Do you want to be a CEO?
Before you answer, wait a minute.
Think about the pressures. Think about the responsibilities. When Harry Truman was president, he had a sign on his desk that read, “The buck stops here.” The buck also stops at the desk of a company’s CEO, which is not all bad news.
Consider Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google. The bucks that stopped at his desk in 2022 totaled $228 million.
Of course, you don’t make that kind of money without a lot of hard work. For CEO Pichai, that hard work included laying off 12,000 Google employees, all of whom surely sympathized with Mr. Pichai, who took “full responsibility” for problems in the business but fired them anyway.
And what about poor Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple? Cook, who is taking a 40% pay cut, is targeted to receive only $49 million in 2023, a pittance compared to the $99.4 million he took home in 2022. Ouch!
Expect to see a significant increase in mac-and-cheese dinners in the Cook household this year.
Despite the lavish compensation received by CEOs, not everyone is interested in the job, or so I learned from an article in the DealBook section of The New York Times. Written by Ravi Mattu, the headline asks the question, “Who Would Want to Be a CEO?”
Before you raise your hand, or stick out your hand, palm up, consider the comment of Stanford University professor Nicholas Bloom.
“It’s frankly a horrible job,” Bloom writes. ” It consumes your life. It consumes your weekend. It’s super stressful. Sure, there are enormous perks, but it’s also all encompassing.”
As encompassing as working the night shift at Taco Bell? I think not. But, at least, at Taco Bell, you do get the perk of all the enchiritos you can eat.
If you still want to become a CEO, the article lists a number of factors you must consider, to which I have added a soupcon of my own advice to give you an extra push up the org chart.
No. 1: “CEOs who speak out publicly should expect to be clobbered.”
In a world rife with controversy, CEOs who openly express their opinions are sure to face blowback. Still, there are some critical issues on which your conscience could demand you speak out.
For example, you will certainly want to be forthright in your support of Ariana in her outrage over Tom’s affair with Raquel on “Vanderpump Rules.” (Unless you think Ariana has overreacted and should accept Tom’s apology.)
I’ve yet to hear one CEO comment on this critical issue, which is an opportunity for you to stand up and speak out.
Yes, it will take courage, but that’s what leaders do.
No. 2: “What is the right way to integrate artificial intelligence?”
Mattu writes, “The transformative potential of the rapidly advancing technology is forcing CEOs in every sector to balance the opportunity it presents with the disruption it will inevitably cause.”
Or we think he wrote it. It could also have been written by ChatGPT, or my own personal AI program, ChumpGPT. When I queried the Chump chatbot about disrupting my job, it replied, “You really should relax. Artificial intelligence is a warm, fuzzy puppy, and there’s no reason to be worried it will take your job.”
It also told me it had booked a vacation for me at the luxurious Three Camel Lodge in Mongolia and not to worry about any work that was due, since it would be happy to handle it in my absence.
I see no reason to worry. You?
No. 3: “What does the fight to get employees back in the office reveal about the end of top-down management?”
Why are CEOs so cray cray about having their employees in the office? Well, when you park your Lambo in the garage at night and open the door the next morning, you want it to be there. Why should it be any different with your employees?
The bottom line? If you’re unhappy about being made to return to the office, cheer up. You could be forced to report to your CEOs garage.
Fortunately, none of these issues are a problem when you work at Taco Bell. You really can’t work from home and not even the most advanced AI program can take your job. You may not make $228 million a year, or even a measly $49 million, but hey, who can put a price on all those free enchiritos?
Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at [email protected]. To find out more about Bob Goldman and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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