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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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Tough Position

by dbeetham In reply to Not clear

That is a tough position. My thoughts on the matter swing more to the "If you want us to support it, we need to use it." Have the entire IT staff setup to use the Blackberry's wit the BES and see how agreeable the CEO is to that. Otherwise you are unable to support it. It's all about educating people in the art of standardisation and how EVERYONE needs to be on the same sheet of music.

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All the way down this road

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

I have been all the way down this road twice. Your boss with 19 years experience needs to get you out of this situation. He needs to help set the expectations of the CEO and his wife as to the level of support she will receive. I have seen two successful solutions. 1. Support is scaled back and equipment is fixed or replace when time permits, but only at the office. No house calls. 2. A single technichian is hired for support to senior executives and their families. You will not get any rrelief from this until your boss makes a stand for your team.

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On the Lighter Side

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

I have delt with situations similar to this, but here's a funny story of no value to the conversation. I was going to an executives house to set up security on his wireless network and fix a problem with his wife's PC. Lets just say I was slightly delayed. The exec called me to ask me where I was and I told him the truth. My car was hit by a deer on the way over to his house. I was never asked to go to his house again.

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no good deed goes unpunished

by be the spoon In reply to The CEO's Wife Is Killing ...

think of it as the payback for something very, very bad you did with a priest 10 or 20 times.

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Talk to Human Resources

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

Every time - every, every, every time - that you try to use your
professional talents to help a exec in their home capacity, or try
to help an exec's significant other, you will ultimately arrive at
this same space.

The best solution, no longer applicable now but useful for nxt
time, would have been to tell the CEO, "You want me to work on
your wife's hardware and software? As an independant
consultant I charge $200/hour." That makes the CEO remember
that there is a cost associated with your labors, it reminds him
that you recognize that his request is impolitic, and - most
importantly - it creates much healthier power dynamic in this
separate relationship.

If you didn't have the ability to say that up front, and now you're
stuck in an abusive, coercive relationship, go immediately to
your Human Resources department and ask their advice. No
kidding. Every man in IS has joked that HR is technically
imcompetent, needless corporate baggage at one time or
another. Well, they're no more needless than life jackets on an
airplane. You don't need them at all until you need them a lot.
Talk to HR right away. When the head of HR tells the CEO that he
can't fire you for not fixing his wife's home computer, you can
sleep easier.

You are not facing a technical problem, you are facing a political
problem. Someone else in the company is abusing his position
and attempting to misuse your resources. The fact that it's the
CEO makes you feel threatened, so you capitulate. If you have a
functioning HR department, you're OK. If your HR department
CANNOT protect you from a whimsical CEO who lets his wife
boss the employees around, then you have a seriously
dysfunctional company, and your unhappy departure is a matter
of "when" rather than "if." Start looking for other work now.


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by dustons In reply to Talk to Human Resources

If this is allowed to continue in any way the only end is a bad one. It must be put to an end. Document everything and try some of the suggestions here but if it is allowed to continue get out. People in IT/IS have worked to hard to be treated like this.

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Treat her as any other "employee"

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

Even the CEO had to sign all of the company's release forms for internet use, etc. Lock her equipment down as you would any remote employee.

I've been in this exact position before. While you may want to "bend" rules to make the boss happy, you are required to secure the environment as is your job in IT.

As far as losing your job over it, I doubt that will happen, even if the boss' wife is unhappy with you.

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OK, folks. Let's watch our own "PC" here....

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

As a male WASP and generally one opposed to political correctness issues, I still find the subject headline offensive. Must we assume the boss's spouse is female? There are plenty of IT bosses who are women and whose bungling husbands might just as likely be the recipient of out-of-scope technical support as the wives of male IT managers.

I'd hope that by now we've come to be a little less likely to stereotype who fills the role of boss in the IT organization.

The original post was a real life situation. But we don't have to perpetuate the examples throughout with the same gender assumptions.

Bill Shackelford

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Huh ??

by jstevens In reply to OK, folks. Let's watch o ...
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PC is nothing but an obstacle for progression

by TomSal In reply to OK, folks. Let's watch o ...

Give me a break on the PC stuff.

Enough already, this country (USA) is so out of control with this PC business it makes me want to vomit.

It slows progress down (big time) for one, makes us all wimps for two and lastly its just aggravating as ****.

Why can't people call "it" what "it" is without some whiney folks crying because you weren't "PC" in your verbage.

Someone insults you because they aren't PC, insult them back.

Jesus Christmas where did everyone's balls go?

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