June 26, 2024

How to Leave Your Prestigious Company

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.
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In this podcast episode, I tackle a common dilemma faced by many professionals in the Pharma and Biotech industries: the emotional attachment to prestigious companies and the fear of leaving them for a better job. 

The episode delves into the illusion of prestige and security provided by large, well-known companies and encourages you to pursue roles that truly align with your career aspirations and personal well-being.

If you want a better job but are feeling hesitant to leave your company, this episode is for you.

What you’ll learn:

  • Discover how working for a large, prestigious company does not guarantee job satisfaction or career fulfillment. 
  • Understand the importance of aligning your career goals with your personal values and strengths, rather than being influenced by a company’s name.
  • Gain practical advice on developing essential skills to thrive in any company.


  • Get a new job, get promoted, or improve your current role inside Beyond the Ceiling – a group coaching program for women in Pharma/Biotech. Learn more
  • Looking for private 1-1 career and leadership coaching? Learn more and schedule a consultation
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Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of the podcast! Can you believe we are at the end of June already? This year has gone by so fast.

Now today we are going to talk about a hot topic that has come up with my clients inside Beyond the Ceiling and that is the hidden attachment we can have to our job when you consider your company to be large and prestigious, you know one of the elite.

When I worked with AstraZeneca there was definitely an element of elitism. They have a bit of an insider reputation for hiring over-qualifed candidates that are the best for their area of expertise and I remember when I started working there a senior leader shared with me that when he goes to networking events or conferences that it feels good because it’s hard to get into AZ and so many people want to work there.

Now, listen. When he said this, I was taken aback a little bit. Yes, it can be competitive but I didn’t do anything special to be hired. I just applied without a referral or connection, interviewed, and got the offer.  So I didn’t think of it as hard to get into.

But they did have amazing benefits and it is a large well known company so when I or others would consider leaving it would cause some pause asking yourself do I really want to give this up?

I had a Client whose dream was to work for Pfizer. She worked for small to midsize companies throughout her career and put Pfizer on a pedestal. She was convinced that if she worked there the problems she had with the industry like impossible deadlines, low headcount and resources, and cultural issues wouldn’t be a problem.

She eventually got an offer with Pfizer and jumped at it only to leave after a couple of years because she found the issues in industry that were her pain points to be the same there too.

This is important to consider. I’m telling you this because in my experience the problems that exist in Pharma/Biotech companies are pretty consistent across the board. Bad managers are everywhere (and so are good ones).

Tight timelines and feeling like there are never enough people to do the job, happen everywhere.

I work with women in the top 15 revenue generating companies in the industry and the smallest of Biotech companies with 10 people. Yes, there are differences, but there isn’t a universal rule that one has better pay, better benefits, better culture. 

This is why I suggest you get clear on what you want your role to look like, the level you want to be at, the type of company you want to work with AND build the skills to be successful and effective.

Build the skills to communicate effectively with the most difficult people or bad bosses.

Know how to push back on deadlines and have the work/life balance you want.

Know how to get a new job or promotion created for you when there are layoffs and budget cuts.

Be able to influence your leadership to get more resources, more headcount, more cross-functional support, because these are issues that will be present no matter where you work.

We want to get you into a job and work with a company that aligns with what you truly want and then build the skills that make it your dream job.

In Beyond the Ceiling there are women in smaller biotech companies you may have never heard of and there are also women who work for Johnson and Johnson, GSK, Takeda, AstraZeneca, and the big names you have heard of.

But I can tell you, that their goals are similar, the challenges they face are similar.

And I told you the story about the well-intended Senior Leader I worked with so you could see that it’s totally normal for there to be this air of elitism with some companies and that type of behavior or beliefs is what makes you second-guess and doubt yourself when you are looking to make a job change.

You doubt your decision to find something better because you are worried what people will think of you if you leave a big glamorous company.  You worry it won’t be worth it.

You don’t want to give up the prestige. 

Just because you work for a large or prestigious Pharma company, doesn’t mean that you should settle in your career.

It might feel more safe and secure to work for a large company. Large companies can give you the feeling of safety and security and that you’re working for the high-end, best-of-the-best.

But again, the problems, the layoffs, they happen in every type of company in industry.

The company recognition or perks don’t matter if everyday you go to work you feel like a part of you is dying.

When you spend your days frustrated because your 5th meeting of the day could have been an email, you feel like your main role is to do admin work and make sure other people do what they are supposed to, and you don’t have energy to do anything but zone out after work….

It’s not worth it.

So instead, let’s focus on you taking control of your career and deciding what you want in your role and getting it, instead of letting loyalty to a company or what people will think about you leaving the company to run your career.

That’s why inside Beyond the Ceiling – we start by doing your Career Protocol. By using this 5-part tool, you’ll be able to match your current skills and career desires to your perfect next job or company for you. You’ll have a custom roadmap of exactly what roles, companies, or teams would uplift your strengths, use your talents, and help you feel more fulfilled by your work.

You learn to interview and advocate for yourself strategically so you know if the company is putting on their best show and you don’t get duped.

You don’t worry about leaving and regretting it because the Career Protocol tells you what companies and jobs are perfect for you.

I show you how you are the one that creates safety and security in your job, not the company. 

You get to have the career you want that feels like a luxury add-on to your life, not just a label. Doesn’t that sound amazing?

Your work energizes you instead of drains you so you can be present and give attention to what matters most to you outside of work.

I know it might feel scary when you’ve worked at your company a long time to consider leaving, but just think about the impact of not being happy in your career.

When you aren’t using your skills, you’re bored, not having the impact you want to have, when you have that feeling of dread going in to work some days, is the elite company title really worth it? Is it worth it to spend most of your life, because we do spend so much of our life at work, feeling drained and not having the energy to even have fun or be present with our families after work?

No one or no company should have this type of negative impact on you.

Plus another thing to consider, is like I said, you can create the safety to feel secure in any role. You can also build the skills to always know what to do in your career and be an effective, stand out leader. 

The other thing to consider here is deciding to figure out what you want in your next role and pursue other opportunities does not mean that opportunity won’t be at another prestigious company right? Sometimes we get so extreme in how we think about things like it’s either a big prestigious company or a crappy small biotech lol.

That small biotech could be way more prestigious than your big company. Also, your next role could be a different large Pharma company.

The first step is to figure out what that next best move is and build the skills to make the career you change. You are going to make a lot of little decisions every step of the way before you’re in a new role, so don’t get overwhelmed with the outcome. We aren’t there yet.

RIght now, all you have to do is decide to let go of the weight you might be putting on your company to make you feel prestigious and secure, and act with courage to advocate for yourself to design the career experience you want and deserve. One that is worthy of you.

Alright Cheetahs, thanks for tuning in this week. I will talk to you soon.

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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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