Do You Know the Value of Your Own Stock?
Bird in the Hand
After a 22-year career with the company, Rose became part of a downsizing. Though her severance package was fairly generous, she was very anxious about finding a job, as she was a single mother with the pressures of a high mortgage in California. After two months, Rose was offered a position with the same company in a different department. Though she was overqualified and the salary was less than what she had been earning previously, she accepted the offer. Her family’s and friends’ nervousness about her situation reverberated through the phone lines with a loud and clear message: YOU BETTER TAKE IT. Rose took their advice but inside her spirits sunk with the unmistakable feeling of taking “multiple steps backwards”.
The day after Rose accepted the offer, she was contacted to interview for a dream job to which she had applied, also with the same company. In this role Rose would be able to make a bigger impact, there was room for advancement, and the money was better, too.
The Twist: Rose would have to decline
the first offer in order to interview for her dream job.
Chips on the Table
Once again Rose was under significant pressure from her family and friends to take the first job. I told her that no one would fault her for going with the bird in the hand. It was a valid choice. Only you know what is right for you. What’s important is that you understand the reasons for choosing A or B and are at peace with your decision.
Neither Rose’s family nor I as her coach knew the right answer for Rose. Only she could know that. What I did know is that it was essential for Rose to define the why behind her choices and to come to terms with her own risk tolerance. What was she willing to risk and what was she not willing to risk?
"Do whatever you have to do to hear your deep truth.” That was my coaching request of Rose. This is what she did in response: wrote down the pros and cons, limited exposure to people who were worried about her, noticed fears for what they were, gave herself some time to be quiet and pray, went for walks to move her body, and slept on it one more night.
Clarity came in the morning. Rose woke up feeling calm and ready to take the risk. She would decline the first offer and go for the second. The change in Rose’s voice was palpable. She was emboldened and enlivened to decline the offer and demonstrate confidence in herself by going for it. It was as if she were saying, “I know you can’t guarantee me the job but I’m confident in my abilities and I know what I’m worth.” This action made quite a statement that was not lost on the hiring manager. Rose’s chips were on the table. She had stated her worth. Now the real test would come.
Meltdowns On the Way to Victory
After Rose’s bold move, she progressed rapidly through the interview stages. Then came the quiet. It was a very competitive process with several candidates in the running. Time passed with no news and then, out of the blue, a phone call came from Human Resources informing her that her severance package could be at risk because she had declined the first offer. Confidence rushed out of her body like air from a pin-pricked balloon. Fear and anxiety returned. After allowing a major meltdown (she was entitled to it), we regrouped. “Are you still glad you took the risk?” I asked. Rose’s answer was yes and realizing this was empowering again.
It was tough to maintain her confidence some days but Rose kept reassuring herself that she had made the best decision. One Friday morning, the offer was made. While the money wasn’t quite as high as anticipated, it was still a significant increase over her last position and got her to a new bracket where she will be eligible for larger performance bonuses. The career and personal growth potential is there and it is a job she will enjoy doing.
Know Your Worth
Now that Rose has been working at her new job for six weeks, she realizes two things. First, it’s become important to her that she continue to think about future possibilities and not hide behind what is comfortable. Secondly, Rose now sees that knowing your worth is an everyday exercise. In her first days on the new job, she was tested on this and now it’s becoming clear what living from this truth actually requires: a deep valuing of yourself in every interaction.
“You have to separate your net worth
from your self-worth.”
See more below:Additional excerpts from my interview with Rose and a link to a related article by Chris Gardner.
Here's to you,
Read this article with wisdom from Chris Gardner:
During the same time Rose was evaluating her options, I shared an article with some great perspective from Chris Gardner which I blogged about here. In talking to some people who had just been laid off, Chris commented, “Will you have to take some risks? Absolutely! But you can take some smart risks… Ask yourself, “Why am I doing this? What do I really care about? What is your “Why” besides the money?” He also poses the question:
“If you’re not willing to
take a risk on yourself, what will you take a risk on?”