it’s your Friday good news

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

1. I just received a glowing performance review, and I credit much of it to the things I’ve learned from reading your site! One thing I’ve taken to heart and tried to implement this past year was approaching my job as if I were a consultant (this was the first tip in your post “how to make your boss adore you”) and it has completely changed the way I do things. I take things way less personally, and am always asking “is there anything I could have done differently?” and “is this the way you’d like me to handle these requests in the future?” It’s an easy opening for my boss to provide honest feedback that doesn’t feel critical, because I genuinely want to know the answers!

I also successfully asked for a title change, applying your tips on how to ask for a raise. I had been so nervous to broach the subject, and was so happy to hear that my boss was in complete support of my request.

2. After almost 10 exemplary years with my company — including bonuses, stock grants, and a big promotion — I was transferred into a new department because my manager had been awarded an exciting new project and had to give up all those reporting to them. I was assigned to a new manager in a related department who disliked me intensely for previous project interactions. I had not constantly deferred to them (as their other employees did to survive). Additionally, as part of my job function in a regulated industry, I had to confirm ( via quality auditing) that we were following all applicable laws. I had found some major issues in this department before joining the group which broke federal law and this angered them. This person was well known for running a toxic, dysfunctional department and retaliating against those who got in their way. Looking back, they seemed to fit the profile of a narcissist.

When I started in the department, this manager started to take away my tasks, exclude me from meetings (I was a senior manager and the third highest person in the department), and set up meetings with HR where they could complain about my work ethic and harass me. HR went along with them and never investigated my position or my 10-year history of excellent performance reviews. After two years in the department, I was “laid off” right before a sketchy product that I had pointed out had safety issues was about to be released for clinical studies on real patients. My upward movement in the company and my career in general was derailed by this termination. I became extremely depressed and anxious and started therapy, then medication. It took me over a year of intensive searching to obtain a new position, at a lower level, in the same industry. Your advice on cover letters and resumes garnered me quite a few interviews. One interviewer said my cover letter was the most intriguing he had ever seen. This resulted in an interview that was more of a conversation than an interrogation. I ultimately received four offers.

Here’s the good news: My new company is a highly respected leader in its field; it’s in the top 200 of the Fortune 500. It makes a very cool, innovative product. I received a great review, a salary increase, and large bonus after my first year. I now make more than at my old company. My new manager is great, they fought to hire me and raised the position’s salary range to meet my requirements even though others pointed out that I had been out of work for a year. They even gave me a higher title than advertised. Everyone at the new company has been capable, competent, and kind. There are the usual subtle politics, but none of the off-the-rails crazy things I saw and experienced at my old job.

Here’s some great news: two years ago, our company started a competition that would reward employees with a financial grant and six months’ time to develop new products or process improvements. It’s open to all employees and four winning ideas are ultimately selected. I didn’t participate last year, but I submitted three ideas this year. One of my ideas was initially chosen as one of the top 40. After adding additional details to our submissions, the innovator’s ideas were judged again. My idea was one of the 20 semi-finalists out of over 400 submissions! I’m so encouraged by this! My new company has lifted me up with a great work experience for a good cause (we’re in the health care field and have recently contributed significantly to the efforts to fight COVID-19). My manager has told me multiple times that they feel so lucky to have me and my skill set. The company has also been encouraging me and others to speak up; they’re not afraid of employees’ opinions and solicit them regularly. They don’t circulate useless employee engagement surveys – they know how to engage employees with fair salaries, interesting goals, and positive, regular communication. They have been outstanding in their work-from-home support and guidelines, even allowing each employee to buy additional office furniture or technology as needed. I’m hopeful I’ll be here for a long time contributing to this company’s mission.

3. I had already been job searching for months before I was furloughed in April. Job searching got even harder after that. But luckily, I recently applied for a job for which I wasn’t a line-for-line fit (something I’ve been scared to do before), wrote a strong cover letter with your posts as guidance, and heard back very quickly from them. After interviewing and getting to speak with the person currently in the position (a rarity I’ve never been offered!), I accepted an offer from them today! It’s a $10,000 increase from my current position, a title bump, and 18 days of PTO! I’ve never had so much time available to me and I can’t wait to start at my new job!

