job strain, the risk was 23% higher than among the others, even after taking into account potentially confounding factors such as lifestyle, age, gender and socio-economic status.

There were other factors in the workplace which could affect stress and health, Steptoe added. "There is uncertainty of employment and whether wages are going up in the way they expected," he said.

Both employers and individuals could do things to reduce job strain, said Steptoe. But the paper points out that smoking and physical inactivity are still bigger risk factors for heart attacks

Job insecurity affects health, Michigan study finds

Sarah A. Burgard, PhD, and colleagues of University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, analyzed data on about 440 working-aged adults living in southeast Michigan in 2009-10. The analysis was part of a larger study to assess the impact of the recent economic recession and ongoing recovery on the lives of workers in the Detroit area, which was hit particularly hard by the "Great Recession."

Nearly 18 percent of workers perceived their job was insecure -- they felt it was at least "fairly likely" that they would lose their job or be laid off within the next year. Workers with job insecurity rated their health lower than workers who perceived their jobs as more secure -- they were nearly three times more likely to rate their health as fair to poor.

Workers with job insecurity were nearly four times more likely to report symptoms of anxiety attacks, and close to seven times more likely to have symptoms suggesting minor or major depression. These effects were significant after adjustment for other characteristics.

The study adds to previous research linking job insecurity to poorer health. This could have a major impact on population health in the wake of the recent economic recession -- especially with the "jobless recovery" and continued high unemployment rates.

"The study provides some of the first available evidence on the extent and distribution of perceived job insecurity and its association with health in the wake of the Great Recession," Dr Burgard and coauthors write. They call for interventions targeting the large number of people who may be suffering the mental and physical health effects of job worries. Especially with the slow recovery, they add, "perceptions of job insecurity may persist for some time."

Blue-collar workers top charts for worst employee health

Work stress can raise risk of heart attack by 23%, study finds

28-Sep-12

Work stress can raise risk of heart attack by 23%, study finds

Stressful at the top? Not really, study finds

Why incompetent people are often promoted

Reducing Stress at Work

Plus lots more.

 

[Aug 30, 2012]  Seven Steps to Serenity

MSNBC  columnist offers advice on managing stress during trying times. 
Aug. 6, 2006 | Newsweek

I don't know about you, but a lot of people I know are feeling that life is increasingly stressful as our world seems to be spiraling out of control.  We watch helplessly as parts of our globe descend into madness and terrorism.

What can you do?  Get involved politically; make your voice heard.  You're not as powerless as some people would have you believe.  As Margaret Mead once wrote, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

While you can't always change what's going on in the world, there is a lot you can do about how it affects you.  Stress comes not only from what's going in your life, but also from how you react to it.  When you practice some simple stress-management techniques on a regular basis, you can be in the same job, the same environment, even the same family, but react in more constructive and healthful ways.

These stress-management techniques are not about withdrawing from the world; they enable you to embrace it more fully and effectively.  When you're feeling less stressed, you can think more clearly and creatively, making it easier to find constructive solutions.  As a patient once told me after learning how to meditate, "I used to have a short fuse and I'd explode easily; now, my fuse is longer.  Things just don't bother me nearly as much.  So, I get more done and have more fun."

What can you do to manage stress more effectively?

1. Exercise:  Physical exercise is a great way to discharge stressful feelings that accumulate during the day.  Just walking for 20 to 30 minutes per day makes you feel better and look better.  Incorporate exercise into your daily life: park a little farther away, take the stairs, have more vigorous sex.

2. Enhance social support: The most commonly prescribed drugs in this country are antidepressants.  People who feel lonely, depressed and isolated—the silent epidemic in this country—are many times more likely to get sick and die prematurely than those who have a strong sense of connection and community.  Call a friend.  Get a dog.  Volunteer in a hospital.  Make love with your spouse or significant other.  Go to church or synagogue.  Have dinner with your family.

3. Breathe: Your breath is the link between your mind and your body.  It both reflects and affects your level of stress. One clue to let you know when you're feeling stressed is that your breath becomes more rapid and shallow.  When you become aware of this, remind yourself to take some slow, deep breaths, which will reduce your stress level almost immediately.

4. Meditate: You can meditate on almost anything—a sound, a word, a prayer, a song, an image or your breathing.  Interestingly, different cultures meditate on words that sound very similar—beginning with an "ah" or "oh" and ending with an "m" or "n," like a parent humming to a baby. Om. Shalom. Salaam. Amen. Ameen. These words are often translated as meaning "peace" because they help make you feel that way.  Close your eyes, sit in a comfortable position.  Take a breath, and say the word out loud, emphasizing the humming sound at the end.  When you come to the end of the breath, take another one and say the word again.  And so on.  When your mind wanders, just bring it back to the meditation.  Over time, your mind quiets down and you begin to experience an inner sense of peace and well-being.  You can also access your inner wisdom, the still, small voice within that speaks very clearly but quietly.

