AWS

The release of the Technostress post couldn’t have been timed better if I had tried. (I swear I didn’t take downAmazon)

If you don’t know what’s going on check out TechCrunch first: https://techcrunch.com/2017/02/28/amazon-aws-s3-outage-is-breaking-things-for-a-lot-of-websites-and-apps/

Although the exact cause has not been released the error is clearly coming out of one of Amazon’s server farms taking down the East Coast. I tell my customers Hardware before Software. Crazy idea, I know, in the era of apps and everything you could ever know at your fingertips, the software will not fix a hardware issue. The software can assist in load balances to a point, but servers are strained every day depending on what you are running.

For years the technology industry has gone crazy over “cloud”. The cloud isn’t a cloud and a horrible term but highly marketable. Your information is just hosted somewhere else and the host gets to bill you per license. Hooray for overcharging! Honestly, it isn’t that bad of a system for small companies getting off the ground but these have been marketed as a long-term solution. If you depend on your own server(s) you could still go down, but Amazon currently has most of the East Coast down; overpromising and under delivering. Most server farms have a failover plan. If a server goes down it will disconnect and go to the backup server. This brings me back to my point. This is the reason why server farms exist. Load balancing and backup failover precautions cost money upfront. Take whatever technology quote you have and immediately multiply it by two. $$$$$

Amazon is one of the biggest customers for cloud as a service. When something like this happens to the largest supplier it will most likely disrupt the market. I’ll be watching this intently to see what the cause was and what marketing spin comes out of this.

As for any of you using AWS, take some vitamin D, mediate, and hope your cortisol levels don’t get too bad. (See the previous post)

Technostress

What really happens to your body during technostress? I’m going to briefly tell you about a study done in 2012 in Australia and then pull some conclusions.

  • 20 male students participated
  • 10 in the experimental group
  • 10 in the control group
  • each participant chewed a cotton ball before and after the study to measure the cortisol levels in the body

Each participant was told to put items in a shopping cart online. (Simple enough task) Nothing happened to the control group after two minutes they were told they were done and could be on their way. The experimental group was given an error message preventing them from their task two minutes in. Researchers told the group there was an error and apologized.

The experimental group showed an increased level cortisol. Even after such a mundane task with no real urgency.

The stress hormone, cortisol, is public health enemy number one. Scientists have known for years that elevated cortisol levels: interfere with learning and memory, lower immune function and bone density, increase weight gain, blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease… The list goes on and on.

How many times have you been at the office or in a hotel and your internet goes out? Dropped call? (I really can’t hear you right now) Tried to send an email but the file size was too large? The list can go on.

Every time this happens cortisol goes to work, trying to balance out your stress level. Maybe you were talking to a client or had to get your homework emailed in by a certain time/date. Take for instance you are using old equipment at school or work and these types of occurrences happen on a regular basis. Cortisol levels will stay elevated, you may become sicker after being exposed to a cold, your memory may not be as good, and of course the stress on your heart and body in general.

Technostress is real and can be measured, more companies should take these studies into consideration when putting off a system upgrade or software roll-out without proper training. We are only doing ourselves a disservice continuing the way we are.

What is the biggest technostress you deal with? How could it be addressed and by whom?

References:

Riedl, R., Kindermann, H., Auinger, A., & Javor, A. (2012). Technostress from a Neurobiological Perspective. Business & Information Systems Engineering, 4(2), 61-69.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201301/cortisol-why-the-stress-hormone-is-public-enemy-no-1

 

Technostress

Stay tuned for tomorrow when I discuss technostress and a great physiological study from 2012.

“Michelle Weil and Larry Rosen, who defined it (technostress) as ‘any negative impact on attitudes, thoughts, behaviors, or body physiology that is caused either directly or indirectly by technology.’” (Riedl, R., Kindermann, H., Auinger, A., & Javor, A, 2012, p.61-62)

Snooze & Caffiene

I could not turn off my brain last night and now have to run the day on possibly four hours of sleep. I was still aware of the time at 2 am, but know that I woke up a few times after that.

I have a lot on my mind, and living with anxiety doesn’t make it any easier. I hide a lot of what I deal with from my coworkers because I’m still trying to move my way up the ladder and break some glass ceilings. The messed up part is I get called upon for extras. Special teams, initiatives, new hire and customer onboarding, yet I can’t get promoted to save my life. Although that sounds pretentious in a way I work really hard, I know my company inside and out but at some point being “valued” isn’t good enough. “Show me the money!” I’ve had some subpar interviews I’m not lying to myself here, I was off my game, better luck next time. But there have been some rock solid ones, ones that I inquired with the hiring manager as to, why not me? Some of the answers “We had really great candidates” or “This person is already doing this job so we chose them” and I end up asking “What could I have done better?” [enter the sound of crickets]. Is some of this really luck?

It’s all about who you know right? That seems like backward thinking to me, sure it may get you in the room for the interview but that’s it. We’ve made leaps and bounds to stop unethical hiring which… YEAY! Anyone from my parents’ generation doesn’t get it. “Hard work” doesn’t get you as far as it used to. Bread costs more, and I don’t think I’ll ever own a house. I went back to graduate school to catch the edge on my resume and learn about business more in depth, something I actually lacked in my daily Fortune 500 life. More loans, more debt, I’m lucky enough that my company will help pay for it, it’s not all and they will take years to give some money. (Payment structures are the worst) So, for now, I have a ton of interest and no life trying to balance work full-time and school at night and on weekends. I need the world to stop spinning.

Wondering if the local hospital would put me in a coma for a few days to get some rest, is probably not a normal thought. That’s where I’m at, though. I have taken on so much recently I feel like I’m suffocating, and I’m not even being paid extra for all the extra projects. I feel used. At what point does my entire body break?

And to top it off, I’ve been sick for five days now.

Check out “Stop Breathe & Think: Meditate”

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.stopbreathethink.app

Today was a bad morning. It’s cold and rainy and I don’t feel well. I started to debate with myself about calling in sick and staying under blankets. Instead, I decided to be mindful. I downloaded this app a few weeks ago and have used it a few times but not regularly. It’s mostly free which I like and it’s more mindfulness than traditional meditation.

Why is it different? When you open the app it asks how you are feeling today. You can choose a range of emotions up to five and from different categories.

You have to choose the following for mentally AND physically

  • Great
  • Good
  • Meh
  • Poor
  • Rough

And then it breaks it down further.

After you choose your emotions there will be options to choose from. Options usually range from 5-20 minutes and you can do more than one. There is also a self-meditation timer if you wish for an alternate route.

I find some of their voices very soothing, but the shorter ones are very useful to me, I can throw in an earbud as I’m sitting at my desk and get five minutes of peace. It’s helpful for me to regroup, we have so many technostress  (which is a conversation for another day) that our bodies need to stop for a moment.