The highs and lows of the market are inevitable.
But those highs and lows having the power to totally derail your career are not.
I was working for a hedge fund in Manhattan during the Lehman Brothers crash.
And I can clearly remember having an all-hands meeting with the executives – and they weren’t panicking at all.
Because they practiced market neutrality.
Meaning: they don’t go with the highs and lows of the market.
They take strong economic risks….but they also mitigate those risks.
They walk a middle line.
And this idea of market neutrality is at the core of everything I teach to the corporate badass women I work with.
Which is why my client’s careers aren’t impacted by the highs and lows of the market, either.
When you follow the principles of market neutrality, you can continue to advance your career, no matter what is happening in the economy.
AND you can let go of all the stress and uncertainty because you’ll know you have options AND the ability to always figure things out.
So in this episode of Women Changing Leadership with Stacy Mayer, I am going to show you exactly how YOU can achieve market neutrality by always deliberately managing your career.
Want to receive the recognition you deserve, step into a higher leadership position, get paid for your ideas instead of the hours you put in at work, and enjoy more time, freedom, energy, and joy? Then you need to get your hands on a copy of Promotions Made Easy. Get your copy here.
What You'll Learn:
- Why my corporate badasses aren’t panicking about the current economic situation
- Real life examples of how my corporate badasses are navigating economic uncertainty at their organizations
- My philosophy for dealing with economic downturns
- Why being market neutral is the key to withstanding any ups and downs in the market
- Why deliberately managing your career year-round puts you in the future
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
- Celebrate the new and improved Women Changing Leadership with Stacy Mayer by leaving me a review on iTunes!
- Ep #127: How to Paint a Vision that Makes Your Next Promotion INEVITABLE
- Follow me on Instagram
- Connect with me on LinkedIn
- Join my group coaching intensive, Executive Ahead of Time
- Get your copy of my book, Promotions Made Easy: A Step-by-Step Guide to the Executive Suite
- Go to StacyMayer.com/Strategies to join my email list and receive my email series, Seven Promotion Strategies that Your Boss Won’t Tell You
Your next promotion is just the beginning, and this podcast shows you how to get there.
Welcome to episode #152.
I am so excited about this new direction for my podcast and the reviews are coming in. It is so exciting. Everybody is on board with more Women Changing Leadership and it's just really thrilling to be at the helm and also a part of this amazing movement that is happening for women in leadership in real time. Like literally right as we speak.
So in today's episode, I'm going to be sharing with you how the principles of market neutrality are what I have really created as the foundation for everything that I teach inside of Executive Ahead of Time and on this podcast that really show you how to deliberately manage your career year round. And not be affected by the highs and lows of the market that we are all inevitably experiencing right now.
So let's get started.
Hello, corporate badasses. Welcome to yet another episode of Women Changing Leadership. I'm your host, Stacy Mayer, and incredibly excited to be here with you again this week.
The reviews are in this new brand, this new, more mission driven direction of my podcast is a huge hit and so many people are telling me so and I feel it. You feel it. I am just absolutely incredibly thrilled. I think this new direction was about a year in the making, and I'm so happy to have finally gotten the focus and the drive to make it happen. And it feels almost like I've been doing it for years. And so I'm just so thrilled.
I want to share with you some of the things that people are saying to me and the notes that I received as we get started, because I think it really helps to hear from the community and what really matters to them. And I also want to hear from you. If you are loving this podcast, if you have gotten literally anything out of the last three years of Maximize Your Career and are excited about this new direction of Women Changing Leadership that we're headed with this podcast and the information I'm going to be giving you, I encourage you to go to iTunes and leave a review. This is so incredibly important, not only because it tells me that this podcast matters to you, but it also is your ability to change leadership. It's your ability to lift other women up, to show them why this podcast matters and that and give them the ability to find it, to find these tools so that they can not only advance their careers, but also really be that change at their organization.
So go to iTunes, look for Women Changing Leadership. Leave your review or send me a note as well and let me know what you think about it, because I am just so incredibly excited. We have a phenomenal amount of guests coming on the podcast because my inbox is just flooded with requests now that we're more focused on Women Changing Leadership. Absolutely incredible female leaders who are doing really big things in their industries, as well as women who are really pushing the envelope on all areas of their life. I'm going to be doing a series at the end of the year where we'll be discussing, basically, anything that we need to thrive as a woman in leadership, from finance to work life balance to health advice, to marriage advice. We're going to be getting all of that towards the end of the year. So really look forward to those interviews coming up soon. And if you have a guest that you want me to interview, send them my way. And I would absolutely connect with them.
So let me give you a couple of these notes that I received. I'm just really thrilled about this. This note was from Sherry. It said:
"I listened to your podcast every week and it was excited today to hear the rebranded version. I could feel your excitement and energy throughout the entire podcast."
A note from Laura. It says:.
"You're definitely on the right track."
Another note from Brandi that says:.
"Agreed, I downloaded the last of and the first of episodes to listen to while in flight this week. Exciting times, Stacy Mayer."
And these three women are all part of my leadership table community, which means they've been working with me on the executive path for over a year now. So they came in at Executive Ahead of Time to learn the foundational principles of stepping into executive leadership. And then they have grown themselves into higher level leadership positions and titles. And now they are truly the change at their organizations. They are Women Changing Leadership. And so they're reflecting back to me, Hey, this podcast is on the right track. We're headed in the right direction. And I'm so excited for this mission that we're all on collectively as executive leaders and women in power. So excited.
Now, in today's episode, what I'm going to be talking about is something big that is happening in the tech industry, but I think it's in all industries. And we have been experiencing and concerned about an economic downturn for quite some time. But because the tech industry in general is such a powerful force, I don't think it's just where I live... I live right in Silicon Valley, in the Bay Area. And so I see it a lot. And so I definitely understand that I'm in a bubble. But I think it's really across the board. Because what happens in the tech industry really drives what happens in other organizations.
So the big thing that is in the news right now, and it goes without saying, but I'll just point it out here so you know my frame of reference. We had a thousand layoffs at Facebook and then followed by insane stuff happening at Twitter with Elon Musk and just layoffs, re-hires, just all kinds of chaos happening over there. I don't even understand it. It's insane. And then Amazon announcing 10,000 layoffs.
Now, the first thing that I just want to say about this is that while we look at these numbers and we say, wow, those are really big numbers, I'm much more concerned what is with what is actually affecting the women that I work with on a regular basis. I don't look at the big trends to necessarily say: oh my gosh, we should all be afraid. Let's all buckle down. But more so to just sort of say: Oh, is that affecting my actual clients? Is that actually affecting the women, the listeners of this podcast, or is it a global phenomenon? Because what happened in a lot of ways, as you know, with the tech industry, is that the inflation of salaries was so unbelievably high that that's why they call it a bubble and that's why they call it a bubble bursting, is because they were just so out of touch with reality.
I think Facebook, they're announcing 11,000 layoffs, but they did 8000 hires just in the last six months. So it's just really we have to put it in perspective and really ask ourselves, how am I personally affected by this?
And so now I'm going to transition into what I'm actually noticing, the women that I work with directly, how they're actually affected by this. And the biggest way that they're being affected by this is that promotion opportunities are being put on hold and hiring freezes are being implemented.
And this is a pretty common practice towards the end of the year at organizations anyway. But I think this year in particular, what happens when we see these economic trends happening at larger organizations, we sort of push the panic button before it's actually needed. And so what we do is we just sort of close our doors and we say, okay, I'm going to wait this out and see what happens. And I think that's a very valid thing to do. I think until we get on the other side, you want to kind of wait and see and make sure that you don't all of a sudden hurt yourself by hiring a bunch of new people or promoting a bunch of new people and then having to contribute to layoffs yourself as an organization. So I completely understand this practice.
But for my corporate badasses, what's happening for them, is promotion opportunities that they've been promised three months from now or six months from now are being delayed until things sort of blow over, so to speak. And then the other thing that's happening are hiring freezes. And so this might be affecting you if you were planning on leaving or looking at other companies. And right now they're just saying: you know what? We're not hiring anybody outside of our organization. We're going to wait and see what happens.
So that's how they're being affected personally. And you could hear that information and really press the panic button yourself, start freaking out and say, oh, my gosh, I missed the boat, I missed my opportunity, I screwed things up. What is going to happen if I don't get my promotion?
And I have lots and lots of things to share about this. And that's what this entire episode is going to be about is my particular philosophy and how I work through economic downturns and how I set my corporate badasses to not freak out, to not press that panic button.