5. Try yoga: Gentle yoga stretches can relax chronically tensed muscle groups and increase both physical and mental flexibility.  Just as your mind affects your body, so does your body affect your mind.  When your body is more relaxed, your mind feels less stressed.

6. Cut down on stimulants (both physical and mental):  Caffeine, found in colas,  "energy" drinks, coffee, tea and many medications, potentates stress—in other words, it shortens your fuse and makes you more reactive to stress.  If you don't think you're addicted to caffeine, just try to stop drinking it; your body goes into withdrawal, and you may feel tired, irritable and fuzzy.  It's not pretty.  Slowly draw down your intake of caffeine.  Re-experience what it feels like to live without the constant stimulation of the television, radio or iPod being on 24/7.  While it's important to stay informed, give yourself a break from the news continually droning on about disasters.

7. Practice forgiveness, altruism, compassion, service: Chronic hostility and hatred are among the most toxic forms of stress.  When you are really angry with someone, you empower the person you hate to make you stressed out or even sick.  That's not smart.  When you forgive someone, it doesn't excuse their actions; it frees you from stress and suffering.  This is true for nations as well as individuals.  Otherwise, the cycle of violence continues and escalates from country to country and from generation to generation, fighting in the name of peace.  It takes strength and courage to forgive; those who are afraid to look weak are often the ones preaching vengeance and violence.  We remember and respect those who had the courage to be nonviolent, whose lives inspired lasting change for the better: Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr.  Similarly, altruism and compassion are powerful ways of reducing stress and transforming our lives.

You have a spectrum of choices; it's not all or nothing.  In my experience, consistency is more important than duration—even a minute of meditation each day can make a difference.  If you can't walk for an hour, walk for five minutes.  If you indulge yourself one day, eat more healthfully the next.

These techniques and teachings are part of all cultures, and all religions, in one form or another.  The ancient swamis and rabbis, monks and nuns, mullahs and maharishis didn't use these approaches simply as powerful stress-management techniques, although they are.  They are tools for transformation and transcendence, providing a direct experience of what it means to be happy and peaceful if we simply stop disturbing our natural state of inner peace.  These techniques do not bring peace and happiness; they simply help us to experience and rediscover the inner peace that is there already, once we stop disturbing it.  As the ecumenical spiritual teacher Swami Satchidananda often said, "I'm not a Hindu; I'm an Un-do."

In a way, this is a radically different perspective than the messages that we often receive, especially via advertising: that we are supposed to get happiness from outside ourselves by getting more, buying more, doing more.  Paradoxically, when we are more inwardly defined—i.e., when we realize that peace is our natural state until we disturb it—then we can go out in the world and accomplish even more, without getting so stressed and sick in the process.  People have power over you only if they have something that you think you need.  The more you experience inner peace, the less you need, and the more power you retain.

When you embody peace, people around you feel it.  You become an example for others to emulate.  When you meet hatred with love, fear with hope, that transforms yourself and those around you.  As Gandhi wrote, "Be the change you want to see in the world."

URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14205873/

[Jan 16, 2007] That’s Why They Call It Work - New York Times

Paul J. Rosch, president of the American Institute of Stress, said “most job stress has to do with workers’ impressions that they have little control over their work.”

DON’T WORRY, BE HAPPY “The most popular class at Harvard isn’t Intro to Econ or Survey of Dead White Poets,” Lauren Bradshaw writes in Glamour. It’s the Positive Psychology seminar taught by Tal Ben-Shahar who gives students research-based ways to live a more satisfying life. “In other words, it’s a course on how to be happier.”

Among the teachings:

[Jan 15, 2007] Office Bullies Cost Industry Millions

July 8, 2003 (upliftprogram.com) Recent research has shown that workplace bullying is one of the most significant causes of stress, is on the increase and costs industry billions of dollars annually.

Much has been done to try to eradicate bullying at school however, relatively few people are aware of the seriousness of bullying within the workplace. Surveys have been highlighting this point for a long time but now at last it seems that some companies and organizations are beginning to realize the hidden costs of bullying, and attempting to wipe it out.

Among some recent headlines:

According to a recent report ("Key Facts on Harassment at Work") issued by the Institute of Personnel and Development (IPD), which represents personnel and human resources managers, in the past bullying at work was always regarded as being due to over-zealous management or awkward workers that needed a firm line taken with them. The report says that bullying is bad for business because staff become too stressed to do their jobs, and some even cease to turn up for work.

The IPD advises that "any persistent behavior which a person finds intimidating, upsetting, humiliating or offensive should be investigated."

A new type of bullying is via the use of the computer, which has become known as "flame mail". A recent survey by Ronin research services found that staff regularly receive abusive messages via the use of internal electronic mail systems. Men were found to be the victims as well as the perpetrators, being five more times likely than women to send this type of mail and twice as likely to receive them. One in 70 people said that they had left their jobs because of these messages. More worrying was the fact that the survey found that the most common response was to reply similarly with another abusive message. A third of the respondents said that they actually stopped communicating with colleagues.

