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  • Fiona Grignard

How I went from being underpaid and undervalued to working 2 days a week

The other day, I was talking to a friend of mine and he told me I should start coaching him for his career so he, too, could work half the time and get paid as much.

Today, I work 2 days a week and make as much as I used to in my last full-time position, giving me a lot more time to work on my other passion project: My Yellow Horizon. When I share that, people look at me, curious, wondering how the heck I managed to do that.

But believe me, it hasn’t always been unicorns and butterflies.

8 years ago, while I was still a “young and innocent professional”, I was making 24 500€ / year working my ass off in Madrid for a big international corporation. Worse, they had originally offered me €25K over the phone, but when I received my contract and noticed that 500€ were missing from the offer, I didn’t dare to correct them and convinced myself it wasn’t that much of a big deal. My friend (the one from above), on the other hand, because he was working in Madrid on a German contract, was making close to €40K / year, for a similar graduate position. But since I loved my job, I tried not to make a big deal out of it.

The year after, as I was working in Amsterdam, I watched a colleague of my own age, receive an offer that was 16 000 € per year higher than me… to do the exact same job as mine. Again, I didn't say a word.

Here I was working from 2 of my favorite cities, people around thought I had the dream job, and yet... I was underpaid and miserable.

When it came to lousy work situations, I feel like I’ve had my fair shares as well! Working over the weekends hoping to please my bosses and finally get the recognition I was craving for, causing me to have anxiety attacks during Xmas holidays, wondering if I had forgotten to reply to an email.

I’ve been in a company where my new coworkers told me after 1 week that they were sorry for me I had accepted the job because the place was hell. The lies and manipulation that I witnessed soon after proved them right.

I used to accept with a smile all the so-called "opportunities" even when I didn’t really want to, or when I didn’t have the time, and try to manage the never-ending To-Do list, hoping they would help my career.

That's probably one of the worst, too. I was trying to convince myself I was happy. Or at least I should be happy! I didn't dare to share it with my family or friends because on paper everything was fine. And yet... I was far from being fine.

The result was too often a mediocre end-of-year conversation with my manager who nicely but firmly told me they still expected me to do better.

Even though I felt like I had given so much energy at work, I ended up being frustrated for not having the outcomes and the recognition I believed I deserved. For the beginning of my career, I felt the disappointing “can do better” sticker labeled on my forehead and on my career in general.

I was full of fears and blockages, and nothing I did seemed to be really leading me to professional success. The opposite, I lost my self-confidence more and more.

Fast forward a few years to today: I am now the Human Resources Director in a consulting company. I have an amazing team of 5 women working with me in the department. My main stakeholder is the CEO of the company with whom I cultivate an excellent relationship.

Today, I actually take pleasure in my everyday work life (and even my end-of-year evaluations). There are of course many things I still need to work on, but I am also fully convinced of what I bring to the table, and that changes everything.

As if that wasn’t enough in itself, I also make pretty much the same money that I used to make a few years ago, that’s true. Except I actually only work 2 days/week now. So in reality, that’s about 2,5 times what I used to make just a few years before. That gives me the financial security to do whatever I want on the side.

Since 2018, I am also growing my coaching business My Yellow Horizon to really follow my passion to guide others.

When I look back to the 27-year-old I used to be, I nearly can’t believe how far I’ve come. And yet, here I am.

This message is not to brag or make you feel bad because you may still be stuck. The total opposite. This is to make you feel understood. Trust me, I understand your struggles in your career. I understand your frustrations.

But hold on a second here.

I want to ask a very very important question : What do you think/feel about my old story? About my 27-year-old self stuck in all those situations? Do you feel sorry for me? Do you feel like I was unlucky? Do you feel like I've been unfairly treated?

Because that's how I used to feel . But I couldn't be more wrong!

Things started to radically change for me when I understood that every single one of my beliefs, my thoughts, my decisions and my actions were 1) creating my results 2) my own responsibility Therefore, my. results. were. my. own. responsibility.

The bitter taste in my mouth slowly disappeared as I changed my perspective, and my whole life started to transform, on a professional but also on a personal level, as I was taking the power back within me.

I had realized that I had brought everything onto myself. I had created that life myself. Just like today I'm creating my current life. I just know better now.

What I learnt over the past few years about myself, my mindset, how to manage my energy and my relationships, how to sell myself to a company has had an amazing impact on my whole life and I really wished I had learnt it years ago. I’m so much happier and more fulfilled than I was ever before. I deal with difficult times, challenges, and setbacks in a completely different way than before, allowing me to grow instead of feeling stuck.

I know my story isn't unique. Because I keep seeing it all around me. I wished back then I had a group of other women in my life going through the same things so I wouldn't feel alone in this. I wished I had the right tool to grow my self-confidence and to get out of the situations that don't serve me.

And this is exactly what I am offering to you today with The Blooming Leader.

The coaching program my 27-year-old self desperately needed! ​

I've created this program because this is exactly what I needed a few years ago.

As I see a lot of inspiring women around me dimming their lights because they do not fit in the current societal model, I realized I needed to birth this project sooner than later!

If you feel called to learn more, click here.

Or come chat with me!

You're not alone and together we are a lot stronger!

Remember, luck is an attitude! So are you ready to bring on some luck this year... in your career and personal life?


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