Monday, May 12, 2014

What is it like as CEO?

With changes in my job over the last few years, I have decided to update a post I originally did long ago.

I've found that people don't really understand what the CEO or directors in the Uni actually do, so I decided I'd try to help shed some light on our job. Every department will be slightly different, as each director is in charge of different aspects of the Uni. However, there will be many commonalities.

 First, I tend to set my alarm to wake me up 15-20 minutes early each day so I have time to log into the forums and read whatever has been posted while I'm asleep. I will admit I don't read every thread (Hi&Bye forum, I'm looking at you), but I read all the ones posted to common E-uni areas. Some of the posts may require a statement from me to refocus the discussion, clarify my viewpoint, clarify a University policy, or just because I find it funny. I try to avoid taking sides in major discussions, as I don't want someone to see my post as "This will never change." I will make some contributions if I feel a certain point is being missed. If good points are made in a discussion, I will, and have often changed my view and University policy as a result.

 In addition to the normal areas that students see, there are several forums that are only available to directors/managers. There are actually 3 levels of leadership forums, one for directors only, one for directors and managers, and one for all staff. This is in addition to the forum section specifically for each individual department, such as logistics, education, or human resources. Also, there is a forum section for student records, where it is posted when people have broken a rule, the consequences, communication logs with the person, etc... I comment in any of these forums if I feel its necessary. I need to remain informed on what each department of the University is doing, so I will monitor their threads, and make a comment if a policy decision needs to be made. I rarely post in the student records forum, as there are directors much more suited to this role than me. When i do post, it is usually as the final decision on a specific consequence for a student. In all, I estimate something like 80-100 forum sections I monitor.

In addition to forums, several groups in the Uni have their own Slacks.  I typically will review those at least once a day, reading everything that has been posted.  However, I will admit to skimming the more active ones.

Directors probably have similar duties on the forums, except they will mostly be focused on the sections that are in their Department, have have less of a need to be informed about other sections. They are, however, expected to have a good overview of all of the Uni to provide general leadership across all sections if needed.

Next, I'll check forum PMs and evemails to respond as needed. These could includes status reports or requests from my Directors or managers, questions from students, requests for info from outside people, tech support for the forums, or requests directed at a uni program I directly administer (like refining). I'll check the Uni wallets for any changes overnight. Logging in by itself is an interesting process, as I have 3 main characters devoted to Uni duties (Azmodeus Valar, Irjuna Valar, and University Voice), along with several alts as CEO of various other IVY corps (2 that I need to regularly check and others that need to be checked less frequently), and several ooc alts that do various functions for the Uni. Throughout the day I will continue to check forums, evemails, email, and various web resources we use to administer programs in the University.  I typically receive more daily mails via my position in the Uni than I do in my professional job.

When I get home from work, I usually repeat the entire process listed above, and do it again before I go to bed (my wife is a very forgiving person). During this time I'll also spend some time logged in chatting with management/directors about anything that is going on, department chat channels, chat.e-uni making the occasional really bad joke, or just answering questions that pop up. When not doing corp stuff, I also spend some time in the WHC horribly failing at PVP.

Lastly, I have ownership of all of EVE University's digital assets. That means that I occasionally must do stuff with our web host, DNS, paypal, etc... Thankfully, that is not a daily event.

Now, these are just the normal daily activities related to my job in the Uni. Directors and the CEO have additional duties that pop up. I also will have to look at the director's forum section and comment on any policy or rule changes being proposed. We also have the occasional fires to put out between students, or between directors. We have official meetings where we discuss what is going on, any changes that need to be made, recap the time since the last meeting, and prepare for the future. Contrary to poplar belief, the directorate is not a unified front on many issues. We debate some things back and forth each meeting (or in our forums), before deciding what direction the Uni should take on an issue. Even if a director loses an argument (and I've lost several when I was a Director), we accept it and move forward, supporting whatever the official uni stance will be. Part of being a director is being able to put aside some of your own personal wants in order to support the Uni. As CEO, I contribute in all of this, and have the final decision on all policy changes made.

The most interesting part of this, is that I actually enjoy it. Yes, its a lot of work, but for some reason I have a psychological need to help people (i blame my mother), I enjoy the challenge of running some of these programs, and truly enjoy leading my department. When i was first named logistics director, we'd have something like 4-5 people in that post within the previous year, with no established procedures, and no real hangar organization. In fact, the sorting hangar deeply scared me when i first took over. Organizing the chaos was not easy, but it was somewhat fun. That same experience has carried over to CEO. Except now instead of organizing logistics program, I have to organize the entire Uni and its programs. Thankfully, my directors and managers are quite honestly one of the best groups of people I've ever had the opportunity to work with. In fact, I really wish the people I worked with in my real life job were as dedicated and competent as my managers and staff in the Uni. If they were, my real life would be a lot easier.

Being CEO isn't easy, and it is very time consuming (at least my department is), but it is rewarding for me. There are some aspects of my job I wish I didn't have to deal with (freighter runs of minerals, pointless drama...), but its been great helping the Uni for the last few years, and I don't regret my decision to take the job. Its been an honor working for the Uni, and I look forward to more great years to come.

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