Secret CIO

Secret CIO (the Elder) takes a long walk off a short plane.

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By  Secret CIO Published  September 29, 2008

Just like that, he was gone. Arms flapping in the breeze, legs splayed out in every direction, he dove off the edge, a strange blissful smile on his face.

And that was the last time I ever saw my CIO again, hurtling straight towards the ground like an out-of-control rocket.

I neglect to mention of course, the rather large parachute strapped to his back, not to mention the very large man also fortuitously strapped to his back to ensure someone had the good sense to pull the ripcord in time.

The skydiving session was of course, another of those poorly-thought out ‘team-building' exercises that our CIO was ever so fond of doing to keep morale up - and partly to stave another staff exodus.

As regional director of IT and one rung below the big man, I dutifully suggested/coerced the staff into attending, although not without encountering a few grumbles along the way, most of which are (sadly) unprintable except in my memoirs.

As we leaped over the edge 12,000 feet in the air, I remember thinking that there wasn't an awful lot of joy on the faces of the underlings - sheer terror was a more accurate description - but I did receive quite a few wills scribbled on napkins and people telling me that they would hunt me down for the duration of the afterlife if they died during a ‘team-building' exercise.

I won't go into the details of the trip towards terra firma except to confirm that it was comfortably on the right side of terrifying.

Oh, all right, I will. Imagine jumping off your school diving board with a 15 stone rugby player strapped to your back.

Post-landing, all I remember is remarking to a colleague as we staggered away from the landing field: "Well, I certainly won't be the same again."

Unfortunately those turned out to be prophetic words because our CIO handed in his resignation the next day, unceremoniously dumping me in the hot seat.

He literally had his box packed before we walked in, and was on the flight home by lunchtime. Safe to say, there was no ‘transition plan' left behind.

To say it was unexpected would be an understatement. I'm now in a brave new world of budget meetings and delayed projects, under fire from the CEO to deliver results on time and on the cheap, and not to mention, responsible for a department full of suddenly-long-suffering minions who all think my predecessor's enormous and essentially-undeserved salary should now be redistributed equally amongst themselves.

It's enough to make a man go grey - if I hadn't already done that prematurely last week.

It also puts me of a mind to write a long and very shouty memo to my soon-to-be-long-suffering staff about succession planning, i.e., the complete lack of it in the IT department.

It's all very well to dramatically quit and walk out head held high like in Bridget Jones's Diary, but someone's got to clean up the mess afterward and my IT monkeys haven't got the gumption to so much as forward their e-mails when they're on holiday.

So I've devised a fiendish plan which is sure to meet with a rapturous reception: no-one can go on leave unless they've trained someone - the janitor can suffice - to handle all their duties.

They'll also need to ensure that their substitute has a substitute in case he/she/it gets sick. And if the substitute's substitute's subtitute is unwell - well, time for the chop.

Oh, and everyone's now got Blackberries - which isn't largesse on my part but simply ensures that everyone answers an e-mail within ten minutes regardless of which part of the world they're in - otherwise they're sacked.

This can only end well.

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