it’s your Friday good news

It’s your Friday good news, with more accounts of success even in this weird time.

1. Thought I could share – I’m an avid reader and have used your advice to handle more than a few sticky situations at work.

Unfortunately I found myself in a somewhat toxic workplace – everyone was underpaid, overworked and unappreciated unless you were the “technical” staff. They got perks like getting awards while being underpaid and overworked.

After an annual review that consisted of 3rd person accounts of my work and habits that completely crushed me, I started applying for jobs. COVID happened and my boss was strongly resistant to letting my team and I work from home…even though everything we did in the office could be done remotely. To add insult to injury, besides us there were maybe 5 other people in an office of nearly 200 daily.

THEN came the call that they were going to reduce everyone’s pay by 20% – salaried employees were still expected to work their 40+ (more like 60+ for most) hours a week, and hourly employees would be capped at 32 hours a week (and still expected to get everything done). Thankfully that day I got a call for a job interview – a good step up for my career AND a pay raise would be possible.

I did webcam interviews with 4 people and had an offer in place by the end of week – and that offer was a 53% increase from my 20% reduced pay. Now not only am I compensated fairly but my team is also TRULY appreciated by the company – salaries are generous, PTO is abundant and small perks like free coffee and occasional lunches make the day a bit brighter. Oh, and essential employees that have to come in have gotten TWO bonuses, the company provides all sorts of safety gear (masks, sanitizer, cleaners, etc.) in addition to 14 days of extra PTO if you’re diagnosed with, or show symptoms of, COVID and all surfaces are cleaned/sanitized at least three times a day, if not more.

I never thought I’d be making what I’m earning now, but somehow I found the opportunity and got it thanks in part to your advice. Just think … if my manager had reviewed me fairly then I never would have started looking and would still be feeling under-appreciated and overworked.

Thanks for your advice and sharing the good news stories – I know they’ve helped me out a ton!

Read an update to this letter here.

2. I have been managing for just under a year, and an avid AAM reader for a while longer. I am super aware of the fact new managers tend to screw some things up up (as you’ve written about) and that doing well as an individual contributor doesn’t prove I’ll be good at managing people doing that same work!

Today I had a catch up with my grand boss, who passed on some feedback from Bob, a mid-level employee who only started to report to me a couple of months ago and has been at the company and in this field longer than I have. Bob is really happy to be on the team and “didn’t realize what he was missing” by reporting to someone more senior and busier until he was reporting to me. Bob is someone whose opinion I respect a lot (and unlike my other reports, he’s had a wide variety of managers!) so this was really reassuring to hear – maybe I’m not terrible at this whole management thing :) AAM is my go to for management advice and I’ve found it so useful, as well as in stressful times being a good comparison point. (Okay, so my job is a bit stressful, but at least my boss isn’t shitting on the walls or dumping pee in the sink). Thank you!

3. Last year, I sent you a good news update that you printed here.

Since I love reading everyone else’s updates (and the good news posts) lately, I thought I’d add mine to the mix. Since I sent that update, the job has turned out to be even better than I had hoped at the time – it’s hard, but I’m learning a ton, I feel competent, and valuable, and am recognized for my contributions and feel like I’m growing by leaps and bounds. One of the major projects I took on during my first year was managing the redesign of our entire website, which launched earlier this year to rave reviews.

Most recently, my organization (like so many others) had to make adjustments due to COVID-19. We’re a healthcare-adjacent nonprofit, and had our biggest fundraising event of the year planned for only 6 weeks after our state went into lockdown. It was an incredibly hard 6 weeks (probably the hardest of my career), but it was also a huge opportunity for my role to really show what could be done in the digital sphere. With our entire organization pitching in, we managed to pull the event off and are now getting contacted by other organizations who were following and want advice on taking their own events virtual. Oh, and the event fell on my one-year anniversary with the organization. What a year!

Finally, while seeing the event come together to great feedback was incredibly rewarding on its own, I got a call from our CEO a few days later to let me know I had been nominated for a bonus to recognize my efforts. Nothing will make you feel better than getting a bonus, at a nonprofit, during a pandemic, I’ll tell you what.

{ 31 comments… read them below }

  1. beanie gee*

    Hooray for good news! I like the “found a new job” updates, but I especially like the ones that focus on success in a current role or company. Congrats!

    1. Lynn*

      I need to know where LW #1 is working so I can apply there too! >< That is a great workplace!

  2. Book Badger, Attorney-at-Claw*

    #2 is making me wonder if there was ever an update to the boss who dumped pee in the sink. OP… if you’re out there…

    1. starsaphire*

      Thirded. Good News Friday is the best!!!

      It really does help, hearing success stories in the face of all the ick in the world right now. I need these almost as much as I need kitten videos.

    2. allathian*

      Me too, I look forward to them every week, even if I often end up reading them on Saturday in my timezone.

  3. Lady Meyneth*

    Quarantine has officially warped my perception of time. When I saw the “Friday good news” title, my brain went – Whaa, but it’s Monday!

    I’m going crazy guys! =D

  4. juliebulie*

    I’m always a little sad when free coffee is listed as a “perk.” (punny?) I feel that coffee, tea, and water, along with office furniture and other supplies, should be part of the absolute minimum provided by an employer. (Which also includes TP, just in case someone decides to make that a “perk” someday too.)

    But, I’m glad OP1 is getting free coffee instead of crushing reviews and other grief!