So the first thing I want you to know is that for a lot of the women, especially inside of Executive Ahead of Time and The Leadership Table, they are noticing these changes at their organization. But when they're coming to me for information or they're sharing with the group, they're sharing this information with the group in a very neutral way. And this is incredibly important because even if they look at their older selves, their previous selves, even just from six months earlier, they may not have been able to share this information with a group of people in a non-panicked way. In a non-we-have-to-batten-down-the-hatches type way.
And so really what they're doing is they're sharing: Hey, this is happening at my organization. Do you have any advice? Do you have any thoughts about it? But they're not like: Oh my God, what am I going to do? I don't know. I'm freaking out. What do we do? I have to lay off all these people on my team and we were already having hiring trouble.
So all of that is not really happening. But what is happening is the curiosity and the questioning. The other thing that is happening for people is literal disappointment. So there are women who are disappointed, of course, and sad because they have to lay off people on their team or disappointed and a little bit nervous in the sense of not knowing what the future holds and really uncertain, disappointed because they wish that their promotion had happened just a tiny bit sooner so that they didn't have to deal with this right now. Those types of feelings, which are all incredibly valid, but those feelings, again, are not the same as panic, stress or freaking out.
And so how is that possible that you can be promised a promotion and then be told that that promotion is going to be put on hold temporarily and not be freaking out? How can how is it possible that at your organization you could have a hiring freeze and murmurs about potential layoffs and not be freaking out? How is it possible that you could be have been searching for the past couple of months for outside job opportunities only to be told that the economy is shutting down and people aren't hiring right now? And now you feel even more stuck in your current situation, like you're never, ever going to be able to leave. How is it possible to experience all of those things without that freak out, that stress, that panic?
And here is the #1 answer: everything that I teach you on this podcast, inside Executive Ahead of Time, is based on the principles of being market neutral.
This is a concept that I learned from working at a hedge fund in midtown Manhattan. And basically what it means is that they don't get affected by the highs and the lows of the market. So this definitely applies more to investments. And then I'm going to show you how it applies to your career as well.
And in 2009, I was working at this hedge fund and the Lehman Brothers crashed at that time. And there was just huge economic fallout in particular at that time. And now that I'm saying this out loud, I find it incredibly hilarious because I was working in the heart of the financial district during the fall of Lehman Brothers. And then here I am working in the heart of Silicon Valley as Facebook announces they're doing 11,000 layoffs. But anyway, so maybe I was meant to be put in these crazy situations because of the philosophies that I have about market neutrality.
So the executive leaders at this hedge fund that I worked for, I remember them doing an all hands meeting and sharing with us that why they weren't panicking, why they weren't freaking out about this market crash that was currently happening. And the reason that they explained was because of their belief in market neutrality. That they don't go with the highs and lows of the market. But they do take strong economic risks, but they also mitigate those risks. So they walk that middle line.
Now, I'm going to share with you how this applies to your career. Now, the connections might already be obvious, but it is so obvious to me. When I started my business from the beginning, I promoted a market neutral approach to managing your career.
I want you to think about your own professional development. Now, if you listen to this podcast, that it's probably true that you think about your career development ahead of time, that you are actually proactively creating opportunities for yourself. But the vast majority of leaders don't actually plan for their professional development ahead of time. They wait for their performance review, they wait until something happens. They wait until they're ready to leave their organization. They wait until there's a layoff or something drastic happens and they absolutely need a job. Now, this might have been you in the past. And you're listening to my podcast on the regular. And even if that's just getting into your ears and actually thinking: Oh, I should be proactively managing my career year round, then you are already so many steps ahead of everybody else around you.
So my general philosophy is that we don't wait for performance review time to advocate for our promotion. We are having conversations about our promotion and showing up as an executive leader year round. We don't wait to be seen as an executive leader. Once we're actually promoted into executive leadership positions, we proactively think and communicate like an executive leader today as the Executive Ahead of Time.
These are all philosophies based in the idea of market neutrality, that we're deliberately managing our career and life year round that helps us get off of the roller coasters of life, of those highs and lows of our career. And it really puts us back in that driver's seat and allows us to take ownership in our career. I think for a lot of people, they feel like that's exhausting. So it seems like a lot of work. It seems like: I don't even know where to start. But personally, from my point of view, I think it's exhausting not to have that philosophy, to be in that reactionary mode all the time, to wait and see, to not know what's going on.
