Balancing Your IT Career and Life

work life balance with an IT career

Starting a new career can be an exciting but overwhelming time in your life, especially if you have just landed a job in the IT industry. So, before you get fully immersed in your new career create a plan to help keep your job and home life balanced.  

IT is a Fast-Paced Industry

According to an article on Forbes.comif you pick the tech industry to work in then be prepared for a competitive, fast-paced and sometimes tiring journey. Most IT professionals work more than 40 hours a week. That is less time for the gym, less time for family and less time for other leisure activities. However, there is a way to balance it all.  .

Prioritize Life and Work Balance

During a CCI Virtual Q&A with Randy Chong, a Solutions Engineer at Hitachi Vantara and a 31-year IT veteran, we asked his thoughts on work-life balance in the IT industry.  

Chong said, “[your work] doesn’t always have to be your identity, that’s a lot of what you know but you’re also a father, you’re also a brother, you’re also a husband, there’s a balance.” 

Making time for family, hobbies and other important activities is a great way to balance your work life and home life. In addition, keeping work at work is a good practice to ensure you keep the two separate.  

Tips for Life Balance with Remote IT Work

Balance can be a little more challenging in a remote IT position, but it is possible as long as you follow some simple tips:  

  • Create a separate workspace in your home (if possible) 
  • Only work in your dedicated workspace or home office 
  • Try not to eat meals at your desk 
  • Inform family members that if you’re in your workspace not to interrupt you (unless there is an emergency) 
  • Once you are done with your workday, close everything down and leave the area 
  • Plan activities for after work hours so you’re not tempted to keep working 

These tips might take time and practice, but they can make balancing your work and life more manageable.  

Long Work Hours Versus Workaholism

Working longer hours is a reality for most IT professionals, but this doesn’t mean you have to become a “workaholic.” When work becomes more important than other priorities in your life, such as family, downtime, self-care, and wellness, the scale starts to tip from being a hard worker to workaholism. 

An article in the Harvard Business Review touches on this subject and clarifies the difference between people who work long hours and people who struggle to detach from work.  

The study found that “long work hours were not related to any health issues, while workaholism was.” So, while working long hours might sound tiring, as long as you stay focused on work/life balance you should be safe from developing any workaholic health-related issues, such as: 

  • sleep disruption/insomnia 
  • frequent headaches 
  • frequent and/or unpredictable mood changes 
  • anxiety 
  • depression 
  • physical/mental exhaustion 

Many people experience burnout from time to time, but burnout is usually temporary and can be rectified by adding more balance into your life. Workaholism is typically longer-term and becomes more of a lifestyle than a phase.  

Final Words of Wisdom

“Make sure you find that balance, don’t get so engrossed in the job that it is the only thing you do. You still have an actual life as well. And for those who have partners and kids, to me, that’s more important than the job. The job is just a means to take care of that family.”  

– Randy Chong, Solutions Engineer, Hitachi Ventara

For the entire interview with Randy Chong click the link below: