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Session 257: Navigating Career Growth

The Therapy for Black Girls Podcast is a weekly conversation with Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, a licensed Psychologist in Atlanta, Georgia, about all things mental health, personal development, and all the small decisions we can make to become the best possible versions of ourselves.

When you reflect on your career, do you feel like you’re soaring or stumbling in your day-to-day life? For women working in the corporate sector or 9-5 structure, it’s essential to know that there are strategic steps you can take to course-correct your footing and take your career to new heights. This week I’m joined by Certified Career Coach & C-Suite Advisor, Latesha Byrd. Latesha and I chatted about what it means to win in the workplace, how to have successful conversations with management about your career, including how to ask for a promotion, and how we can advocate for ourselves in our work settings.

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Read Full Transcript

Session 257: Navigating Career Growth

Dr. Joy: Hey, y'all! Thanks so much for joining me for Session 257 of the Therapy for Black Girls podcast. We'll get right into the episode after a word from our sponsors.

[SPONSORS’ MESSAGES]

Dr. Joy: When you reflect on your career, do you feel like you're soaring or stumbling in your day to day life? For women working in the corporate sector or nine-to-five structure, it's essential to know that there are strategic steps that you can take to course correct your footing and take your career to new heights. In this week's session, I'm joined by Certified Career Coach & C-Suite Advisor, Latesha Byrd. Latesha and I chatted about what it means to win in the workplace, how to have successful conversations with management about your career (including how to ask for a promotion), and how we can advocate for ourselves in work settings. If something resonates with you while enjoying our conversation, please share it with us on social media using the hashtag #TBGinSession or join us over in the Sister Circles to talk more in depth about the episode. You can join us at Community.TherapyForBlackGirls.com. Here’s our conversation.

Dr. Joy: Thank you so much for joining us today, Latesha.

Latesha: Thank you for having me. I'm so excited to be here.

Dr. Joy: Very excited to have you. Can you start by telling us what you do as a career coach and as the CEO of Perfeqta?

Latesha: Absolutely. My name is Latesha Byrd, I am an executive coach and CEO of a talent development agency. My mission is to help working professionals get control, confidence and clarity in their career. I have been coaching for almost a decade now and when I started this journey, I had no idea it would take me here. Many years later, I now serve as an executive coach, helping people really seek that clarity they need to level up professionally to knock down some of the systemic barriers that we face in the workplace, which I know we'll chat about today. I also serve as a talent advisor to high growth startups and mission driven organizations that are really looking to invest in their talent in the right way and the most equitable way as well. I love helping people really find their place in their career and I love helping organizations build safe and healthy workplace cultures for all people (and) of course for black and brown women.

Dr. Joy: Love that. Thank you, Latesha. When you say that you help them to develop clarity, when your clients come to you, what are they often unclear about?

Latesha: They are unclear about, one, am I where I want to be in my career? What more should I be doing? A lot of us have really kind of stumbled our way throughout our career and so when I talk about really seeking and taking control of your career, it means to wake up and be proud of what you're doing, to be confident in what you're doing, to know how you're doing what you're doing, and how you're actually adding value. I find that without having that clarity, so many of us are just going day to day and letting our careers run us versus us actually running our careers.

It could be needing clarity around the work, the type of organizations to work for, how to manage up, down and across an organization. One of the biggest things is how do I fit in? Especially when we think about being black and brown women in the workplace and being one of the only or one of the few, it’s around how can I make sure that I am really crushing it here? How can I make sure that I'm getting the same visibility that my white counterparts are? Because, as we know, studies and data show that oftentimes we are the ones that are really overlooked and overworked.

Dr. Joy: You've already kind of started down this path, but I'd love to hear you talk about some of the unique challenges that black women do face in terms of their career grow.

