Some of this was shamelessly stolen from a TechRepublic Blog with my own twist but it is nonetheless poignant.
It is very stressful job. No one calls you to tell you everything is wonderful, they only call you when something doesn't work and usually it's an emergency (perceived or real). The farther up the food chain in IT you go the more critical and huge the emergency is. Also adding to the stress is solving your friends/relatives/neighbors computer issues. If you recommend, fix, or even touch any of their computer/audio/video items then you are forever 100% responsible for them.
If you want a Monday through Friday, 9-to-5 job, look elsewhere — IT is a job you carry around with you 24/7. Again, the farther up the food chain you go the more this becomes a reality. One doesn't do major upgrades during the day, forget that, they are only done at night when no one else needs the network. And the people who aren’t your clients or users (friends and family, for example) will want to take advantage of your knowledge and keep their computers running smoothly for free, when you get home at night. Also, you must keep abreast of all the latest technology so you can keep your job and your friends happy - read and study at night, in your spare time.
3: Getting paid
If you are an independent contractor, one of the most stressful issues you face is getting paid. I can’t tell you how many consultants I know who have had to make threats or use an attorney to get paid. And when you’re freelancing, if they don’t pay you, you don’t eat. If you're not independant you always feel you're underpaid because of item 2.
(in general)This one I hate to mention. That is not to say that people, in general, are bad. It’s just that when you have your IT hat on, people seem to look at you in a different light. You are both savior and sinner in one stressed-out package.
5: The chain of command
Let’s face it. Not many higher-ups understand your job. They think you should be able to get everything done on a shoestring budget, with no help, and you should treat end users as if they were better humans than yourself. And to make matters worse, the higher-ups want you to magically make those PCs last for more than a decade. This misunderstanding of both duty and technology does one thing: It makes your job impossible. Not all companies are created equal of course, my current one actually is not like this at all. The one before that was the epitome of it.
Have you ever had those days when it seems like the the technology GODs hate you? I have those days more often than not. There are the occasional days when you are the winner but especially in the Windows and Microsoft world the losers far outweigh the the winning days. There are days when even an entire bottle of wine cannot erase the pain of having a piece of silicon, sodder and plastic beat you.
One thing you can count on — there will always be someone better than you, especially in the IT industry and especially if you are one of the few women. The longer you remain in IT the more it becomes apparent that it's a young person's game. Being mentally and physically agile to work long hours, keep sharp, take classes on weekends, read technical manuals, keep abreast of everything new, renew your certifications is exhausting. Not that us older people can't hang as frankly, experience accounts for a lot, but we tend to have a different take on life, like family, downtime, relaxing..... You know, having a life. Another thing is the constant oneupmanship. IT people, especially men, just need to be right. After awhile I just get tired of putting them in their place and showing them they aren't - I am..... Yes - competition, it is as fierce in IT as it is in basketball and the egos are about as big.
8: The cloud
Every time I get an email about some cloud seminar or read an article about how putting software, hardware, data and everything else into the cloud is the way to go and the demise of the American IT worker I just want to scream. Part of me is wondering what I'm missing and what I don't know, part of me is wondering if I should be in the cloud and if the cloud is safe and the other part of me is laughing as it's all in the bloody cloud already. I'd like to pound the marketing idiot who dreamed up the catch phrase "the cloud". From techrepublic, "Clients and end users want the cloud to be some magical experience that will make all their work easier, better, and faster. If only they knew the truth."
9: Lack of standards
There are none, let's face it. We have the IETF, the IEEE, the RFC's, the OSI model, the ISO standards and on and on it goes. But still - their are mountains of proprietary hardware/software vendors that want to keep their product closed up and non-compliant, otherwise, how would they differentiate themselves and make money? This means that I need to know way too much information.....and run in to compatibility issues at every turn.
The general public has a bad taste in its mouth for IT professionals. Why? Many reasons, consumers have been burned by the Geek Squad, home users cannot figure out why they have to pay for Microsoft Office every couple years, call centers in India, you name it, IT companies who don't deliver on promises or companies that think they were promised one thing and got something different.... Oh sure, when you walk in the door you are their best friend but the moment their issues is resolved and they get the bill they wonder why it costs so much. Jeesh, I don't know - it if was easy then why didn't you do it? And why is it my fault that you should buy a new computer every couple years? And why is it my fault that your five year old computer is running slow?