Friday good news

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

1. The minute theaters were recommended to close for Covid I pretty much knew I wouldn’t have a job to go back to when they opened again – and sure enough, I was furloughed at Easter and laid off in August. I took it pretty harshly as I’d been fired from my previous job with no warning 18 months prior, and was finally starting to rewire my brain from that toxic environment and believe in my own worth in the workplace. I also figured that I would have to go back to entry level jobs, making coffee, franking mail – nothing wrong with doing that to start out, but I’ve done my time.

I’m not going to lie, this job search has been the worst one I’ve done – worse then when I was a graduate with no experience. Yesterday alone I got four rejections, including from my first choice job which from the feedback seems pretty clear I aced the interview but it went to an internal candidate. But! Today I was offered my second choice – which, all things considered, isn’t bad going for a pandemic. It’s at a museum I genuinely love, I had the opportunity to ask about management structures and reviews (the absence of which was what went wrong at my first job) and am really happy with the set up there, and it’s a not insignificant pay increase – all before my notice period was even up.

Thanks so much to you and your correspondents for all of your advice, comments and stories.

Read an update to this letter

2. I’m a consultant in IT security. Recently my company offered my CV to an organisation that’s got a very interesting project. I was called in to the potential client for an on-site interview (my country isn’t in full lockdown but we naturally follow guidelines, keep distance, etc…) I was met at the reception desk by the person who would be my line manager if I got the project. He printed out a sticker with my name on it to be worn on premises, but said “well, there’s almost nobody here due to covid so it’s not really that important.” I said “well, I’m here as a security person, so I think I’ll be a bit of a stickler for rules and put it on.”

When we got into the conference room where the rest of the interviewers were online via Teams, that was the first thing he told them, and they looked quite impressed. One of them joked, “Well, you passed the first test” – though it was obviously a joke, I got the feeling that they wished they had thought of making it an actual test… and the rest of the interview went swimmingly.

The good news: We got the project, I’ll get to work with some very interesting things in a project that will contribute positively to society.

The moral: Do the right thing even if it seems as if taking the easier route won’t be a problem just this one time. That way you never need to waste brainpower on figuring out if something’s a test or if you can get away with it.

3. I’ve worked for the same small town, family-owned media company for more than 15 years. I am the face of the company and the highest performer. Until 2020, I’ve really loved it. We have our quirks, but it has been my brand of crazy. Our bosses are kind, but a little out-dated with benefits and perks. If you had a family emergency, doctor’s appointment, or car trouble, my bosses are there for you. That said, they hadn’t updated the PTO package in forever. Not since I’ve been here. We got one week per year. They had just never been receptive to changing it.

It became obvious to me that I didn’t want to do this any more during the lockdown. I wanted more time off. More time with my school-aged kids. More time to travel (if we ever get to do that again). More time to pursue hobbies. More time to pursue freelance work I do on the side and love…so after broaching these topics and not really getting anywhere with the boss, I decided to leave. I decided to make a business out of my freelance work and quit my job.

I spent a few months preparing, and on Monday, I gave my notice. I told them the truth that I had no other job lined up. I planned to work on my freelance work and spend time doing things I like. Luckily, my husband has a thriving business that would allow this, and they all know that (small town). I basically told them that it was a life change, not a job change. My bosses were beside themselves. Big Boss is in another location, though, and he never called or anything, which is unlike him, so I wasn’t surprised when he showed up Tuesday to make me a counter offer. I was surprised when he basically said, “What do you want to stay?” I negotiated a 40% raise with 15 fewer hours per week and three weeks of paid vacation per year, plus guaranteed holidays off. They have no issues about me pursuing my freelance projects (they had some hangups about it before).

I was thrilled for myself, obviously, but the best part came this morning. I had to sign a new amendment to our policy and procedures handbook. They took my vacation terms and implemented them company-wide starting January 1, 2021. Every employee will get up to three weeks per year, depending on how long they have been here. Most have been here long enough to pick up an extra week as soon as the policy starts. All in all, I’m a really happy person today.

Read an update to this letter here.

4. Tomorrow is my last day with my current employer. This would be bittersweet if it wasn’t of my own doing, but because it is…I’m absolutely ecstatic! I am proud to announce to you and the commetartiate that, for the first time since 2016, I actively went out and found a new job because I wanted one, not because I was laid off or reached the end of my temporary hours.

I applied for this role at the beginning of May, interviewed by phone in late June, and received my tentative offer 7 weeks after the interview. I received my firm offer 3 weeks after that. The extended timeline is normal for a federal role, but what helped me most were not the sites geared at helping people ace the USAJobs nightmare. Instead, applying your invaluable advice about enumerating achievements and really tailoring both the cover letter and resume to the role allowed me stand apart per my interviewers. To be fair, I did end up with a 4 page resume, but this was for a federal application, and I did try to ensure that an HR Generalist would be easily able to check off requirements/score my experience as they read along; however, I ensured the first 3-4 bullets for each relevant role were achievement focused and aimed at the hiring managers.

