four updates from recent letter-writers

Here are four updates from letter-writers who had their questions answered here recently.

1. How likely am I to be a top candidate the second time around? (#5 at the link)

Writing an update because I know everyone loves those and also a happy ending! They ended up getting back to me two weeks earlier than they told me they would and gauged my interest. This surprised me as I didn’t know if they would get back to me at all. They didn’t make me an offer straight away but wanted me to talk to some additional VPs/higher-ups via Google Hangouts, so I did have to do additional interviews. During one of those calls, I indirectly got info that the person they extended the offer to declined, so that’s likely why I was contacted again so soon and it was the original position not the second position being offered. Those went well, but they needed to get some headcount issues straight on their end and left me hanging for three weeks.

Fast forward to as of three months to the date I applied, and I have an offer! The team liked me so much they decided to over look my 2+ years of experience when the job asked for 3-5 years. So anything can happen!

I am beyond ecstatic. I know this doesn’t happen to everyone however hopefully this lets others know that it is possible to get hired in a similar situation.

2. Pregnancy, meats and working lunches

Based on the excellent advice I received from you and the commenters, I contacted the person who actually orders the lunches, and suggested an alternative that was similarly priced on the menu (baked potatoes). I didn’t give my specific reason for asking, just said that I’d seen the menu and these looked delicious, and would it be possible to try something different for the next meeting to mix things up? She agreed – and I became the hero of the next meeting! Everyone loved the different option, and “Tracy” even mentioned during the meeting that I had suggested the change – earning me a lot of thanks that day.

Moral of this story is, everyone appreciates a change from lunch meat sandwiches! And if you’re friendly and ask nicely, you’d be surprised at the positive change you can make.

3. When is too early to ask for a promotion? (#2 at the link)

I got a promotion today (with 12% raise)! This is one year and two months after my start date. I did end up bringing up the topic about a year in, and my manager was amazing enough to make it happen. She was able to control the title, but when I brought up salary, she had more of a response of “talk to HR. They use a company to check fair market value.” Part of me believes her naivete because she seems like the type who doesn’t care much about salary (which made me hesitant to bring it up at all because of the fear of sounding greedy compared to her).

This experience made me think about two points: First, I wonder if it is (still) in fact true that in most fields. even 1.5 years would be too early to discuss a promotion. I obviously don’t have exposure to most fields, but I wonder if this will eventually make it to your “advice I changed my mind about” list!

HR said they use a vendor that checks for fair market value upon hire and twice a year. If a salary gets flagged, it’s supposed to be adjusted (I wonder if companies actually adjust). I expressed my concern that my title has a wide range of meaning, so that scale wouldn’t necessarily reflect my specific fair market value. How reliable are these vendors/programs?

Note from me: It’s still true in most fields in a year and a half in a job is too early to discuss a promotion. Not all fields, but most. On your second question, good programs don’t base market value on title alone, but look at actual responsibilities.

4. I’m in trouble for cc’ing a laid-off coworker on a message questioning her layoff

I wrote an apology email to just my manager, who thanked me for it. I didn’t hear anything else, and when I asked him about it recently, he said the matter was closed, no problem.

I also dropped a line to my former colleague apologizing for putting her in an awkward position, and she said she hadn’t thought it a problem in the first place, but was also grateful.

As I expected, our Teapot Testing efforts have fallen off substantially. I recently re-voiced my concern about this to my manager, who listened well and understands my concern, but still believes that eliminating the position was the right move. The manager of the adjacent team that has primary responsibility for this is back from leave, but no additional resources have been brought to bear. I have had discussions with those who are nominally now responsible for the additional testing. It’s definitely having a negative morale impact across a few departments. There have been other job requirement expansions, and the Teapot Testing routinely falls off the bottom of the list. We are supposed to make some new hires soon, but I don’t know yet for what specific positions, and in the meantime, the deficit that we had made substantial progress in filling has grown again.

My former colleague reports that she is in “a great job now where I report to a friendly, competent manager and get lots of positive feedback on my work,” so good for her! The same is basically true for me; I just wish that these buzz-killing resource decisions on the periphery of my job would get better.

{ 9 comments… read them below }

  1. Joseph*

    I’m glad we got four updates that all turned out well at once. Positive resolutions don’t happen often enough.

  2. Lily in NYC*

    Yay for good updates! (what the heck – I got a “sorry, you are commenting too fast” error message but I haven’t commented here for over an hour).

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Did you refresh the page right before commenting? If it can tell that you’ve only been on the page for a few seconds, it’ll display that message — it’s to avoid automated spammers.

  3. Engineer Girl*


    And if you’re friendly and ask nicely, you’d be surprised at the positive change you can make.

    I’m not going to dismiss asking nicely and respectfully. That’s a great way to set up people so that they actually listen to your proposal. That said, a big reason you got what you needed was because you offered a low-risk attractive alternative to what was offered. Never underestimate that!
    Offering an alternative requires research, as you noted. The effort was on your side to find a working alternative. You took the burden for change off of others which is why they cooperated with you.
    So many times people want change but they try to push the work on to others. Then the others push back.
    Your story is a great example of how people should implement change in the workplace.

    1. Stranger than fiction*

      Yes. Someone very wise once told me don’t bring a problem to the table without some possible solutions and that’s just what she did.

  4. Aloot*

    #2: I think it’s a good example of how important it is to judge how to approach things in the right way. You didn’t present a problem or an issue, you presented a reasonable suggestion (that turned out to be well-received by the group to boot).

  5. Stranger than fiction*

    For #4, I wonder if this is one of those situations where quick revenue/volume is more important to them than quality at the moment? Maybe they’ve found dealing with the customer returns on the faulty product is at an acceptable level? That kind of thing drives me crazy too but you just don’t know what people at the top ate thinking sometimes.

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