The Editor's Page

Dec. 21, 2004
CEO Title Carries Stress, Satisfaction

We at IndustryWeek spend a lot of time with CEOs and other high-level executives, asking them to reveal their management strategies and philosophy, their predictions on the future business climate, and their thoughts on the latest manufacturing trend. This year, for our 29th Annual CEO Survey, we wanted to explore something different. We decided to ask CEOs about themselves -- about how they feel about their jobs and the impact of their careers on their lives. What are the joys and what are the stresses of the job, and, if they could change something, what would it be? As with the articles we publish in every issue, we figured the survey results would give CEOs a chance to learn what their peers are thinking. We added personal interviews with some leading CEOs willing to talk openly about the top job, warts and all. Not surprisingly, the survey results show that CEOs can become so focused on the needs of the company that they sacrifice the other half of their lives -- their personal life with family and friends, and in solitude. A large majority -- 64.1% -- of the respondents work between 50 and 70 hours per week, with the number working 50 to 60 hours and 60 to 70 hours evenly split; 15.7% work 70 to 80 hours, and 2.8% work more than 80 hours. More revealing are the answers to the open-ended question: "What is the biggest sacrifice you have made to attain your success?" Of 163 who answered this question, 83 respondents cite family time as their biggest sacrifice. The next closest is personal time (24 responses), followed by geographic relocations (23). The results show, however, that CEOs accept the trade-offs: A full 70% of respondents would advise their children to pursue a career as a CEO, and only 15% have considered changing jobs in the last six months to reduce stress or the sacrifices they make in their personal lives. Maybe it is that many CEOs, such as the ones interviewed by Senior Editor Weld Royal for the article "Turnaround Tycoons" on Page 47, simply find an immense sense of accomplishment when their company is successful. Or perhaps many CEOs, such as those featured in Senior Editor Tim Stevens' article "Striking a Balance" on Page 26, have found or are now discovering ways to integrate the demands of running a company with family and personal time. We hope that the survey results, at, and the personal stories featured on these pages will help you stop and think -- really think -- about what you could do to have a more successful career, while at the same time leading a rewarding personal life.

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