The whole area of bullying is fraught with difficulties. There are different kinds of bullies and different kinds of bullying. A recent article in the journal of the Association of First Division Civil Servants (FDA), which represents UK civil service and NHS managers sought to highlight the different types of bullying, as follows:

"If you work for an office bully, verbal abuse and humiliation may be the least of your problems. They may set you impossible deadlines and unattainable targets, remove your responsibility, take credit for your work or spread rumors and lie to senior management about you," states the article.

"Cascade bullying" seems to be the most common form of bullying, especially in areas which have been exposed to the pressures of restructuring. The "downsizing" and "delayering" culture brings with it a feeling of job insecurity which in turn puts much more pressure on managers as they become overworked. They in turn then tend to transfer this pressure onto their staff.

The FDA article states that as many as 40 million days per year in the UK may be lost through absence caused by bullying--at a cost of at least GBP 4 billion.

The FDA advises that the following check-list should be used:

Read more on the FDA site

Read more on the IPD site

[Jan 15, 2007] Bullied Workers Suffer "Battle Stress"

High rates of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) found among corporate employees
September 1, 2004 (BBC) Soldiers under fire in Iraq and workers at some of our largest corporations are at risk. They are both in a battleground and both face enormous stress according to research carried out by a leading British psychologist.

Dr Noreen Tehrani has counselled victims of the troubles in Northern Ireland, soldiers returning from combat overseas and victims of workplace bullying. According to her "The symptoms displayed by people who have been in conflict situations and workplaces where bullying happens are strikingly similar."

Her findings tie in closely with my own experience of working both with veterans and corporate managers and executives.

According to Dr Tehrani, who was interviewed by the BBC News Online, "Both groups suffer nightmares, are jumpy and seem fuelled by too much adrenaline. In addition, they show greater susceptibility to illnesses, heart disease and alcoholism."

Psychologists define corporate bullying as persistent devaluing demeaning or harassing of someone at work.

To back up her years of experience, Dr Tehrani conducted a study of 165 professionals in the caring sector such as nurses and social workers. Bullying managers grab the headlines but it also occurs between people on the same grade or even on occasions subordinates can intimidate their boss. Again this accords with our own experience of working with the nursing and support staff in some of our major hospitals in Australia and the US.

Dr Tehrani found that 36% of the men and 42% of the women reported having experienced bullying. Overall, one in five people exhibited the main symptoms of PTSD.

The three most obvious signs of PTSD are hyper-arousal, a feeling of constant anxiety and over-vigilance; avoidance of anything to do with the traumatizing event; and re-experiencing, in which subjects suffer flashbacks or obsessive thoughts concerning the trauma.

Early signs of workplace bullying are sickness and absenteeism, Dr Tehrani added.

Bullying can take many forms from malicious gossiping to overt physical violence. "Generally, male bullies indulge in quite physical and loud verbal bullying," Dr Tehrani told the BBC. "Female bullies favour a strictly psychological approach to inflicting pain on others such as gossip and persistent criticism."

However the image of the bullying boss terrorizing staff doesn't paint the whole picture. Bullying managers grab the headlines, but it also occurs between people on the same grade or even on occasions subordinates can intimidate their boss. A manager or boss who is a bully gives the green light for bullying to occur throughout the organization. Firms tend to take on the psychological profiles of their CEOs, and other research as estimated that between 5 and 15% of all CEOs are psychopaths.

Read more in BBC News Online

[Jan 13, 2007] Tips for Managing Workplace Stress

According to a study, 40% of the American employees feel that their job is very stressful. As the issue of job and related factors causing stress is a persistent one, workplace stress needs to be dealt in a proper way. Otherwise there are chances of stress becoming a chronic problem. Moreover stress at work impairs the job activities and also causes physical problems like head ache, back ache and later on heart problems. At the extreme chances of death is also there due stressful work. Japanese even have a term for it -karoushi. Work related stress results in decreased productivity, increased management problems and increased incidence of illnesses among employees. Stress related problems are the most common causes of sickness absenteeism all over the world. In one study it was found that 13 million work days are lost every year in UK due to stress and related problems. The other side of the problem involves the employers, who suffer production loss, get bad reputation and are prone to litigations resulting in liabilities. The cost of stress related problems is to the tune of 700 million pounds per year to the employers according to a study conducted in UK and about 150 billion dollars according to a study conducted in US.

Work Related Stress

The common causes of work place stress are In a survey conducted to find out the most stressful jobs the following were found to be in the top four professions which caused more stress. Unlike stress in general, the work related stress affects men and women equally. Older employees are affected more than their younger counterparts. Stress at workplace could be due to But in the long run the stress becomes chronic problem causing serious health problems.

Stress Management at Workplace

If an employer finds that his staff is under stress, he should not ignore it. He should take steps to help them. If he finds it difficult to provide a solution for it, he should get the help of another capable person. If the employee is suffering from non work related stress, even then it should be looked into as it may later lead on to work related stress. There is no single stress relief method. The stress management at workplace thus has to combine steps to eliminate the source of stress and provide relief for the short and long term effects by utilizing popular stress relievers. Also identify the best candidate for work by assessing his emotional intelligence and not just his qualification.

