So, you’ve made it to the IT team of a Fortune 500 company.
You enjoy great compensation and benefits.
You feel like you’ve won the lottery and you feel like you’re poised towards an exciting career path.
How hard can it be? Hours spent sitting inside a cold office for 8-12 hours a day, staring at a computer for 90% of the time…what toll and stress can it take on your body?
But the hazards are real.
Programmers, system administrators, and data center workers often work odd, rotating shifts; the nature of their strange shifting schedules wracks natural sleep patterns and open up a host of potential health-related minefields.
Furthermore, all that sitting and staring at monitors do take an invisible toll with far-ranging circumstances.
Just because you are working in a less stressful situation compared to people working in sales doesn’t mean you can get away with not looking after yourself.
Fortunately, we have you covered. This guide serves not just a reminder to those already working in the IT industry for years, but also to young aspirants and career changers who are just about to make their inroads towards the industry, because it isn’t as easy a road as you think it is.
Pack Your Lunches
Working odd shifts, night shifts, takes a lot of food choices away from us; most of the time, only 24-hour fast food joints are available. It is no surprise that many IT people indulge in this cheap, tasty, but unhealthy food choice despite of the hazards of its excessive consumption. Pack your lunches; not only does it save you a lot of money over the long run, you will find yourself with much better eating habits than having to go to McDonald’s every night. Furthermore, always stay hydrated with water, instead of sugary drinks. This will pay you many times over when you’re not dealing with obesity and heart-related diseases.
Take Rest Breaks
How many times have you felt confused and disoriented due to hours spent on the monitor? Staring too long leads to eye strain, headaches, and fatigue. Make sure to look away from your monitor at intervals. Take a walk around the office every now and then to relax, regardless of whether you’re just about to finish that JCL you need to complete.
Exercise, Exercise, and Exercise
Just because you are working in IT doesn’t mean you should stop working out; in fact, you should double your efforts in getting exercise. Likewise, the human body wasn’t designed to be sitting and staring at a monitor, furiously trying to patch bugs; it was designed to hunt animals, to ride horses, and to maximize movement. You already know why exercise is good for you, so why stop now?
Make Your Workspace Ergonomic
The importance of having your workspace set up as comfortable as possible cannot be understated; make sure your office chair has good lumbar support and promotes good posture; the same is true for your mouse and your keyboard. Most offices have ergonomic assessment forms to be filled out once every year; but if your office doesn’t, talk to your administrator and let him read the best reviews on office chairs with lumbar support. The ideal chair set-up is probably the most important aspect of your workspace to be made ergonomic.
Never ignore consistent and nagging pains that may be caused by something more serious, such as structural damage. Too many IT professionals have debilitating back pain caused by improper posture, poor diet, and poor sleep; you should triple your efforts because your livelihood depends on being able to use a computer. More importantly, move heaven and earth to make sure you’re getting proper sleep; rest is the most important factor to make sure your body is firing on all cylinders. Don’t make the mistake of sacrificing your sleep to be able to work on your next test plan; the effects of the lack of sleep have far-ranging and deadly circumstances, and very well documented.
Working in IT is a rewarding, mentally-challenging field; but don’t sacrifice your health just for those benefits. Look after yourself before it’s too late.