by Stephanie Overby

What It’s Like To Be… You

Dec 15, 20042 mins
IT Leadership

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.

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?

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

What It’s Like To…

Achieve 100% Uptime

Send People into Danger

Survive Charley

Take Your Application Source Code Out of Escrow

Bear Witness To IT History

Walk In Your Customers’ Shoes

Work For A 24/7 Entrepreneur

Be The Last Man Standing

Bond On Mt. Fuji

Be An Early Adopter

Lose Your Job

Save Four Lives

Pull The Plug On A Multimillion-Dollar Project

Brief The President

Testify Before Congress

Be The First CIO Of The U.S. Senate

Walk Into An IT Disaster

Get The Job

Not Get The Job

Build The World’s Most Powerful Supercomputer

Be The Fall Guy

Live In A Two-CIO Family

Move To A New Industry

Survive The Pentagon Attack

Take A Real Vacation

Be Treated Like A Rock Star

Be An American Abroad

Catch A Killer

Be Different

Work In Iraq

Be A Man In A Woman’s World

Be Hired By The FBI

Start Your Own Company

Save $55,000

Fire Half Your Staff

Downshift Your Life

Go From CIO To CEO

Stories We Couldn’t Get: There were some subjects that CIOs absolutely, positively would not (or could not) address.