I had to laugh out loud today as I caught up with an old business acquaintance, now CEO of a good sized firm, and heard the story of how the founder’s son is running the IT department. I have heard this story so many times that I asked, without really thinking about, “Why do so many business people end up with relatives running the IT department?” I’ve heard it all over the years and it’s not just small businesses that do this.
Back in my Oracle days I consulted with a Fortune 100 company and two of the CEO/Founder’s children were in the IT Department. Neither of them appeared to be especially talented in matters technical, but there they were, cutting their corporate teeth in 4 hour meetings on system size, redundancy, failover, backup and restore. So what’s going on?
I guess it’s not the worse place to learn about a business. There’s always a lot of discussion of key business processes and throughout a typical week/month/quarter you will meet most of the management team, directors and above. But it’s also not the best place to learn about the business. You will rarely meet a customer or vendor, outside of an IT vendor, there. You will never see a sale negotiated, or learn the why your products and services are priced as they are. You will also not see customer service issues managed.
But if your path in life is IT then with all haste take a place in your Uncle’s, Sister’s, Dad’s, Brother’s, IT department. Otherwise I would be a little suspect of how this will play out for you. You may be a trusted family member but hiding in IT will not prepare you for a larger business role, unless you ultimately want to work for an software or IT services firm. More likely than not, your relatives figure that you are trustworthy and since they need a body to handle the work in IT, your it. It’s also quite difficult to find good IT people and they tend to move around a lot, especially when you ask them to work 60 hours a week, every week. So putting a thankful relative in IT adds some stability for not too much money I would suspect. And they can’t do too much harm there, right?
Well, I don’t really have a dog in this fight to be honest, so maybe I’ll let it lie. I have asked my daughter on several occasions about working for SightLines. I’ve gotten a lot of answers, but none have been “yes.” Darn smart kid!
(Cross-posted @ Sightings in SaaS)