And then in addition to adding to your stress levels, it also puts you in the unfortunate situation where you're passing up opportunities, where you're unable to say yes to opportunities that may or may not be presented to you because you're not seeing them or you're not ready to say yes to them because you're so mired in work, you're so overwhelmed and you haven't really thought about it. So then you end up telling other people, I'll get back to you. I'll let you know. And what happens is, is that when we start delaying those opportunities, then we'll find that those opportunities go away and they're no longer available to us. We no longer even have those opportunities. And then inevitably the market crashes and hiring freezes happened and layoffs happen. And then now we're stuck in this vicious cycle.
But if we take that market neutral approach and we're always advocating for our career, then we are steps ahead because we're always looking for opportunities and then we're always engaging in conversation. So if one industry seems to have hiring freezes, and I'll tell you right now that there is even in the tech industry, there are a lot of companies that are still hiring at a massive rate, so even when we see trends happening in certain organizations, we have other organizations that are ready for us to step into that leadership position.
The other thing is, is that when we're not panicking, when we're not freaking out, then we're able to take advantage of opportunities and to raise our hand and to step into a leadership role even while other people are being laid off.
And that could sound rude, but it's actually what happens. When these orgs happen, when these shifts happen, then that is an opportunity for many of us to get a promotion into a leadership position that may or may not have been available to us in other situations.
So all of these are really important opportunities that are presented to us. But the only way we can be ready for them is to be deliberately managing our career in life at all times, forever. And I'm going to give you a couple of ways that I teach very specifically how to do that. But I really look at everything that I teach in Executive Ahead of Time is essentially built on this foundation of market neutrality, this idea that we're always advocating for our career and we're not waiting for performance reviews, or waiting for other people to acknowledge our hard work and to give us that promotion or give us more pay. We're proactively going out and doing it, but in these three ways we are doing it in a way that's sustainable, that's natural to us. It's kind of like endurance training. We're doing it year round, but we almost stopped noticing it after a little while. So, Executive ahead of Time is technically a six week program. You get lifetime enrollment because it takes a long time and many trials and errors to practice what I teach inside of Executive Ahead of Time. But essentially, after you start implementing everything just in the first two months, you're going to start to notice changes right away in in your opportunities that are being presented to you.
So in the beginning, something that I always recommend and it's module two of Executive Ahead of Time, is to 3x your vision. So this is the first thing that you're going to start to do if you want to maintain that market neutrality. And what you're doing is you're really thinking about: where do I want to be three promotions from now? And I'm going to speak about it here in a different way. So I'm not going to give the full definition. So definitely go back and listen to previous podcast episodes where I actually tell you how to create a 3xed vision, but how it works in terms of deliberately managing your career year round, is that it puts you in the future. Now, the future never really changes. Your future vision for your career is not affected by market highs and lows, by hiring freezes, by layoffs. Your vision really stays the same, and your conversations about your vision can happen at any time in the world. No matter what is happening in the world, it can happen. You can have a conversation with somebody about your long term vision.
Whereas if you are thinking in the short term, which would be your next promotion, I'm afraid I'm going to get laid off, how am I going to get that next job? And all of these things are very important and immediate. But if those are the types of conversations that we're having on a regular basis, then what happens is, first of all, let's say that there's not an urgency. You're not going to be inclined to have those conversations if you're only talking about your next promotion, but yet you're not worried about your next career opportunity. There's nothing going wrong at your work. You're not looking to leave, per se.
So then what happens is, is that you just don't engage in conversations with people. But if you have that long-term vision for your career, you're much more likely to just stay curious, to learn about them, to hear about possibility and not get down into the nitty gritty of: how am I going to get that next job?
The second thing that I teach often, and I'm always reminding my corporate badasses of, is always be interviewing. And this is the same kind of thing as always be advocating for your promotion. So if you're looking for an opportunity outside, and even if you're not, it just kind of the the frequency is a little bit different. So if you're actively looking for an opportunity outside or you're thinking about transitioning in the next six months, of course you're always interviewing several interviews a week. But if you're thinking: oh, maybe in the next couple of years, now you're just replying to possibilities that get presented to you on LinkedIn or wherever, as needed. But I always recommend that people interview even when they're not looking for an opportunity.
And of course there are reasons like practice and keeping you fresh and all of those things. But it also reminds you that there are always other opportunities out there. It keeps you out of that stress cycle where you're like: I need this job and you can play around with your interview skills and how you're communicating versus: I desperately need them to say yes to me. And those are two very different ways of interviewing. And I definitely recommend the more laid back approach where you're actually able to engage in conversation. You're staying curious about them, and the same goes for advocating for your promotion.
So the third step is that you're having 15-Minute Ally Meetings year round. And so by advocating for your promotion, I don't mean speaking about your accomplishments. So this is a misnomer in women's leadership that we tell everybody how awesome we are and then we schedule meetings just to spell out to our boss all the incredible accomplishments, kind of like we would do on our performance review year round.
And I don't agree with that. But what I do teach is that we engage in 15-Minute Ally Meetings year round with all members of the executive team with network outside of our organization. And essentially what we're doing is we're "showing our work". We're talking about how we think about decisions. We're sharing what we're curious about in our industry, what matters to us, articles that we read, really, what is going on inside our heads? How how we are thinking about the problem versus all of these amazing accomplishments. And when you do those three things you're around, you are setting yourself up to avoid those those highs and lows of the market, to avoid those potential stress pitfalls.
Now, that's not to say that you're not going to get laid off, that you're not going to have hiring freezes, that you're not going to have promotion opportunities get put on hold. All of those things are still going to happen to you because they're very much outside of our control. But what is within your control is you can be deliberately managing your career at all times. You can be in the driver's seat of your career knowing that if opportunities aren't happening for you at this particular organization, that you have connections and you're ready to go out and get those opportunities elsewhere.
You have taken the time to build those relationships so that it just takes a quick phone call to say: Hey, it looks like I'm going to be laid off. Do you have anything for me? You can do that with ten different people in a moment's notice. And they're all ready to jump and help you. So that's the foundation that we're trying to set up.
Now, if you're listening to this podcast and you're like: Oh crap, Stacy, I wish I had met you sooner. I wish that I wasn't in this position of freaking out. I wish I was an Executive Ahead of Time. I wish I had been having these conversations with you all along. It's okay. It's never too late to start thinking about things this way, because what's going to happen for you is, let's say you are on the receiving end of some of these of this stress and the inability to kind of get yourself on the other side, is when you join a community like Executive Ahead of Time, we're reminding everybody in this community that this is normal. That change is normal, that highs and lows are inevitably going to happen. And when you have that attitude, even in just one day, you're going to start interviewing differently. You're going to reach out to people in a different way. You're going to use the communication tools to be able to really tell your story, tell your communicate your leadership brand to other executive leaders so that they're just ready to be like: okay, you know what, Susan? We're ready. We need you on our team right now. So it pulls you out of that funk, also incredibly quickly, and shows you what's possible for you on the other side.
So I definitely encourage you, whether you're feeling the stress of the highs and lows right now, or you are somebody who has been deliberately managing your career, you've been listening to this podcast, you've been thinking about these things, but you're like: I still don't get it. Then I encourage you to come into Executive Ahead of Time. Join this amazing program, this group of the most powerhouse women leaders you have ever met, all showing each other what is possible when we get ourselves out of that emotional roller coaster, being so dependent on whatever the organization decides, whatever our performance review says, whatever that crap is, that tells us that we have to be beholden to another human being and really just reminding ourselves that we are in charge of our career, that we are the owners of our career, and that we are total corporate badasses. And if those opportunities aren't being given to us at this time, we're going to go out and make those opportunities happen for ourselves.
That is Women Changing Leadership. Thank you so much for listening and I'll see you next week. Bye!
About Your Host
Hi! I'm Stacy Mayer, a Certified Executive Coach and Promotion Strategist on a mission to bring more diversity to the leadership table by getting 1000 underrepresented corporate managers promoted into senior executive positions each year worldwide.
I help undervalued executives scale to the C-Suite using repositioning strategies that build your confidence and visibility, so you can earn the recognition and support you need from key stakeholders while embodying your unique leadership style.
My podcast “Maximize Your Career with Stacy Mayer” tackles topics like executive communication, getting more respect in the workplace from challenging bosses and team members, and avoiding the common mistakes that sabotage career advancement.