You don't become a CIO / CTO / CISO / CDO without being able to deal with stress.
At every stage of a technology career - from early days "in the trenches" to a leadership position in the boardroom, you've dealt with high pressure, mission critical initiatives - and major decisions that impact every aspect of the enterprise.
You've learned to deal with the stress and the pressure to get your job done.
And that's a good thing.
But that ability to manage - or ignore stress can be a real downside for your future career.
Because you may not notice how frustrated, unhappy, dissatisfied - or angry - you about significant aspects of your current position.
The reasons for that dissatisfaction are many.
There may have been a reorg, leaving you in a position with less impact, or less direct access to strategic policy making.
The board may be pulling back, so you no longer have the resources to get your job done.
Or heck, you may just be bored. You've solved the big problems, and you're in a steady state that simply isn't terribly challenging or interesting at this point.
Any of those situations may be adding stress to your life - at work and at home.
And as I mentioned, you may not notice that stress. You've learned to deal with it. But your spouse, kids, and direct reports may be seeing the change.
But until you recognize the stress, it may be difficult - or impossible - to make the hard decisions to look for a more satisfying opportunity.
When I talk to prospective clients, I always try to get a sense of what's going on in their current position. After all, I may be an interesting guy to talk to - but C-level IT leaders don't call me for an thought-provoking chat about future technology trends or the evolving role of the CIO.
They call me because they've got a problem that they think I can solve.
It can take some time to get to clarify that problem, though. Often, when I ask a CIOs about how they're feeling in their current position, they'll tell me that things are pretty good.
But as we continue to talk, and I dig deeper - I have been interviewing C-level leaders about career for a very long time indeed - it becomes clear that there's a lot more going on than my clients may initially realize.
Now, I take no pleasure in making folks uncomfortable.
But the job search is hard - a C-level job search in this economy is typically 9-18 months.
And the A-level resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, and coaching that you need to succeed in that job search are a real investment.
So without a clear recognition of what's really eating at you in your current opportunity, the odds of being successful seeking a new one drop radically.
And since it's my job to help my clients be successful finding - and landing - that next opportunity, it's also my job to help them realize what's really going on this particular Monday. So take a couple of moments to give some real, honest thought about how the current job is feeling.
If everything's great, you're in an enviable position.
But if you're not having the impact you need, if you're not treated as a full peer with the other members of the C-suite, if you're only perceived as "the guy who keeps the lights on..."
Well, then, you may want to call and discuss options to get into a place where you're looking forward to going to work every morning.
Instead of facing the next week with quiet dread.