Your guide and your posts were so invaluable to me in preparing for the interview, as well as your advice to practice saying answers aloud. I was so thankful I rehearsed my salary expectations, because I was asked – and that’s exactly what I was offered! I even got to practice some assertive language with my current position when I called to give my notice – rather than asking permission to pick up my things at the office (something I’d asked twice during my furlough), I said “I’d like to make arrangements to pick up my things this week” and they said they’d do so. I never would have been able to be so forward before your blog!

P.S. I’m the “is my acne keeping me from getting a job?” letter-writer from a few years ago.

{ 45 comments… read them below }

  1. starsaphire*

    Omigosh! OP3, how AWESOME! I am so happy for you!

    Sounds like your self-confidence has had a great boost, and you have a great new job too. This is wonderful!!!

    1. OP3*

      Thank you so much! :) I’m in a much better place mentally than I was when I first wrote in three years ago, and I have definitely gained some self confidence since then!

  2. Bostonian*

    #2 made me so happy! The only thing that would have made it better is “…and then ex-company got in trouble for an ethics violation”. If that ever happens, please update us!

    1. Thankful for AAM*

      I was expecting that too!
      No matter what, all 3 are great, happy, news!
      Thanks to all for sharing.

    2. EPLawyer*

      I know. I was all “wait, wait what happened with ex-company’s sketchy product?” I’m shallow I admt it.

      Very very happy for your outcome OP2.

      1. A Social Worker*

        Not shallow at all, seems like that company is on track to potentially cause major harm!

    3. Texan In Exile*

      Also, “and the manager who laid me off got fired and escorted out by armed guards and her name is now mud.”

      1. Lynn*

        Would love to see that too, but just wondering, why do you assume the manager was female? OP seemed to be very gender-neutral in their references to the manager.

    4. OP#2*

      Additional info: The manager is gone; I’m not sure what happened. I think HR may have started looking into them when I took legal action. Several other people who disagreed with the manager in the past had received layoffs similar to mine after questioning some of the department’s practices. I guess the company finally realized it was the manager and not those of us who were let go. 40% of the remaining scientists eventually left. Sketchy product was discontinued by the company -it didn’t make it to patients in clinical studies. There are other, reliable products on the market for diagnosing the same condition, so patients are safe.

      1. Red Sky*

        *rests chin on palm* Please, tell us more about this legal action, if permitted to do so.

        1. OP#2*

          I’m sorry I can’t say more about the legal action. I had reported potential violations of federal law to the company, so legal action for retaliation was justifiable. I guess I was a “whistleblower”.
          They offered me a token severance after the termination, but it was a slap in the face given all the excellent work I had done for the company and all that I had lost when they ignored the terrible treatment I received with their knowledge. My family had to go on COBRA ($$$), because my husband owns a small business and had been on my medical/dental plan. I wasn’t happy about initiating a lawsuit (hearing that legal battles are often long and costly), but the company ruined my career, my upward trajectory and sent me into an emotional tailspin that I still haven’t completely recovered from. I take multiple medications daily to keep functioning; I see a medical professional and work with them to get back to my former happy self.

          1. Passerby*

            Though these are bare bones from an internet stranger, I have to say I really admire you OP2. I’m glad things are on such a strong upswing for you in this new situation. Best of luck to you.

      2. Mazzy*

        Legal action? Didn’t see that part, unless you mean the part where you might’ve called the department out for doing something wrong/illegal.

        I am happy for you, it wasn’t a slam-bam-thank-you type story, I have to admit, I kind of wanted the end of to be that you replaced the horrible manager! But I guess this is real life, not fantasy fiction

        1. OP#2*

          I had reported potential violations of federal law to the company as part of one of my job functions. The company encouraged all employees (via the employee handbook) to report if something wasn’t right. I guess I was naïve.

