What It's Like To...Be a CIO

No one ever said being a CIO was easy. And over the past few years, it rarely has been. But at least it hasn't been dull.

In this series, "What It's Like To...," IT leaders share their stories from the front lines—CIO to CIO, in their own words, from the gut, without vendor spin or PR meddling, without fear or favor. We've identified situations—both common and sui generis—that other CIOs can relate to or experience vicariously.

And what we've found is that the CIO experience is nothing if not multidimensional. It is, at turns, rewarding and disappointing. Maddening and moving. Mundane and, occasionally, extraordinary.

In these sometimes painfully candid, first-person stories, CIOs talk about what it's really like to lay off loyal employees, or get fired themselves. How it feels to bet the farm on a new technology and come out on top, or pull the plug on a multimillion-dollar project and take the heat. To be the winner in a merger, or the loser. To deliver more with less. To handle logistics in Iraq, survive a hurricane, or simply walk a mile in your customers' shoes. You may already know what it's like to work for a 24/7 boss. You may even know what it's like to take a real vacation. But do you know how it feels to save a life, or risk your own?

(And for the stories we couldn't get—the tales no one would tell—click here.)

So what is it really like to be a CIO in the 21st century?

You know your piece of the answer.

For the rest, turn the page.

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