Get a Life

By Judith Welles

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Is being a CIO an extreme sport?

An article in CIO magazine concludes that technology and organization expectations are turning the CIO job into an extreme sport. The extreme CIO works at least 60 hours a week, "taking the 'life' out of work life balance."

The author, Matt Villano, writes, "CIOs have always logged long hours; it's what you do in IT. But now these work habits dovetail with the rise of 'extreme jobs.'"

He draws his conclusions from a study done last year by the Center for Work-Life Policy (CWLP), an independent research organization. Villano reported,

"The research defined extreme jobs as those in which employees work at least 60 hours per week, receive hefty salaries and feature at least five of 10 characteristics from a list that includes availability to clients 24/7, an unpredictable flow of work, lots of travel and an inordinate scope of responsibility…

"Study authors Carolyn Buck Luce, a principal and global pharmaceutical sector leader with Ernst & Young, and Sylvia Ann Hewlett, president of the CWLP, call these jobs 'extreme' with a nod to extreme sports such as the Ironman triathlon and bungee jumping.... While the study didn't specifically look at the CIO position, the job easily meets most of the extreme criteria."

Some interesting comments follow the article. One reader wrote, "Too many hours at work often reflects poor time management and delegation, not to mention inability to trust one's own team."

Another commented, "With 450 people supporting 6,000 users (13:1 ratio), there should be ample resources. The CIO role should not be involved in every operational snafu."

And from someone working 60-90 hours a week: "I've finally realized that I work in order to live, and not the other way around."

Are federal CIOs Ironmen (and women)? How many hours a week do you work?

Posted by Judith Welles on Sep 05, 2007 at 12:13 PM


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