What’s the Most Stressful Thing You Have Experienced in the Tech World?


What’s the Most Stressful Thing You Have Experienced in the Tech World?

This week’s topic for our writers’ opinion question comes from a study that determined people are stressed out just as much by the possibility of losing a smartphone as they are the threat of a terrorist attack.

Think about that comparison and really let it sink in. It seems silly at first, yet we’ve all been there and know what it feels like to lose or think you lost your smartphone. That made us wonder what else stresses us out in the tech world. We asked some of our writers, “What’s the most stressful thing you have experienced in the tech world?

Our Opinion

Simon was really quick with his answer: hard-to-pin computer crashes and random shutdowns. He explains, “Sometimes you’ll get lucky and get a BSOD that explains what exactly crashed the PC so you can fix it easily.” However, some crashes he’s had to diagnose haven’t always been easy, “ranging from unhelpful BSOD errors to full lockups.”

“As a video producer who signs up for weekend movie challenges with friends from time to time,” Corbin gets stressed by “the miscalculation of render and export times for a project.” It can lead up to a massive problem. Additionally, he notes, “There’s nothing quite like pulling a couple all-nighters, nearly perfecting a project, and not being able to submit it when it’s late by a few minutes due to the lack of accuracy in export/render time.”


Trevor couldn’t even think of many things that would be super stressful for him. He finally settled on “losing some data and images,” as “most other things can be fixed.

For Phil it’s “creeping computer slowness.” With every computer, table, and phone he’s had, they work “flawlessly for months” and then become slower and slower until they become unusable. “It usually boils down to hard drive disease and lazy digital housekeeping” on his part, but he resents having to maintain the kits. He’s waiting for self-maintaining devices to take care of that.

I echo Phil’s comments about the creeping computer slowness. And I have a few individual events as well. The one that sticks out in my mind the most was when I was a computer typesetter for business forms and working on two forms that were 17″ x 11″ with tiny rows with about twenty tabs each going all the way down the forms, and each row having a different set of tabs. When I was finished with the first one, after it taking my whole eight-hour day, I went to use the format for the second one and forgot to do a “Save As…” before deleting the entire content to put the new info in. I had lost my entire day’s worth of work. That was stressful, but you can bet I always do a “Save As…” right away now!

Your Opinion

How about your tech stresses? Are you bothered by creeping computer slowness, the miscalculation of project time, or computer crashes and random shutdowns? Or do you have a specific memory of an event that just stressed you out far too much? What’s the most stressful thing you have experienced in the tech world? Join our conversation in the comment section below!

Laura Tucker Laura Tucker

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site's sponsored review program.


  1. I think you have just lost most of your credibility. There is a big difference to these petty annoyances and being in a really stressful situation. Having your life put at risk or being in a dangerous place with out hope of rescue, after being kidnapped and maybe seeing some of your friends and family get killed, just does not relate.
    Come on get out in the real world a bit more and see what is really going on around you!

    1. Woah, Brian! Slow down. First, you need to reread the question. It was not “what’s the most stressful thing you have experienced in your life,” but in the “tech world.” Obviously real-life situations are far more stressful than tech situations. Yeah, I’d say when I had cancer in 2013 and a resulting bone marrow transplant it was definitely more stressful than when I lost a whole day’s worth of work. Most definitely. But that wasn’t the question. No need for me to get out in the real world and look around. I’ve been doing that since I got my second chance at life after my transplant. But I can also compartmentalize and separate the different areas of my life such as my technology, my health, my relationships, etc.

  2. My stress comes from the ever increasing pace of change driven by developments in the computing world. I see my parents, who have used computers for almost as many years as me, unable to keep up. When something breaks, they turn to me and I increasingly have no answer except to begin searching FAQs and messaging Tech Support. The solutions I find are slowly leaving me in the digital dust of the internet. Money is tight and we cannot afford to continue calling in the Geek Squad.

    The squeeze is on…

    With banks, retailers, insurers, libraries, schools, government and so many other important cultural institutions offloading more and more of their previously expensive human functions onto much less costly online services, it’s very stressful considering a near future when I may not be able to access trivial, useful or even life-saving resources for no better reason than an unresolved BSOD at a very inopportune moment.

    I’m sixty-one years old and have played/worked with computers since creating my first simple program as a high school student back in 1972-73. It’s stored as a bunch of holes in about two feet of paper tape coiled and lost somewhere in my clutter. Since then I’ve owned several Timex-Sinclair doorstops, a Commodore 128, an Atari ST, an 80386 PC, several 80486 PCs, several Pentium PCs, various Pentium II PCs and now wrangle several Android or Windows tablets.

    I never learned or used the full potential of any of these computers. As time passes, I know I learn less and use less of each new computer’s capabilities.

    That leaves me remarkably under-equipped to personally troubleshoot the ever-increasing number and variety of ways that my machines choose to fail. I just recently added and then quickly removed a WiFi range extender to my home network. I’m now communicating with a tech support person to learn how to stop the wireless range extender from killing my ethernet connections on all the PCs linked to my wired LAN switches. Maybe it’s a DHCP issue, something stepping on a critical IP address, or some similarly esoteric software/firmware breakdown, but it’s definitely NOT how I planned on spending my week.

    I suppose I should be happy to have this healthy exercise for moldy oldie neurons!

  3. Most stressful thing in tech? When my PC’s hard drive and the USB hard drive that I’m using for backups both fail in the same week. Especially when some of the stuff that was lost was digitized from ancient VHS tapes of my son from 30 years ago.

  4. Microsoft Windows…from 3.1 through to and including W2K. The constant wonder if my work will be lost to a BSOD, a lockup, or who-knows-what fun new catastrophe Windows was going to slough off on me. It was the cause of me switching to Linux literally overnight one evening in early 2000. Since that time I’ve never been more relaxed, calm and actually enjoying myself behind a keyboard.

    Tried a “smartphone”. It wasn’t, and all the useless google garbage I was forced to have to endure and that constantly ate my battery made me throw it away and go back to a cheap-o TracFone.

    Other than those, nothing really in the tech world has stressed me out. I enjoy tech, always have and *almost* always have been able to discern when something will end up pissing me off and using it as target practice later or not.

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