The Confidence Factor for Women: What do you “bring to the table?”​

[partial letter]

Dear Carol,

I am taking the career leap of a lifetime. After 20 years as a partner in medical malpractice law firm, I am following my passion and considering an offer from a top advertising and marketing firm in London. About 10 years ago, I knew I wanted to transition into marketing but I did not have the courage to walk away from my seat at the table. I became complacent and going to work became a chore, instead of a career.

My concern now is the issue of a major career transition. As a leader who has worked my way to my seat at the table, I now must start over and earn my way up again. I have not fully accepted the new offer because I believe that I am worth more than what is offered, although I understand that I have no formal experience in this new role. The issue of starting over is my greatest fear.

I have been seeking an opportunity in marketing for the past 2 years and now is my chance. Do you believe I am being unrealistic about taking this leap and expecting the same advantages that I currently have in my position, or is it wise to follow my passion and work my way to the top, again?

Thanks,

Leader in Transition

________________________________________

Dear Leader in Transition,

Taking a leap can create a new level of anxiety when you are going into new territory. I believe that the moment your “work” becomes a “chore,” it is time to consider a transition that will challenge you.

However, as a woman, who already has a seat at the table, you have become privy to conversations and decision making authorizations that your proposed transition will not immediately avail to you (yet). I believe the greater transition narrative which will shorten your journey back into leadership will start with a pivotal conversation: “Here is what I bring to the table.”

As women, we focus our time working toward allowing others to determine when we have earned our seat, that it is important that you commence the conversation around what you have already accomplished in your current seat, while creating identifiable experiences and benefits that you will bring to the new company. This will allow your new advertising agency to reconsider their offer when they account for your passion and professional attributes, as well as the dedication you have demonstrated over the past 2-decades.

“Here is what I bring to the table”

Make a list, and annex a compensation value to your future contributions. You do not need to “work your way back to the top”; you simply need to provide them with the proven data that you are a leader that is seeking to transition your leadership skills into a profession that will value your true passion. Career transition does not mean “starting over.” It simply means that you want to create value in another capacity, while engaging at the same level, not negated. For you, it is time to sit at a new table and remind them what you bring to the conversation.

Best of luck and Congratulations!

— Carol

Carol Sankar is a high level business consultant and the founder of The Confidence Factor for Women in Leadership, which is a global executive leadership firm focused on diversity and inclusion initiatives for high level women. Carol has been featured at TEDx, Forbes, The Steve Harvey Show, Bounce TV, Inroads, The Society for Diversity, SHRM, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, Working Mother Magazine and more. For more details, visit www.carolsankar.com.

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