Latesha: Some of the unique challenges that I've seen black women face in terms of career growth, it's really a few key things. One, that being overlooked, being overworked and being underpaid and then being under supported. When we first think about being overlooked and overworked, oftentimes we are the ones that are crushing it in our jobs. We're doing our jobs, our coworkers’ jobs, sometimes our bosses’ jobs, with little to no recognition. With that being said, we're being overlooked for promotions because we're just expected to continue to take on more work and more work because we're good at what we do. We're used to taking care of home, our companies, our jobs and all of that. And so it can be easy to say let's just give this work to Dr. Joy because we know Dr. Joy is going to kill it, and not even think about how should we be investing back into Dr. Joy’s career because of the value that she's adding? Those are the first couple of things.

The other thing is being underpaid. Of course, studies do show that for black women specifically, we have to work over a year and a half to earn the same amount of money that a white man earns in a year. That's where we see all of these recognitions around Equal Pay Day. Not just for white women because Equal Pay Day for white women is in March. But as you look at Latinx or Latino Equal Pay Day, Asian Equal Pay Day, Black Equal Pay Day, all of those things really stand out beyond that March date. So, of course, being underpaid. I think it's just really important for us as black women to take control here, to not take crumbs when we know we deserve a five-course meal.

Dr. Joy: You mentioned earlier, Latesha, that so many of these things are systemic. It's sometimes difficult, I think, to talk about how we as individuals can really impact systemic changes and make systemic changes. What kinds of things are you suggesting to clients to really be able to chip away at some of these things that we really truly don't have any control over?

Latesha: Yeah, yeah, that's a great question. There are some things that we don't have control over. We don't have control over if our company is going through budget cuts or (as we have been working throughout this pandemic) if our company is going on hiring freezes, things of that nature, but I will say that we have more control than we give ourselves credit for. We're the ones that have earned our degrees, our certifications, we continue to invest in our professional development, and so who actually signs the check? Who is the person that is responsible for getting promoted, for getting visibility, for growing in your career? That probably is your boss.

Managing up is one of the most crucial and critical things that if someone can really get confident with that and get strategic with that, that is really going to set them apart in their career. But what I have seen is that we will not speak up, we'll say “well, I'll just let the work speak for me and hopefully they'll catch on and see how great I'm doing.” That is one thing that is definitely not setting us up for success. Building a really solid relationship with your boss, with your boss's boss, really building that social and political capital internally in an organization is key. Not waiting for someone to say, hey, it's time for us to talk about your career goals and your future at this company. You have to be able to say, you know what, I have been doing the dang thing here, I've been adding so much value. It's for me to make sure that they are putting back into me when I am actually delivering to them.

It's never too early, late, off track, to have that conversation. It should not be something that happens once a year when it's time for performance reviews. It is important to have those regular conversations. Now, depending on how those conversations go, that's when we can actually make an informed decision on how you want to move forward. Maybe you've decided that, you know what, I finally am ready to take control of my career, let me really understand what's to come here at this organization that I've been working at. You don't like their answer? Then you have other options. Sometimes we say that we're stuck or we aren’t in control because it feels safe, and nothing about growth equals safety in that regard.

Dr. Joy: What does it look like to win in the workplace? How would we be able to define that for ourselves?

Latesha: I love this question around winning in the workplace. That second question on how do we define that for ourselves, that’s how you really win, you know. “How do we define that for ourselves” is key. One, we have to give ourselves permission to actually say, you know what, let me define what career success looks like for me. Not my employer's definition, but it's how do I define it for myself? Not for my employer, not for my boss, not for my partner, family, what my parents told me I was going to be when I grew up, but actually how do I define career success for myself? I encourage people to start to, if you have not already, start thinking about this.

Doing that Sunday night/Monday morning test if you do work Monday to Friday. Those emotions that are coming up for you before you lay down that night before starting a workweek or even that morning waking up, that's probably informing your overall emotional capacity, happiness and wellbeing around your work. I remember someone asked me a question on how do I know if I'm actually successful or happy in my career? And I said, how do you feel Sunday night just thinking about the workweek? And they said, oh, I try not to think about it, I don't even want to think about it at all. I'm like, oh, so you don't want to think about your career, your job outside of doing the work that day? They're like, nope. Like okay, well, I want to feel excited. For me, personally, I want to feel excited when I wake up, I want to look forward to my days, I want to know that I'm adding value, and so those are some things that I know are really important to me.