    1. Rachel in NYC*

      My mom worked at a bank. By the time she left there, I’m pretty sure staff was buying the lollipops and dog treats they handed out to customers.

    2. Lynn*

      Maybe it’s about quality? I think the standard expectation of free office coffee is sludge coffee; nicer quality coffee or machines (or like, even a free mini starbucks bar) would feel like a perk. (Although definitely some offices don’t even get sludge coffee and that is sad)

      1. juliebulie*

        You could be right about the quality.

        For a (short) while I worked at a place that had a Keurig but we had to pay 50 cents each for the K cups if we didn’t bring our own. It was definitely better than the sludge we had been getting in the Bunn-O-Matic, but there are times when I just want something hot and caffeinated that isn’t immediately toxic.

        Still… at least we didn’t have to pay for the K machine. I’d consider that a decent compromise if the company is really doing that badly. However, when the company’s doing that badly, coffee is typically the least of their problems. We went belly-up not long afterwards.

        1. Lynn*

          Oh man. I haven’t seen a Bunn-o-matic since my first job. Makes me feel weirdly nostalgic for that sludge haha

          But yeah– when companies start rolling back perks like coffee it can be a bad sign they are really grasping for straws and there are bigger issues afoot :O

        2. Polly Hedron*

          I worked at three different places that had had free pizza on Fridays, and then stopped. It was always a signal to freshen up our resumes: massive layoffs always followed.

      2. Aurion*

        I don’t really drink coffee, so forgive the ignorant question…but what is it about office coffee that makes it so terrible?

        I mean, obviously one wouldn’t expect gourmet roasted and freshly ground beans straight from the French press, but there are plenty of pre-ground beans from even the grocery store that would turn into a serviceable cup of coffee. If one is a coffee connesieur pre-ground coffee might be terrible, period, but office coffee seems to be universally crap from what I hear, even for those who might otherwise accept the serviceable pre-ground stuff.

        Do office supply stores only stock particularly terrible pre-ground coffee beans, or what?

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          I’ll take a swing at that question, as I married into a restaurant family. Besides cheap, poor-quality beans?
          -Old beans. Coffee gets old fast after it’s ground…I worked one place where a big box of packets sat open no matter how often we tried to seal the container.
          -Coffee-pots & coffee-makers need to be cleaned regularly…and you know how often shared kitchens get cleaned.
          -Coffee-makers often run hot because some places want the coffee to heat up fast and make the coffee faster…unfortunately that scorches the coffee. (My father-in-law turned the temp down on his restaurant’s Bunn-o-matic after every service call because they assumed everyone wanted it that way. “We’re fine dining not a gas station!”)
          -Hard water can make weird coffee… especially if the coffee pot isn’t vinegar-cleaned.
          -Sometimes people don’t knock the coffee grounds out until they’ve sat there overnight or over the weekend… and yes coffee grounds will get mildewed, which means the coffee maker is too.
          -Coffee that’s sat on the heater more than an hour gets bitter…but no one wants to take the last of it and make a new batch. (If you have coffee-loving guests, put the breakfast leftovers into the fridge for iced coffee later in the day. Yum.)
          How’s that?

        2. Lynn*

          I had an office where the sludge coffee was literally sludge. It was like a condensed syrup thing that the machine mixed with hot water (kind of like how a soda machine mixes soda syrup with plain soda water… except terrible). I saw them come in to do maintenance on it once and never drank it again.

          1. Ads*

            Yikes! With how abundant coffee grounds are at all price points, I wonder how cheap the sludge is!?

            1. juliebulie*

              I think the advantage is that it doesn’t need to be tended to as often, and employees don’t play passive-aggressive games trying to avoid having to make the next pot of coffee.

          2. juliebulie*

            Yes! We had one of those briefly. The signage claimed it was Dunkin Donuts coffee, but I don’t know why DD would want to sign their name to it. There was even a small amount of coffee grounds in the syrup that you’d get if you got one of the last few servings. Not sure if that was intentional, to make it look “authentic,” but it was just nasty.

        3. coldbrewraktajino*

          My office keeps going around and around about this–taste tests, endless debates, etc–and I think I have some of the answer. We’re located in the PNW so the office supply orgs definitely do carry good beans, and we keep trying to get those good beans. But in practice it just is terrible.

          1. The machines that make large amounts of coffee at a time tend to have some sort of drip system that doesn’t do good coffee justice. It just can’t percolate for long enough, and it’s weak. The burnt flavor comes through first I guess? I don’t know enough about coffee to explain the science of it.

          2. Lowest common denominator. The least offensive coffee to everyone is sort of milquetoast. Water that down with #1 and you’re doomed.

          3. If the machine and carafes aren’t cleaned well and regularly, crap builds up and that doesn’t help flavor either.

  5. Seeking Second Childhood*

    OP3 You took their big fundraiser virtual in a world when other organizations had to cancel? I’m EXTREMELY glad they recognized you in such a concrete fashion! Congrats!

  6. Bookworm*

    It’s been a long week for me, so it’s nice to end it with some good news. Thanks to the LWs for sharing. :)

  7. Traffic_Spiral*

    “Everyone was underpaid, overworked and unappreciated unless you were the “technical” staff. They got perks like getting awards while being underpaid and overworked.”

    I LOL’d.

  8. J.B.*

    I love the good news, especially #2! Yay to you for taking management seriously and learning along the way.

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