You want what?!?

We left our heroine (not the drug) on the phone in a state of disbelief at what she was hearing.  Based on an interview for a less senior position, someone thought she would be a good candidate for a senior management spot.  I think my jaw is still on the floor somewhere.  Throughout my job hunting experience this time around, I took the rather undignified stance of complaining about the process.  I wanted the fairy tale job experience where someone sees me from across a crowded networking event and says “You, you are the right person to lead my team!” Then the clock strikes midnight and I have to run for a Lyft, and I leave my beautiful, sequined Louboutin shoe behind as the only clue that I was there.  Hmmm…I might be conflating day dreams.  My feet are far too big to fit into Louboutins. Regardless, I thought that I was at the point in my career where I could reasonably expect to be recruited. I had grown so weary of feeling like I was begging for a job, all the resume tailoring, all the cover letter writing, all the interviewing.  It really takes a hit on your self-esteem.

Little did I realize that like all good fairy tales, the myth of a the perfect job just dropping into your lap is untrue.  You can indeed have a job find you, but it takes work and sometimes it takes some time before the work pays off.  I alluded to that work at the end of my last post.  Being clear about what you want, and don’t want, and about what you can bring to an organization.  I found it also helps to be deliberate about your career and to try and position yourself in the best way possible for future success. I’ll elaborate on how my seemingly erratic career path was actually deliberate in another post.

Back to our story.  That phone call resulted in several rounds of interviews with other senior members of the organization, the individuals who would become my direct reports, and key partners to the organization.  It was a fairly lengthy process and I can discuss interview techniques elsewhere to avoid making this post roughly the size of a Dostoevsky novel.  Then came the moment….the offer, or should I say the negotiation of the offer.  I was beyond nervous about this part of the process.  I had read “Lean In” and all the articles about how women (and everyone) needs to negotiate, I was committed to the process, and I was petrified.  What if my salary demands were too high, what if my other requests were unreasonable, what if they withdrew their interest?  Fortunately, I a great resource on-hand, “Five Minutes to a Higher Salary”.  This slim book has useful tips and actual scripts for all sorts of scenarios for negotiations.  Using tips from this book and the qualifying language expected of women (“Do you think it would be possible?”, etc), I emailed the recruiter my response to their salary offer and some additional requests.  Something to keep in mind is that salary is not the sum total of compensation.  Things like vacation time, flexible schedule, professional development, and others can all be negotiated.

Much to my surprise, much of what I asked for was not a problem.  We came to a good agreement and I had a new job!  I set my starting date to make sure I had a few weeks off in between, something I always do.  Then, the panic set in.  What in the world was I doing?  I was going to manage a team of 50?!?!  A team of 50 statisticians when I have no deep technical knowledge in this area?!?  What was I thinking?  I’ll talk about my still on-going adjustment in the next post.  For now, here’s some thoughts to leave you with:

  1. You can set yourself up to be recruited, even without the sparkly Louboutins, by:
    1. being confident and relaxed in your interactions
    2. going after opportunities that you might not initially see as “good”
    3. speaking about the value you bring to an organization and backing it up with concrete examples
  2. Have a little faith, in yourself and other people.
  3. NEGOTIATE!!!  It’s beyond uncomfortable for most people but it’s so worth it.  Don’t forget to include things like a work laptop/cell phone, flexible schedule, the ability to renegotiate salary/title at six months pending a performance review, other benefits.
  4. Be yourself.  I was my slightly over-the-top, expressive and outgoing self at most of the interviews and I still am for the most part at my job and I think it’s working out for me.

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