But when it comes to winning in the workplace, I think that there's three clear things, indicators that every person should be thinking about when it comes to defining this for themselves. That could be enjoyment. I think we should all be able to do something that we enjoy, so again, do you like the work that you're doing? Do you like the team and the people that you're working with? Do you like the communities or the folks that you're actually serving in your capacity or in your day job? The second one is fulfillment, solving a problem that you actually care about. Is it purposeful? Is the work meaningful to you? The last one is skill and talent. You actually should be or could be good at your job. It kind of sucks to do something that you're not really good at. Of course, we all are building our confidence in those areas and strengthening our skills and talents, but I think that actually being good, that does help to fuel that confidence. And so those are the three things that I would really say are clear indicators of what it looks like to win in the workplace–enjoyment, fulfillment, and then skill or talent. Just to be clear, skill or talent is something that can be nurtured.

Dr. Joy: Thank you for that, Latesha. You used this term a little earlier about managing up, how do you have successful conversations with management about where you see your career going?

Latesha: I love, love, love talking about this because so many of us don't actually go to our managers and say, hey, I need to talk about my future here and what it looks like. I really want all of the listeners to know that you do have the ability to do that, to set aside time with your manager to start having these conversations regularly. Now, if your manager is not open to having these conversations with you, something I mentioned earlier is like that data, you are actually getting those data points along the way so just kind of keep that in your back pocket. I will say that, as someone who's coached a lot of folks, having a solid manager who cares about your career growth is definitely one of those high, high, high priorities that you will want to have to be successful in your career.

In terms of how to have successful conversations with management about where you see your career going, first is actually doing some research. Doing some research meaning have a brag sheet ready. Research yourself. What do you actually want to do in the future? What are the skills that you want to develop? I mentioned that brag sheet, what have you done in the past year, two years that you're really, really proud about? How have you added value to your organization? No one can brag for you if you can't brag for yourself. You can't expect your manager to know all the things that you're doing really well, especially if they have a team of people that they’re managing. I would say the first thing is come prepared with some research on what you actually want to do and what you've done so far, and how you want to continue to add value and show up at work.

I would also say being confident is important. Really talking to your manager almost like a peer to peer situation. You don't need to go into these conversations like, oh, I was just kind of wondering, I was really hoping we could talk about... It’s like, no. I want to sit here and have an honest conversation with you about my career at this organization. I have enjoyed doing X, Y, Z, I've been able to see the team and the company grow to these heights and I'm excited about where the company's going in the future. I have some ideas on the things that I want to continue to do here and I want to see if that's aligned with your vision for the team and how we can actually start to talk about a plan for me getting promoted here. Simple as that.

I would say also having a plan but being inquisitive, curious, asking questions. Of course, you do want to think about your own career growth plan. As you think, close your eyes, and think about a year from now, two, five years from now. And then think about your personal career vision but then also be thinking about how does that align with the company or the team vision. Having that conversation with your manager, that will actually help you connect those dots to make sure that there is some good alignment there. If you can, do your research, be confident, come up with a plan and have specific questions. That will then help you to kind of lead into “now let's actually talk about what this particular plan and motion that we're going to put in place.” Like what can that look like and feel like? What's the timeline for that? What are those gaps that, professionally, perhaps you need to develop more skills in one particular area? You probably would need a development plan. We should all be continuously growing, investing in and developing in our careers and your boss might be able to give you some intel or an insight that you aren't privy to just yet.

By you actually bringing up these questions and having this conversation, it may just open up new ways of being developed that you weren't even sure about. That is how I think people can have successful conversations on where they see their career going. You don't have to be shy about it, you don't have to be timid about it. Of course, you can show appreciation, but not that desperation piece. When it comes to career growth in general, it's really because of course the money is there–the title is there, you want more money, you want the bigger, better title, if that's something that you're passionate about. But it's also about how you can continue to help that organization.

