Put Your Career Choice to the Test

FRAMINGHAM (07/24/2000) - Anyone can be an ace network executive when all systems are flying high and the boss is out of town. But tougher stuff is required when the bits hit the fan and your best-laid plans are swirling aroundthe room. Under these circumstances, even an IT lifer can question his or her choice of profession. Take this personality test to help determine whether those fears are well-founded.

1. The CEO just zipped you an urgent memo ordering your entire workforce be equipped with the most feature-packed and expensive Web-enabled cellular phones because his wife got him one and "they are clearly the future of e-commerce."

Do you:

a) March into the office of your supervisor and demand that he tell the CEO

exactly what he can do with his Web-enabled phone.

b) Wonder aloud whether there exists a handbasket big enough to carry your

company to its inevitable destination.

c) Reply to the CEO's memo with an e-mail commending him for his visionary

decision and asking whether he has any particular color in mind for those


2. A headhunter calls and offers you the chief information officer spot at an Internet start-up that's been called "the next Yahoo" so many times that the founders actually named the company Next Ya Who. Do you:a) Ask whether starting on Monday would be soon enough for your new bosses.b) Suspect the voice is that of Rocco the mailroom guy, who you have used to execute similar pranks, and begin plotting your revenge against Joe in the next office. You're just sure he's behind this.c) Politely explain that "no pile of stock options can get me to turn my back on the people here who have treated me more like family than an employee."

3. The company's top bean counter tells you he just read about application service providers in an airline magazine that said a company could save 25% of its IT budget by outsourcing e-mail. Do you:a) Explain that most e-mail outsourcers offer "all the accountability of a dot-com delivery promise at Christmas-time because they hire nothing but corporate IT rejects."b) Summon your e-mail administrator into your office and ask if he's seen the latest redesign of www.monster.com.c) Thank the chief financial officer for having brought the article to your attention and ensure him you'll give the idea due consideration before steering the conversation to what you know is his favorite pet project: recycling used CD-ROMs.

4. The director of your company's human resources department has convinced upper management that only the strict filtering of employee e-mail and monitoring of Internet usage will prevent an inevitable wave of sexual harassment lawsuits. Do you:a) Tell your boss you "would rather quit and drive a taxicab than grind the jackboot of fascism into the necks of my fellow working men and women."b) Spend the remainder of that workday scrubbing your own e-mail files and hard drive.c) Immediately buy the appropriate filtering software and launch a pilot program directed at a test subject: the director of your company's human resources department.

5. One of your network administrators tells you his "conservative estimate" is that 20% of your company's overly taxed bandwidth is being consumed by workers downloading music from Napster Inc. and other MP3 file-swapping sites. Do you:a) Make a mental note to grab the latest Pearl Jam single before the lunch hour rush slows your network to a crawl.b) Nod knowingly rather than admit you don't have a clue as to what Napster might be.c) Long for the days when bootleg music only came on eight-track tapes and warped vinyl.

6. Marketing has another bright idea for a stunt promotion involving scantily clad models that you figure will quadruple traffic on your Web site, which is ill-equipped to handle a spike half that size.... And it's given you only a week to prepare. Do you:a) Grab the marketing director by the collar and explain to him what happens to e-commerce companies that throw such parties without renting a big enough room.b) Decide that next week is as good a time as any to use up those vacation days you carried over from last year.c) Call an emergency IT staff meeting and authorize your employees to spend whatever is necessary to make sure your site passes this fire drill.

7. Stanley in accounting has done something stupid ... again. Last time he left his laptop - and the company's entire fiscal year 2001 budget plan - at an airport shoeshine stand. This time a floppy he brought to work contained the latest strain of the Melissa e-mail virus, which spread throughout the building and sent an obscene message to the first 50 names on almost every employee's Outlook contacts list. Do you:a) Burst into the CEO's office and stammer, "Either Stanley goes, or I go."b) Smile wanly and mutter, "Hey, you shouldn't be in this business if you're going to let the Stanleys of the world get you down."c) Issue Stanley an abacus and a slide rule on the theory that he can't do much harm with those tools.

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