5 High-Powered CEOs Spill the Truth About the Downsides of Their Job

Saul Loeb / Getty Images

In today’s world, being a CEO, particularly your own boss, means independence, a high salary and a team of people at your beck and call. When we think about celebrity CEOs like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Netflix’s Reed Hastings, we imagine billion-dollar bank accounts, enviable homes and the adoration of millions. But you’ve got to know that being a CEO isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be. It’s a tough job and there’s a reason only certain people actually get the opportunity to do it.

We recently found a Quora thread where some real-life CEOs spoke out and shared the most difficult things about their job. They were honest and real about what actually sucks. Keep reading to hear what they have to say.


“You’re all alone with no one to talk to. You have no mentor, no lifeline, no boss (except perhaps your lead investor), nobody to turn to. In a pinch, in a crisis, it all depends on you. But do you really know what to do?”

Martin Mickos, CEO of HackerOne

You Have Less Time to Do the Things You Want Than You Realize

“Every day is a struggle between what your team needs (or wants) you to do and what you want to do. Some days, you take the bait and you end up spending more time than you should on helping the team. Then there are other days when you just shut the door and focus on what you need to get done.

“It’s a delicate balance.

“You can’t just do what you want every day because you have to help guide the rest of the company. However, if you spend so much time guiding the company, you don’t get what you need to do done.”

Brett Fox, Former CEO of Touchstone Semiconductor

Brown-Nose Syndrome

“Tell me I have a bad idea, my tie sucks, that you’re running behind, but don’t tell me what I want to hear. This is frustrating to me at many levels, because I want a straight, clear answer, with any relevant facts. Don’t BS me, it doesn’t help me or us as a company get better. I try and break this in any company I work with, and teach my managers the same approach.”

Eric Fulkert, CEO of Innersync Studio/Campus Suite


“Self-doubt often gets in the way. Are you really the best, the most appropriate, the one to lead the company? Do you really know what you are doing or is it just your hustle? The best CEOs overcome this or deal with it, but it is a constant pull.”

Gil Silberman, Chief Legal Officer at Forge

Not Enough Time to Get to Know People

“At work, you will get wonderful people. Some of them are outstanding souls, but the corporate culture often limits getting to know them fully. There could be such a thrill in genuinely knowing some of them, but time is always getting in the way.”

Shubham Nagar, CEO of InfoAxon Technologies Limited

Did you like this article?
Thumbs Up
Thumbs Down