Dear Elpha: I chose to reduce my work hours for more family time, which unexpectedly cost me a generous equity package. Did I make a terrible decision? Is there a way to backtrack?Featured

✨Dear Elpha✨ is a new series where we feature a question submitted by one of you (can be anonymous!) with thoughtful advice from our pool of experts.

Q: I am a working mom. I transitioned to People Operations and was swiftly promoted and juggled it all somewhat gracefully until I just couldn't do it anymore. I was working outside of my time zone and trying to manage my children. I finally decided to step down from my promotion and go 3/4 time, in doing that the generous equity package I was granted was taken away. While I love being able to spend more time with my little children (not working late in the evenings) I am remorseful about missing out on the potential win from the equity. Did I make a terrible decision? Is there a way to backtrack? When I stepped down 4 months ago, I wasn't told I would lose the equity nor is it stated in the agreement. I am wondering how to open up this conversation with my CEO." - Happy Mom, Remorseful Career Woman

In the fifth edition of Dear Elpha (check out the first, second, third, and fourth editions), we’re excited to feature advice from @krystinmorgan , @ashleypare , and @Laurie1226 :

Dear Happy Mom,

The juggle and the struggle are real, so let me start by commending you on trying to balance it all. Transitioning from a demanding career to prioritizing your family is a big decision, and while it’s natural to feel conflicted, I don't think you made a terrible choice. After all, no one remarks on their deathbed that they wish they’d worked more.

But that doesn’t mean it’s an ideal situation, as you’ve discovered. All choices have pros and cons, so it’s important to focus on your values. I recommend thinking about what matters most to you: balance? Time with your kids? Progression in your industry? Earning the highest compensation possible?

It sounds like you currently have balance and time with your kids, while the biggest drawback is the loss of equity. You could consider looking elsewhere for a similarly balanced role with higher pay, which could make up for some of the equity loss. The short-term effort to get back into the job hunt could result in long-term gains.

That said, if you’d prefer to stay at your current organization, it’s worth initiating a conversation with your CEO (if that is your direct chain of command; otherwise, start with your boss). Share your appreciation for the opportunity to shift your role, but note your concerns about losing the equity. Request clarification and transparency about the terms of the agreement. Explain your belief in the company’s future trajectory and express your desire to be an owner by holding equity in the organization. Be respectful and professional, but don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself.

Remember, too, that equity doesn’t have guaranteed value — the market is volatile and there’s no promise of gains. Your time with your family — and your mental health — are invaluable and worth prioritizing, even if there are some financial setbacks.

Best of luck!

- Krystin Morgan, Writer, Recruiter

Hello Happy Mom, Remorseful Career Woman,

Being a working Mom in People Ops is no small feat and you’re doing it…but, is it working for you in this role, at this organization? I’m sensing in addition to feeling remorseful, maybe you’re also feeling frustrated because you felt stuck, unsupported, and/or blindsided?It sounds like you weren’t given all of the information before you made the switch, which isn’t fair. Go easy on yourself knowing you did the best you could with the info you had at the time – no regrets.

The good news is you have options. There’s an opportunity for you to gain clarity, self-advocate, and leverage this lesson. There is no “hole” you can’t dig yourself out of, and I fully support you in taking the time to articulate your concerns and build your case to make an “ask” of your CEO. This will give you the information you need to find peace in your decision and to show up at work, give, and over perform in your role moving forward, without resentment.

So, here’s my advice on how to bring this up with your CEO:

- be curious- be honest- be clearHere’s an example:

“Dear CEO, I was wondering if we could discuss my compensation package. There are a few things I’m curious about since moving into my current position, one of them being my equity package. It wasn’t made clear to me that I’d lose my prior grant by transitioning into this role, and I’m feeling disappointed. I love my role and appreciate the new schedule we’ve agreed to, but I’d like to understand if I’m no longer eligible for equity because of my hours, or if it’s something else. I’d love to discuss what it would take for me to be awarded an equity package that’s aligned with my current role and contribution.”You’ve got this! Remember everything is negotiable. If equity is off the table, ask for what you truly need to make this role worth your time and energy.

- Ashley Paré, CEO & Founder at Own Your Worth

Dear Elpha,

To your first question, “Did I make a terrible decision”.

We all wonder at points in our careers/ lives if we have made a wrong decision.

What I know for sure is that you made the best decision you could have made for you and your family at that time, given what you knew, how you were feeling and who you were.

One of my favorite exercises I walk my coaching clients through is what I call: There Is No Wrong Choice. When you are faced with a hard choice or regret a past one try this:

Write down all the reasons why each choice, past or present, is/was 100% the right choice. Through this process you will begin to feel peace about all past and future choices.

Regarding equity.

You might first go to an employment lawyer and see if you have any recourse. You want to have the facts.

If you do have a case, you can either have the lawyer approach the CEO or, depending on your relationship with the CEO, meet with them yourself.

Tell them that you were surprised that equity was taken off the table, given that there was no mention of that possibility in your agreement. You would like to find a way to keep serving the company, keep your equity, and keep your work/life balance intact.

Ask what they would suggest and get quiet. Listen to the response, ask clarifying questions, and see where it goes.

Remember: at any point, you can say that you would like to sleep on everything and get back to them about the next steps. You do not have to resolve it all in one meeting.

You can do this even if the lawyer does not see a case because it never hurts to ask!

- Laurie Swanson, CEO at InspiHER Tech


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