This is especially a big deal for me as I’ll be recieving a 20% increase from my current salary for a role that is far more focused and less stressful, with a known path to promotions and raises. Upon my departure, I was finally able to get the COO to understand I was grossly underpaid for my role, despite their “benchmarking”. They insisted on benchmarking the wages to a technician level, despite the fact that the role is actually that of an analyst (at least). The new pay range for the role will be 117-150% of my current salary, where the COO has actively acknowledged that the 140%-150% is actually far more likely based on market value.

So! New job, with a more stable employer with excellent benefits, and I succuessfully negotiated a significant salary increase for my replacement. Couldn’t have done it without you, Alison! (Side note: why is it easier to negotiate for other people rather than yourself?).

{ 29 comments… read them below }

  1. just a small town girl*

    I am CRYING at #3. A family business that is willing to do whatever it takes to keep you?? (though it sounds like they know that you ARE their business)
    It’s an October miracle!

      1. Uranus Wars*

        This is when my water works started! Not only did OP successfully negotiate for herself, she did it for her coworkers as well!

      2. Environmental Compliance*

        I was so happy to read that part!! I mean, happy to read all of it, but that was so unexpected and awesome!!

      1. Pink Basil*

        When COVID rules allow, your co-workers are going to be carrying you around on their shoulders!

  2. CR*

    Working for a company for FIFTEEN years and getting one week of vacation? That is so completely absurd, I can’t believe you lasted that long. I started at my job with four weeks!!

    1. Not A Girl Boss*

      Small family owned businesses are often like this, mostly because they don’t employ enough people to handle vacation coverage. Its super atrocious and awful and my company at least had 2 weeks, but its not terribly unusual. Either way, I’m so happy for everyone at that company who now has more PTO!

  3. King Friday XIII*

    #3! Well done! Just think how many other people will also get to spend more time doing things they enjoy because you took that leap.

  4. King Friday XIII*

    #1 and #4, go you going out and getting what you needed.

    #2, well played! It’s funny to think how the smallest things can make such a difference, isn’t it?

  5. Observer*

    #’s 3 and 4 –

    These are WONDERFUL. It’s so nice that you are getting these improvements. And it’s just such a nice addition to know that you were able to help other people out.

  6. Observer*

    #4 I think it’s easier to negotiate for other for a few reasons. For one thing, there is no fear – after all, what do you have to lose?

    Also, it’s harder for the other person to make you look bad. And the inner voice that sometimes tell use that we are being “greedy”, “unreasonable”, “too aggressive” or that we “don’t deserve it” doesn’t kick in when we are doing this for someone else.

    And really, it is SO nice to hear that you made the effort to improve the life of the person coming after you.

    1. I Coulda Been a Lawyer*

      Congratulations to all of you! I’m sure your success is well deserved, and I’m so glad you shared it with us.

    2. ABK*

      such a great story! One point of confuston, is the OP’s replacement getting paid more for her old job than she’ll be getting paid at her new job?

      1. OP4*

        OP4 here: my replacement…will most likely make either what I make or more. However, that’s common going from private sector to federal. Private sector generally pays more than federal, but with less generous benefits (time off, retirement, lower insurance premiums…)

  7. Bookworm*

    Yay! It’s been another loooong week, so thanks again to all the LWs for writing in! Always great to have happy notes like these.

  8. I'm A Little Teapot*

    The company in #4 may find out the hard why what market value REALLY is. If they can’t find anyone qualified for the job that at that rate….. not really feeling sorry for them though.

  9. Uranus Wars*

    The moral: Do the right thing even if it seems as if taking the easier route won’t be a problem just this one time.

    I really want to call my tattoo artist and get this! But seriously, congrats to ALL the writers this week! I love Friday’s.

  10. Even In an Emergency*

    I *CANNOT* get over the conclusion to 3! Can’t believe it took all that to get what you deserve, but sounds like you really woke them up and affected a great change to the whole company!

    Congrats all! Love love love hearing the good news!

  11. Darcy*

    “It’s not a job change…’s a life change.”
    Love that line. Definitely filing that away for a day in the future.
    Congratulations on the new arrangement.

  12. EPLawyer*

    I love these updates – “I listened to Alison and it all worked out.”

    But 3 and 4- that is AMAZING how you advocated for others. You made work life better in general, not just got a better deal for yourselves. That is so great.

    #1 – I feel for you with the theaters closing if working in them is your first love. The daughter of a friend is an actress and she is bummed beyond belief that her career is on hold. She tries to be upbeat, but has moments of tears. So its okay to be upset you can’t continue with your first love — while rocking the heck out of your new job. Because you will.

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