Something I think is so important for us to remember is that we're not doing our employers a favor. It is a fair value exchange. This whole narrative I've heard before of they really took a chance on me or they believed in me, they gave me a shot here, I'm just so grateful and thankful. That’s cool but they gave you a shot, they gave you a chance because there was something on your resume, your portfolio, there was something about you where they said we need her at this company. I think the sooner that we can remember that before going into these conversations, will allow us to know what am I going to accept? What am I not going to accept? When am I actually going to say, you know what, this is not enough for me and this company does not deserve me? And it is fully okay to walk away if that conversation does not go as you would like it to.

Dr. Joy: I think that that's such an important reminder. Thank you for that, Latesha. More from my conversation with Latesha after the break.

[BREAK]

Dr. Joy: You talked about having a good relationship with your manager and how that can really be a key to success in our current company culture, but we hear so many stories about like nightmare managers, people that you just do not have a good relationship with no matter how hard you try. What kinds of suggestions do you have for people who want to maybe climb the career ladder in their organizations but don't actually have a good relationship with their manager?

Latesha: Dr. Joy, that is so hard. That is so hard and I will say that the number one reason people leave jobs is because they leave bad bosses. Not bad companies but bad bosses. If you are someone who's listening and you are experiencing dealing with a bad boss (and I know bad is relative), just know that you are not alone. I've had a lot of conversations with my community and my coaching clients on managing up and it is a process, it is a journey. A lot of people get promoted because they are probably good at their jobs but they don't really have a ton of people skills and experience. I think it's so important for organizations to require some type of leadership training before putting folks in management roles.

To answer the question around what should someone do if they don't have a good relationship with their manager. For anyone that is listening and feels as though they don't have a good boss, they don't have a good relationship with them, I want you to know, one, you're not alone, and two, you can turn it around if that person is willing to turn it around. There is only so much you can do. I think when it comes to just chasing career goals, you don't want to leave things unfinished or unsaid. You want to be able to walk away from an opportunity saying, you know what, I gave it all that I got and I really tried hard with this boss and this manager and nothing seemed to work.

Let's talk about what those strategies could be. One, it's having regular conversations with your manager, having strategic conversations with them. I would recommend setting up regular one-on-ones, weekly, bi weekly, monthly at minimum. Where you are able to get in front of this person, share with them what you're working on, questions that you have, how it's actually helping the team and the company. And also taking the opportunity to have dedicated time to learn from them and to build that relationship and that rapport. Some bosses don't want to be buddy-buddy and I'm sure for some of the listeners, you probably don't want to be buddy-buddy with your boss either. Don't worry so much about being liked, focus on being respected.
If someone is really good at their job, if they're adding value left and right, who cares if we're not grabbing drinks at happy hour? Who cares if we're not sharing gossip at the water cooler in the break room? Focus on being respected, focus on doing your job well.

Now, when it comes to a relationship with your boss, good or bad or whatever, you have to define what good looks like for you, what a good relationship with your boss looks like. Also, what does a good boss look like? Can you actually take time to give them some feedback? You have to be careful with this, and I get it because I know sometimes our egos can get in the way as human beings and being leaders. Write a list, how is my boss showing up for me well and how are they not? I would recommend having a conversation with your boss and letting them know. I really want to build a better working relationship with you, here are some of the things that I've noticed maybe that haven't gone so well, here are some things that I believe have gone really well, and I have some opportunities to share on how we can improve. Ask that person how they think the working relationship is going, just to kind of get their feedback.

I will say that some folks just aren't good at managing people. A lot of people do get promoted because they're really good at their job. Something that I am really passionate about is leadership training for new managers, that's something that we do offer at my company. I think that before any person manages one other individual, they need to go through some type of leadership training. Because giving and receiving feedback is key, having crucial conversations is key. We all have to manage up because some people just aren't good at it, maybe they don't have a lot of people skills, they could be socially awkward. Maybe they have so many direct reports, they’re just trying to keep their head above water. You just really never know where someone's head is at unless you try to connect with them. That person could be thinking, you know what, I think they're good and they're happy at their job, I had no clue.

I think it is important for us to think about how we actually want to be managed, how we would define a good relationship, and then make that very clear. There are a couple of other things I would say. Personality assessments, some of my clients and the organizations we work with, they do have personality assessments that they allow employees to take and to do. Some type of mediation or debrief session in a one-on-one environment or even a team environment so that folks can get to know people just beyond the work and more so about their own personal communication style. That's something I've seen to be effective.

Then I would also say, just figure out what that frequency of communication looks like. If you're not really getting what you need from your boss still, then you probably need to go into like a Plan B. Which is maybe you really like the company, you like the work that you're doing, but that boss, y’all just not clicking. Can you move internally? Can you apply for another job at that company if you don't want to leave that company? There might be times where you have to go above that person. Start having what I call skip level meetings. Not just meeting with your boss, maybe you’re meeting with your boss's boss. Having a mentor and sponsor, talking to other folks that have great relationships with them and really trying to understand like how do they have that great relationship with them. But again, leading with that curiosity will definitely be helpful.

Dr. Joy: What are some ways, both in and outside of the workplace, we can begin to invest in our career growth?

Latesha: Ways to invest in our career growth inside a company, one, is just building that social and political capital. Who do I need to know at this organization? Again, not around your boss but you can kind of go through them, you can go above them. Making sure that you're building relationships with the higher ups, people that could serve as potential mentors or sponsors. I would also say, in the workplace, it's just taking advantage of all the professional development opportunities that are available. Do you have a professional development stipend that you can use? Does your company support organizations in the community that you can volunteer with, join the board for? Does your organization have any mentorship programs? Do they have employee resource groups that you can tap into to build relationships?

Relationships take us so far in our careers. Even for me as an entrepreneur, yes, I'm in my eighth year of business but those relationships that I nurtured 10 years ago are starting to pay off in dividends now. Definitely invest in those relationships, use that professional development budget, and then externally or outside of the workplace, I'm a huge advocate (of course) of coaching. Therapy of course, continuing to unlock those personal challenges, those mindset shifts. The changes that we actually need to make so that we can show up as our full and authentic selves at work, we can't do that alone. Having a coach and a therapist, I would recommend as well as finding communities to join. Whether it's industry-based communities, whether it's communities with women who have a similar mindset or similar goals. Those are some of the few ways that I would say investing in that growth.

Then also think about a development plan. I know this is something that I had mentioned earlier. A development plan doesn't mean that you should only focus on career development at work. There are things that you might want to do outside of work because you always want to be two steps ahead. Maybe you love your job today but how is that going to help you in your job in the future or down the road? Something that I know for me that's important is public speaking. I do a lot of trainings, I lead a lot of coaching sessions of course, and so I'm always wanting to invest in my public speaking skills because I know that’s something that I'm going to need to continue to grow and develop in myself for the years to come. I have a public speaking coach that I use and work with and I also have hired her to work with my team as well.

Dr. Joy: All great suggestions. What role do those kinds of things play in us continuing to like advance our career?

Latesha: That's a great question. I will say I'm a certified executive coach. You could get an executive coach, you can get a mindset coach, you can get a coach that focuses on time management and life organization. Think about the specific areas in which you do want to be coached. Also, what type of coaching style do you like? I ask my clients, like what would you say my style is? And they always say you are kind of like a sergeant, like you're hard on us but you give us empathy at the same time. Some people might like more of that where it's like I have this personal cheerleader, they're going to be hard on me but they're also going to push me and encourage me. You might want someone who's not going to be hard on you, I think it just depends. But I will say this, I think that energy is important and having that kind of good synergy when you do talk to that coach, and making sure that y’all have a good kind of vibe going on.

Do consultations as well. I say just kind of shop and have these conversations, just to see like who am I gravitating towards and why? If the coach does not have any type of certifications, asking them what results they get for their clients. Due to confidentiality, I don't go into specifics of my coaching clients and what they're going through, but I will speak high level in terms of here are some of the issues that they face and here are some of the specific ways they have come out on the other side. I definitely think that's fair game. I'd say, you know, do your research as well and also look for people who have experience coaching individuals, dealing with the same type of issues in similar industries.

Dr. Joy: Latesha, I think I've often heard the advice that the best time to look for your new job is while you are at your current job. I don't know if that is good advice, but I'd love to hear from you, how often or when should we start looking for new opportunities? That may be both within our current company or maybe switching to a new company.

