Is it really lonely at the top?

June 09, 2016

Look what I received from the growth squad last Friday as belated birthday present? A frame with pop up collage of my pictures with my favorite stuff and special people :). This was truly the highlight of my day! It's not everyday I get surprised/appreciated like that, especially from the team so..thank you Syahra, Inta, Sharon, Alda, Andy & Twelvi :).

This leads me to a topic I've been wanting to write.

You know, it's actually not fun being a boss, let alone a girlboss. Now I understand why so many women made it to the top. It could be a lonely place up there, really! 

As a boss, I can never please everyone (nor should I because my job is to move the company forward, even if it means making some people grumpy). In the beginning of my entrepreneurship journey, I thought that it was possible to always make everyone happy while still achieving the company's goals, but it became harder when I already have departments in the office, a bit of structure, systems and bigger goals. No matter what my decision or my intention are there will always be some people who would think it's an unfair decision.

You think being a boss mean you don't have to answer to anyone? Wrong! Hello I have Board of Directors meeting every month where I will get scrutinized on every numbers presented and  being asked questions where I don't know the answers. Try to please the BOD while at the same time please your team? Tough job right there :D. There are also clients who want to meet me instead of the sales team and if there's any problem of course they want to escalate it to me. I also have teamI have to respond to, help solve problems and come up with ideas. I even have members who would WhatsApp me in the middle of the night for any problems she might've found on our web. You see, I have many bosses and I have to make time for them.

Some people think being a boss means less work because we can delegate it easily? Pfftt, says who? When it was just 5 of us in the office, I thought by having more people I could have less work and just focus on the specific thing. Which is not the case of course, as the company grows there are even more works to be done, bigger goals to achieve and higher standards to set. Also many things just cannot be delegated to anyone.  And even if we have delegated some works, we still have to make the final decisions on a few of them.

As a boss, I have to set the pace of the company and always need to show up enthusiastic and full of energy. But you know I'm only human, I have mehhh days too but can I really look like how I feel? Of course not,  afraid of sending a negative vibe accross the office and making people wondering what has happened. I have to act like duck you know, looking all calmed and collected on the surface where I paddle like crazy below the surface. I have to watch my words, every email and every text I type on What'sApp group can be perceived wrongly making it a topic of the day during lunch conversation.

When others can whine or brag about working so late or working on the weekends..I can't because everyone will roll their eyes and be like 'D'oh, of course it's your company, you should be working around the clock'. And when I do amazing job well it's because I'm supposed to be, so nothing special here.

CEO has super salary? Well that is true when you're a CEO of a big corporation, but when you are also the founder? Bhayy...haha, it's a common practice where the CEO takes less salary compare to their top executives. It happened to me, it also happened to me (and my partners) early last year where we didn't take any salary for a few months! and we still had to look optimistic about everything when we were bleeding on the inside :o)

What else? I'm sure there's plenty more. Sometimes, as a CEO, you are expected to know everything while in fact you are just as clueless as them. Do I know any better than our IT manager or Finance manager? Of course not. And obviously, our editors know better about the latest thing in beauty than I do. So obviously I'm not the smartest in the room, add that to the stress of dealing with the complexity of business world that is filled with ambiguity and uncertainty. I have many moments of self-doubt, clueless if I'm doing the right thing or not. Those times, I can only pray and let Allah do the rest. 

By the way do you know that entrepreneurs live in fear? We drink that every morning. My biggest fear is not being good enough. 

As an entrepreneur, people like to make assumptions about you and your business. Your relatives are suddenly reaching out to you to see if you have job openings or you can squeeze in someone and magically create a position for them. Last time, SWA magazine put a picture of me with headlines 'Meraup milyaran rupiah dari online' which can send a wrong message of course because eventhough it's true, it doesn't mean anything to my bank account..haha. But too late, people already assume I'm a billionaire in which I can only say Amiiin.

As a CEO, I also get invited to so many events. And I mean s.o.m.a.n.y.  I would be attending events everyday or even a few times a day if I RSVP each one of them. I have to say no more than I say yes that I'm sure people judge me for being unreachable and arrogant.  It might be a quick event but when we accumulate the hours we spend on the road and getting ready it can be A LOT and they are the hours I can never get back. Everytime I say yes to something it means I say no to me and my priorities. And the guilt from spending less with family or work is bigger than the guilt from not attending events, media interview opportunity, talkshow invitation and other things. So that is why I'm very picky with my time. 

Bottom line is, women at the top in general are very vulnerable so imagine being a CEO, an entrepreneur and a mom :D. I'm not making it up here, just stating the fact. You can google it and read about this phenomena yourself. And really I'm not complaining cause everyone know I wouldn't have it any other way. And judging from the story from my fellow women entrepreneurs I think I have it easier than them, thank God for such an awesome team. Well let's be honest, I have a few who give me headache..hahaha.

So anyway, I'm babbling pretty long here. Moral of the story is, if you have a boss, a supervisor, someone you report to, make it a point to thank them once a while, or at least recognize their hardwork, and show them that you care because they care a lot about you and looking after you. They are always thinking of ways for you to accelerate your career, complimenting you, covering your asses to the bigger boss, proposing for a reward and other things. Just like you, they also have their own battle at work or at home. But unlike you, no one babysit them and they don't get as much as appreciation as you do. It doesn't have anything extravagant, just a simple note on email or post it will do. You never know how a simple act of kindness can be the highlight of their day and provides affirmation that they matter just like it did to me. 

Thank you again you Growth Squad, it will be forever on my desk or at least as long as you guys are here :)))

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