it’s your Friday good news

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

1. I’m excited to share that after a very difficult fellowship and a very difficult fellowship, I got a job offer that I’m really excited about! I’ve been reading your blog religiously for a couple of years largely because I started a fellowship two years ago with a Horrible Manager. My manager made me feel so small and I felt like I had to compromise my beliefs to do the role. Your blog helped me to navigate that relationship and stand up for myself. The ending to the fellowship was also difficult – after the CEO told the entire staff that our jobs were secure and my manager said that they could probably (which I know isn’t a definitely) extend the fellowship until I found something else, I asked and found out that I couldn’t get an extension with about a month let of my fellowship. So I found myself staring down an unknown period of unemployment, in a pandemic, with a tough job market.

I had been applying to jobs for over a year before the end of my fellowship because my manager was so awful and I wanted out. I got through multiple rounds of interviews pretty consistently, but never got an offer. Once the fellowship ended I totally redid my cover letters and resume based on your advice. I come from a legal background so my old cover letters were kind of formal and rigid and also didn’t provide new information about myself that wasn’t already on my resume. I edited my cover letters to talk about my results and examples of who I am as an advocate through my work. I also edited my resume to talk about my accomplishments rather than just my job duties. Also honestly I was sort of burnt out from working in reproductive rights for the past three years and wanted to switch into another field but felt kind of daunted by that process.

Well, thanks to your advice I got interviews consistently over the two months I was unemployed, including a bunch in other fields. In my interviews I didn’t shy away from asking tough questions about workplace culture and thinking critically about not just if I was a good fit for the organization, but if they were a good fit for me. In retrospect my last fellowship had a lot of red flags during the interview process that I should have probed more about to find a work culture and manager that was a better fit. All of the places where I interviewed really appreciated how thorough I was in my questions and I think it showed how much I valued fit on both sides of the relationship. I finally got a job offer today at an organization that values my advocacy style, background, and racial justice values. I know there is no such thing as a dream job, but it feels so good to accept an offer from an organization where I feel like I don’t need to hide what I value to fit in.

Anyway, I spent years interviewing trying to fit myself into roles that weren’t really “me” because I was so worried about job insecurity. But reading your blog and having this unemployment period really helped me to reflect on what I value in myself and the workplace.

Thank you so much for all that you do and good luck to everyone searching for a job searching. I used to read the Friday Good News thinking “I hope that’s me some day!” And now it finally is – I wish that for someone else too.

Read an update to this letter here.

2. As a long time reader, I thought I’d share my good news. Throughout the pandemic, I was working in a position where I was unhappy with the leadership of the company, though I loved my boss. I was essentially resigned to continue in the role because we were in the midst of a pandemic. Then, a recruiter reached out. After a long interview process, I am now in a new leadership position with a great company that is looking for my skill set to grow the company. I went from a place that seemed terrified of any change, to one that is embracing what they need to grow to the next level. The new position comes with increased salary and responsibilities.

I’ve internalized a lot of the great advice you and the community have given. Instead of dreading work, I am actually looking forward to it, which is nice given the current state of the world.

3. I’ve been job hunting in the last month and I’ve put your lovely suggestions and all the AAM advice on job seeking/interviewing and career swaps to work and applied to an open position in accounting for a mid-large company here in my city. Got called back within the hour, had the first phone screening and landed another round of interviews via Zoom and ended up being invited for a third and last in-person meeting on Monday aaaaaaaaaaaand I’ve got an offer as an accountant! Yay!! I’ll have a lot to learn but there is going to be time and a learning curve is expected since it is a career switch. But they love my soft skills and the attitude my years as an AA gave me! Yay!! It will also be a title and salary. 2000€/yr more than what I was making plus food tickets! (Note from Alison: Something in Italy, I think?)  I’m SO thrilled! It’s not the permanent position I dreamt of but they are open to go beyond the maternity leave temp, when the time comes (in a year) and I will, in both scenarios, have one year experience in this new role.

Thank you SO very very much for all the support, the useful informations you give us! And thanks to all the readers, because they are golden in every comment!

4. I have been unhappy in my job for over a year for a number of reasons. My husband and I are lucky to both work in industries that are booming during the pandemic. We’d always discussed moving to a new state and a couple of months ago decided to start casually applying to jobs in the state we want to live in. I applied for a lateral move type job but with a much smaller company. Within an hour of sending my application, I had a phone screen scheduled. Within a couple hours of the phone screen, I had a virtual interview scheduled. Using all the stuff I’ve learned from your site over the years, I guess I won them over. A couple days after my interview I had a full job offer and was even able to negotiate a signing bonus to help with our move! We decided to go for it and are now in the process of moving across the country. I am beyond excited to start this new adventure and work somewhere that I’m wanted and can succeed. It feels crazy that within two weeks of applying I had an offer and now after a month we are packing up our home, but it will be worth it to finally move to an area we’ve dreamed of for so long. Thanks for your amazing advice!

5. I have been a periodic Ask a Manager reader over the last few years and have always enjoyed your advice. When I was one of the unlucky ones to be fired in the midst of COVID this spring (with thankfully a few months leeway to find a new position elsewhere), your blog was an essential voice of reason at every stage as I ventured into serious job hunting for the first time in several years.

