January 31, 2024

Myth Busters: Improving Your Current Job

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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There are some common MYTHS out there about what is in your power to improve your current job and what is just a fixed part of work that you have to deal with.

If you aren’t looking for a new job or promotion right now but want to improve your current work situation, this is for you. I’m diving into 8 common myths people have about improving their job.

I won’t just share the myths but I’m going to bust them too so you can stop focusing on the wrong things and enjoy your job more, be more productive, and advance your career faster.

P.S. This is the end of our 3 part Myth Busters Series.

What you’ll learn:

  • 8 myths about what is in your control to improve in your current job
  • How these myths are keeping you stressed, less effective, and even holding you back in your career
  • After I bust each myth, I’m sharing what to do instead so you enjoy your job more

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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, and 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. I’m so excited to be with you today in your ears, and wrapping up our third installment of the MythBuster series. Over the last couple of weeks, I have busted myths on what it takes to get a new job and get promoted in pharma biotech. This week, we are taking a little bit of a different angle. I’m going to share myths about what it takes to upgrade your current role. If you’re someone who isn’t necessarily looking to make a job change right now or you’re not ready for a promotion, maybe you just got a new job or promotion, then this is going to apply to you. There are certain things that we tend to believe are just the way that they are. But I want you to have the best career possible. I know you want this for yourself, too. I want you to see that dream careers do exist, that you don’t have to just think of your job as okay, that you don’t have to choose between loving your job and a good paying career. You can actually have both. I’m actually going to teach you how you can get this in my training coming up, how to get your dream job as a woman in pharma and biotech, even with budget cuts and layoffs.

This is relevant to you, whether you want a new job or promotion now or in the future, or if you just want to know how to get and always have the skill of knowing what is next and answering what your future plans are with confidence. You’re always driving yourself in the right direction. It applies to you, too. This training is live with me on Zoom, February 16th, and you can register at yourworthycareer.com/dreamjob. And as always, I will put a link in the show notes for you. All right, Let’s dig into these myths. Let’s crack them wide open. Are you ready? The first one is, there are some stakeholders that you will never be able to work with effectively. This is a big one. We all have those people from time to time that are just a peda, right? They just get under our skin. And not because of who they are, right? It’s because they make things difficult. They don’t deliver on time. They keep meetings going longer than they need. They take credit for other people’s work. They just talk and talk and don’t solve any problems. They’re like car salesman energy. Could be any of these things.

Maybe it’s even a boss that doesn’t listen, that doesn’t get it, so to speak, or maybe allow you to speak, right? They’re just difficult, and they make work stressful. If you’re thinking that there is nothing you can do about that person, I want to challenge you a bit on that. If they are a struggle now, they could become your best ally. That is possible. Worst case scenario, they could become the person that gets you what you need on time and you find a way to effectively work with them, but they’re just never your favorite person. They’re never the person you want to invite to happy hour. Sometimes the solution is confronting the person. Sometimes it can be solved with systems and processes that are more effective and hold people accountable. Sometimes the solution is building a better relationship with the person and getting to know them. Sometimes it’s using a communication tool or technique to understand their perspective and learn how to master difficult conversations. I’ve turned around every difficult stakeholder I’ve had into one that is productive. I’ve had people take credit for my work, stall projects, ghost me at meetings, say they don’t want to work with me flat out, just about everything that you can imagine, and I was able to turn it around.

I help my clients do this all of the time. Challenges Reassuring stakeholders and conflict at work, they’re here to stay. What makes it better or what improves your situation or the way you feel about it, your experience with work, is solving for it and not letting it be your norm. Sure, it’s going to take some work, but there is so much empowerment in taking responsibility for the problems that you’re facing. If you’re stressing about a stakeholder, you can solve it. You can try a new approach. If you think you’ve tried everything, you haven’t. And what is really funny about that is we tell ourselves that we have tried everything, and that limits our ability to problem-solve. If we are believing this thought our brain is offering us, then what do we do? We give up because we’ve tried everything. But what if you instead brainstormed all of the different things that you could do, the things you haven’t tried? I bet you’d come up with at least one option that you could try. So if this person is really bothering you, if it’s just causing you stress, it’s not bothering them. It’s most likely just bothering you, then it’s really in your best interest to problem-solve and get a solution.

All right, number two, you have to play political games to be successful. All right, let’s be real. I really don’t like political games. I feel like for some people it is their favorite thing ever, but I just don’t like it. I don’t like the fake behavior, the things done to check a box, the good old boys club, all of it. When I work with my clients, we don’t work on getting better at playing political games. We don’t sacrifice who we are for what we want. We don’t act like Broskies or try to manipulate people or situations. We don’t provide fake metrics or vanity wins. Instead of focusing on political games, we identify what the goal is, problem solve, and build strategic relationships. Strategic relationships is not playing politics. It’s identifying who you are, the people that would be beneficial for you to know to advance your career now or in the future. Who is going to make your job easier? Then focusing on that. The ideal job for you isn’t going to require you to be someone you aren’t or to do things you’re not comfortable with on an ethical or moral level.

If you feel like you have to play political games to advance your career, a couple of things could be happening. It could be that you don’t have a strategy for your career, that you’re not clear on where you’re going and how to get there. So you’re trying to be everything to everyone. It could also be that you’re struggling with the courage to really be yourself at work. When you are more yourself, you’re going to stand out in the best way. When you stop trying to be what you think everyone needs from you and work strategically and authentically, everything is easier. Your career grows faster. Look at me, for example. I’m a Career and Leadership Coach for women in pharma/biotech. I’m sure you know that. My philosophies, ideas, my brand, they’re all very different from anyone else, though. I talk about concepts that you don’t hear other places. I have ideas that come from my own brain that I put into teachings and frameworks to get my client’s results. I have bold, royal colors, gold and shattered glass as part of the visuals on my LinkedIn, on my website as part of my brand.

I have the Cheetah as a symbol and loving pet name that I call my clients and my listeners like you on a podcast that represents strength, grace, and the courage that we possess as women to go beyond our own ceilings and to create what we want for ourselves. This is unique, and because of that, it’s more appealing. I’m not a generic coach. I’m also thoughtful and strategic. I keep my values at the center of the work I do. Do I turn people off? I’m sure I do. Do I have companies that are like, Please don’t tell our employees that? Yes, I do. But translate that to the work setting. When you’re showing up authentically as you, standing out, you attract the best people. You attract the attention that is going to align you with the best roles and opportunities for yourself. I have the most amazing clients. They are all strong, high-achieving, and I am so honored to work with them. They chose me as their coach, at least partly because they are connected to my brand, voice, ideas, philosophies, and you can do that for yourself. The answer is to throw the political game off the window and build to be yourself more, to share your ideas, to stand out, to not worry so much about politics, but worry about what you want, have a strategy, and bring your allies with you.

All right, number three, you can’t control your schedule and have the work-life balance you want. This one really gets me going because yes, you can. Let’s show it together. You can work whatever you want. You can have the work-life balance that you want. You can define it, you can create it. It doesn’t have to look like someone else. If you’re struggling with work-life balance, then it’s either a boundary issue, a delegation issue, any problem that it is, it can be solved. Will it be uncomfortable? Yes, probably. Whenever we do things, it’s going to be uncomfortable. If you’re used If you’re jumping in and doing all the work, if you want things done right, and right means you have to do it, if you’re worried that people will not respond right away, and so you’re jumping in ahead of time, these are all things that you have to overcome, but you can. You can decide what you want to work and then problem-solve the rest. You may need to escalate things, delegate things, and communicate better. You might have to manage up, but these are skills you can learn to do. The people that wear overworking as a badge of honor just haven’t learned how to do this yet, but you can learn how if you want to.

If you like working more than the average Cheetah, then that’s okay, too. I love my job. I love thinking about my clients, creating new things for them. I love coaching. I love continuing to grow as a coach. So I have boundaries and a schedule to protect family and partner time and give me freedom to exercise and do hobbies and things that I enjoy. But it’s not uncommon for me to log in and do a little bit of work early morning on the weekends when everyone’s sleeping because I have an idea. It’s like, I love it so much. I have to put boundaries in to make me not want to work. So you can have this, too. Even if you aren’t a business owner, this isn’t because I created my dream job. You can create this in the industry. This is what I help people do all the time. So you have control over how you manage your schedule. Number four, if you don’t do it, it won’t get done or it won’t get done right. Now, right, right This one, it’s really tied to the last one a bit. If you are having a hard time letting go of control for fear of something going wrong, and so you do more than your role needs, and as a result, you don’t work the way you want to and are stressed, you can overcome this.

I was actually coaching a client on this last week. She works in clinical, and a theme that came up in her calls is that she tends to want to control things, just personally and professionally. At work, this can show up by her stepping in and doing part of the project team’s job so that she gets what she needs the way that she needs it. And she didn’t want to do that anymore. She didn’t want to keep jumping in and doing other people’s jobs for them just to make sure it got done. She wanted to be able to empower her team to get her what she needs. So we worked through a plan for how she could do that. What we discovered in her coaching is that when she is doing the things that make her feel in control of others at work, she loses control of herself. She blurs her own boundaries. She gets disengaged and overwhelmed. She puts some of the tasks last minute that she actually is responsible for as part of her job. And she does all of this to compensate for the work she is doing for other people in an effort to control the outcome.

It’s pretty deep. It’s deep to recognize that you lose control of yourself when you are trying to control others. It’s something that’s really interesting to think about. You can choose, do you want to be in control of others or do you want to be in control of yourself and empower others? You get to choose the path. Number five, if your ideas aren’t heard, you have to get a new job. It’s just no use. This is a tough one. You want to be heard by your bosses and stakeholders. You have ideas and solutions that will actually help the company. It’s not like you’re just throwing out nonsense that isn’t helpful, right? But you make it rejected. Told, not now. Maybe they think the idea is a good one, but you still don’t get the green light to move forward. So you end up feeling like a cog in the process. You don’t get to do what you know will improve things. You’re not contributing at the level you want to. You might feel stifled. So the logical thought could be that you need to change jobs to get your ideas heard and actually feel like you’re contributing and growing.