Latesha: Yeah, I get that question a lot as well. One thing I want to say to anyone that's listening, if you are thinking about looking for a new opportunity, that means something. Hang on to that. Ask yourself, why is this coming up for me? Was it after a conversation I had? Was it after an email I saw? What was it? And really, really think about that and process that for yourself first. I do get the question a lot as to should I look for new opportunities? Am I ready? And no one can dictate that for you. I think when you know, it's kind of like the “when you know, you know” type of thing. Kind of like leaving a relationship. When you're fed up with somebody, you're gonna walk away (hopefully) and by that time you will have decided this no longer serves me.

I do want to challenge people that are listening to not wait until you're fed up. Do not wait until you're fed up with your job to start looking. Understand this–you can always do a little job window shopping online and I highly recommend that you do this I'd say at least every six months. But even if you're looking, even if you apply, it's not a fireable offence. If you spend 10 minutes on Indeed or Monster or LinkedIn looking at jobs, your current job is not going to be in jeopardy, like there's nothing wrong with that. The fact that you are looking for something else or interested in something else, sometimes we see that as a weakness. Where it's like, oh, here, they go getting another job or here they go looking for something else. I oftentimes have helped people re-shift their thinking around looking for job opportunities because it doesn't mean that something is wrong with you or that you don't like stability. I think it’s telling you that what you're currently doing, it's just not enough. And you're not willing to settle, you're ready for that next thing. Maybe you want to be challenged more, you want to get paid more.

That is a great place to be in when you start feeling like, hmm, should I maybe look for a new opportunity? Just because you do look, just because you apply, it doesn't mean you have to make a decision today or tomorrow on your whole career. You will apply, you may get a call for an interview, you may not. You might interview a few rounds, maybe one, two, maybe five. You might even get the job offer, that's when that decision making really comes into play. I'll oftentimes tell folks, just because you're looking and applying to jobs, you don't need to sign your life away tomorrow. Up until that time, research. Every interaction with that company, whether that is a LinkedIn message or maybe it is an interview or a conversation with their recruiter, it's a data point. To find out what you like, to find out what you don't like. Don't be afraid to look if you feel like you need to look, but just know it's a time and energy investment.

There are some clear ways, though, where if this is happening to you, you should be looking for an opportunity. One, it could be that bad manager. Bad manager is just saying that you're not going to grow here, you're not going to get a raise, you're not going to get a promotion, especially if it's been promised to you a year or two years ago. If it's just a really, really toxic workplace, if you're completely burnt out and you hate the work that you do, it physically gives you anxiety, like waking up and starting your day, please start looking for something else. You don't need somebody to tell you that it's time to look for something else but if you do, this is that little notice for you right now. You don't have to settle for mistreatment, for toxicity, for misaligned leadership. Again, I'm never going to tell anybody to not look for an opportunity but just know the time and energy that goes into it. If you are really willing to make that move, you will do it but it's not easy.

Dr. Joy: More from my conversation with Latesha after the break.

[BREAK]

Dr. Joy: If I already know that I am feeling like I want a better job, that might mean I want higher paying or I want something that's more aligned with my passions and goals, where do I start? What are some of the first steps I need to take?

Latesha: If you want a higher pay and more alignment and you know that for a fact, there's a few things to do. Of course, updating your resume, the LinkedIn. Thinking about all of the contacts that you have and starting to just plant some seeds and reach out to people. Now, let's say you don't want to ruffle any feathers at the current job and so that can be a little tricky. You can go on job boards and I can just kind of share my favorite, LinkedIn is a great one. Google Search has a really good job board so if you google Marketing Director job in Atlanta, Georgia, that will pull different job listings from job boards. But I’d say set a goal on how many jobs to start applying to. Maybe you start reaching out to recruiters on LinkedIn and you start planting those seeds with your network. Being mindful of that and being careful of, okay, what if I don't want this to go back to my current employer. That's really for you to make that decision on.

But if you have decided that you want to move on, it's the networking piece, getting those interviewing documents in order, also having that career story, that elevator pitch in order as well. Especially if you want a higher paying job, you’ve really got to come with it and start practicing those salary negotiation conversations from the jump. Start researching what that salary is that you want because recruiters are having those conversations with job seekers during the first call. They're calling you up like, hey, we see you're interested in this role. By the way, what's your salary? You need to be able to spit out a number like that or ask them for the range. The more you can do on the front end of preparing before just jumping into it, the better.

Dr. Joy: We've been hearing a lot about this great resignation. I'm sure you have, too. How can people take advantage of this?

Latesha: Yes. The great resignation, it's been just a really interesting thing to see happen during this pandemic. The great resignation means that majority of Americans are actually leaving their current job, interviewing, applying for other roles or just ready to kind of move on to this next best thing. With that being said, how people can take advantage of it is maybe you don't want to leave your job, having conversations with your employer around your future. You know, negotiating for a higher pay, especially if you have added more value during this pandemic. If you do want to stay at your current job, great. Make sure that you're getting paid fairly for that, you're getting compensated well for it. Maybe you can't get a higher salary but you can get more professional development benefits–a higher professional development stipend, a career coach.

I'd say if you are looking externally, of course, just making sure that you're doing that research on what the going market rate in terms of salary, comp, benefits. Even equity, all of those things. Making sure that you have a really good understanding of that so that you can negotiate for the right pay. But I am seeing that organizations now are being challenged to re-recruit their current employees because the job market is so hot because recruiters are sliding into folks’ DMs on Twitter and LinkedIn. These companies have got to come correct, so if your company is not coming correct, don't be afraid to have that conversation with them.

Dr. Joy: You've talked a couple of times, Latesha, about like salary negotiation and all these things. Where can people find this information about where to even start salary negotiations?

Latesha: There are some resources online to be able to look at pay. I know that on the LinkedIn job board, they do share salary data for certain roles. Payscale.com, Salary.com, Glassdoor.com, those are all online resources that folks have used. I've also recommended that folks hire a comp analyst. There are comp analysts that exist. If you really want to know what the going market rate is, you can hire someone to do that research for you. Of course, that comes at a fee. I would also add start having conversations with one another. I know this gets to be a little tricky, especially in the black woman community because we are underpaid. Sometimes we don't know how much we are underpaid until we start having conversations with folks in our community. To say, hey girl, this job, I'm interviewing for it, if you know somebody in that industry, like what would you say is the pay here? If you start having those open conversations, even in your circle if you can. I know that even for me as an entrepreneur, getting asked to speak on panels and speak at events, I do have a circle of folks where we talk about our speaking fees and rates to make sure that we are being paid equitably because it does matter. So, having conversations.

I would also add having conversations with recruiters as well and asking them what the salary is for these roles. Don't keep turning down these recruiters if they are in your inbox. Just have the conversation and they may give you that salary information during that initial or maybe even the second conversation. That is something to be mindful of. I will say this, let's say that you are negotiating salary and you feel like you came in too low. A few things you want to do is not giving up your salary upfront. Maybe letting that employer know or the recruiter know, hey look, I really want to learn more about this role before I share what my salary expectations are but I would like to know if you already have a salary range in mind. Salary negotiation can be tricky, but you do want to make sure you're going into these conversations prepared and informed as much as possible.

Dr. Joy: That's great information. Thank you, Latesha. In talking about the great resignation, you talked about like some of these additional benefits and people are having to re-recruit. What are some of the new normals and benefits that we can advocate for in light of the pandemic?

Latesha: Something that I've heard a lot is that we are living at work when working from home because we just wake up, get out the bed (for those of us that do work remotely) and open our computer and we start our day. With that being said, we could ask our employer for a phone, wi-fi stipend. There is a huge talk about our mental wellbeing and how companies really need to make sure that they are investing in their employees beyond just that professional development, but also that personal development and wellbeing. And so if your employer does provide any mental health benefits, whether that's covering therapy. Looking at the employee assistance plan that your organization does provide. Really talking to HR just to make sure you are aware of all the benefits that are available to you is important. But I'd say definitely that wi-fi kind of phone stipend, mental health. If someone is having to just travel a little bit for work, organizations are paying for that. But I'd say the hot topic I'm seeing right now is organizations really investing in their employees’ wellbeing. Which is why this podcast is so important to so many of us as well to get those resources and get that advice and guidance we need.

Dr. Joy: Thank you, Latesha. I wonder if you have some additional either journal prompts or questions we can ask ourselves to check in with ourselves about our careers.

Latesha: Yes, I do. I'm a huge advocate of journaling. So much of our career growth really starts from within. It's not just about output, it's also about that input. Some journal prompts that I can share is I like to use scales, like guided scales because once you're able to put a number on something, you're able to track and measure the effectiveness of it. One example I would say is on a scale from 1–10, how in control of my career do I feel? On a scale of 1–10, how much clarity do I have about my career and where I want to go? On a scale of 1–10, how confident do I feel at this particular moment? And then journal why that is. Think about what would me showing up as my most authentic and full self at work look like? Why is that not happening for me now?

Another way you can think about some journal prompts is there might be something in your career, in your life, that you're really having a hard time with processing, working through. It could be time. Maybe I just have a really hard time with managing my time at work. Journal about that and ask yourself what is my relationship with (insert whatever that is)? Maybe it is time. Maybe it is what is my relationship with self-doubt? What is my relationship with self-advocacy? And journal about what that is because if you can actually think about it almost like it's a person or a thing, not just this abstract thing, you would be able to just get that clarity. I really love journaling as a way to just emotionally process and I know that's something that you've talked about on this podcast before.

Dr. Joy: What affirmations would you offer to black women who are trying to grow their careers?

Latesha: Oh, so many affirmations. The first one I will say is that my value does not equate to my sense of productivity. My self-worth work does not equate to my sense of productivity. I am more than enough when I wake up and login to my first meeting of the day. Even just something as simple as, girl, you got this. You don't need to silence yourself or you don't need to trade your comfort for anyone else's comfort. I mean, the way I would think about affirmations is if you were having a conversation with someone else that was going through the same thing that you were, what would you say to them? What would you want someone to say to you? And now say that for yourself.

I do a lot of work with my clients around just self-worth and their career journeys. Career journaling, writing those affirmations, putting those affirmations up around our desk, in our mirror in the bathroom, all of those things can really just help us mentally stay grounded, stay confident. The self-doubt will come and I think that's something that we do need to remember. We all experience self-doubt, even the most successful people that we see online or on social media. It's not about having that self-doubt, it’s really about pushing past it. I do have a career journal for women and I do have affirmation cards that I created and I would love for folks to really take advantage of journaling and affirmation cards.

Dr. Joy: Thank you for that, Latesha. How can we stay connected to you and learn more about the products and services that you offer? What's your website as well as any social media handles you'd like to share?

Latesha: Absolutely. The career journal and the career affirmation cards can be found at CareerShopForWomen.com. I'm also very easy to find on social media @Latesha_Byrd. I have a membership community focused on career goals, career development, that community mentorship, things of that nature. That is CareerChasersClub.com. We do open enrollment every quarter. The last website (I know I’ve got a lot of sites and stuff) is my business website where we do work with organizations to help them build equitable and safe workplace cultures, and that is GoPerfeqta.com.

Dr. Joy: Perfect, and we will be sure to include all of that in the show notes. We so appreciate you sharing all your expertise with us today, Latesha. Thank you.

Latesha: Thank you so much.

Dr. Joy: I'm so glad Latesha was able to share her expertise with us today. To learn more about her and her work, be sure to visit the show notes at TherapyForBlackGirls.com/session257. And be sure to text two of your girls right now and tell them to check out the episode. If you're looking for a therapist in your area, check out the therapist directory at TherapyForBlackGirls.com/directory.

If you want to continue digging into this topic or just be in community with other sisters, come on over and join us in the Sister Circle. It’s our cozy corner of the internet designed just for black women. You can join us at Community.TherapyForBlackGirls.com. This episode was produced by Fredia Lucas and Ellice Ellis, and editing was done by Dennison Bradford. Thank y’all so much for joining me again this week. I look forward to continuing this conversation with you all real soon. Take good care.