At some point, you have to go all in.
I had been working at an agency for about five years when my good friend and colleague relocated to another country, leaving a vacancy in her group. Shortly after her announcement, the CEO dropped into my office to “chat” about the opportunity. Normally, I’m up for a challenge, but I was in a good rhythm at work and wasn’t itching for a change. I suppose that I wasn’t telegraphing enough enthusiasm because as we neared the end, my CEO dropped the bombshell: “Oh, and this would mean a promotion to Managing Director.”
And just like that, the stakes doubled.
My first instinct was to shout “A THOUSAND TIMES, YES!” Instead, I held back. Did I want this job? Was I just in it for the promotion? Was it a bad thing if I was?
I told him I needed 24 hours. Then I called up a couple of family members who I always tap into for career advice. They told me to go for it, and then gave me some follow-up questions. I was travelling that night to the West Coast, so I left a voicemail for my CEO expressing my interest in the job along with a few questions.
My excitement turned to dismay the next day when my CEO called to say that on further reflection, the position would be offered at my current level, effectively making it a lateral move. Same compensation, same title, just a different department. Did I still want the job?
I realized this was my moment. I was driving a significant portion of the agency’s revenue, I had excellent relationships with our clients, and I was well-respected by my colleagues. Why would I disrupt my current work environment for a position that offered me nothing in return? I thanked him for the opportunity, but declined. I told him the position he had described to me was that of a Managing Director, so when he was ready to offer the job at that title and compensation, I would be happy to switch groups. Until then, I planned on staying right where I was. It was a gamble, but I knew I wouldn’t be happy if I took the job in the way it was being presented to me.
Within a couple of days, he called back to offer me the job, this time as the Managing Director. I accepted without any reservations.
The experience taught me an important lesson about taking risks and understanding my own worth. Not only did this new insight make me more confident in dealing with our clients, it ultimately propelled me to leave the agency and start my own business.