The Unrealistic Expectations of Customer Success Leaders: A Recipe for Burnout

Burnout: The Unrealistic Expectations of Customer Success Leaders


In today’s fast-paced world of startups and evolving businesses, job descriptions for leadership roles often read like wish lists, with companies seeking unicorns who can juggle multiple roles without the corresponding title or compensation.

A recent online discussion brought attention to this issue, highlighting a job description for a small startup that seemed to require one person to fill the shoes of a Customer Success Manager (CSM), CS leader, Support Leader, Customer Education leader, and Product leader.

While flexibility is a virtue, unrealistic expectations can lead to burnout, frustration, and ultimately, failure.

The All-in-One Customer Success Leader

The job description in question paints a vivid picture of a role that combines various responsibilities, from UI/UX design to customer support and account management. The candidate is expected to drive product adoption, understand UI/UX and customer journeys, build new programs, and act as the voice of the customer internally and externally.

Additionally, they are tasked with setting goals, analyzing data, managing customer management tools, and even handling subscriptions and coupons. The laundry list goes on, encompassing everything from email strategy to creating support content and leading strategic initiatives.

While it’s not uncommon for Customer Success leaders to wear many hats in a startup environment, the sheer breadth of responsibilities listed here is staggering. The job description emphasizes the need for someone who can work without clear direction, a “hustler” who thrives in a fast-paced, scrappy environment.

The Recipe for Burnout

Upon closer examination, it becomes apparent that this job description sets the stage for potential burnout and exhaustion. Phrases like “limited to no direction,” “scrappy team,” and “hustler” may sound enticing to some, but they often translate to long hours, high stress, and inadequate compensation.

Expecting a single individual to excel in such diverse roles, from product development to customer support, is a recipe for failure. The role seems to blur the lines between Customer Success and various other functions within the company, making it difficult to excel in any one area.

The Reality of the Job Market

Unfortunately, this job description is not an isolated case. Many startups and companies, driven by the need to do more with fewer resources, are creating job postings that require candidates to be a jack-of-all-trades, often without the appropriate title or compensation. Candidates are expected to be perfect matches for these unrealistic requirements, leading to frustration on both sides of the hiring process.

Finding Balance

While it’s essential for Customer Success leaders to be adaptable and take on various roles, there must be a balance between flexibility and realistic expectations. Companies should carefully consider what skills and qualifications are genuinely necessary for a role and differentiate between “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves” in job descriptions.

Moreover, leadership teams should be aware of the demands they place on their employees and provide appropriate support, guidance, and resources. Unrealistic expectations can lead to high turnover, decreased job satisfaction, and ultimately hinder a company’s growth rather than fostering it.


The job description discussed here serves as a reminder of the challenges that candidates and companies face in the modern job market. While companies seek versatile leaders, they must also be mindful of setting realistic expectations and providing the necessary resources for success.

Job seekers, on the other hand, should carefully evaluate job descriptions to ensure they align with their skills, values, and career goals. Ultimately, a balanced approach to hiring and leadership will lead to more satisfied employees and stronger, more resilient companies.

Driving Customer Success | Top CS News from Silicon Valley to Paris and beyond.

Hakan Ozturk

Hakan Ozturk
Founder,, #1 Weekly Customer Success Newsletter

Hakan Ozturk is a Paris-based Customer Success leader with over 15 years of experience in the computer software industry. Passionate about driving growth and delivering value to strategic customers, Hakan has established himself as a trusted industry expert. As the Founder of The Customer Success Café Newsletter and, Hakan provides valuable industry insights and daily-updated job opportunities worldwide in the field of Customer Success. Connect with Hakan to boost your career in CS and your company’s potential for massive growth.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *