Why Being CEO Shouldn’t Always Be Your Goal


When Tom Gonser founded DocuSign 12 years ago, he knew he wouldn’t be their CEO forever. “At my last company, I was very focused on the product…I was continually over the product and engineering teams, and they were like ‘can you leave us alone?’” These past experiences drove Gonser to hand the reins over to DocuSign CEO Keith Krach. Fortunately, it appears that this was a good choice for DocuSign, which recently raised $278 million and has been a successful tech company over the past few years.

However, one might still have the question: why wouldn’t Gonser want to be a CEO? The CEO position is one of the most coveted in the business world, and arguably in general. When you think of the leader of a business, or getting to the “top of the ladder,” you think CEO. With such a coveted position available to him, why wouldn’t Gonser jump at the opportunity?

Because being CEO isn’t always the most desirable position for all business professionals.

While the pay and prestige of being a CEO might sound appealing, you might not have considered the incredibly hard work and long hours that could be required of a CEO. You’ll have to make important decisions that impact the lives of many of your employees…decisions you might not like making. What’s more, there are certain types of skills that you might not excel at (people management, high-level business strategy, risk/reward strategy, etc.) that are essential to a CEO’s success.

If you aren’t one for corporate politics, then you shouldn’t be the CEO of your company. If you want to be involved in the nuances and process of your business, you probably shouldn’t be the CEO. Just because you’ve achieved success in business doesn’t mean you have to be the top dog in charge, or even want to be.

There’s no shame in that. Think about it—we all have things we are good and bad at, and we all have different desires. Just because CEO is the shiniest position, doesn’t mean you have to strive for it.


About DevonJ140
I am currently an Accounting Director living in New York City. I love reading and learning more about business, finance, tech, and current events.

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