From CEO to Schmuck


Being in a leadership position in EVE is a commitment. Your membership expects you to be willing to drop everything you are doing to come solve all of their problems at a moment’s notice. There are towers to fuel, doctrines to write, standings to negotiate, set, and maintain. You are expected to stand up and lead fleets if no one else does. You end up selling loot from ops and doing payouts to those that were on it more often than not.

All in all, someone in a leadership position finds that that the game they are playing has changed significantly from when they entered New Eden. The days of logging in and just playing for the enjoyment of flying spaceships are few and far between.

Bear in mind, I say this not because it is a bad thing. It’s the simple truth. From experience, about half the time you log in, there is a purpose. Something needs checked, towers needs fuel, fuel needs to be purchased and hauled in, doctrine or corp ships need imported and assembled. Most of the other half is to deal with situations that crop up on Slack at a moment’s notice. Jimmy’s trying to empty a tower, need more dudes to krab, new guy needs help hauling through a wardec.

Most of the stuff could be handled (hopefully) by any member, but as leadership it’s expected that you help when needed. Things may not happen if you do not. It requires dedication to seeing the corp and its members succeed. It plays back into how leadership plays a different game than the line members – where one plays EVE to see their wallet flash green and see dank kills populate on the killboard, the other plays to make sure that happens. Both are equally rewarding.


Anyways, now that all that has been said (longest intro ever), in the first few months of 2016, I was the CEO of New Jovian Exploration Department, a C2 C3/HS wormhole corporation. I’d received the role from the last CEO in October after two years of leadership in both NJED and MATH/SM.RB (old Alliance Wormhole corps). The CEO had said that he discovered some kind of bright new world beyond the computer screen, filled with things he called “IRL friends” or some such nonsensical fantasy, and kicked me the roles before disappearing (I still fear he may be residing in a loony bin somewhere with crappy WiFi).

Things were going great. We were adding fistfuls of new pilots every time we looked around, content was plentiful, and there was hardly any drama. Business was good, and everyone seemed to be thrilled with where we were. I had an excellent group of directors with which to share the load of running the corp, so burnout wasn’t an issue for anyone (myself included).

Things stayed great (barring the minor hiccup) from before I became CEO to well into 2016, and it soon became clear to myself that even with all the successes NJED was experiencing as it grew rapidly, I was being struck by a fearsome disease: boredom. Around early March, I began to find my urge to log in waning. I felt I had done everything, and my logins became more about getting required stuff done and responding to fleet pings than actually enjoying the game.

I made some attempts to change things up because I liked where I was at, and the prospect of losing the will to log in terrified me. So, when WWB started, I agitated for an Alliance deployment, and about 40 guys from ABA went down to Venal and helped kick the Imperium’s collective shit in. At the same time, I began trying to get NJED’s members to agree to a move into a bigger wormhole with bigger statics.

While the WWB deployment took off as well as I could hope, the corporate move to new pastures did not. People were far too happy where we were. When WWB finished clearing the last hives of bees from Deklein, I returned to my wormhole.


What followed was one of the most difficult times I’ve experienced in New Eden

What followed was one of the most difficult times I’ve experienced in New Eden. I was standing in the middle of  a battleground between my desire to keep leading NJED to success and my desire to continue logging in. It became clear to me very quickly that the two had become mutually exclusive and were strangling each other. After weeks of decreasing activity levels, I decided to give up my position and move on in New Eden.

Because I had an excellent group of directors, the selection and transfer of CEO went without issue, and after a few days of closing up shop and evaccing assets, I left NJED and ABA. I first tried to join a lowsec corp to see some more of New Eden, but two days out there showed I was not attracted to the grinding violence of lowsec. The first corp I actually joined was another wormhole corp whose name I forget. It was a small corp with ambitions higher than the sky (intentional drug reference). I identified a laundry list of issues to leadership about their plans and activity, and after two weeks of them not getting fixed, I left to join Wormbro. Before my link alt moved a few days later, the CEO of the corp announced it was closing. The laundry list of reasons he gave sounded strangely familiar to me.

I stayed in Wormbro for a few weeks, but it became clear that the environment inside the corp was horrible. Leadership trusted no one (I offered to buy the corp a Fortizar, in full, because I was tired of POS and they refused to anchor an Astrahaus in the meantime, but they wanted no part of it), and the entirety of the corp spent quite a bit of time on comms being blatantly racist/edgy. After a particularly sucky night where I left comms and logged off rather than listen to them, I evacced.

I finally found my new home in We’re Happy  in Wormhole Space, a small C5/C4 static corp. Great group of guys, friendly atmosphere, dedication to group play, and leadership that is open and obviously cares. The CEO, Mental, is happy to listen to my advice because I’ve been in his shoes not too long ago. The guys (and gals) are good people to the core. I’ll be sticking around.

EVE citadel window

It’s been a few months since all this moving and stuff, so I can look back on the colossal change from CEO to scrub. There are the obvious ones – no more writing State of the Corp mails and the like – but the less obvious ones are hardest to deal with.

First, an ex-CEO doesn’t have to spend most of his time helping people anymore. It’s simultaneously exhilarating and really depressing. I spent over two years taking my enjoyment from helping others enjoy their game, and now that doesn’t happen anymore.

an ex-CEO’s opinion isn’t worth shit

Second, an ex-CEO’s opinion isn’t worth shit. As CEO, your word is law (more or less). Your opinions shape the direction and success of your corp. As ex-CEO, your opinion is worth as much as Jimmy Newbean in the corner eating rust chips off his Rifter. Sure, you can back your opinion up with experience, but Jimmy can shout really loud, which seems to count an infuriating amount. It’s a massive change that I’m still coming to grips with.

Third, an ex-CEO is no longer in almost every private and secret chat room and aware of what goes on in the rest. Imagine playing a flight sim, except suddenly you’re in heavy clouds and half your instrument panel just shorted out, and the autopilot you can’t turn off wants its eggs fried over hard. Total loss of orientation. Thats what its like going from CEO to schmuck – knowing and controlling everything to not having any idea if your CEO knows where the jagged rocks are. Frankly, it’s terrifying.

Among a sizeable list of other things, those three are the  big ones that I have had trouble with in the three months since I’ve handed over my responsibilities. It’s just a matter of time until I finally accept that I am irrelevant again, but until then I’ll continue being sad, angry, in denial, or in debate with those in charge over my change in position.


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Tags: CEO, leadership, Sanders Schmittlaub

About the author

Sanders Schmittlaub

Sanders Schmittlaub is now an irrelevant scrub who likes to roleplay as "Senior Adviser to the Directorate" of 'We're Happy in Wormhole Space,' his new wormhole corporation.