Secret CIO

Secret CIO is faced with unreasonable budgetary demands - from his son.

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By  Secret CIO Published  September 9, 2007

The boy is pushing his luck. She-who-must-be-obeyed isn't far behind. It seems that, while my delightful family was in Europe for the summer, my son took it upon himself to go on a little bit of a spending spree.

Now this in itself was not necessarily a problem - for various reasons, I was able to give the little fella a generous allowance for the summer. I also have an understanding with my son - that he can, if he wants, spend above his allowance - but if he does so, the excess will come out of his future funds.

It's this last bit the boy seems to have forgotten - and my wife appears to have a similar memory loss.

Having squandered his funds on arcade games, copious pizza, and strange French music CDs, the brat is now demanding that I supply him with yet more money to support his Dubai lifestyle (which mainly consists of the cinema, buying shirts, and large quantities of pirated DVDs).

"But daaaad," he whined to me this week, "How'm I going to go out with my friends with no money?"

I ventured to suggest that this wasn't my problem - and that he should have thought of this before spending the rest of the year's allowance on frippery.

"God, that's SO unfair!" he screamed - apparently channelling long-ended TV series in his rage. "I can't believe you - how can you do this to me?"

It was more or less at this point that my better half stepped in - on his side. She may be She-who-must-be-obeyed, but if ever there's a time to buck a trend, it's now.

"Come on, he's only a kid - he can't be expected to know about these things," she said in soothing tones. Evidently she thought she was pouring oil on troubled waters - and then throwing a match in, in this case.

It may be harsh, but I have absolutely no sympathy in this matter. I have to put up with the same sort of thing at work, and I'll be dashed before I cave in at home.

In my professional life, though, the pressure comes from the other direction - above. Some department manager, or other CxO, will suddenly decide that they need some whizzy new piece of software or equipment. So they come beating on my door, continually pestering me until I give in.

For me, it's a no-win situation. Either I pay for the new systems - and see my budget exhausted, with the result that I have to go crawling to the CEO. Or I refuse to pay, in which case said executive will go to the CEO anyway, who - conveniently forgetting any of our previous conversations on the subject - will insist that we make the purchase.

Either option ends up with the CEO shouting at me, but approving the purchase means he only shouts at me once.

In a way I'm lucky - I have a CEO who will approve extra budget allocations for my department, as opposed to the many unlucky souls for whom a budget really is a budget. But the same sympathy that the CEO gives to the technology budget also means he ends up approving every suggested purchase - as long as it happens to be shiny and exciting enough.

My son, though, is not so lucky - his father is a measly old git, who won't be letting him have another dirham this year. Now, if my wife wants to give him something from her funds and allowance, that's fine by me.

And if my wife runs out of funds... Ah.

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