more success stories

More good news people have written in to share recently:

1.  You asked for good news, so I thought I’d share: after years of trying and even a career change to become a better applicant, I finally got a job with my “dream organization.” It’s common to take many tries to get a position there, and I’d almost given up after multiple applications and interviews. But thanks to your tips about interviewing and nerves, I was finally able to put on a braver face and nail the interview (if only I’d discovered the site years ago!). I am excited for the role, the company and culture, and the benefits.

2.  Besides my day job, I am a musician (classical vocalist) and have two church jobs that, by nature, are part-time and seasonal. Since churches are no longer holding services and the music industry has been hit with a ton of bricks by the pandemic, I have not had any performing work for a while. I was in despair thinking of the income I anticipated losing, because even major opera houses have furloughed or laid off staff and cited force majeure when they say they will not pay performers (and others) for cancelled productions and performances.

Well, despite the state of the industry right now, much to my surprise, this week I received direct deposits from both of my church jobs, though I have not sung at either church in at least a month. I thought surely this was a mistake since, again, I hadn’t done any work for them in a while. I wrote the business managers to inquire, and this is one of the responses I got (haven’t yet heard back from the other):

“No, it is not a mistake.We are trying to help our employees keep some income, at least while we can. [Music director] is submitting a list every payroll period with names.”

I thanked them and told them they are very kind. I share this to let others know that there is good in the world, and that there are organizations that will look out for those who work for them.

3.  I wanted to share that I’ve been able to start a new job while this pandemic has occurred! No longer am I involved with an office that got enthralled with an actual cult, but I’m moved on to a job that’s in my field (marketing and copywriting) and is giving me a chance to explore project management! While training has been strange and unusual, my boss and new team have been supportive and helpful. Your articles on how to overcome workplace PTSD continues to be essential for my transition into a normal workplace environment.

Seriously with Ask a Manager, I was able to clean up my resume, interview better, and land this opportunity that I’ve been searching for since I graduated in 2017.

Stay safe and healthy! For everyone at home, I’m gifting you my recent good luck vibes!

{ 68 comments… read them below }

  1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

    I just put this on the open thread, but –
    This week on good news: After several years of high-exceeds-expectations reviews paired with low-end-of-the-meets-expectations-range raises, this year’s raise percentage not only was associated with the appropriate range on my review score, but was even a gnat’s eyelash above the top end of the appropriate range. We were taking bets last week as to whether they’d cancel this year’s raises entirely (my housemate’s org did, and 401k matches too, but by gosh the execs still got their annual bonuses!), so getting not only *a* raise but a better-than-I-expected one was a nice ray of sunshine under the circumstances.

    1. Raea*

      Congrats!! That speaks very highly of your work, and good on your employer for recognizing it as such (and recognizing it with $$, not just a good ole pat on the back)!

    2. Liz*

      That’s great news! I also got a merit increase, and a pretty decent one at that. My company is odd in that we provide services to companies, but nothing tangible, more expertise, etc. in an industry that isn’t going anywhere. So my job is fairly safe. I also got a promotion last fall, which moved me into a new salary grade. So now, instead of being close to the top of my old one, i’m at the bottom of my new one, so there is a lot more room, which is why i got a decent increase. I’m very fortunate and am saving it all, just in case.

  2. Niniel*

    Am I the only one who wants a lot more info on the office cult from LW #3?? So glad that person was able to get out, but I have so. many. questions!!!

    1. Liz*

      Yes. Same. I’m assuming it’s not an old story as it wasn’t linked back?
      LW 3 – please, tell us more!

    2. MissM*

      100% had the same thought. Also would be interested in hearing more about the good & bad of remote on boarding, as obviously it would be nicer to do in person but I think more of us will be seeing similar in the future.

    3. esra*

      Same. I read that and was like… I desperately need more details here.

      (I started a new job last Monday on a marketing team, too! Go sane marketing teams!)

    4. Escapes a Cult*

      Hi LW 3 here! The cult is good old S c ie n t o l o g y and the industry I was in was targeting desperate business owners to gain the business skills to make sales. Conferences, waivers of “this isn’t learning the religion but jk it really is learning”, monitoring of communications, and that’s the tip of the iceberg. I took the job even though I knew it was involved because retail was just that awful. They also lured me in with a PR position and then it turned more into sales.

      It’s awful how they target desperate people. But also GOODBYE FOREVER!! They’re pushy and the techniques to use on customers would burn more bridges than get a sale.

      1. LT*

        AGH!! Thanks for the update & ugh, glad you got out before they got their claws further into you!

      2. Archaeopteryx*

        Oh woof! Glad you’re free and glad you didn’t get pressed into servitude on a boat. Enjoy your new job!!

      3. Dream Jobbed*

        As a Scien tolo gist I am deeply offended by this.

