September 27, 2023

Career Protocol

I'm Melissa
I'm a Career and Leadership Coach for Women in Pharma/Biotech. I've been where you are, and I help you create the career you want without working more hours or settling for good enough.
Get the proven strategies your boss or HR don't want you to know that are proven to work (even with budget cuts, restructuring, and if you've been told "no")
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Your Career Protocol is an invaluable tool that tells you exactly what you want out of your career.

It is the foundation of any change you want to make whether it’s lateral, a promotion, starting a company, or making your 3 year career plan. It is also the thing you’re missing when you don’t know what you want or are getting passed up for promotions or new jobs.

Tune in to this episode to learn more about my Career Protocol tool and what you can use it for with your career.

What you’ll learn:

  • What a Career Protocol is and how I use it with clients
  • 5 ways to use your Career Protocol at any level of your career
  • Why the Career Protocol is a competitive advantage that will get you unheard of results as a woman in Pharma/Biotech

Mentioned in this Episode:

  • Enrollment is closing for Beyond the Ceiling on September 29th. Schedule your consultation here.




If you are loving the podcast, please consider rating and reviewing my podcast! This helps me support more people — just like you — to get happier in their career and their life by making the show more visible.

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Welcome to Your Worthy Career, a podcast with me, Melissa Lawrence. I’m a career and life coach with all the corporate credit and talent development and organizational psychology. I help women like you get extraordinary results by being more you, not less. I won’t just help you have a career experience worthy of you, but I will help you build your self-worth to shift what you think is possible and take the action that will create the career you’ve always wanted, whether it’s more meaningful work you’re passionate about, making more money, getting to your next level, or being more effective as a leader. We are shattering the glass ceiling here, the one that exists for women at work and the one we put on ourselves with our doubt and inner critic. Each week, you will get practical teachings grounded in neuroscience and effective career development strategies. You’ll experience deep mindset shifts and the perfect amount of woo. So you can run your career with ease rather than your career running you. You were born for more, and I’m going to help you get there with maybe a few dance parties along the way. Your up-level begins now. Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of the podcast.

Today, we’re going to talk about your career protocol. This is your guidance document to know what you want for your career now and in the long term. First, The On the Ceiling is enrolling right now, but doors are closing on Friday, September 29th. I want to make sure that you know exactly what this program is so that you can submit your application by scheduling a consultation with me and get in on this group before doors close. Beyond the Ceiling is my personalized coaching group where you upgrade your career as a woman in pharma or biotech. I help women who work in pharma or biotech who have had some success in their career and are ready to take their career to the next level and disrupt the industry norms. Inside, Beyond the Ceiling, I teach you five specific things: how to enjoy the job you have right now, even if it’s not a good fit for you in the long term; how to get promoted and up to 40% salary increase; how to know exactly what you want in your career now and in the next three years so you can drive your career in the right direction; how to get a new job even with layoffs and the industry constantly changing; how to navigate the complexities of work from difficult bosses, frustrating coworkers that keep you up at night, demanding timelines, budget restraints, and projects that suck the life out of you.

Now, you may need one or all of these things, but no matter what, you are covered inside, Beyond the Ceiling. You have the career you want to have and you have it without working more hours, sacrificing your values, or letting anyone down at work or at home. It’s a live coaching program with me that has four powerful months with a two-hour kickoff event that you attend virtually. Proven processes and tools that you apply to disrupt the industry to upgrade your career as a woman in the industry. You get four months of powerful group coaching twice per week, a network of other talented women in pharma or biotech to build a relationship with, grow with, and network with. The investment is $7,500 and the payment plan is available. I teach you the best career and personal development strategies for women in pharma or biotech, and you apply them with me and a small group of other women in the industry. This program was created with busy women like you in mind. Whether you work in the lab, on the manufacturing floor, or in an office setting, you will have success in this program. To join us, schedule a consultation call.

On the consultation call, we will discuss your goals, and I will answer any questions that you have. If you are a good fit for the program, you will submit your payment to secure your spot and we will kick off October 20th with our live virtual event. You will leave the virtual event with your unique plan for what you will achieve during our four months together. You will increase your satisfaction and be more productive while stressing less within the first 30 days of the program. That is a promise to you. So head to to schedule your consultation. All right, now let’s dig into your career protocol. Your career protocol is something that I have been creating with my clients for years. It’s a concept that I developed. It tells you exactly what you want down to the type of work you want to do, your zone of genius, your strengths, the type of boss that you work best with, the type of culture you would do well in. This is powerful. It not only gives you direction, but it also tells you what questions to ask when you’re interviewing, so you know, is this company just repeating what’s on their poster?

