I was employed at a Global Fortune 100 company and for the first two years it was great. Recognition for my work, opportunities at promotions, and an enjoyable atmosphere. But the last four years of my tenure changed dramatically. It was always a challenge since the headquarters was outside of the US, but even with a solid global reputation both within and outside of my department, I found the opportunities changed once I hit the Director level.
There were two positions for which I applied. For both of these positions, I discussed the opportunity with a variety of senior managers all of whom said I would be not only a viable candidate, but perhaps the only solid candidate. In both circumstances, males from outside of the company were hired.
With the entry of a new C-level manager in my management chain, things became even worse. He indicated that his entire management staff needed to be ‘local to the headquarters office’ and provided this for an excuse for not including me among his future management team. In spite of this, he had no fewer than four men on the new management team located remote in the same office where I worked. If you were male, it was ok to not be in headquarters apparently.
I was now faced with the ‘opportunity’ to ‘prove’ myself by taking a demotion to a Project Manager. Over twelve years experience at a manager/director level, with 6 years of reviews from my managers at “exceeds expectations” within this company, and yet I was to be demoted. Without a performance reason. Simply that there was no ‘room in the management team’ for me.
I reported this to the HR department with no response or resolution, and felt the best option for me was to leave the company before I lost my title and compensation level. At the time I left, I was the last female in the department with a director title.
I was one of at least four women pushed out of the department within a three-month period of time. One could argue that the new C wanted his own management team. I completely understand that approach. But this was not the case.
I stand by my decision to leave the company—it was the only decision to make. I also stand by my decision not to sue the company. It is just too much energy spent looking backward instead of forward for me personally. My take-away from this experience was to value that inner voice that warned me there were problems a year before the final resolution. Other opportunities will present themselves and I will be strong and ready for them.