Morale Malaise Isn't Media's Fault
IT professionals are exhibiting distinct signs of depression these days. And I know why. It's my fault.
Well, not just me. The dour, gloomy media is to blame. I know this because Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's head cheerleader, recently told a group of CNET editors that the media is needlessly bumming everybody out.
"You guys like to write articles about how budgets are down, and outsourcing is going on, and blah, blah, blah," Ballmer lectured the editors. "Somebody's got to stand up and say, the future's so bright you gotta wear shades!"
Notice how we "like" to write this stuff. Now that Ballmer mentions it, I recall how positively giddy tech journalists were in 2001 when the industry was being gutted by layoffs and plummeting market caps. I couldn't wait to get up in the morning and report the bad news! Sure, my 401K lost 50 percent of its value in a matter of months, but so what! Those were heady times, the best of my professional life!
With all due respect to Mr. Ballmer and his special Ray-Bans, it's insulting to IT professionals to blame the media for the malaise gripping much of the IT work force. Indeed two recent surveys point to other, logical reasons for low IT worker morale.
At the risk of being accused of "doing it again," here are some recent survey results that might put things in perspective:
Even news touted as "good" for the industry really isn't. A new survey of CIOs from staffing firm Robert Half Technology indicates that 14 percent plan to add full-time IT staff in the third quarter, with 3 percent anticipating staff reductions.
The net 11 percent hiring increase is the largest in 12 quarters, according to Robert Half. That's swell, but the largest number in the survey is 81, which is the percentage of survey respondents who expect to maintain current staff levels. Happy days are here again!
Steve Ballmer says he's a realist, and I'm certain he is. There's no mystery as to why he's in a bullish mood -- the evidence is right there in the InfoWorld survey. InfoWorld reports that bonuses are up about 20 percent this year. Oh look, here's a surprise: These lavish bonuses are heavily weighted toward senior management!