Or do they actually behave like they say that they do? It also tells you if you should start a business or if consulting or being an entrepreneur is something that you would regret because you want to make sure that you’re making the best choice. It tells you what gaps in your career that are preventing you from getting to your next promotion or long-term career vision. It gives you a roadmap. Now, I created this years ago as a way to document the output of my client’s findings when I was taking them through my career discovery process. If you work in the industry, you know what a protocol is, so you know that it’s like a guidance document. It tells you the big picture information and the details of how to execute for success. This is what is missing if you aren’t where you want to be in your career now or aren’t sure what you want for your future. This is what I use with the disrupt-your-career strategy that I go over with you and I implement specifically with you in your personalized, unique circumstances within, Beyond the Ceiling. The pharma biotech space can be turbulent.

It changes all the time. There are layoffs. It is predominantly men, white men at the top. When you get to those senior levels, women are often treated like a metric. Put women through a program so they’re promotable. Let them get promoted if they went through our targeted program so the company can look like they’re doing good by women, right? Or have a metric for a certain percentage of women you want to have in certain roles, but then still giving them non-promotable tasks and meetings, right? And it’s not necessarily because the leadership sees us as equal or even superior, right? Those metrics are just something that is the norm in our society now. Most companies have to have that for them to be attractive for people to want to work with them. But in the day to day, you know that there are people that don’t always abide by those beliefs and it’s holding women back. But we are changing that when you have your career protocol and you do the work that we do in Beyond the Ceiling. How you overcome that is you have that career protocol in hand and you use my disruptive career strategy because we need to disrupt the status quo.

Think of the saying shattering glass, shattering the glass ceiling. That is a form of disruption. Now, I named this program Beyond the Ceiling because we’re going beyond that. We are just banging our heads against the wall, hoping to break and shatter some glass. We’re putting that wall in our rear view mirror because we are not only advocating for ourselves first by being clear on what we want, but we’re doing what most people don’t, including men. That is, we’re getting the mentorship and the coaching on our own to overcome blind spots and get a competitive edge. We are having unbiased coaching and support like me that is going to help you get to your next level without having a secret agenda through HR or your boss or anyone else. It means you can handle anything that comes up. You have an advocate on your side. You have a team of women on your side that’s going to help you be more effective than anyone else. At the end of the day, your effectiveness and productivity and the way that you’re being seen by others is what is going to get you farther and it’s going to be something that can’t be disagreed with.

First, let’s just be clear if this is for you. If you’re thinking, okay, well, this career protocol work for me? Is this something that I should have? I want to go through some examples with you. These are some examples of different types of clients that have created their career protocol with me. This isn’t by all means exhaustive. This would be an incredibly long podcast if I used every specific nuance scenario, but it’s going to give you a good idea. The first client that I’m going to talk about is a perfectionist and a PhD scientist with a heart of gold. When we started working together, she really liked her boss, and she was overall pretty happy in her role, but she wasn’t feeling challenged and she wasn’t sure what she wanted for her future. She wanted to know what her career plan was going to be to know if she should stay, should she go, are there different skills she should be learning? Should she be going towards promotion? Should she even be promoted by now? She was considering all of those things. She started looking on LinkedIn for a new job and assessing her skills.

She started working on her resume, and before you know it, she fell down a rabbit hole. She was spending 20 hours a week scrolling, updating, applying. But for what? She wasn’t exactly sure. We created her career protocol. She now knows what she wants for her next three years. She has an ideal work-in-home life. She is getting very positive feedback at work every week, and she’s on track for promotion. She knows what she wants now. She knows what she wants for her future. She’s getting promoted and she’s enjoying her life in the meantime because of that career protocol. Now, client number two is a director who loves her boss and felt like she wasn’t in the right role. It was the right role at the time, but now she’s feeling like she’s not really making an impact. It’s draining her energy. She’s overworking a lot and she’s not having a lot of time for her child, for her partner. She moved into her role for the experience. It was something that she was interested in, but she’s not really feeling connected to it anymore. She wants to work on projects that would have helped a family member that was close to her that’s no longer with us.