But this is mostly not true. There might be an exception here or there. But generally, if you’re feeling like your ideas aren’t being heard, it’s just a matter of learning the skill of influence. It just means that if your idea is truly great and going to be beneficial to the business, that you’re just not selling it to the right leaders in the right way. There’s something missing for them. I would really challenge you to learn the skill and practice it where you are before moving jobs because you’re going to need that skill wherever you go. You will always have difficult colleagues or leaders throughout your career that push back, especially as you rise up into higher levels of leadership. So being able to manage those relationships and influence them is going to be so beneficial for you. You not only will be able to do this with ideas at work, but when interviewing with really anything you want in your life. Influence is key and it starts with communication skills. All right, number six. There are only good jobs and not dream jobs. I talked about this a bit in the MythBusters episode on getting a New Job, but the people who tell you that there aren’t dream jobs just don’t have one.

People are always speaking to their relative experience. So if they haven’t achieved dream job status, if they grew up the way most of us did with just having a good job with benefits was the goal, loving it was extra, then of course, that will be their perspective. Find people who love their jobs and surround yourself with them. They can show you that the opposite is true. That can be that evidence for you before you create that evidence for yourself. Define what your dream job could look like if You could have anything. And then again, the theme here, problem-solved. Get from A to B. If you’re not sure how, be sure to join my training coming up. I’m not only talking about how to know what your next step should be, but how to get it. Number seven, the way to be successful is to avoid mistakes. Suggesting you make mistakes is probably like nails on a chalkboard, right? Most of the people I work with are high achievers who don’t ever want to fail, who almost tie their worth to their achievements. The idea of being wrong isn’t only embarrassing but shameful. So they tend to stay in the comfort zone.

It’s like being a big fish in a small pond, having a bubble around you over your comfortable stretching, but not wanting to be too visible, not wanting to put yourself in situations where you could fail, especially in front of other people. I can describe this not just because my clients are often this way, but I used to be this way too. It actually almost stopped me from having my business. I was worried I wouldn’t be successful, that I thought I was better than what I actually was, that I would have to crawl back to the industry to get my job back and how embarrassing that would be. Instead of looking at it as, most people don’t go after the big thing. Most people play small. Most people don’t design the life and career that they want. They settle. And I’m not that person. So the worst case scenario is I tried something I always wanted, got great experience, and it didn’t end up being for me. But the good news is that didn’t happen. My practice actually filled up within six months. And of course, I financially prepared for the change ahead of time.

It’s always good to think through the worst case and plan for it. Then you can move forward with courage more easily. It’s a little hack there. Now, the thing with avoiding mistakes or failure, too, is it also tends to have a flavor of insecurity or lack of confidence. We tend to be very confident in the things we know how to do because we’ve already proved that we can do it. Going on a limb and moving, changing jobs, speaking in front of other people, the things that may bring up all of the nerves, we just haven’t done it yet. So once we do, we will have the confidence, and until then, we just need courage. The more that you put yourself out there and try the things you want to try, make the big moves that you’d regret not taking the easier it will be. You’ll also show yourself that you can handle anything, even crappy emotions, like feeling embarrassed if that does happen. You’ll also grow so much faster. This is what a growth mindset really is. We think we have a growth mindset if we like to learn and are open-minded, but most of us are still very limited in that even our growth mindset is surrounded by a safety net or some bubble wrap.

When you can go outside that safety net, you’re going to achieve so much more. You won’t just be a big fish in a small pond. You’ll be living the life you want on the scale you choose to live it. No regrets, only accomplishments and lessons, stories to tell, and Rock solid confidence knowing you can handle anything. All right, we are on to our last myth. The last myth is your growth options are limited by your company. All right, if you are happy in your job right now and you’re planning for your future, You don’t need to look at what is possible based on your organizational structure or what your boss or HR tells you is a good option for you. There is a difference between what you can do and what you want to do, and it’s important to remember that. First, get clear on what you want to do, then let’s create it. You can have jobs created for you, promotions granted outside of cycles. There are jobs that are not on your org chart right now that could exist. Your org chart is just a snapshot of time. It is something that was created in the past as the ideal structure to run your team or department.

It doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t or can’t be tweaked or changed now. That’s what happens when reorgs happen, right? When bosses come in and change things up, when layoffs happen, it’s someone deciding, Hey, this thing that worked for us before, this org structure that worked for us before, it doesn’t work for us now. They have a reason to change it, and then they do. So your growth options are so much bigger than what your company has right now. Your next role or promotion could even be outside of your company. So instead, don’t think your options are only what you see. Decide what you want and then create that. This is what I’ve been helping women do for a year. So trust me when I say you can have the dream job, you can get the promotion, you can create the career that you truly want. All right, that was it for our episode today. We covered eight myths about improving your current job. I will talk to you next week. Have a wonderful week. 

I hope you enjoyed today’s episode. If you’re ready to know your best career move and get into a new job, get promoted, or upgrade your current role to one you love, join me inside Beyond the Ceiling. Beyond the Ceiling is a four-month group coaching program exclusively for women in pharma/biotech. Enrollment begins February 16th. Learn more and join us at www.yourworthycareer.com/beyond.

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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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