Ask the CFO: How Can I Step Away From Work as a Busy CFO

July 7, 2023 Theresa Rex

stressed young black CFO needing to step away from work and engage in self-care

Dear CFO,

I have a question for you that isn't finance related. So much of what we do as leaders is focused on other people: developing our team, managing big projects with multiple moving parts or supporting senior leadership's strategic projects. It's rewarding work, but it can also be really exhausting.

Lately, it's been a real challenge for me to find time to invest in my own professional development or, if I'm being completely honest, just take care of myself at all.

How can I step back from work as a CFO when so many projects and people are depending on me?

take a break from work as a busy cfo graphic

Fellow Finance Leader,

This is actually a really important question.

I know firsthand how difficult it can be to answer as a single parent, but no matter what else we have on our plates, we all have different challenges and need ways to solve them — including taking care of ourselves and "feeding" our non-CFO selves in a way that won't leave us burned out.

For me, that's meant joining a professional organization here in my community and deciding that when those meetings come up on my calendar, that's it. I'm just going to go.

You don't even necessarily need to start there. With virtual and on-demand meetings, it's much easier these days to make time for professional networking and communities, so take advantage of that.

Let me just say it: there are going to be times that you miss out on stuff. The work we do? It's demanding, and if you don't start scheduling time for your own self-investment, you will never do it.

You can't give back if you're empty.

Carla Philips, CFO & Consultant

Carla Phillips, Fractional CFO

Carla Phillips is a Dallas-area strategic, operationally fractional CFO and consultant who specializes in private equity and high-growth portfolio companies. Previously, she served as CFO of Equify, LLC and London Broadcasting Company and has played a lead role in sourcing capital and managing relationships with banks, investors and boards.

She has a BBA in Accounting from Tarleton State University, a division of Texas A&M. She was recently a featured speaker at Personiv's CFO Leadership LIVE event, Top Challenges Facing Today's CFOs: How to Overcome Your Toughest Obstacles, where she shared her thoughts on everything from taking a break from work as a CFO to what it takes to attract talent in today's challenging labor landscape. For more of Carla's insights, read the full event recap.

Interested in learning more about the most common stressors affecting the CFO role? Visit our CFO stressors blog to learn all about them and more tips for taking a break from work.

Looking for new ways to stay competitive in a tough labor landscape, fill productivity gaps and make a bottom-line impact? That's what Personiv's best at. Our solutions help finance leaders keep their focus on what really matters by applying people power to a range of talent challenges. Get in touch today to see what we can do for your team or ask a CFO to answer a burning leadership question of your own.

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