But she’s not sure what it would look like or really what her options are at this point. So she’s considering leaving her company, but she’s not sure if she should because she’s not sure if she should stay in the same department she’s in, if she should go to a different department and what she should do. So we created her career protocol and used it with my career disruptive strategy. And this client had a role created for her, so we wrote the job description in another department. She defined what that role and responsibilities were going to be, the level. She even received a $20,000 salary increase for a lateral role. She went from a director in one department to a director in another. And she was just nominated for promotion to senior director within a year of being in this new role that she created. She’s in succession to lead the entire department. This is incredible. Now, the next client is early in her career. She’s in pharma biotech, but she’s relatively early, a couple of years experience, and she’s passionate about what she does. The problem is that she’s constantly working and trying to people-please and do right by everyone on her team and everyone around her.

She’s always thinking about work or working in the office and the deadlines are always moving. Her boss is really nice but doesn’t communicate or lead well. She thinks she should be promoted because she’s sacrificing a lot for her job and she’s working a lot, going with all the punches. But her boss says there’s budget issues and there’s just not an ability for that. What we did is we created her career protocol to tell her if she should stay or go and what role would be best for her. It also told her what companies to apply with. We used, with my career disruptive strategy, a two-prong approach of looking internally and externally at the same time. We didn’t want to put all of our eggs in one basket. This client had multiple competing offers externally and a counter offer internally. She accepted a new role with a $25,000 salary increase and a $10,000 sign on bonus. She used her career protocol to tell her which job to take, which was going to be best for her because they all seemed fine on paper and my coaching to get multiple offers and negotiate her offers to get such a good package on the other end.

Your career protocol and having someone that has expertise in the industry and this disruptive strategy that gets you things that are unheard of is so important. Now, the next client just started a new job as an associate director, and is questioning if she made the right choice. She just took on this job. It sounded really good, but the job description isn’t matching up with what she thought she was going to be doing. She feels like there was a little bit of a bait and switch or maybe she didn’t get all the information when she was interviewing. Resources are tight and so her deliverables are seeming impossible. There’s a lot of different hats she has to wear. A recruiter is reaching out to her and seeing if she’s interested for another job, that would be completely different. But she’s not sure if she should consider it because she thought that this was the right move for her, but now she’s questioning it because it’s just really challenging with everything they’re expecting of her and it’s not exactly what she thought it was going to be. With this client, we’re actually in the process of creating her career protocol.

But in the meantime, we’re coaching on her immediate challenges, limited resources, staff headcount concerns, and negotiating her responsibilities to provide some immediate relief. We actually just went through an exercise where she’s going to be strategically guiding her executive leadership team on the future of her department. Instead of being told what to do, she is leading that conversation. Her career protocol, when it’s complete, is going to be used to tell her if she should continue where she is or move to another organization. But in the meantime, we are getting her successful and effective and productive where she is and providing immediate pressure release. Now, the next client has built a successful career in the industry but always felt like something was missing. She secretly wondered if she should have her own business or do consulting. She’s had an idea that she’s thought of that would be a game changer for clinical trials, but she never really got it off the ground. She was wondering if she should become a CEO or should she stay the course because she has built a very successful career in the industry. What we did is we created her career protocol and it informed her that the great idea she had years ago is something she should pursue.

After coaching to ensure it was the right decision, she left her role in pharma and has started her own business. Now she feels like she has her own confidence back and is where she belongs. It doesn’t matter if you’re early in your career or if you’re a seasoned leader. If you work in the lab or in office, if you have a PhD or not, the career protocol is your missing piece. It is what you need to inform your direction and ensure you choose a career that is going to be best for you, not just what makes sense off of your resume. I have had clients come to me. There’s another client coming to mind who knew what she wanted but wasn’t getting any traction with her current company. She even actually paid a lot of money to a resume writer and to someone to write a LinkedIn bio for her or cover letters and all of these things for her. And she ended up just not even using them or needing them. It was just wasted money because we’re taught, oh, you need to have your resume look perfect. You need to have your LinkedIn look perfect.

