It’s absolutely true in both my military and corporate experience. As you rise in responsibility, your peer group diminishes and you find yourself on the road a lot with no friends, no one to bounce ideas off of. You generally eat on your own. When you do get to share a meal with others, you don’t get to relax and most of the time you make the rest of the group at least slightly uncomfortable to have “the boss” there. As the boss, you’re also under constant scrutiny, which means you don’t get to relax. When you go out for dinner with more junior people, it’s stressful on them because they can’t be themselves.
Frequently, others in the company go out for dinner and the executive isn’t welcome. So he orders a pizza and goes back to his hotel room with a 6-pack of beer. I was in England for a month. That happened every night I was there.
The boss can’t socialize. Can’t make mistakes. Can’t show weakness. Can’t be seen having fun. There’s nobody to hang out and decompress with.
You’re under pressure to stand and deliver. Mistakes are not acceptable. You have to watch everything you say because it can be taken out of context and used against you. You are under constant attack. There’s always someone nipping at your heels, ready to replace you.
I used to think Golden Parachutes were excessive. Now, I absolutely support them.”
A Colonel in the US Air Force, who once held the position of VP in a Fortune 100 firm
We already know that stress is a silent killer. There is evidence now that “Loneliness kills [my emphasis] … It’s as powerful as smoking or alcoholism.” [x]Download Article 1K Club