        And how do I know I’m a Scien tolo gist? Because my friend’s mom signed me up for a class when I was 9 years old. (In the 70’s!) Even at that age I thought what they were doing was stupid. But they mailed me crap at my parent’s house for decades, even after my dad stormed an office with piles of junk mail, and have found me every place I have lived since. (CA, OK, IN, KS, WA) They’ve also called my cell phone a few times (and I am very selective about giving out my cell number so they violated a work place database somewhere), but fortunately that seems to have stopped since I literally screamed at them the last time. (Might have been some foul language in there too.) But the mail keeps coming, and I have no doubt I am counted as one of their millions of followers.

        I stand corrected. I am deeply offended by the cult of scien tolo gy. :D

          1. SarahKay*

            My stepdad managed to get them to stop, amazingly enough. He got on their mailing lists because as a student he was dating a woman who worked there, and she used to send him personal mail by putting it in with their leaflets (thus saving herself the postage). This would have been in the late 70’s.
            He got off their mailing lists (some ten years later, long after breaking up with his date, after several address changes and marrying my Mum) by answering one of their questionnaires in a very flippant and somewhat insulting way. They wrote to him, ‘more in sorrow than in anger’ kind of thing, to say that they had decided he wasn’t ready for enlightenment and they were going to stop mailing him. But, they said, if he ever realised what a force for good they were, he was always welcome to contact them.
            Spoiler alert: he did not contact them again.

        1. Escapes a Cult*

          There’s been so many times I’ve had to take an angry call of “take me off your bleeping list” and then circle back and tack that address on the end. Nightmare fuel. My heart goes out to you. I would say lawyers except the Sea Hats have too many.

          Otherwise I laugh. Too freaking true.

        2. Pennalynn Lott*

          I’ve managed to get myself removed from all kinds of mailing lists and telemarketing calls by saying that I’m dead. As in, I send the mail back with my name crossed out and write “DECEASED” next to it; and when telemarketers call asking for me, I ask whose calling, then I get kind of choked up and say, “I’m so sorry, this is Pennalynn’s sister. I’m only answering her phone because I thought it might be a friend who hadn’t heard the news yet. Pennalynn passed away suddenly last week.”

          So not only do those companies stop contacting me, but they mark me down as “deceased” on their list and report it back to the company they bought the list from, which means that information-selling company will remove me from *their* master list.

          1. Jedi Squirrel*

            Oh wow, I like this approach a lot! I wonder if it works with student loans. (I’m betting not.)

            I used to deal with persistent telemarketers by telling them I was interested and wanted to buy their stuff, but could they please call back after the first of the month when I get my welfare check? They would immediately hang up and never call back again.

          2. Nobody Nowhere*

            My housemates did that with my mail when I was in college and too lazy to have my mail forwarded. The public library, utilities, etc. all cancelled my accounts :-)

          3. Caroline Bowman*

            This reminds me of a Fawlty-Towers-esque conversation I had with a salesperson after my mum actually did pass away suddenly ”HI HOW ARE YOU??? CAN I SPEAK TO GILL?” Me ”unfortunately she recently passed away, please remove this number from your database” ”OHH? REALLY? BECAUSE I HAVE HER AT THIS NUMBER?” ”Yes, but she died so…” ”OH, ARE YOU SURE? WHO ARE YOU? WHY ARE YOU ANSWERING THIS PHONE?”

            I wish I were exaggerating or in any way making this up.

            Even then, sad as I was, I found it darkly hilarious and insane.

        3. Queer Earthling*

          My spouse got off the mailing list by claiming to the post office that they were sending obscene materials. Since obscenity is in the eye of the beholder, my metamour came up with the idea that it was an unsolicited attempt at financial domination kink, which went in the official letter given to the postmaster. Took a couple of attempts, but no more scinos!

          So, if anyone needs help stopping the mail…here you go.

      4. bafalada*

        oohooohoo if your business is related to cars and OEM parts then we work for the same company and CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR SUCCESSFUL ESCAPE, I am so happy for you!!

      5. JSPA*

        wow wow wow

        glad you got out with all parts (and wallet) intact, and hope you can get them to lose your number.

  3. AGD*

    Wonderful news all around! Thanks for sharing, Alison and letter writers.

    I have a friend in the same basic situation as 2 and I’ve been worrying about them!

  4. Alli525*

    OP #2 – As a religious person who identifies as a political progressive (but was not raised that way), I am very accustomed to seeing churches – and individuals too – behaving very badly. It makes me SO happy that both of your religious employers are different.

    1. MsPantaloons*

      Yes! I used to work as a church singer as well, and while all of the church members I knew personally at those jobs were absolutely lovely, I was not always treated well by the organizations. (ex. last minute canceled shifts with no way to recoup the lost income – not like the service was canceled, we were just told not to come). It can be a difficult job, because congregants view you as one of the family but the office may view you as a mercenary.

    2. Perpal*

      Yeah, I’m not particularly religious but always sad when churches don’t step up to fill their potential/usual rhetoric of serving the community; though I do know some that seem to. It’s great to hear this one practiced what (I imagine) it preaches.