... ... ...

The above mentioned methods are for stress relieving methods which act by correcting the stress inducing problems. In addition work stress can also be relieved by other stress relief methods like

[Jan 5, 2007] Helpguide Coping with Stress Management and Reduction Techniques

There are no “one size fits all” solutions to managing stress. Every individual has a unique response to stress, so experiment with a variety of approaches to manage and reduce stress to learn what works best for you.

How can I change my lifestyle habits to manage stress better?

How can I change my thinking and emotional responses to handle stress better?

How can I meet the challenges of stressful situations?

Recommended Links

Softpanorama hot topic of the month

Softpanorama Recommended

NASA Safety page/Stress management

Bullied Workers Suffer "Battle Stress" High rates of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) found among corporate employees

Links to Stress Related Resources

The management of workplace stress

Managing Workplace Stress: A Best Practice Blueprint (Except)

Healthy Work Managing Stress in the Workplace

The Latest News and Research into Work and Workplace Issues

http://www.usenix.org/events/usenix99/ Big Data and the Next Wave of InfraStress Problems, Solutions, Opportunities John R. Mashey, Chief Scientist, SGI Summary by Art Mulder

John Mashey, current custodian of the California "UNIX" license plate, presented an overview of where computer technology appears to be heading and outlined areas where we need to be concerned and prepared. A key opening thought was that if we don't understand the upcoming technology trends, then watch out, we'll be like people standing on the shore when a large wave comes rushing in to crash over us.

Mashey began with a definition of the term "infrastress," a word that he made up by combining "infrastructure" and "stress." You experience infrastress when computing subsystems and usage change more quickly than the underlying infrastructure can change to keep up. The symptoms include bottlenecks, workarounds, and instability.

We all know that computer technology is growing: disk capacities, CPU speeds, RAM capacity constantly increase. But we need to understand how those technologies interact, especially if the growth rates are not parallel. The audience looked at a lot of log charts to understand this. For instance, on a log chart we could clearly see that CPU speed was increasing at a rate far larger than DRAM access times.

Most (all?) computer textbooks teach that a memory access is roughly equivalent to a CPU instruction. But with new technologies the reality is that a memory operation, like a cache miss, may cost you 1000 CPU instructions. We need to be aware of this and change our programming practices accordingly. The gap between CPU and disk latency is even worse. Avoid disk access at all costs. For instance, how can I change my program to use more memory and avoid going to disk? Or, similarly, minimize going to the network, since network latency is another concern?

Disk capacity and latency is another area where two technologies are growing at different rates. Disk capacity is growing at a faster rate than disk-access time. We are packing in a lot more data, but our ability to read it back is not speeding up at the same rate. This is a big concern for backups. Mashey suggested that we may need to move from tape backups to other techniques — RAIDs, mirrors, or maybe backup on cartridge disks. We also need to change our disk filesystems and algorithmic practices to deal with the changing technology.

One interesting side comment had to do with digital cameras and backups. Virtually everyone in attendance probably has to deal with backups at work. Yet how many people bother with backups at home? Probably very few, since most people don't generate that much data on their home systems. A few letters or spreadsheets, but for the rest the average home system these days is most likely full of games and other purchased software, all of which are easily restored from CD-ROM after a system crash. Yet very soon, with the proliferation of digital cameras, we can expect that home computer systems are going to become filled with many gigabytes of irreplaceable data in the form of family snapshots and photo albums. Easy and reliable backup systems are going to be needed to handle this.

Mashey's technology summary: On the good side, CPU is growing in MHz, and RAM, disk and tape are all growing in capacity. On the bad side, all those technologies have problems with latency. This means that there is lots of work to be done in software and exciting times for system administrators.

The slides for this talk are available at <http://www.usenix.org/events/usenix99/>.

Recommended Papers

[Jan 4, 2007] Managing workplace stress

March 22, 2004 (humanresourcesmagazine.com.au) In Cerebos (Australia) Ltd v Koehler, the employee was unsuccessful in that she was unable to establish that her injury had been reasonably foreseeable albeit she had complained to her employer about her ever-increasing workload and the intensification of her work duties that caused her to suffer a psychological injury. While in Hart v Comcare, the employee who twice failed to get a promotion was awarded compensation because of a disappointing promotion process that she had been involved in – particularly, the application and interview process.

These decisions serve as a wake up call to employers that they need to be proactive when managing risk at the workplace. It would be prudent for employers after consulting with employees to develop and implement policies and procedures to reduce exposure to occupational stress.

They should also initiate and support programs to inform, educate and train employees about preventing occupational stress, the policies and procedures which have been put into place and about the support mechanisms for those suffering from stress.

Assessing the risk of occupational stress and ongoing evaluation of the measures put in place to reduce stress should be an ongoing process to ensure effectiveness. Employees should review (and, where appropriate, take action with respect to) working hours, job design, communication effectiveness, work practices, improving the way in which new technology is introduced, improving the physical work environment and workplace design and general; and focusing on well being and fitness at work.

