We’re no stranger to job burnout. For 20 years, we’ve watched IT professionals walk out on their old jobs because of pure exhaustion. They were sick of being workaholics in order to meet urgent deadlines, gain more recognition, and climb the ladder. Work-life balance in IT was non-existent.
For all the roles in the business world, IT in particular seems to find this problem. Innovation is ceaseless, and technology is the backbone of every company. From software engineers and data architects to network administrators and tech support, every drop of sweat and blood seems to pour into projects and initiatives until employees are left dry.
It’s a melancholy picture, but this isn’t the end of the story. Work-life balance has been all the buzz for several years, and now that IT employment demand is shooting through the roof, more employers are starting to listen to the needs of their employees. But if you’re currently seeking a better opportunity, you may be wondering what your options are in ensuring you land a job with great work-life balance.
Do Your Research
True work-life balance is, well, a balance, and it’s one that both the employer and the employee are held accountable for striving towards. It goes without saying that every company is different. So what’s the first step in finding out if a company you’re interested in will help provide a good balance?
Hopefully you’re already doing research on a company every time you’re invited for an interview (or, even better, every time you send a resume). In the course of that research, check out the company’s employer branding, whether that’s in the form of a Careers web page, Glassdoor account, or job board profile. Some organizations will eagerly boast about their commitment to work-life balance. These are often the companies that aren’t afraid to share pictures and status updates about their company culture on social networks. Mine for as many details as you can in order to get a sense of what you can expect working for these companies.
Not every company is so blatant, even if they do in fact nurture an excellent work environment and work-life balance. In this case, don’t be afraid to ask questions in the interview as appropriate. Although you don’t want to portray the impression that you’re only interested in time off and benefits, there are tactical questions you can ask which will reveal their culture, values and priorities.
Ask the interviewer how the company supports professional development and how their values play out in the day-to-day life of the organization. Find out if and how management strives to support employs in time of high stress and how they react in the face of mistakes or failures. If you have the opportunity to tour the company’s facilities and meet some of the team members you’d be working with, this a great chance to gauge how engaged current employees are.
In many companies, there’s always going to be projects or seasons when things get a little crazy, when deadlines loom darkly and the pressure rises. Work-life balance won’t always be 100% perfect. Don’t be afraid to ask a company how they help their employees cope in these scenarios. However, also be realistic in how you yourself are able to cope in these situations. It takes two to achieve a steady balance between work and life. Yes, you need to set boundaries, but you may also need to grant the same degree of flexibility your employer regularly grants to you.
What other values are important to you? The opportunity to grow and learn? To work on exciting projects alongside passionate people? To work for a company that makes an impact on the world? Figure out what’s most important to you and understand how work-life balance fits in with those factors.
Does Work Life Balance in IT Exist?
The tech world moves quickly. Although employers are highly focused on retaining top tech talent, they also expect their employees to be able to adapt and learn and grow alongside them. The truth is, you can’t guarantee work-life balance in IT all the time. But you do need to find a company that has similar values to your own and shares your passion for technology.
Many of the best companies understand the importance of avoiding burnout. They may offer generous benefits packages that include paid time off, parental leaves, and flexible work hours or remote work arrangements. But these companies need to know you’re just as passionate about the job as they are.
Want another way to ensure work-life balance in your next tech job? Work with CyberSearch. We partner closely with our clients, learning their work culture inside out so we can find candidates like you who are a great fit. Send us your resume today and we’ll get to work on your behalf.