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The CEO's Wife Is Killing Us!

By decalant ·
When the CEO's wife decided she wanted a Blackberry wireless email device about a year ago, our entire IT department (four of us - a group of contractors hired to replace a poor previous IT group) deliberated for days over how to handle the situation.

The old IT folks had allowed her to keep corporate equipment at home and had supported her. We were worried about the implications of this - she is not a corporate employee and the setup would be out of our control - BUT, she is the CEO's wife. In the end she got a brand-new computer and a Blackberry.

At first things went well, but the environment in which she worked became unstable after awhile. She was using a product for the Blackberry that was initially intended for demo purposes: the Desktop Redirector. We needed to make a change to the Blackberry setup.

Later, she wanted MS Office. Our helpdesk agent installed it at the corporate office from a network share. This caused problems down the road and an onsite visit hadto be scheduled to reinstall using the CDs so that the installation could be modified later.

Through all of these relatively minor issues she has steadily voiced what we all perceive to be unreasonable expectations regarding the performance of her equipment. She has repeatedly jabbed the support staff who try to assist her. She reports how "incompetent" we are because we cannot prevent a 5MB attachment from violating her ISP-imposed mail quota.

Consider some of her most common statements:
"I don't care."
"I do not want to call and talk to any technical person. I should not have to."
"You are being paid to make these computers work."

This situation is critical. We are in danger of losing our jobs and my boss who has been working in the IT industry for 19 years has never been placed in a situation like this before. We are at a loss. Can anyone please provide guidance?

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BTDT

by mlayton In reply to The CEO's Wife Is Killing ...

Been there, done that. Not only the wife, but the daughters, sons, etc. You have only two choices, really. Treat her as a customer, track all time accordingly, and then when performance reviews, etc come up make sure you have documented why some projects fell by the wayside on account of this "customer", or find a new job. Your best bet is to assign one person who has the tact to deal with difficult customers to her needs, someone who can develop a rapport and relationship that can be friendly without being condescending (not easy, boy do I know!) Its a very very very difficult line to walk.

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The Bosses wife.

by Oz_Media In reply to BTDT

Sometimes I wonder why my last boss every got married. She was the controller of her husbads company, her daughter and two sons ALL worked for the company and it got bigger and bogger to the point that they had no business being in control of the business.
After seeing my quarterly performance report, the boss wondered why his family was having SOOOOO many problems that other staff weren't.
reading through my documentation, he quickly learned that his family were pushing irrelevant matters and issues that were just not able to be resolved (sometimes, it just isn't meant to do that).
I think he had a talk with them while they were on holiday and they ended up ***** footing around me and asking very non-imposing "information gathering" questions instead of making demands.

Bottom line, your employer must believe in YOUR skills and abilities, obviously if his wife could do what you do, she would have your job. Thank god she can do for him what you can't (or hopefully don't)I don'tthink you'd want to give him the XXXXjob.

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Sorry for all the typos

by Oz_Media In reply to The Bosses wife.

Yeah I know, I really screw up with the typos!!
I just hammer a mishmash of keys with no formal keyboard skills. My fingering is out of whack, my wife may disagree with that, the punctuation is screwy etc. Hopefully, your IT patience will allow you to just read through the BS.

Thanks,
OM

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I echo BTDT excellent response

by Clevesoft In reply to Sorry for all the typos

BTDT2(families are unbelievable!). My team also replaced IT temps, their cousins; arrived @ those solutions. After asking CEO's OK, w/worked BOTH.

H&W in $ame field (biotech engineer recruiting). She starts "silent/competing" co from their home; daughters did billing, calls. What 1 co. didn't get, turfed over to other (clients unaware H&W = same wallet; thought were going to another co.).

Situation exaccerbated to point we didn't know where we worked! Her demands: "Don't want to talk to tech person, shouldn't have to" countered by "well, then to whom DO you wish to speak?" A: "Anyone who can make these Fing things WORK!"

Agreed treat her as billable. Time in Excel; under head "Impeding Resolution": Unwilling to accept tech limits or compromise/work-arounds. And (formerly) tactful person assigned (I drew short straw), w/dollar cap. Had to reach $8K/mo.

At that point, he hired her her own Mobile Tech (guys in a van)crew & "divorced her" co. from us.

Getting to EVENTUALLY was ****. "They sent me a girl?!" said she. Survived by complimenting her smarts, high value of her time, staying up late writing user manuals for her every whim. Almost had breakdown explaining ACT can't just "suck in" her 100,000 Rolodex cards. Got so, I was DOING billing, phones, while wifey & kiddos did lunch.

I became only one she'd talk to; & best $96K/yr. recept/billing clerk she ever had! I exchanged sanity for vast education re: wireless & other demands, on their time/dime,& quit job -- after writing Business Plan to market manuals I wrote).

Hey, maybe you could leave this story just lying around in a conspicuous area... ?? Best of luck.

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P.S. to my last BTDT2

by Clevesoft In reply to I echo BTDT excellent res ...

Didn't MAKE $96K (but cost them that between us); I was 2nd & LAST to take crack @ her. Rotating us between sanity shifts NOT way to go. WE bonded like MASH unit over war stories, BUT:

(1) CEO technophobe BLIND to our plight(over martinis salescloser);

(2) EVEN when huge $$ losses pointed out;

(3) He almost became as bad, demanding, begging, we just "MAKE IT GO AWAY!" &

(4) Too many styles/approaches confused her, pissed her even MORE.

Mistakes: explaining WHY a thing couldn'tbe done (or WORSE, HOW it MAY be possible). Don't EVEN go there. Can't/might be done = DO IT YESTERDAY!

SHOULD'VE said "That's what you want? We'll get a price," then calculated cost repurchasing CDS, of mobile troubleshoot/installers & hiring Computer Literate (in OH; think absorbed by OfficeMax) to train her (but mostly daughters)... then presented to him; preferably in memos; which is what happened in end anyway.

Meetings to "tech ed" him/her, explain costs = HUGE waste time, other than end result: having him convinced he more tech savvy than she (& her not-as-savvy skills could invade/threaten network). Had her convinced she more tech savvy than he; & better off (w/o us morons).

Having LOTS of folk @ her beck/call appealed to her vanity (if momma aint happy, nobody happy). After she made his life ****, he went w/that deal.

However, PC OnCall & Computer Literate folk never forgave us. (Within 18 mos, CEO lost us all. Back to cousin's friend in electronics school!
Hope these addenda might also help.

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Readability

by Jim Phelps In reply to P.S. to my last BTDT2

Your postings were very interesting, but hard to read, because you wrote in shorthand, eliminating small words.

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And me without my Rosetta stone

by CoZaBrad In reply to Readability

JC! I felt I was trying to decipher Hieroglyphics.

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Thank You

by daniel_meister In reply to Readability

Couldn't understand half of what he was trying to say. If you don't want everyone to understand, why post?

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I agree

by TechPro34yrs. In reply to Readability

If you are going to post a response or a reply, don't use short hand and type so people can read it!!!!!!! Very aggrevating.

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I agree

by Americium In reply to Readability

I hope the manuals you are trying to sell aren't so cryptic.

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