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The IT Pro After Hours

How you like to spend your leisure time

Are the tabletops in your home littered with busted-open computers, just waiting for your nimble hands to tinker with them? Do you read computer manuals from cover to cover in your rare spare time? Is your idea of socializing logging on to Xbox Live for a rousing game of Crimson Skies? Do you use your GPS receiver to find your way to the next Mensa meeting? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you're probably a geek. And we mean that only in the most loving way. But do most IT pros fit the geek stereotype? That's what we set out to discover when we used our Windows IT Pro Industry Survey 2004 to query you about your leisure-time activities.

We're happy to report that you're a diverse bunch, and we would venture to guess that most of you don't even own a pocket protector. You're a surprisingly family-oriented group of professionals, prone to outdoor activities and even fine literature. That being said, the geek remains alive and well in IT departments around the globe, evidenced primarily by your taste in movies, TV shows, and books. But before we dive into those areas, let's explore the ways you're bucking the geek trend and exploring non-technical pursuits.

Around the House
Most of you prefer to spend your leisure time with your family, far away from the siren song of your computer's humming fan. Perhaps you're among the many survey respondents who indulge in active pursuits, such as working out and engaging in your favorite sports activities. There are plenty of Martha Stewart and Bob Vila wannabes among you, too—do-it-yourself projects around the home are high on your list of favorite leisure-time activities.

Of course, many of you suffer withdrawal symptoms if you stay away from your computer monitor for too long, so when you get home from the office, you're likely to plop down in your home office for a little Web surfing. Those of you who, during off hours, succumb to the call of the couch are likely to affix your eyes to the tube or immerse yourself in a meaty technical manual. (One of our survey participants admitted to filling his leisure time with Windows IT Pro reading. Thanks, but, uh, go outside or something!)

To the many of you who wrote in that you have no leisure time, we say, "Get a life!" The same goes for those who said you spend your leisure time sleeping, as well as the reader who devotes any free time to cleaning and doing the laundry. Our favorite response to the question of how you spend your leisure time is "knapping." Either you're tired and knot a very good speller, or you like to fashion arrowheads—we're not sure.

The Sporting World
Not surprisingly, IT pros love football, as more than half of you listed that as your favorite sport to watch, either live or on TV. The Olympics are a big draw as well (at least this year), with basketball and baseball rounding out the field. IT pros outside the United States prefer to watch the Olympics and soccer—no surprise there, either. We got a kick out of the respondent who said he enjoyed watching chess. Way to enforce that stereotype!

Although you like watching football, few of you take to the gridiron yourselves, preferring instead to swim or bike your way to fitness. Another large group of you likes to escape to nature and spend the day hiking the trails. Many of you like to pick up a golf club or fishing rod in your spare time. Oh, and for future reference—say, when you take a stab at this survey next year—drinking is not considered a sport.

IT Tunes
Your tastes in music offer few surprises. The majority of respondents prefer rocking out to getting jazzed. Nearly a third of you enjoy listening to music in the adult contemporary genre. Only the twentysomething crowd even considered urban/hip hop to be a form of music. And one IT pro dances to a different tune altogether—"gothic-techno-trance-disco-bluegrass mix." We at Windows IT Pro find the thought of that somehow frightening.

Some of you prefer to make your own music. A third of this survey's respondents said they play a musical instrument. Of those, nearly half play guitar, a third play keyboard, and another third play brass or woodwind instruments. Add the 20 percent who play percussion, and we might have the foundation for an IT pro band. A one, and a two ...

That's Entertainment!
Your inherent geek nature shines through in the questions about your favorite movies and TV shows. You have an abiding love for the Star Wars trilogy, and when you voted for that title, we're sure you meant the bubblegum masterpieces A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, as opposed to the increasingly kid-friendly later films, including Return of the Jedi and the odious Jar Jar—infested prequel trilogy. Your adoration for Peter Jackson's recent Lord of the Rings trilogy boosts those films to a close second place. The IT pro geek stereotype is further maintained by the third-place showing of The Matrix. The Francis Ford Coppola classic The Godfather and Ridley Scott's urban sci-fi noir Blade Runner round out the top five. And the appearance of titles such as Casablanca and The Princess Bride in the top 10 prove that, even though you're geeks, you're romantics at heart.

Overall, when you have sufficient spare time to catch a movie, you're most likely to peruse the listings for an action film, but you also love a good comedy or science-fiction flick. You also ranked thrillers and dramas quite highly. And, for good measure, we got quite a few votes for porn.

When it comes to your TV-watching habits, IT pros search the channels for sitcoms. If you get home in time from the office, the comedy reruns you turn to first are, in order, Seinfeld, M*A*S*H, Friends, and Cheers. Your favorite sitcom on the air today is The Simpsons, TV's longest-running prime-time cartoon. If you can't find a good comedy to sit back and enjoy, you're likely to seek out a documentary or a televised movie. And if those are scarce, you'll settle for some classic science fiction, in the form of Star Trek, The X-Files, or Stargate reruns. You also have a soft spot for more recent television thrillers, such as 24 and CSI. We were also happy to see a healthy number of respondents state that they don't watch TV.

In the realm of the printed page, you're most likely to stick close to your profession and read books of the scientific and technical variety. Perhaps you, like at least one survey participant, have a copy of Mark Minasi's Mastering Windows Server 2003 at your bedside. Lord knows, we do. And speaking of the Lord, your favorite book—regardless of your predilection for science and technology—is the Bible. Fiction and science fiction are your next favorites, exemplified by such titles as J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, Stephen King's The Stand, Frank Herbert's Dune, Tom Clancy's The Hunt for Red October and Red Storm Rising, Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game, J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, and Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. Having listed all those great titles, we were astonished by the number of survey participants who voted "None." We know your spare time is rare, but folks—read a book now and then. It's good for the soul.

Back to Work!
This portion of our survey probed your off-work hours, and we hope we weren't too nosy. Hopefully, you've found some enjoyment in comparing your private lives to those of your peers. For our part, we've learned that, even though you're tech geeks at heart, you're a well-rounded bunch. To compare and contrast these leisure-time results according to gender, see the Web exclusive sidebar "He Said/She Said," http://www.windowsitpro .com, InstantDoc ID 44458. Now get back to work.

See associated figure — Favorite Leisure Activities

See associated figure — Favorite Sporting Activities

See associated figure — Favorite Music

See associated figure — Favorite TV Programs

Your All-Time Favorite...
Star Wars
Lord of the Rings
The Matrix
The Godfather
Blade Runner
The Shawshank Redemption
The Princess Bride
TV Show
Star Trek
The Simpsons
The X-Files
The Bible
Lord of the Rings
"No favorite"
The Stand
The Hunt for Red October
Ender's Game
The Harry Potter series
Red Storm Rising
Atlas Shrugged

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