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Ask HN: I don't enjoy being a CTO. Now what?

I recently joined a startup as their CTO and I’m hating it. They’ve been around a few years and have product market fit and now need technical leadership to grow the team and product.

It’s my first senior management position, having been heavily code focused the last 12 years, with some small management as a senior/lead.

For my entire career I feel as though I’ve been working towards being the CTO and now I’m here I find it’s not at all what I expected. It seems to be mostly about dealing with everyone’s crap, trying to fight fires and constantly battling with the other managers and tech team to get things done. I haven’t even written a line of code in months.

Over the past few years I’ve had a few gaps in my career where I have started my own business and been fully in charge of things. Those times were amazing although I never reached any level of sustainability. I thought perhaps being CTO in a startup would give me some of that same ownership, control and enjoyment but it just feels like another job. I actually feel a bit depressed by the whole thing which is a new sensation for me and my personality.

Am I expecting too much? Is it simply another job? What can I do to fix this or should I leave and get back to a coding job?

I’d love to hear from people with similar experiences!

PS. Sorry for the throwaway account but my main account has too much personal info for this topic!

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