You need to do all these right things, get more certifications. But at the end of the day, that’s not the answer. What I’m finding and what I have found for years is knowing what you want going through this really unique process I have, the career protocol, creating that for yourself, having a different strategy is what’s going to create results. This client who had paid for all of that and then hired me as her coach, we were, within a matter of weeks, able to get her boss on board and renegotiating her entire role. She’s moved into the role that she loves, has a new office, has a job that she loves that she wrote the job description for. After she pitched it to senior leadership and they told her no, her boss said no, HR said no, everyone told her no, it wasn’t going to happen. She was looking for other jobs. She thought she tried everything. And within weeks we made it happen because we did this work together. And all of this is in Beyond the Ceiling. It’s just so important and it’s different from anything you’re going to get when you work with anyone else or anywhere else in the industry.

Anything that you’re going to find in corporate training programs and what you might find in online learning, it’s not this. I know that because I created this. This is something that I have created myself. It doesn’t exist anywhere. I have tested it. I have proven it for years. So it’s just really exciting the work that we’re doing here to disrupt and change the pharma biotech industry for women and make it a place that women want to work, not just so that you can continue to grow your career there, but so that other women want to come into it too. It’s just the ripple effect is amazing. So like I said, this process is different and unique. No one else is developing women in pharma biotech like this. And I don’t change you into someone you aren’t or we don’t fit you into a box or a mold or make decisions off of what makes sense on your resume. We follow this proven process that is personalized to you and we create your unique protocol. We then equip you with the best skills to get you from where you are to where you want to be as fast as possible.

Let’s dig into a little bit more detail about the process, and all of this is covered in Beyond the Ceiling, okay? So first we’re going to go through, let’s say you come in and you use this process, you create your career protocol with me. You go through my career discovery process, and this is where we’re going to define what an equitable and meaningful career is to you. We will clarify who you are, your purpose, direction, your zone of genius. This tells us what direction you want to go in, what options will be the best for you. You won’t fear making the wrong choice or spending hours scrolling on LinkedIn, looking for the answer. You will know without a doubt what you want and how to get it. Then while we’re going through this process, we’re going to immediately look at what changes need to be made in the environment that you’re in right now. You’re going to learn and apply some simple tools that are going to immediately lessen your stress and help you enjoy work from navigating difficult conversations to ensuring you’re only working when you want to and you’re able to disconnect emotionally and psychologically.

We’re going to address your biggest pain points. At this point, you’re feeling more confident in yourself and you even may have some wins in your current role that maybe it’s not something that you want to leave right away. You might be looking at it differently. You’re feeling more productive and more valued. You’re getting some more recognition. This is where we’re going to be implementing your career protocol. So whether the outcome is a new company, a promotion, a change in responsibilities, or even starting a business, I’m going to help you quickly and efficiently get into the role that you want, better paid with my disruptive career strategy. I’m going to help you position yourself to be an easy yes for the role that you want with the highest compensation possible. Even if the job isn’t posted or doesn’t exist in your company, I help you get the role created for you. I’ve done so many times with other clients. I did this for myself as well. Now, let’s take a moment to talk about obstacles that can come up so we can address them right now. Because the fact is that industry is dominated by white men, and you might look around and feel it’s impossible to be seen and get ahead.

But what I found is you just need to be able to influence others effectively and have the confidence to create and execute your business case for change. Now, with me, I said you have to do that. And even if it takes more than one try, you will get to experience and build the skill of adapting your approach and still getting your winning outcome. Plus, once you can read others, influence them, and consistently and confidently go after what you really want, you’re going to have that skill for life. My clients are like, I’ve tried everything. They haven’t because they don’t have their results. And so what you get in Beyond the Ceiling is you get the thing you haven’t tried that you can’t even think of right now. That’s actually just the one step that you need to make the difference in the results that you have right now. And the other thing that we talk about in Beyond the Ceiling that I don’t think enough people are really talking about is rejection. Rejection and all sorts of feelings can come up when you apply for a role and you don’t get a callback or invest in the interview process and you get a generic email that you’re not even being considered, I will not only help you implement my disruptive career strategy that makes your job search more simple and takes less time, but also increases your odds of being successful, which means less time scrolling, applying, and interviewing, only to give up and stay where you are, you will 100% make the changes that are in your career protocol, which means you’re working in your zone of genius, you’re getting paid well to do it while feeling great and having more time for the

