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Get Your Bag, Sis!

by Vanessa McKnight

Have you been in a situation where you know hands down you are the best person at your job? Working twice as hard to get half as far. However, no matter what you do to get to that next level, you seem to be stuck or are continually overlooked. There comes a point in time where you must simply let go and let God and walk out on faith. You got it!

Corporate Black Woman smiling

I was offered a position with another bank. A good position with a $10,000 increase in salary. The bank I was currently working for made a counteroffer, of only $1,500 more. I decided to leave and gave my 2-week notice. On my last day, my bank made another counteroffer, immediately promoted me to Senior position, gave me another $1,500 and promised to promote me to a higher position within another year. The only caveat was that I needed to take extra classes, take on extra work. I did all that and more. Two years later, I still had not been promoted.

“I hope you are encouraged to stand up for yourself and be willing to go get your blessing, and yo bag sis. You deserve it!”

Fast forward two years later, after still not being promoted, I applied for and was offered a position with another department within my current bank. Meanwhile, my supervisor finally offered me the position I wanted. At the same time, I received another offer from another bank and this time it was $12,000 more. The only difference was it was not the promoted title I wanted. Nonetheless, it was $12,000. I decided to go to the other bank, and I gave my 2-week notice, again. In the end, just after I gave my resignation, the CEO of the bank called me on a Sunday afternoon to ask me what could be done to keep me. I told him specifically, if he could match the offer I received and promote me to the position I desired, I would consider staying. He called me three days later and offered me $5,000 less and told me I had to take formal training in Tysons (Northern Virginia region)for possibly two years. I decided to decline the counteroffer. I also decided to decline the counteroffer in my own way. The following is my “exit email” to the CEO on my last day.

Good morning Mr. *****:

First, thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule a few times this week to communicate with me about my career goals and your efforts to help me achieve them at ****** Bank. I am forever humbled.

Amanda Gorman, the nation's first-ever youth poet laureate, read in her poem during the inauguration of President Joe Biden, “When the day comes we ask ourselves where can we find light in this never-ending shade?” The term "throwing shade" is an urban colloquialism meaning a subtle insult.

As a 40 something Black woman scratching and clawing my way up the ladder of success in corporate America, where most people at the top don't look like me, I have felt shade many times in the workplace. I'd be remiss if I didn't share my disappointment in the counter offer I received from you. While I truly understand that there are several factors you had to consider, particularly my level of formal credit training and the salary range of a PM position (based on experience), I believe the work I've done has brought real value to ****** Bank overall. While here, I touched more loans than anyone else in the market on an average monthly basis; I earned a Certificate in Business and Commercial Lending from the ABA and took dozens of online Shockproof Training! courses that strengthened my credit knowledge; I have prepared several credit/officer memos, processed hundreds of loans from start to finish, including over 100 PPP loans; underwritten about six loans independently; and have consistently performed several duties that exceed the job description of a Senior Lending Assistant. What I am most proud of is that I managed to do all that while participating in several volunteering activities, including as the President of my HOA and most recently while serving on the CRA Action Committee.

I sincerely thank you, but I respectfully decline your counteroffer. Not because I wasn't offered an extra $192 per paycheck in gross income. I am confident if I operate with the same integrity and work ethic I will earn that and more in the future. But because I feel it's time for me to find that light Amanda Gorman spoke about. And I choose to try with a new and exciting opportunity at another bank.

As I shared with you, I spent a little over three years at ******* Bank in the mid-90s and before I left I worked in commercial lending with Joe Blow, John Blow and Jack Blow. I left in 1997 right before ****** Bank acquired it. Then I started at ******** Bank in October 2016 before it merged with ******* Bank the following April. Perhaps through serendipity, and if the door is still open, I will one day return to ******* Bank again.

So Mr. *****, today is my last official day as a ****** Bank employee. I will cherish the memories and the invaluable knowledge I gained here. I will leave holding my head high because I gave my best; was always willing to take on more responsibility and help out anywhere I could; had an insatiable desire to be challenged, and to learn and grow which translated into my increased value to the lenders I supported and the ****** Bank customers I happily served.

It has been an awesome friggin ride!

God bless,


“I hope you are encouraged to stand up for yourself and be willing to go get your blessing and yo bag sis. You deserve it.”


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