  5. Thankful*

    This isn’t necessarily work related but still good news related! My husband and I are were in desperate need of a car repair that couldn’t wait, so we took it to a local automotive shop. After our car was serviced the owner – because he and my husband had had a nice conversation while dealing with the logistics – gave us $60 off our bill! He said that he wanted to do what he could to help us during this time, an almost complete stranger! I cried when my husband told me and has inspired me to try and do more to help my community. Thank you for posting these good news updates! It’s a bright spot in an otherwise dark time.

  6. LadyLupo*

    I want to share some good news is well. I have been an avid reader for years, but never really commented. My spouse, on the other hand, has always been in an industry where “roughneck” would be a polite way to describe the personalities. He used to joke that the answer to most problems in his line of work, including personality clashes, could be solved with a torque wrench.

    All that said, he didn’t want to be doing this forever, he wanted to move up in the chain and take more of a managerial role. On a whim, he applied for just such a position, and felt that it would be a very slim, outside chance. I showed him some of your posts for non-office resumes, and cover letters, etc., and off he went.

    He landed an interview, then a second interview. Then HR called and asked what his salary requirements were. I referred him to more of your blog posts, and told him “don’t be afraid to ask for what you feel you are worth, with your years of experience, and knowledge.”

    So he went in asking for almost double what he was making at his previous job. They replied with an offer 10% higher than his ask. He started this last Monday (after I helped write his resignation!), and I haven’t seen him this excited to work in years!

    Even with so much going wrong, there are still positives out there! So I guess thank you, for all you do! I have become more professional, and seeing my guy so happy makes me in turn one happy gal myself!

    1. Jedi Squirrel*

      That is amazing! Well done! Thank you so much for sharing. It really does provide hope to a lot of us who need it.

  7. Ktelzbeth*

    My good news: I got a new job! I have been slowly looking for a year or so, but wanted very specific things and was fine enough with my current job that I was not going anywhere unless it met my requirements. I got a recruitment call in January and accepted the job two weeks ago. It’s going to be a challenging time to transition because of coronavirus and I feel a little bad, but things happen when they happen. For my next trick, figuring out how to find a place to live halfway across the country, when I’m not sure when/if I’m going to be able to travel next.

  8. dragocucina*

    OP2: Good to hear. My son works evening security at a church (part-time gig in addition to his full time job). While he’s not working (no services, no meetings, etc.) they have been paying him. Fortunately the office says that offerings haven’t gone done much and people are switching to the online donation option. Hopefully you will be in the same situation.

    1. mayfly*

      We are active in our church, and because we’re both working at home and not having to pay daycare, we’re actually able to donate even more to both the church and local non-profits. Our charity budget line is almost 40% of take home right now, and we’ll continue that as long as we have jobs.

  9. Chelsea*

    I also want to share a good story. I wrote in a while ago to talk about my mean boss (it was in one of the podcast posts) and I am happy to report that I have moved on and am now at a great job (at my old boss’s level) and I have a wonderful, caring boss. It really does get better!

  10. Kes*

    Glad to hear LW3 got out! I’m hoping when they say training for their new job was ‘strange and unusual’ that’s just due to covid/being virtual?

  11. Jedi Squirrel*

    Alison, thank you so much for publishing these!

    My mental health has not been great this year, which has made the job search difficult. These kinds of stories make it less difficult to get on with things and do what I gotta do! I hope I can send in my own success story soon.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  12. Laney Boggs*

    I graduated in 2017 too, #3. Your letter gives me a spot of hope that’s been fading :)

  13. DiscoCat*

    Workplace PTSD!! That’s it, that is what I have, what is paralysing my job search, and making any type of visualisation about the future turn into anxiety fuel. It’s so bad that I’m twitchy even in non work social settings… I know I probably also need a counsellor or coach, but for now the article will be a good place to start, where can I find it?

  14. Sasha SLJ*

    Any recommendations for articles on that workplace PTSD phenomenon? I’ve also just started a new job (hey, more good news!) but am struggling to readjust to a normal working environment after the interpersonally stressful environment my previous boss created.

    1. DiscoCat*

      it might be the one from November 2014, search in the archives or just type in ptsd in the search bar (can’t post a comment with a link in it, it seems) not sure if there are any more by AAM.
      Was also hoping for some pointers to additional articles/ books about this, it’s becoming the bane of my work life.

      Wishing you all the best for the new job, take it one day/ situation/ person at a time

  15. TXLockdown*

    I also would like the workplace PTSD links!! I escaped in January to an actual functional workplace and find myself in awe at working in a healthy environment. The last place punished people for asking questions that might “embarrass” someone, for critiquing management, for standing up for the people that worked for you, etc. Also my boss was having an affair with my peer and jealous of me so she tanked my performance reviews while acting like a friend to me the whole time…it was SO. MESSED. UP.

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