CEOs make strange requests.
There’s stories of Office Managers and Executive Assistants being asked to do bizarre things only to have the CEO decide it wasn’t necessary after all. It can be truly infuriating when you are constantly dealing with strange requests that require a lot of research and work but end up going nowhere.
I was an EA to one guy who used to drive into his parking garage, take the elevator up to the office, walk in and hand me his keys with some vague directions. I would them go down the elevator, locate his car (never in the same place twice) and gather whatever mess he had for me to haul up to the office – usually a very heavy messenger bag and a pile of newspapers that were always strewn in random places throughout the car. I’d bring this nonsense up and plonk it on his desk for him to “sort”and me to file. He would also often have a tape for me to listen to so I could put his precious thoughts onto paper. The best part… he took everything with him when he disappeared at some random time later! I’ve never understood why he couldn’t just bring it up himself. He clearly didn’t realize the amount of money he was wasting on this unnecessary trek each and every day.
Then there’s my other CEO, who’d have me look into things, discover the price wasn’t as low as he’d hoped it would be and abandon the idea. This was increasingly frustrating for my network of vendors who’d spend time quoting a job that would never materialize then be called back to quote another job that was unlikely to materialize. And on, and on. Needless to say, some relationships were damaged by our inability to follow through.
Then there was another CEO who totally understood that he sometimes had to ask me to do silly things. On a vacation with his family, he stumbled upon an ice machine that had “fluffy, chewable ice” and he fell in love. He took a photo and went on his way. Once we began planning out the company’s new office, he decided he wanted this ice machine. He dug around in his phone looking for the photo but it was gone. He looked for several days then came to me and our Art Director in defeat; he admitted he couldn’t find the photo but he really wanted this type of ice and started to describe it (somewhat poorly because we were still unclear on what he was looking for). Eventually I blurted out “what is the name of the golf course? I’ll just call them and ask”. The CEO laughed and said he didn’t want me to go to that trouble. I replied, “well you can’t find the photo so what else can I do?”. He agreed and gave me all the pertinent details
After giving me the name of the Country Club location, he said “The only remaining ice machine I know of is at the bathroom between the 4th and 10th holes; I think they’re replacing them all because it’s the only one I could find throughout the entire club.”
So I made the call
“Hello. Straight up, I’m going to let you know that this is likely the strangest call you’ll ever get and I hope you can have a laugh with me about that. That being said, you have an ice machine at bathroom between 4th and the 10th holes. I need to know what brand of ice machine that is. Can you help me?”
I swear, she started laughing then said “Oh, I know exactly which ice machine you’re talking about; He’s not crazy, I love that ice too! Hang on…”
Sadly, it’s discontinued and we can’t get that model. BOO. Still, good on her for being a good sport about my bizarre query and I am glad she got a laugh.
Meanwhile, our Art Director had discovered there are 6 types of ice and he and the CEO have discovered the ice we want is called Nugget Ice aka Sonic Ice (aka good ice). This discover eventually led me to a machine that makes the type of ice the CEO wanted. YAY!!
In the span of about 2 hours, 3 of us banded together to locate something that wasn’t necessary but was really wanted. It’s an example of the kind of crazy Start Up story every Office Manager has fond memories of.
Oh, for those of you wondering, the ice machine we’re getting is the Opal.