The New CIO

A tale of two employees

a tale of two employees

a tale of two employeesI was recently talking to a CIO friend of mine.  She has a really good team of people working for her and has recently gone through a hiring spell where she has six new-ish employees on her staff. All six have been at the company from anywhere between 1 month to 7 months.

While talking to this CIO, she was relating some stories of a few of these employees. She was telling me of a recent experience that has her rethinking the employment of one of these new people.

The first of these we’ll call Joe for discussion purposes. Joe’s resume is spectacular (I’ve seen it) and his experience over his career seem to be perfect for someone on the ‘fast track’ to move up through a company.  Additionally, the recommendations from previous employers are some of the best that I’ve seen.   He’s a rockstar on paper.

The CIO also told me of another employee. We’ll call him Bill for ease of discussion.  On paper, Bill is an average employee. His resume looks good and his experience over his career shows an employee who goes to work and does his job and goes home. There’s nothing that screams “high achiever” with Bill, but he’s a good employee. An average employee, but a good one.

Apparently, things came to a head over a recent holiday.  As is usual, during this holiday, there were some folks from the IT operations group on call in case something happened at the office.  That’s the life of IT operations.

During this holiday, one of the people on call got an alert about one of their systems. She dutifully logged into the VPN and started reading the logs.  Apparently, the problem was one that required a broader call-out of other team members to resolve, so she sent out there messages to the other on-call team members to start fixing this issue. Neither Joe nor Bill was as part of the on-call team members.

As the team began working through the issue, they realized that they would need to bring someone in from the development team brought to make sure some of the configuration changes they were making wouldn’t affect some of the software platforms. They reached out to the head of development and asked him who they should reach out to.

The director of development reached out to both Bill and Joe via text message to ask for some help. Within a few minutes, he had received responses from both employees. I’ve paraphrased them below.

From Bill:

Happy to help. Should I come into the office? Tell me who to reach out to.

From Joe:

Its a holiday. Why are you asking me to work?

Here we have “Joe the Rockstar” unwilling to put in a little extra time and effort and “Bill the Average” willing to do what he needs to do to get the job done.

Which of these employees has my CIO friend rethinking their employment?  A ‘rockstar’ on paper means little of that person isn’t able or willing to get the job done.



About Eric D. Brown, D.Sc.

Eric D. Brown, D.Sc. is a data scientist, technology consultant and entrepreneur with an interest in using data and technology to solve problems. When not building cool things, Eric can be found outside with his camera(s) taking photographs of landscapes, nature and wildlife.
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[…] D. Brown published a fascinating post with the title: “A tale of two employees.” I’ll use words from the post to let you know what it’s […]

6 years ago

This is a very interesting discussion, Eric!
I think that when you work for a company, if you are treated well, you should find a way to connect your passion to it and consider your second home. We all know that most of our time in life we spend at work. So, Joe’s response would make me reconsider his employment, as he seems not to care when the company is in trouble. I don’t think there is another way to look at this situation :)