02 October 2013

100th Post

Today is a very important day. This is my 100th blog post!

Lately I've been thinking a lot about professionalism and what it means to be a business woman, and let me tell you: I don't think I'm cut out for it.

Background story:
My manager at work is one of the best people. I've known him for less than six months but his leadership style and passion for what he does make it an absolute joy to be on his team. I have encountered this feeling towards a boss just one other time in my (short) post-college life in the beautiful and talented Katie O'Donnell. (And let's be real, she's amazing, I love her.. I don't exactly "love" my manager, but you get the point.) (I digress.)

John (my manager) has been coaching me and getting me ready for my next career move. From the time I passed my licensing tests and became a stock broker, I've had my eyes fixed on going into our investment and guidance team. John was on this team a few years ago and his passion for the role has definitely rubbed off on me. As a member of this investment and guidance team, I would be responsible for giving investment guidance to our clients and helping them choose the investments that are going to make their portfolios work for them most effectively, while minimizing risk. It is a sales role, so in addition, I would be responsible for bringing over 4.76 million dollars of new money per month into the firm. (It sounds high but the numbers are pretty realistic.) John has allowed me to take as much leadership on our team as I can handle and he gives me great feedback every week in our 1:1 meetings. He's the kind of guy who could tell you that you were the ugliest human he'd ever seen, but he'd say it in a way that you not only agree with him, but also think it's a brilliant thought. (But of course he'd never say anything like that.) He's constantly asking why we do the things we do and how we can get better, which I like to think is something he and I have in common.

Fast forward to about 3 weeks ago:
John and another manager, Chuck, pulled me into a room and invited me to be a part of our "High Opportunity" team. Basically as a member of that (invitation only) team, I would be doing the same job I do now (read: no more $) but I would be encouraged to do some more digging into our client's accounts, backgrounds, etc. to see if they have outside assets, and if they'd be interested in consolidating to one place.

I struggled with the decision for a few reasons. First off, it's a great opportunity to be a part of an invitation only team. On the other hand, it'd mean more responsibility for the same amount of money. Second, it'd mean leaving John's team (and the teammates I've grown to love) and moving to a new manager on a new team (and you know how I feel about change). Third, I had heard through the grapevine that our investment/guidance team would be hiring soon, and it'd be weird to make two transitions in such a short time frame.

Ultimately, that week I decided to go to the H.O. team because I thought that if the investment team did hire soon, it'd look bad for me to have turned down an invitation to a team that is geared to prepare people for a sales role. I was in training last week and I started the new team Monday of this week.

Meanwhile,  the very next week the investment/guidance team DID post a job opening for 10-15 spots. Ahh! Stressful! John stopped by my desk just 3 days after I agreed to go to H.O. and told me to have my resume ready and polished, and sure enough, that Thursday they posted. Interviews were last week, decisions were made Monday.

Over 40 people applied, most of whom were much more tenured than I. Since I was in training last week, I was able to talk with a bunch of people right after their interviews. It was almost unanimous that when asked "how'd it go," people said, "good, I guess, I don't think I got it." This made me extremely nervous because all of these reps had been on H.O. teams for months and here I was, brand spankin new.

I say all of this to say:
I had my interview on Wednesday. I was pretty stressed just with training and leaving John's team and everything, and I literally cried the entire way to work on Wednesday. I think the idea of competing with all of these people for a few spots just really stressed me out. I can't really even describe it except to say that I just really felt like being in the middle of the hustle and bustle, the rat race if you will, was not where I am meant to be. I know this is ridiculous, but I was crying about the idea that if I got the position, it meant that someone else didn't. I wanted to take a break from climbing that corporate ladder and just enjoy the view for a minute. There's something so masculine about competing for a job and it just really overwhelmed me. When I'm at work, I do my best not because I want to be better than everyone else, but because that's what our clients deserve. My leadership on my team and my desire to be better are a direct result of that, not the other way around.

Regardless, I am thankful for my time on John's team. He inspired me to be better and to always put our clients best interests first, he encouraged me to make my job my own, and he gave me the resources I needed to be successful. Everyone who knows him says that they're really good friends with him, and most people either say that they and he (grammar? ah!) are alike (wishful thinking) or that they try to emulate him. I hope that, if I'm ever in a position where I'm managing people, I can be as inspiring as he is.

Also, it's hard to be a woman in this industry. I'm not a "go-getter," I'm not competitive. I want to succeed but I don't want to step on other people's toes to get there. I'm a team player, looking out for "number one" is just a waste of time. Take care of those around you, they'll take care of you, you know? Men can sometimes be so callous and cold.

But alas, the reason that today is a very important day is because today is the day that I got my first promotion. First big kid job: Success. Second big kid job: let's see what you got!


  1. congrats on your promotion! i've recently realized i am so not cut out for the corporate world and the thought of another 40 years in marketing after one year is so depressing to me. i feel you on the rat race and wanting to be a team player!!

    anyway, so i'm taking the reverse of your path and thinking about quitting corp america for FOCUS :)

  2. DO IT!! FOCUS was the best job ever.