Thank you so much for your kind words and encouraging me to continue this blog. ‘Life’ happens to many of us at some point; after writing my last blog post, ‘Life’ happened to me.
When I began this blog in late 2014, there was a steady increase in business at the marketing firm I worked for. My client base nearly doubled, which in turn tripled the amount of hours I worked. News of our second office opening on the opposite coast surfaced, and what’s more, I heard that I was nominated to spearhead the expansion project.
In February 2015, a month after my last post, it was annual performance review time. I remember walking into my annual performance review dressed to the nines (wearing Prada of course), and sitting at our boardroom table on the opposite side of my boss, department head, and company founder. I was confident that I would not only receive a pay increase to match the salary of my male co-worker, but also receive the approval to acquire beauty and fashion industry clients, which I discussed at great length with my boss. After 30 minutes of praises, I was told that my business development requests were denied, I was awarded the lead on the west coast expansion, and I was awarded a raise but the gender pay gap was to remain since our roles were “slightly different.” Feeling like Deena Jones, the soft-spoken character played by Beyonce in the motion picture Dreamgirls, I found my voice, stood up from my seat, and said “I don’t know where I belong, but I’ll be moving on.”
Before I left the boardroom, the Founder advised me to take a few days to think about how much I valued my job. So I did what any other irrational person would do…I went on vacation – without my laptop. Luckily my ‘Go to Hell Fund’ was sufficient enough to cover expenses for two years. Sure, I’ve balanced multi-million dollar budgets at work. But balancing a personal budget without income was a different story.
I remember sitting on the beach thinking about the ambivalent decision to stay at my firm or not. I worried that I’d be negatively judged for being unemployed. I worried about not being able to afford my Polished Look. I worried that my core values, degrees, and c-suite tenure were all of a sudden meaningless. I worried that my friends would disown me. I was also worried that I would loose my network, which would ultimately diminish my “net worth”. Throughout my vacation, I reminded myself that Success is a Moment in Time, and if I Choose to be Great, then I would make the hard choice and resign.
Nearly 6 months later, I received an email from a very powerful marketing executive whom I had little interaction with throughout my career. She insisted that I meet with her for dinner to discuss my future. At dinner, she listened to my ideas about acquiring beauty and fashion clients, and then offered me a position as Partner of her firm. I graciously accepted.
According to Sylvia Ann Hewlett, ‘Forget a Mentor, Find a Sponsor’ author, I, like many women, made the mistake of “focusing on role models rather than powerfully positioned sponsors”. Hewlett believes that Sponsorship is earned and that sponsors don’t simply appear like fairy-godmothers – although mine seemingly appeared from a Dream.
Don’t make the same mistake I did; find someone willing to stick his or her neck out to help you move up. I’ll leave you with 5 ways to find and develop a relationship with a sponsor to fundamentally shift your career: Hit The Ground Running
Until next time…