Where employers do not manage stress well, they will find themselves subject to a workers compensation claim for stress which is now a recognised disability. Increasing numbers of claims and consequential rises in premiums has, for example, resulted in amendments to limit the scope of claims by excluding stress disabilities caused by dismissal, retrenchment, demotion, discipline, transfer or re-development or situations where a worker was not promoted, reclassified, transferred or granted leave of absence. Even a worker’s expectation of one of these factors is excluded from the scheme of compensation for disability. In those States and Territories where such limitations have not yet been included, it is only a matter of time before exclusion in an attempt to close the floodgates.

If a worker can show that an employer has acted in a harsh and unreasonable manner, then the worker has a good chance of successfully rebutting the employer’s attempt to rely on one of the exclusions in defending a stress claim. Any action by the employer that denies a worker procedural fairness or a ‘fair go all round’ would constitute harsh and unreasonable conduct.

Short of this, the employer may rely on the statutory exemptions. To succeed, the employer must be capable of producing convincing evidence in support of its position, where an employer’s own policies and procedures have not been followed in dealing with a worker claiming stress, usually in a well meaning but useless attempt not to rock the boat, then the employer has no-one to blame but itself.

Stress in IT Jobs


Rapid growth brought the curses of management by crisis, inconsistent systems, and micro-management, causing a high level of stress.

Stress is a major observable symptom of suffering.  In this paper we will address stress at the workplace caused by fast-paced changes and two ways to mediate that stress.

The five basic emotions seen at less than three months of age (Lewis, 2000) are:

Add to them...

-- and we get seven basic emotions.

It has also been established that babies react to facial expressions that express these emotions.  As adults, we inherit a lot of the tendencies we exhibit from our childhood years.  This is important in recognizing negative consequences of behaviors and environments, and taking step to ameliorate these situations.

I posit that any perturbation in any of the seven above emotions can cause stress.  This is significant in thinking about how to reduce stress in a work environment, i.e., find ways to stop “rocking the cradle”.

We will look at some ways to reduce stress by addressing these root causes, but limit our suggestions to those factors that might be influenced externally.

Stress At Work: As Simple as Reducing Perturbation of Our Basic Emotions?

Fear and Stress

Fear causes stress.  It is not the only cause, but a major one. The “flight or fright” adrenergic reaction is commonly known in human biology as the normal case of the operation of the adrenal glands and sympathetic nervous system (Hendon, 2005).  It is one of the more potent physical responses and has been linked to survival and evolution theory.  There are six other emotions, and one learned behavior that can be related to stress [e.g., guilt and cognitive dissonance (Robbins, 2005)]

To limit the scope of this discussion, let us address stress related to fear in this paper.

In Part One: Dealing With Uncertainty we recognize that fear-based stress partially is caused by ignorance and doubt.  So we provide information to dispel ignorance and doubt, and the ensuing, related stress by providing access to clear, accurate information to the employees about the current situation in one technique.

In Part Two: Dealing with Threats to Environment we recognize that fear-based stress can also arise from a perceived threat.  Lowering the perception of negative consequences (“threats”) in a high-stress environment can lead to better attitudes and higher productivity.

In Part Three: Solutions, we look at what positive actions we can take to reduce stress at the workplace.

Part One:
Dealing with Uncertainty: Dispelling Ignorance

One element contributing to the fear-based stress is the uncertainty of what is going to happen next.  Keeping an open channel of communications can help to minimize this type of perception.  Dispel ignorance by letting employees know what truth one knows related to what they are doing.  Do not over-inform them with irrelevant information.  This can help an employee feel informed but not experience “information overload”, a stress symptom of micromanagement.  This connotes allowing the employee more independent control over the minutia of the task to which s/he is assigned.  This also allows for creative input and innovation to arise within the organization. This may create better opportunities not only for the originator, but for all involved.

Increasing employee involvement in decision-making can help to create a sense of more control over the environment in which the employee finds him/herself, and increases the quality of the decision (Yukl, 2002) and the understanding of the employee’s role in the situation.  This may not be applicable in all situations, but in things like establishing reasonable deadlines, the input from the worker may be key in obtaining accurate metrics and understanding of the work and establishing realistic project deadlines and goals.  In this discussion with the employee, elements of the job that are particularly difficult and that may deserve further investigation as in how to facilitate the execution of these tasks, may be revealed.

·        Tell me and I'll forget. Show me, and I may not remember. Involve me, and I'll understand. - Tribe Unknown
(©Native American Proverbs, 2003-2005)
 

Part Two: Dealing with Threats to Environment

“Environmental stressors such as:

-- can contribute to increased distress.

What About Modifying the Work Environment to Reduce Stress?

These environmental factors can be addressed by making improvements to the working conditions (), but realistically these changes may be constrained by restricted company resources and policy.

Such modifications to the work environment might not be changed without the proper authority and resources.  Since they represent an expense to the company, such changes often must be “cost justified” before they are allowed, and many executives are leery of “experimental” employee “improvement programs” due to experience with past failures.  Good managers will not make promises to make changes here unless they have the charter to do so, otherwise the employees will lose confidence and respect in their manager/leader (Yukl, 2002).

What We Can’t Change, We Can Only Attempt to Influence

Since some stress is inherently characteristic of the personality type of the individual, there are some limits on mollifying intrinsic stress due to personality.  It is healthy to recognize that personal values and models for reality are difficult to change.  Knowing this helps us to understand the scope of where we can begin to limit the stress in a changing organization.  What this fundamentally means is to start with ourselves (Pirsig, 1984).

“Significant change begins with leaders” (Sparks, 2003)

Being an insensitive and demanding boss can induce fear and resentment, increasing others’ stress.  Choosing instead to cultivate an “Ocean of Calm” in a stressful environment that can be comfortably sought out to listen and understand issues as they arise can be beneficial not only to the employee, but also to the manager in providing him/her with ongoing operations information.  Tenzin Gyatsu has the title of “Ocean of Compassion”, so that job is already taken.  However, the relevant precepts of the Dalai Lama have been translated into the book, “The Art of Happiness at Work”, and may provide guidance to a so motivated reader.  Being a pool of calm oneself in a changing, hectic environment can lend itself to a sense of calmness in others and extend into the surrounding environment.

The Endless List of Environmental Stressors?

Other stressors more than likely exist.  In an article on Stress Management (“Sources of Stress”, n.d.) the author details what we can reasonably expect as potential stressors.  Better informing ourselves as a manager and a leader about the potential sources can help us to be aware of conditions of the work environment, and seize the moment to prepare and act to improve upon these when the time and resources is right.

“Thus a comprehensive list of the stresses we experience from our job may include the following:

Part Three: Solutions:

The Advantages Provided By Empathy

Trying to see the environment through the employees’ eyes, and identify with their feelings, also known as empathy, or compassion, will also help one to understand what can be done to maintain and create a lower-stress environment from a high-stress one.  Again (“Sources of Stress”, n.d.) provides us with some questions and employee perhaps could ask in assessing their situation.

In as much as a manager and effective leader, one can keep these valid concerns and questions in consideration and act positively with respect to them. One then can make positive contributions that foster a better working environment, lowering stress.

Elucidate Options

Making employees aware of employee assistance programs for counseling for out of work issues can be beneficial to the organization as well as the individual, and their community outside of the workplace.  Taking actions such as improving money management, and (as mentioned above) time management skills can help in both the home and work environments (Robbins, 2005).

[Emotional] Strength in Numbers

Forming a collegial atmosphere and fostering its growth can help employees reduce stress by providing the communications and social connections on the job that help to resolve conflict (Robbins, 2005).  Reducing on the job conflict can markedly reduce stress.  Embodying and exemplifying those principles in one’s own actions sets the tone for that type of environment to develop, as led by example (Pirsig, 1984).

Summary – To Reduce Stress: My “Big Five”

  1. Treat others kindly. [1]
  2. Listen like the other person is the only one else in the world.  Embrace better communication within the organization/community.
  3. Take action and use initiative to change what one can, and wisdom to not waste efforts in changing what one can’t.  Keep promises.  Reward good behavior.
  4. Lead by example, but be willing to follow and change direction when circumstances or new information indicate that is a better course of action.  Be flexible.
  5. Actively involve others in decisions and learning activities that will help to teach them the coping skills that they need to handle stress.  Foster community.

Take Action to effect change in the level of stress.

"You will never plough a field if you only turn it over in your mind."
Irish Proverb 

[1]

"The need for simple human-to-human relationships is becoming increasingly urgent . . . Today the world is smaller and more interdependent. One nation's problems can no longer be solved by itself completely. Thus, without a sense of universal responsibility, our very survival becomes threatened. Basically, universal responsibility is feeling for other people's suffering just as we feel our own. It is the realization that even our enemy is entirely motivated by the quest for happiness. We must recognize that all beings want the same thing that we want. This is the way to achieve a true understanding, unfettered by artificial consideration." (Dalai Lama, 1990)

References

“Insight”, 2006. Cool Boredom.  Retrieved March 16, 2006 from http://www.reiki.co.nz/insight5.htm

Dalai Lama [Tenzin Gyatsu],  Les Prix Nobel. The Nobel Prizes 1989, Editor Tore Frängsmyr, [Nobel Foundation], Stockholm, 1990

Dalai Lama; Cutler, Nicholas, M.D., “The Art of Happiness at Work”, Riverhead Hardcover (August 25, 2003), 224 pages, ISBN: 1573222615

Hendon, Leslie, 2005. “Chapter 15: The Autonomic Nervous System and Visceral Sensory Neurons”, Part I, Human Anatomy, fourth edition. PowerPoint® Presentation, Slide 8. ©2005 Pearson Education, Inc., published by Benjamin Cummings. Retrieved March 16, 2006 from www.southalabama.edu/alliedhealth/biomedical/311Anatomy/Chapter15.ppt

Hofstadter, Douglas R., 1979, Göedel, Escher, and Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, Basic Books, Inc., New York, 1980 ed.

