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Like a lot of people in IT I sit at a desk for 8-10hrs/day working on stuff that needs to get done "now". That usually means eating unhealthy lunches at my desk, and sometimes dinner too. This does terrible things to your health. I have been trying to work some exercise into the workday but I was thinking it would be great if I worked somewhere where I was exercising all the time (walking around, lifting servers, etc.).

Does anyone have a job in IT (or know someone) where you are actually moving around (not sitting) doing something for most of the day?


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Have you thought about teaching? – Chris Lercher Apr 7 '10 at 17:03
I took John's answer based on its simplicity and ease of implementation. Also I've been writing way too many specs the last two weeks. – zippy Apr 29 '10 at 19:36

13 Answers 13

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Any job you can do sitting down should be doable standing up. There's even an ad that appears on this and other sites for a vertically telescopic desk to allow for both positions.

In all my jobs the only person dictating whether it's a sit down job or not has been myself. If sitting doesn't suit you then you need to take steps to change it. It's not the job, it's the person who decides.

I'll have to take a look at this. It sounds like the simplest solution here. – zippy Apr 8 '10 at 6:51

Two catagories of Jobs come to mind:

  1. A Field technician, you will spend lots of time traveling.
  2. Working at a data center NOC. If you work for a colocation facility, you will probably be running around a lot if it is a busy one.

As to "the get it done now"... This is likely part of being in a IT position from time to time. It should however not be the norm. If it is the norm, I would recommend one of two things depending on the situation. The first would be to a look for a job where things are not out of control and all you do it put out fires. The second would be to maybe evaluate if it really needs to be done right away, and just go to lunch (This if course carries the risk of getting fired).

I used to have a boss that planned things very poorly, and my job was putting out fires "now", all day long. People hated her (because of the way things ran, or the lack there of) and she finally quit. Now I'm the Admin, I run things very differently, and it's rare that fires pop up. It's not an "IT" thing to be constantly putting out fires. – Chris S Apr 7 '10 at 23:22

Small Business IT Consultant -- park downtown in the morning, walk from client to client, stop off for a lunch outside at the market, make a few calls, head into office late afternoon to log hours. Rinse, repeat. New challenges every day, little to no politics, lots of secretaries to flirt with :)

Unfortunately the secretaries are usually nothing to look at. That's my experience at least. – Chris S Apr 7 '10 at 23:24

Hmmm... End user support or break-fix probably keeps you on your feet: visiting users, printers, etc.


from my own experience:

  1. field tech (not much of a pay, spend too long in traffic)
  2. sysadmin at a large highschool (not much time to sit around - have to run a lot all over campus, and bad pay too)

So I prefer to sit tight and do my job. Running is something I do in a gym


Telecom Engineer - Specifically, physical network wiring design and implementation. Although to be fair, this is stuff that IT contract out because it is dirty, miserable, and physical work. Working for a small business I have the lovely task of running my own drops where needed. Believe me I wish I had the resources to hire that crap out. I wouldn't call if glamorous, but you'll be on your feet.

RF Field Engineer - If you have any electrical or RF experience, this is a tangent field that has a lot of positions that take you out and about. Cable and and Wireless technologies need engineers out and about to service, implement, and troubleshoot lines and equipment. While not traditionally "IT", it's a similar sort of mindset.


Maybe short term consultants, sales engineers, helpdesk roles.

I walk around the office all the time. I refuse to accept inter-office telephone calls for day-to-day operation. Walk to the server room, rack servers. There's plenty of opportunities to not be completely sedentary.

Plenty of people swear by the Hacker's Diet. Really, it's a lifestyle choice, not a job responsibility issue, IMHO.

Check out for recommendations on lifestyle.

I don't think the two questions are directly related. Plus this one is far less argumentative. – Zoredache Apr 7 '10 at 16:33
Ah, that's a good point. I often scan through rhetoric and focus on the point. – Warner Apr 7 '10 at 16:37

Try being a sysadmin. You'll get plenty of exercise.


The farest you're from the coffee the more you walk. Also field tech or consultant seems to be the best answers.

Great point. My desk is about 250yds from the coffee machine. As a bonus, we're about 300yds from the restrooms on this floor, or we can go down a flight of stairs, so the coffee triggers extra exercise. – BillN Apr 8 '10 at 15:25

Or join a "Scrum" team then you will have a daily standup


I agree with Field Tech and Sys. Admin; it was 13-hour days on the road from customer-to-customer as a tech, and as long as I had a good healthy snack (which I didn't...) it was all good. As a sysadmin, (for me) I'm always tinkering with machinery for repurposing, development, etc., so the trips between my desk and the data centers helps keep me awake.

As far as activity level, the best thing I've found to do (of course it depends upon your respective environments) is visit one end-user every day or every other day. Being in the basement, I use the stairs as opposed to the elevator, and the social interaction and customer service benefits are valuable on many levels.

Lots of times from these visits you become a hostage, but after a while we all learn who to initiate a quick chat with and who to allow significant time for a lengthy discussion. You'll no doubt get busier with small tasks, but if your delegation skills and your IT departments' communicated SLA's are in order, it should be easy to tear yourself away from a grabby situation. It works for me, I hope that helps...

  1. Read your contract - if you are not paid for lunch, then don't work during it. Forcing unpaid labour is generally a crime.
  2. Learn your labour laws (sometimes "Employment standards"). At both the federal and provincial / state level.
  3. Physically shadow your boss or manager during her lunch break. Most managers won't make a complaint against you when you take the same lunch break as they do.
  4. In a larger employer, contact your HR staff for workplace well-being or work-life balance information and guidelines.

If possible, consider a government (including civilian for the military) or unionized job, when you better protections (namely more means of recourse in the event of unfair disciplinary action) of your legal rights.

Better employers will recognize that healthy employees are more productive employees (i.e. better ROI), and often accommodate both a real lunch break, and when possible, routine physical exercise, some even provide gym facilities or discounted / reimbursement for external gym memberships.

Try to work on team projects, these generally involves more interpersonal interaction which can turn into physical meetings (when appropriate). Boxing or sparring is generally not a positive team environment, even if it is very physically satisfying. Make use of compile time.

In a help-desk type role, in-person service delivery or follow-up contact (i.e. best after a solution is found) can have a huge positive impression on the quality and professionalism of your work. This of course is not always applicable, but when you can make it fit, try it.

What are some IT jobs where you don’t sit at a desk for 8-10hrs a day?

Corporate spy. Or corporate physical security pen-tester if you want to get technical.


I got a lot more exercise when I was a PC support person, due to the simple fact that I had to get up and physically visit the PC in distress. When I transitioned to unix support I found that I didn't have to go visit machines as much; now with decent LOMs and the like I frequently don't have to touch machines unless there's something physically broken.

I'm actually working for a consulting firm, so I usually spend some time each day going from one place to another, which forces me to stand up and move around some.


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