it’s your Friday good news

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

1. Earlier this year, the startup I worked for was acquired by another company. This was near the start of the pandemic, and while I considered myself fortunate to still be employed while so many were not, I found that the new company wasn’t a great fit due to the culture and an unexciting (to me) product, so I started looking around for other opportunities. Some companies in my industry were hit very hard by the pandemic so competition for my field is higher than usual. A few months passed with no progress, but I eventually began interviewing with a company where the culture and product would be a better fit for me. Thanks to all the advice on Ask a Manager, I feel like I was able to prepare well for the interviews and negotiating an offer — when the offer came through I was able to confidently ask for a higher salary, and they increased it to about half of what I asked for! And even though the salary was the only part of the compensation package I asked about, they also increased the sign-on bonus (I’ve never even received a sign-on bonus before!) and stock (also never had!).

The fact I was able to land a new job during a pandemic and negotiate a higher offer was great in itself, but here’s best part: I was pregnant throughout this. My plan was to spend a solid couple of months in a new role if I was able to land one. However, this interview cycle took longer than I expected — it’s a huge organization and the gears turned slower than I’m used to, coming from startup land. By the time the offer was made, I was 8 months pregnant and becoming quite nervous about the situation as the timing all around was far from ideal, and even considered pulling out at the last stage, citing a general “it’s not a good time” reason. But I decided to stay in the running, and when I found out the offer was coming, I told them about my situation after the verbal offer was made but before it was signed (on the advice of your site for similar situations). It turns out I worried for nothing, as they received the news amazingly well and were genuinely excited for me! And in an incredible surprise, they told me I qualified for their parental benefits immediately as they base it on date of hire which is unusual (a year’s tenure is normally required in my industry) so I’d be able to take 4 months of leave fully paid! I started a couple weeks later, and as I met my new team members, I found the great experience from the interview held true — everyone was glad to have me on board and excited to hear about the baby on the way. My new manager was especially accommodating and supportive, and right before my leave started he and the team even threw me a surprise (virtual) baby party!

In the end I worked just over 3 weeks before going on leave, and I’m now at home with my husband and daughter, who was born a couple weeks ago. We are all trying to adjust to this crazy new and amazing life together, and I’m just so amazed everything worked out as well as it did, especially given how worried I was! I hope this story can serve as some hope for those struggling to find a new job right now, especially for anyone who is pregnant and might be letting that unnecessarily influence their job search as I almost did! I am already sure this was the best move for me, both due to the opportunity I will have for career advancement there as well as how supportive they are of their employees — even new ones — and I will always happily speak highly of this company in the future.

2. I’m extraordinarily lucky that I work full-time for a state government and have not experienced economic difficulties as a result of covid. I also do freelance tutoring through my religious community. Recently I connected with a potential student whose family set off A LOT of red flags. I’ve been reading AAM for years and have internalized your message to know your worth and not tolerate bad behavior in the workplace.

So I gave it some thought and decided to politely and professionally disengage from the family. It took me a while to be mentally okay with walking away from a good chunk of money, especially because my spouse and I want to buy a house, but no amount of money or house is worth the stress this family would have caused me. This is the first time in my adult life I have ever felt economically stable enough to turn down work.

As luck would have it, another family contacted me mere hours after I made this decision. I guess the universe is telling me I made the right choice. Thank you, Alison, for steadily beating the drum for a kinder, healthier work environment for everyone.

3. I’ve been a regular reader of your blog for years, and have improved my resume and cover letters so much based on your advice. I’ve been in my current job for a couple of years, but a friend sent me a job posting that sounded like a perfect fit with my experience and background, plus it’s in a state where my family would like to relocate.

I went through two rounds of Zoom interviews, really connected with the team, and just accepted an offer! The job will be remote for the near future due to COVID-19, so my family will have some time to tie up loose ends and move sometime in spring/summer 2021. Especially given the pandemic, I’m thrilled with the opportunity and its timing!

4. After a grueling 9 month job search during a pandemic, this over 50, overqualified but undereducated, and generally stressed out woman has finally accepted a job offer! As discouraging as the search was at times, the AAM community bolstered my spirits and gave me the confidence to keep trying. Alison’s excellent advice regarding cover letters and interviewing had a great impact. Once I changed my approach based on her guidelines, I started getting more follow up interviews and even a few offers (which, again thanks to AAM, I had the courage to decline because it was clearly not going to be a good fit). I was able to keep going until I found something that felt like it would be a good match for both sides.

I had been laid off from my previous job not because of COVID, but because the company had been badly mismanaged to the point where they had no alternative to massive layoffs. The mismanagement included a whole boatload of dysfunctional behavior which I wasn’t really able to see until after I was out of there. In retrospect, they did me a favor. Even the 9 months it took me to find a new job was a gift in that it gave me time to recover that I hadn’t even realized I needed.

