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Is IT Burnout Limited to IT?

A post at Lockergnome about IT burnout got me thinking today. The author listed some of the reasons we see a high rate of burnout in IT, and I couldn’t help but think of the seemingly large number of people I know who have left legal IT specifically, in recent months, citing burnout as a major cause.

I am pretty sure I’d agree with all of the reasons laid out in the post, and that they combine to create burnout, but in legal I’d add even one more, unrealistic expectations. Attorneys are not exactly known for their understanding of things like maintenance downtime, or getting that some technical processes take time. (“Why do I have to wait for you to make a copy of that drive the client pulled from their PC?”)

Anyway, since I don’t work in a truly “IT” job any longer, I also started to wonder about whether we should be worried about burnout in Litigation Support. It’s a relatively new job niche, so it may be that we simply haven’t seen many folks in it long enough to have a burnout epidemic the way IT seems to be having. On the other hand, do the same causes add up here too?

Long hours? – Check!

Little recognition? -Check! (Though I think Lit Support folks who do trial presentation do get some recognition, it’s not as behind the scenes as other functions.)

Lack of respect? – Check! (Think of the number of times attorneys write your work off a client’s bill, because it’s not “real” legal work.)

Unrealistic Expectations? – Double Check!

Of course, like IT, some firms are better than others at creating a good environment for their Litigation Support folks, but I think there’s certainly enough similarities to IT that if you’re seeing burnout there, eventually you will see it in Lit Support too.

What do you think? Have you seen signs of burnout in this industry?

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