It helped me wrap my head around what to expect and ask for from my former company if I did not find a job by my prescribed end date. It gave me the perspective I needed to begin to process what went wrong, what mistakes I made or didn’t make, and what I can apply in future roles. And most importantly, it equipped me with great tips, tools, and reality-checks throughout the job search process (especially spotting red flags!). I’m happy to report that not only did I accept a new position with another organization that furthers my career in new and exciting ways, I even successfully negotiated a higher salary than what was advertised as being the top end of their range for the position (and higher than my salary at my old company)!

Although I’ve certainly had a lot of support over the past few months from my family, boyfriend, friends, and therapist (hooray for mental health services!), this blog has been a huge factor as well. I’m looking forward to continuing my devotee status as I start this new position in the coming weeks. Thank you for everything!

{ 21 comments… read them below }

  1. Chocolate Teapot*

    3. Food Tickets might be Cheques-Repas or Luncheon Vouchers. In some European countries they are offered as part of the salary package, especially if the company isn’t big enough for its own canteen.

    1. TheItalianBunny*

      Yes!! ** I’m the LW of that good News and what you said it is correct. **
      They’re vouchers that you can spend at restaurants/deliveries/supermarket to buy food and they’re offered as part of the compensation package when there’s no canteen in the company (which is the majority of them here in Italy) and it is designed to compensate the money you spend on lunch

      1. Lucky*

        Aren’t the luncheon vouchers usually around the same price as the prix ​​fixés lunches offered by many restaurants (I don’t know the Italian for this – menu à prezzo fisso maybe)? We always look for those lunch deals when we travel.

        1. TheItalianBunny*

          Yes!!! Absolutely!! But it changes very much on the COL of the City you live in but it’s pretty much on that price range. Mine are like 6.50€ x worked day and they’re one of the perks i love the most because i can spend them on groceries and save a lot

      2. Bruce Wayne*

        Food tickets was a new one for me but reading the comments and looking on Google to get a better understanding makes me think: “GOOD DEAL!”. And I learned something today.

    2. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

      Wait…in Europe employees don’t have to pay for food from the work canteen/cafeteria generally?

      Here in the USA, one of the places where I’ve worked provided free sodas and breakfast (like, toast and fruit and such, not a hot breakfast) in the breakroom (I was working as a temp and living in a kitchenless hotel room at the time, so I was probably over-using my free office bread privileges to make PBJ sandwiches as well as breakfast toast, but no one ever told me not to…), but everywhere I’ve worked with a full cafeteria charged for meals. (Usually slightly cheaper than a restaurant, probably trying to break even rather than make a profit, but certainly not free.)

      1. TheItalianBunny*

        Hahahahah i don’t know how it works in the rest of Europe, but here, we usually go out to a restaurant, or grab a sandwitch or bring our food and heat it in the office kitchen and, since you pay for it, most companies will give you the Tickets. I worked in a place that had a canteen just once in my lifetime and the canteen was charged like a symbolic amount, 2 euros or so, directly taken from our paycheck.

        1. IchKriegDieKrise*

          Where I work (Germany) canteen is usually subsidized by the employer, so it’s not free but cheaper than a restaurant. Germany doesn’t tend to have meal vouchers, so if there’s no canteen, you are on your own. My partner works in Luxemburg. There, either the employer subsidizes a canteen or you get vouchers. Vouchers generally don’t cover the full cost of a meal in a restaurant in Lux, but you can use them in supermarkets or bakeries for quicker/cheaper options. Overall, a nice perk.

      2. Beth Jacobs*

        Yeah, not completely free but subsidized. The subsidy / meal ticket is not taxed, so it works out better for the employee than a straight up raise.
        Personally, I’d rather have the tax law adjust so that workers can get that money cash. Meal tickets are inefficient: you can’t use them everywhere, businesses don’t give change for them, they expire. Edenred and Sodexo make huge profits on them and I just don’t see the added value.

        1. Chocolate Teapot*

          It depends on the shop/supermarket, but some do give change, although you might need to spend a minimum amount. I am fortunate as there is a supermarket next door but one to my office which has a good selection of lunch products, so I always use my vouchers to pay there.

          The Plat du Jour in a restaurant, which is usually the cheapest option, might cost slightly more than the value of a Cheque-repas, so you either have to pay with 2, or make up the difference in cash.

      3. Ms_Meercat*

        I now work in Spain and here it’s very common to have a kind of card that has a balance on it (could be 100-200 EUR a month even) that you can spend in tons of restaurants (even outside of work hours). In my company we have a card that works like a credit card in restaurants and bars, and they charge you the amount you would pay minus the taxes, and take it out of your next paycheck. Which typically means if I spend 150 EUR in a month on eating out or bars (or deliveroo in fact), I pay with the card and it typically charges me 30 % less, and so that only about 100 comes out of my next paycheck.

    1. SR*

      I was wondering the same thing! I read the letter 3x in an attempt demystify the content of the first sentence. Maybe the second “fellowship” was supposed to be another word or term?

      1. Well Then*

        I did the same and thought maybe the first “fellowship” was supposed to be “internship”?

  2. Jane Gloriana Villanueva*

    Congratulations to all for your successes and growth! Each one sounds like an amazing, promising, and wonderfully challenging opportunity.
    Alison, thank you so much for posting these good news updates on the regular. They are such a beautiful way to reward your readers and celebrate their accomplishments in our community!

Comments are closed.