Although the offer I have accepted is not my “dream job,” it’s a job that will allow me to pay the bills, have more work-life balance than I’ve experienced before, and develop my skills with an eye towards future advancement. Both the company and its employees have a reputation for professionalism, work-life balance, and profitability. It turns out that I know a few of my new colleagues from prior jobs, so I am confident that the dysfunctional issues I have faced in the past are not present in this new company.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to Alison and the AAM community. You gave me the fuel I needed to keep moving forward when I felt like I couldn’t take another step.

{ 24 comments… read them below }

  1. The Rural Juror*

    These are very uplifting! I’m so glad you’ve been doing these good news stories, Alison!!!

  2. Bookworm*

    If ever there was a week that needed to end with some nice, positive news while we wait on some other, perhaps life-changing news, it’s this one.

    Thanks to all the LWs for sharing! Always nice to end a week seeing these nice stories!

  3. EPLawyer*

    I love how many of these are “Because I listened to Alison’s advice, I got a better situation.”

    Congratulations to all, especially #2. Have fun nagivating parenthood.

  4. Jean*

    I just love these. Alison, thanks for doing this every week. Such a nice bright spot in these weird times.

  5. WhoKnows*

    WOW, I could not be more happy for #1. I would have also been incredibly nervous to share that news, and the way they reacted is unfortunately, too rare, but so, so wonderful. Congratulations on welcoming your baby daughter and a great new job!

  6. emmelemm*

    This is a great Friday good news, especially #4. I am approaching 50 and desperately need a new job and am very, very scared about the added difficulty of being, well, old.

    1. starsaphire*

      It is a scary time to be in that position, for sure.

      I was 40-mumble when I landed my current gig, after a year of nothing — and I give this site massive credit for helping me get that offer, and helping me learn to navigate in a (gasp!) non-dysfunctional work environment.

      Best of luck to you, emmelemm, and massive congrats to OP #4!

    2. 30 Years in the Biz*

      You can do it! I did it at 58 after being out of work for a year due to layoff. I attended local employment development classes (state sponsored) which really helped (along with AAM advice, of course). They had a separate mature worker’s curriculum too. I learned what to say/not to say, how to dress, how to connect with younger colleagues. I think it made a big difference. All the best to you – you’ve got this!

    3. Jean (just Jean)*

      Hang in there! It is not easy but I was able to do this at age 57 with a lot of gray hair*. AAM was and is a great source of support. Sending you supportive vibes. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      It helped me to land at a workplace with other older employees (with and without gray hair), and to helped me to project confidence and self-acceptance (after spending some time feeling/projecting self-criticism at not having Achieved Some Measure of Success).

      * Colored hair looks great on other people; I’m deterred by the regular maintenance.

  7. Disco Janet*

    Congratulations all! #1, I would love to know what company that is. It is heartening to know there are still human-focused places out there.

  8. Dimples*

    All of these stories were very encouraging, as I am in the middle of a job search myself.

    As always, thank you for sharing Alison and thank you too letter writers for sharing.

  9. Of Other Worlds*

    I feel bad for the student whose family set off a lot of red flags. I absolutely support the letter writer doing what’s necessary for their mental health. But I also hope the student finds whatever support they need.

    1. Aurora Leigh*

      Yeah — I am picturing one of those situations where the parents are hiring a “tutor” but really just want to pay someone to take standardized tests or write college essays for their kid or something like that. But still no fun for the kid!

    2. Jean (just Jean)*

      Ideally, the student is comfortable (or comfortable enough, for the time being) with their family traditions and the family will find another tutor similarly at ease (or at least not uncomfortable being around the religion even if they don’t follow it themself).

  10. Mona Lisa*

    I’m so happy to hear about #1’s situation! Talk about the best outcome for everyone. I hope you enjoy your time with your daughter and end up loving your new job once you return!

  11. NotAnotherManager!*

    I LOVE the Friday good news – congratulations to all of you, and thanks for sharing your stories at a time we could all use something to smile about!

  12. Aurora Leigh*

    Yay #1! I love hearing stories of workplaces doing parental leave right. I’m pregant now and my husband will get 10 weeks paid leave which we are so excited about! (I just get unpaid FMLA + short term disability, so I told him he should do the labor part! lol)

  13. Uranus Wars*

    These are my favorite part of the week! This weeks just blew it out of the park – thanks so much, everyone, for continuing to send these in and sharing your good (great, fabulous, terrific…) news with us!

  14. Von Schmidt*

    Would love to see some columns on older worker challenges! I’ve been at the same company for 20+ years but been through several leadership changes and a buyout…so it’s like a different place. I’m mostly happy but also tired of this job. Do I stick it out or look for something new?

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