      3. Wheee!*

        I’m so glad to see that the sketchy product never made it to patients. Good for you all around!

    5. MissDisplaced*

      I loved your story OP#2
      I often say on here how much things can change when you get a new manager due to your good one leaving, or getting moved to a different department. Suddenly, you can be painted THE WORST EMPLOYEE after 10 years of exemplary work with other managers. Sadly, HR rarely looks deeper than believing what the new manager says, which is unfortunate because companies lose many good employees that way.

      I’m glad you got out and found better.

      1. OP#2*

        Thank MissD It’s sad nothing can be done but leave if this type of change happens. I left behind many wonderful long-time colleagues. After the fact, my old manager told me they had actually asked HR not to put me in this manager’s department – old manager knew it was a bad place, but they could not change HR’s mind.

          1. OP#2*

            Yes, very dysfunctional. They didn’t investigate what happened. HR also participated and condoned the bad behavior originating from the manager. It appears in general that this company, at the HR corporate level, had no way to check into probable managerial issues, monitor suspicious layoffs, or correctly follow through with an employee. I’m blessed to have found another position.I’ve also learned a few lessons.

    1. OP#2*

      Thank you – I’m doing so much better! Just need to work my way back up to my former seniority level again; I miss being part of big impact projects. Funny you mention Elizabeth Holmes. A friend of a friend asked me to apply for an open scientist position at Theranos about 5 years ago. I had already heard that shady things were going on, so I said to him “No thank you and good luck with your product, it looks innovative and interesting”.

      1. Gingerblue*

        Well, you’ve certainly got good instincts to match your ethics. Hang in there; you sound great! I bet your career will recover to where it was.

      2. Jen*

        Bahah that’s hilarious. Too bad, think of all the podcasts you’d be in right now!! haha

  3. Kay*

    I’ve had a really hard week so it was so nice to read these happy updates! Congrats to the LWers!!

    Love, love, love this site.

  4. NotAnotherManager!*

    I love the Friday Good News so much. It’s a nice antidote to all the WTFery that goes on in a lot of the other letters (well, I won’t lie, I’m rooting for OP#2’s former company to go down in flames).

    Congratulations to all of you!

  5. Triumphant Fox*

    I remember you LW3! Congratulations. What a great experience and I’m so thrilled you had the courage to just go for it and landed the job.

    1. OP3*

      Thank you so much! I never would have been able to go for it without the things I gained from reading AAM :)

  6. Nopenopenope*

    Omigosh #3 was a good news AND an update! I’m so happy to hear back from this LW and find out they’re not just excelling, but excelling during COVID!! Huzzah!

  7. OP3*

    Thank you so much!! I think this could really be a big turning point for me, and I’m very much looking forward to the future! :)

  8. Jennifer Juniper*

    OP2, this is amazing! You recovered from the narcissist’s smear campaign!

    OP3, congratulations!

  9. Long-time reader*

    Congrats to all of you. I’m so happy your tenacity and hard work paid off. Reading these made my day!

  10. charo*

    Dysfunctional department letters remind me of this:
    I worked at a non-profit w/a Counseling Dept. [personal, marriage], full of difficult types who were very united in being obnoxious.
    The Rape Crisis Center, Clinic, Senior Dept., Kids Dept. all were fine, just them. They fed on each others’ attitudes.
    Finally all quit together to form their own agency. Which promptly failed, within weeks. Ha!
    This is inspiration for all of us — an entire dept. can quit because they’re delusional, despite their degrees. And if they don’t have others to resent or feel superior to, they’ll turn on each other. Rare, but true.

    1. OP#2*

      Wow! Turning on their own, amazing – I’m hopeful very few of us will ever experience this in our careers. Glad you’re away from all of them. From what I’ve read on AAM it seems like non-profits seem to have a lot of bad behavior. I’ve already warned some young relatives to think twice and to read AAM after searching “non-profit”on the site. Granted, we probably hear only the worst tales, but still!

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