Boredom and Stress, the Webmaster’s Spectrum

I think that webmasters have some of the most varied work days, or hours, of almost any professional industry on the planet. Maybe it’s just my work style, but I seem to travel almost instantly between stressed out of my mind and boredom, and sometimes both at the same time. What other job can you have where you are simultaneously stressed AND bored?

Let me explain. The critical issue I’m dealing with is bigger than most issues I’ve dealt with here before. It’s my first experience dealing with a hosting server that has been blacklisted due to no fault of my own or anyone else in the company, but due to it being blacklisted we’re having all sorts of traffic and email issues coming and going to that server. Add to that fact that we’re currently migrating our sites to a new CMS, which in itself is stressful because like any good website there’s hundreds of extra little files and links that have organically grown on the site over the last year or two, and each one has to be correctly linked to avoid 404’s or even worse wasted pagerank from google. I also have my usual daily task list backing up while I deal with this issue, so all of this is adding to my stress level and forcing me to multitask even better than usual. It’s not as bad as it could have been though, thanks to my bright idea of separating our hosting packages. Go go gadget foresight!

This is the stress of being a webmaster, and depending on your reaction to it can make or break your career. I’m lucky in that I actually enjoy this kind of chaos, but that doesn’t stop me bitching about it when it’s over. It’s times like this though that give me a bit of a self confidence boost because I don’t have time to think as much as I usually do and am forced to trust my gut, which experience tells me is fairly good at quick decisions.

The boredom factor comes and goes, sometimes running parallel with the stress. It’s not every day that you come across a webcomic-browsing ball of pent up stress, and I can’t think of another industry where this might be true. I’m stressed because unlike most problems, I can’t just log in to a control panel, click some buttons, and hey presto it’s fixed. With issues like this I have to rely on two things which all webmasters loathe: dns propagation times and hosting tech support.

Now to be fair, my hosts are among the best I’ve dealt with in terms of support (it’s why I’m with them), but even waiting five minutes for a reply about this problem I’m facing right now is torture; because I can’t do anything about it. It’s one of the worst feelings in the world for me, knowing what a problem is but being unable to solve it fast or having to wait on other people to do it for me. This is where the stress and boredom collide – I’m stressed because there’s a problem I can’t deal with directly, but I’m bored because until it’s fixed I can’t do much around here. I’m checking my email every 20 seconds and casually chatting to the office folk, but inside I’m worried as hell that emails arent getting to the people who need them in the company. Sure I’ve got a backup email server going that’s catching them all, but I won’t be able to push the emails until the problem is resolved, and I can’t fix it right now!

So I guess the point of this is to just give you a bit of insight into a problem that all webmasters will face at least once or twice in their careers, especially during site migrations.

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