My IBM CIO team welcome box

Robert Barron
3 min readJun 30, 2022


I recently transferred to a new role in IBM, as a Site Reliability Engineer architect in the office of the CIO.

While this isn’t the first time I’ve changed jobs within IBM, it is the first time it’s been a complete break from my previous job and former colleagues. I feel like a “new character on a show which has been running for a few seasons” for the first time in a long time and, yes, it’s a little unsettling, but I’m enjoying the fresh challenges and my new colleagues have been as welcoming as my previous ones were (which is to say, very much so!)

I’m also enjoying the complexity of my new job.

The IBM CIO organization IT environments are much more varied and heterogeneous than I had previously assumed — with many more systems and responsibilities that I, as an IBMer who was merely consuming their services, was aware of. I’m looking forward to bringing my experience from working with external clients back inside IBM.

CIO Welcome Box
CIO Welcome Box

One other difference between this job change and all the previous ones is the “welcome gift” I received. I’d never gotten swag when changing jobs in IBM before. I was quite excited when I got this package by special delivery.

Before and after opening the box.

Now, like anyone who’s been in the hi-tech industry for a while, I consider myself a connoisseur of conference swag. While my wife considers me more of a swag packrat or gourmand than a discerning swag gourmet, obviously my taste is good enough for my nephews to continue wearing the T-shirts I’ve been bringing them!

It’s not a large package and there are no costly electronic toys, but here’s a little selection:

Socks, pen/pencil case, pen and Think notepad

Socks are the new T-shirts and I can always do with a good pen and notebook. There were a few more knick-knacks, but my absolute favourite swanky “tchotchke” from the box has to be the IBM CIO coin/medallion:

So, I think that I can safely state that the swag in this little box is some of the very nicest I’ve received.

While it’s not the absolute best IBM swag I have — as a rabid space enthusiast, that has been and always will be the IBM Apollo/NASA stuff I’ve collected over the years — I was very childishly gleeful when I unpacked it. I know it’s designed with new hires in mind, but it hit the mark with me.

Some of my personally collected IBM swag. Clockwise from upper left –

  • “The sounds of Apollo 8” — a vinyl record describing the mission and IBM’s role.
  • “IBM in Space” — a marketing flyer.
  • “It’s operational” — a commemorative medallion in honour of the Space Shuttle beginning operational flights.
  • “Apollo 11” — a commemorative plate in honour of Apollo 11 and IBM’s place in its success.

So thank you to my new team in the CIO and I look forward to working with everyone.

This article was first published in LinkedIn



Robert Barron

Lessons from the Lunar Landing, Shuttle to SRE | AIOps, ChatOps, DevOps and other Ops | IBMer, opinions are my own