Unless you have been under a business rock, you are aware that the CEO of Facebook, Sherly Sandberg, has a new best selling book, Lean In. It is a personal story of her career success, mixed with some broad general advice. There is one piece of advice she shared that my then executive Stanford MBA boyfriend, Richard Goeglein, gave me in 1979. To paraphrase, when you are offered a bigger job, take the offer even if you know you have potential plans to leave in the coming months.
When I received that advice, I knew that if all went as I planned, I would be leaving my job to move out of state within 6 months. I felt I should be ‘honest’ about my future plans. Richard’s 20 years of prior experience — and his way of thinking within a very male dominated workplace — was you always leave with the highest title you can so you can start from there when attracting your next position. I went with his plan! Sherly’s advise is the same 30 years later, and it is the same advice I have heard Richard give males and females whenever he is asked.
Today I understand the advice totally and have counseled many clients to do the same. A company will always make decisions based on what is best for its strategy and quarterly bottom line. That does not make corporations evil, it just makes them market-pragmatic. I may not like it, yet I accept it as a business ‘it is’. As individuals, we need to learn how to walk the line of that pragmatism for our greatest success.
Note: Richard’s advice actually backfired for me. Yes, I got the bigger title — which I totally deserved since I had already been doing the job for 6 months when they offered it anyway — however, when I moved to a different state I was told by HR professionals I was too young, making too much money for them to consider consider me for similar positions. Remember it was 1979. Time has taken care of all of that! 🙂