The CEO carousel runs rings around IT

At one company, the CEOs can't seem to stick around -- and turn one IT pro's upgrade project into a task without end

Bureaucratic nonsense is a surefire way to drive any employee crazy, and IT pros are no exception. This story of changing demands under a variety of CEOs took place at a company where I worked in a previous -- and seemingly unproductive -- life.

I worked in IT at "Acme Corp." for a few years. In the grand scheme of things, it wasn't necessarily a bad job. None of the execs I worked for put IT or IT funding as a high priority, but in the corporate world, that attitude isn't surprising.

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What was curious was the employee turnover rate. Lower-level employees didn't leave all that often, but the opposite was true for those in the management level. CEOs and other execs came and went at a surprisingly fast rate. Why? Not sure entirely, but one rumor around the office pegged the executive pay at Acme Corp. below that of other companies.

The list of day-to-day frustrations that come from reporting to one person after another was endless. But in the end what pushed me over the edge to find a new job was the changing demands over tech upgrades that all started under "CEO I."

When I first joined Acme Corp., CEO I had only been with the company for about six months. He told me when I was hired that he wanted the company's IT infrastructure to be upgraded and kept up to date. At the time, I naively thought this was a good sign that IT was a priority at the company.

I made an inventory of all the dated equipment -- a lengthy list -- and gave him a cost estimate. He said that the price was too high, but he still wanted to upgrade all the aging equipment. We talked it over and prioritized the needs, and he decided we'd do the upgrade in three phases, starting with the most critical and oldest equipment. I got funding for the first phase and had almost completed it when I heard that CEO I was leaving the company.

CEO II came on board as an interim while the board of directors searched for a permanent CEO. I talked to him about the upgrades CEO I had wanted, and he told me to put phases two and three of the upgrade on hold until a new CEO was found. I quickly finished phase one of the project and waited.

The interim CEO stayed nearly two years before we found an "appropriate" replacement, kicking projects down the road until the permanent CEO was hired.

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