7 blowhard bosses bollix up IT

As if working in tech isn't hard enough, these bosses block every avenue to success

I survived a blowhard boss
Ben Barbante

I survived a blowhard boss

If you've ever reported to a blowhard boss, you know how they sap the staff's morale and chip at the company's bottom line. It's an ongoing mystery why so many of them are put in power in the first place.

You may end up working under a blowhard boss at some point in your career, but rest assured you're not alone. Here are seven stories written by anonymous IT pros who've lived to tell the tale.

[ You're not alone -- your fellow techies share 7 hardware horror stories from the help desk. | Have a tech story to share? If we publish it, we'll send you a $50 American Express gift card -- and keep you Anonymous. Send it to offtherecord@infoworld.com. | Follow InfoWorld's Off the Record on Twitter and subscribe to the newsletter. ]

The know-it-all, know-nothing boss
Ben Barbante

The know-it-all, know-nothing boss

This self-proclaimed tech expert thinks far too highly of his own skills and can't stay out of his workers' hair. At one site installation, the boss hovers over, second-guesses, and eventually dismisses the tech to take on the job himself, only to call back a couple of hours later when his skills fall short.

Still oblivious, the know-nothing boss can't recognize his own description in a customer complaint. Before long, his incompetence catches up with him and business dries up. At least the workers were able to move on and find other jobs.

How else can I control your life?
Ben Barbante

How else can I control your life?

You don't typically brag about working at a job for only three months -- unless you're reporting to a boss who drives others away in just a few weeks. But who would stay under a boss who demands the use of templates that don't exist, forbids workers from reporting for jury duty, botches a government assignment, and doesn't support employee training? She gives unsolicited parenting advice too!

Worst of all, there's nowhere to turn for help: The departments operate in silos, and HR refuses to make a move. It's no wonder turnover is so high.

All hail the IT hero
Ben Barbante

All hail the IT hero

A new IT pro is hired at a company where the CEO claims he knows all about tech and invites all questions from the staff. The tech's first task: Figure out why the server keeps crashing. Easy enough -- a crowded, unventilated server room is to blame. But the CEO takes half measures to fix the issue and falls for a conniving consultant's fishy plan.

Fast-forward several months: The CEO wants to be seen as a tech visionary and orders a data center to be built, no expenses spared. Never mind that most of the equipment goes unused -- at least he can show off to his peers. The spending continues until the board catches on and fires him. What took them so long?

Look but don’t touch
Ben Barbante

Look but don’t touch

When a company acquires a division located on another continent, the Head Honcho insists on squeezing every cent out of the deal, including retaining an outsourcer's services for the contracted 24 months. Reality sets in when a VPN problem arises, and the outsourcer can't fix it. The domestic team scrambles to find a solution, begging to take control of the site and make the repairs themselves. Still, the Head Honcho refuses. After days of going back and forth, they finally figure out a functioning work-around.

Months later, the contract expires, and the tech implements his initial fix. Voila, it works -- and could've spared everyone the hassle all along.

Don't even think about going anywhere
Ben Barbante

Don't even think about going anywhere

One boss makes life a living hell for the employees, particularly where it hurts the most: the paycheck. This bloviating boss revises vacation pay, announces surprise pay cuts, docks employees for their mistakes, changes the pay schedule, and orders last-minute overtime. At the same time, he makes extravagant purchases and offers fraudulent loans.

Not surprisingly, the employees look for other jobs and start contacting government offices about the boss's shady dealings. The law soon comes calling, and the business closes -- thanks to the workers' awareness and diligence.

He who talks first talks worst
Ben Barbante

He who talks first talks worst

Then there's the CIO who covers his inexperience with the temper of a Tasmanian devil and the tact of a drill sergeant, pushing his plans through regardless of outside advice. Take his plan to save loads of money and move all the company's apps to the cloud, though the firm had been operating under budget for years, and the current system was working just fine.

But The Boss moves forward, choosing a third-rate cloud provider and refusing to allow corresponding server and Internet upgrades. It's no surprise -- to the techs at least -- when sales and billing productivity slow to a crawl. After only a week, the top execs order that everything be moved back ASAP. (Gladly.)

Do these servers bring out my eyes?
Ben Barbante

Do these servers bring out my eyes?

The new admin's skill set: lots of talk, few skills, a desire to make himself look good at any cost, and a habit of dismissing and demeaning anyone who questions him.

When a request comes in to build a server for Very Important People, the boss wants to show off. He decides to build the system himself ... in the middle of the shared office space, so everyone can view his expertise. His plans are foiled when he can't figure out an error message -- and insults the tech who tries to help.

The boss pays the vendor for the same solution, but it takes several more similar incidents to get him fired -- some justice.

Tell your tech story
Diane Macdonald

Tell your tech story

Share your own crazy-but-true tale about managing IT, developing apps, supporting users, a humbling moment, or a time when something went very right. Send your submission to offtherecord@infoworld.com. If we publish it  -- anonymously, of course -- you'll receive a $50 American Express gift cheque.

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