Lewis, M. (2000). The emergence of human emotions. In M. Lewis & J. M. Haviland-Jones (Eds.), Handbook of emotions (2nd ed., pp. 265-280). New York: Guilford Press.

Native American Proverbs. 2003-2005.  Retrieved March 6, 2006 from http://www.legendsofamerica.com/NA-Proverbs.html

Pirsig, Robert M., 1984, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Gothenberg, Sweden. Retrieved March 3, 2006 from http://www.virtualschool.edu/mon/Quality/PirsigZen/

Robbins, Stephen P., Organizational Behavior, Eleventh Edition.  Pearson, Prentice-Hall.  Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. 2005.

Skrzypczak, Peter. August 15, 2005. Notes on Leadership Models.  Colorado Technical University

Sparks, Dennis, 2003, October, “Significant change begins with leaders”.  National Staff Development Council.  Retrieved March 16, 2006 from http://www.nsdc.org/library/publications/results/res10-03spar.cfm

“Sources of Stress”, n.d.; Twilight Bridge. Retrieved March 15, 2006 from http://www.twilightbridge.com/stress/complete/3bpossiblesources.htm

Yukl, 2002, Leadership in Organizations, Fifth Edition, Prentice Hall, New Jersey, USA

Big Data and the Next Wave of InfraStress Problems, Solutions, Opportunities
John R. Mashey, Chief Scientist, SGI


Summary by Art Mulder

John Mashey, current custodian of the California "UNIX" license plate, presented an overview of where computer technology appears to be heading and outlined areas where we need to be concerned and prepared. A key opening thought was that if we don't understand the upcoming technology trends, then watch out, we'll be like people standing on the shore when a large wave comes rushing in to crash over us.

Mashey began with a definition of the term "infrastress," a word that he made up by combining "infrastructure" and "stress." You experience infrastress when computing subsystems and usage change more quickly than the underlying infrastructure can change to keep up. The symptoms include bottlenecks, workarounds, and instability.

We all know that computer technology is growing: disk capacities, CPU speeds, RAM capacity constantly increase. But we need to understand how those technologies interact, especially if the growth rates are not parallel. The audience looked at a lot of log charts to understand this. For instance, on a log chart we could clearly see that CPU speed was increasing at a rate far larger than DRAM access times.

Most (all?) computer textbooks teach that a memory access is roughly equivalent to a CPU instruction. But with new technologies the reality is that a memory operation, like a cache miss, may cost you 1000 CPU instructions. We need to be aware of this and change our programming practices accordingly. The gap between CPU and disk latency is even worse. Avoid disk access at all costs. For instance, how can I change my program to use more memory and avoid going to disk? Or, similarly, minimize going to the network, since network latency is another concern?

Disk capacity and latency is another area where two technologies are growing at different rates. Disk capacity is growing at a faster rate than disk-access time. We are packing in a lot more data, but our ability to read it back is not speeding up at the same rate. This is a big concern for backups. Mashey suggested that we may need to move from tape backups to other techniques — RAIDs, mirrors, or maybe backup on cartridge disks. We also need to change our disk filesystems and algorithmic practices to deal with the changing technology.

One interesting side comment had to do with digital cameras and backups. Virtually everyone in attendance probably has to deal with backups at work. Yet how many people bother with backups at home? Probably very few, since most people don't generate that much data on their home systems. A few letters or spreadsheets, but for the rest the average home system these days is most likely full of games and other purchased software, all of which are easily restored from CD-ROM after a system crash. Yet very soon, with the proliferation of digital cameras, we can expect that home computer systems are going to become filled with many gigabytes of irreplaceable data in the form of family snapshots and photo albums. Easy and reliable backup systems are going to be needed to handle this.

Mashey's technology summary: On the good side, CPU is growing in MHz, and RAM, disk and tape are all growing in capacity. On the bad side, all those technologies have problems with latency. This means that there is lots of work to be done in software and exciting times for system administrators.

The slides for this talk are available at <http://www.usenix.org/events/usenix99/>.

Bookshelf

 Incestuous Workplace Stress and Distress in the Organizational Family

Amazon.com Workplace stress Books

Book review Territorial Games

In terms of game-play, this book is about games in the workplace, and particularly those games that are played to gain and use power.

Simmons identifies three key emotions that drive games

These lead to ten games that are regularly played out across the organizational stage. You may recognize one, two or maybe all of them:

1. The Occupation game

In this games, your mark out your territory, such as putting your name on everything or grabbing intellectual leadership in a defined area. You then act vigorously to defend your territory, patrolling the borders and guarding the gates. A tiger response to attacks will put off other possible attackers. You can also spend time looking for other areas to occupy.