things that you really enjoy. Let’s talk about some more results because let’s say you have your career protocol, you’ve gone through the process and Beyond the Ceiling, you have the career you want, better paid, stressing less. Now, here are some examples of actual results that my clients get. These are real results that have happened with my clients. 40% salary increase, movement into a lateral role that they wrote the job description for, a $25,000 sign-on bonus, promotion into a role at a new company, promotion into a new role at the same company, becoming a consultant and building their own company, renegotiating their current role for better projects and getting a $20,000 or more salary bump with it. What goes into that result line is up to you. That is also what is unique is we are creating your personalized career protocol that is going to tell us what your result line is. In that first event, we’re having a kickoff event for Beyond the Ceiling, we’re going to define what you want to create in that four months. We’re going to work on that immediate relief within the first 30 days, but then you’re going to have your four-month goal also, and I’m going to help you define it, and then we’re going to create it together.

On top of those tangible career results that compound into bigger growth because you’re going to get bigger salary bumps, bigger bonuses year after year, my clients have literally said that I pulled some of these quotes from their win reviews. These are some things that my clients have said. My confidence has skyrocketed. I love my job. I love my boss. I feel like a million bucks. I feel better than I have my entire life. Where did the self-doubt go? I don’t get anxious anymore. I communicate well at every level now. I like this version of me. I feel like this is how my life is supposed to be. My health is better. I’m sleeping better. I’m being more productive and doing more with less time. I’m taking on new hobbies. I solve problems easily now. All of these results are available to you. Your life is so important and it’s happening right now. We’re always looking to put things off to the future to decide that another time would be better. There’s going to be a better time to work on ourselves, to work on our career, to spend the money on ourselves. But your life is happening right now.

When you’re delaying deciding to work on yourself, deciding to create the results that you want, deciding to figure it out, what you’re doing is deciding that you’re continuing to settle and you’re continuing to not be happy and that you’re okay with that, that you just want to delay that until another time. But our future is not guaranteed. If you keep putting it off, you may never get to that day. There are so many decisions I’ve made also just a heart to heart with you that I wasn’t ready for. All the big things I’ve done, I wasn’t ready for. I thought there was a better time for it. Whether it was having my son, adopting my daughter, starting my business, applying for jobs. When I had roles created for myself going after that, I thought maybe I needed a little bit more education and a little bit more experience. When I have made pivots in my business, just anything that I’ve done, when I met my wife, when there are opportunities that are presented to us, the things that we want, we have that nudge saying that we want this, telling us there’s more for us for a reason because we know that we can have more.

Of course, our reptile brain, that part of our brain that likes to keep us small and is afraid of change is going to tell us all the reasons not to. But I’m telling you, all of these results I’ve shared with you, what is possible with your career protocol, it doesn’t matter what level you’re at. It doesn’t matter how much experience that you have. It doesn’t matter what you think you might want. If you want to go out of the industry, if you have a business idea, if you want to change departments or areas of technical expertise, no matter what you want, you can achieve it here because I’ve helped people do it, and I’ve seen it time and time and time and time and time again. I don’t want you to give up on yourself. If this is something that you want, quit feeling stuck. As a woman in pharma or biotech, it’s time to disrupt the industry and get a job upgrade. We are going to do that by creating your personal career protocol first. It’s the one thing you’re missing that is going to get you what you want now and in the long term.

Join us in Beyond the Ceiling. I have a spot for you. Enrollment is ending September 29th. Head to to schedule your consultation so we can confirm that this is a good fit for us. There’s time on my calendar through next week to accommodate any last-minute consultations, but your consultation has to be scheduled by the end of day Friday, September 29th. All right, that’s all for this week. I will see you inside Beyond the Ceiling, or I will talk to you next week on the podcast. Have a wonderful week.

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No longer settles for “good enough”

Hi, I’m Melissa.

Career & Leadership Coach for Women in Pharma/Biotech

I'm a former Talent & Development leader in Pharma/Biotech turned CEO and Certified Professional Career & Life Coach. I also host the podcast, Your Worthy Career.

I've been where you are, and I help you create the career you want without working more hours or settling for good enough.

I'm leading a movement of women in the industry who are figuring out exactly what they want and shattering the glass ceiling. The very real ceiling in the industry, but also the one that we impose on ourselves. 

So long, imposter syndrome and overthinking. It's time to step into the impact and life you're worthy of having.

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