2. The Information-manipulation game

As a manager of information, you first hoard it (not sharing it), for example by gaining expertise in areas that may be of value in the future. You can also gain control of the gateways to that information. When you hold the keys, you can also bluff that you know more than you actually do. The key here is always to use information whilst giving away as little as possible. Information is power, and an information manipulator uses it in any and every way possible. If other people use information against you, you seek to discredit both the person and their information.

3. The Intimidation game

In this game, the objective never to fight by showing how dangerous you can be. Using such tools as sarcasm and cynicism can make you a feared opponent. You may well want to build your reputation as a dragon-slayer. Just a threat from you is enough to make most people back down.

4. The Powerful-alliances game

If you do not have power yourself, you can find it in other people. Wheedle you way into powerful circles, ingratiate yourself to the bosses. Build networks you can call on in times of need. This can even be done with nasty tricks such as blackmail and bribery.

5. The Invisible-wall game

Building invisible walls around your territory makes it difficult for people to find their way in and attack you. Mazes and false pathways help them to get lost, tired and dispirited. You can then be kind and show them the way out.

6. The Strategic-non-compliance game

When you cannot easily refuse, then the simple response is to say yes then to delay and diminish your delivery. Make excuses, do the wrong thing or become unavailable. You can even band together with others to say 'no' in a collaborative voice (this is what Trade Unions can do).

7. The Discredit game

When others have power, you can drain it away by discrediting them. You can find their dark secrets or even create them with seductive traps, then expose them - it's called 'entrapment'. Be careful to stay clean yourself, getting others to do your dirty work and using 'humor' and 'truth' to deflect pointed fingers.

8. The Shunning game

This is the classic game of ostracizing people, 'sending them to Coventry' or a host of other ways of casting them out socially. This is a severe punishment for social beings. It can also be done in small ways, such as avoiding eye contact or being 'unavailable'.

9. The Camouflage game

This game is about distracting and confusing them to keep them away from your position. It is like the Invisible Wall game but played at a greater distance, hiding yourself before they even come close.

10. The Filibuster game

This is the game played by politicians everywhere, as they grab the talking-stick and then keep talking until there is no time left for anyone else to say anything. It can be a fine delaying tactic if this is necessary.

The big question is what you can do about these games if you are on the receiving end. Simmons recommends one of three tactics:

Overall, this is an excellent book for those who must fight organizational politics. It describes the games and responses above (and more) in good detail, giving you the ability to navigate the jungle of everyday organizational territorial games.



Etc

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Groupthink : Two Party System as Polyarchy : Corruption of Regulators : Bureaucracies : Understanding Micromanagers and Control Freaks : Toxic Managers :   Harvard Mafia : Diplomatic Communication : Surviving a Bad Performance Review : Insufficient Retirement Funds as Immanent Problem of Neoliberal Regime : PseudoScience : Who Rules America : Neoliberalism  : The Iron Law of Oligarchy : Libertarian Philosophy

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Bulletin:

Vol 25, No.12 (December, 2013) Rational Fools vs. Efficient Crooks The efficient markets hypothesis : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2013 : Unemployment Bulletin, 2010 :  Vol 23, No.10 (October, 2011) An observation about corporate security departments : Slightly Skeptical Euromaydan Chronicles, June 2014 : Greenspan legacy bulletin, 2008 : Vol 25, No.10 (October, 2013) Cryptolocker Trojan (Win32/Crilock.A) : Vol 25, No.08 (August, 2013) Cloud providers as intelligence collection hubs : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2010 : Inequality Bulletin, 2009 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2008 : Copyleft Problems Bulletin, 2004 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2011 : Energy Bulletin, 2010 : Malware Protection Bulletin, 2010 : Vol 26, No.1 (January, 2013) Object-Oriented Cult : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2011 : Vol 23, No.11 (November, 2011) Softpanorama classification of sysadmin horror stories : Vol 25, No.05 (May, 2013) Corporate bullshit as a communication method  : Vol 25, No.06 (June, 2013) A Note on the Relationship of Brooks Law and Conway Law

History:

Fifty glorious years (1950-2000): the triumph of the US computer engineering : Donald Knuth : TAoCP and its Influence of Computer Science : Richard Stallman : Linus Torvalds  : Larry Wall  : John K. Ousterhout : CTSS : Multix OS Unix History : Unix shell history : VI editor : History of pipes concept : Solaris : MS DOSProgramming Languages History : PL/1 : Simula 67 : C : History of GCC developmentScripting Languages : Perl history   : OS History : Mail : DNS : SSH : CPU Instruction Sets : SPARC systems 1987-2006 : Norton Commander : Norton Utilities : Norton Ghost : Frontpage history : Malware Defense History : GNU Screen : OSS early history

Classic books:

The Peter Principle : Parkinson Law : 1984 : The Mythical Man-MonthHow to Solve It by George Polya : The Art of Computer Programming : The Elements of Programming Style : The Unix Hater’s Handbook : The Jargon file : The True Believer : Programming Pearls : The Good Soldier Svejk : The Power Elite

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The Last but not Least


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Last updated: February 21, 2017