updates: company told people to use PTO for quarantine, and more

Here are three updates from people who had their letters answered here in the past.

1. I told my job I wanted to leave, and then COVID happened (#3 at the link)

I wrote in to you in April because I had let my job know that I wanted to leave before COVID hit and then, well, COVID hit and I couldn’t find another job. Your advice at the time was to try to rescind my resignation, but it was too late; as I mentioned in the comments, I had already agreed to an end date and an offer had been made to my replacement. We originally agreed to an end date of June 12, with me training my replacement until then. That date was eventually pushed back to early July, meaning I got to stay on my health insurance for another month, which was a big relief. I trained my replacement (who is lovely!), transitioned all the tasks that I was responsible for and generally tried to wrap my head around being unemployed in a global pandemic.

After my last day, I took a much-needed week to decompress and do nothing, after which I really dove into job searching. I tried to balance applying for a lot of jobs with still being thoughtful and writing strong cover letters. I connected with multiple recruiters, had some interview processes with other finance companies that I ultimately pulled out of, and despaired about getting out of finance and into nonprofits. I made a plan for how long I could be unemployed before giving up on a nonprofit job, bought my own health insurance, and applied, applied, applied. Mostly, it was crickets. But one day in early August, I was looking at listings while feeling my lowest and most despairing. I applied to a nonprofit job that seemed like the perfect fit, mentioning duties and skills that are outside the usual scope of this kind of role but that I have a lot of experience in. I was certain that my materials would go into a black hole as usual, but 20 minutes later I got an interview request. It went well; I had a second interview later that week, and accepted an offer a few days later!

I’ve been in my new role for about a month now, and while it’s definitely very different and challenging, I’m enjoying it. I’m lucky enough to be part of an organization that is currently growing, even in COVID. It has also made a big difference in my mental health knowing that I’m contributing to an organization that is making the world a better place in a terrible time. Thank you for all of the advice that you have given over the years – even though I couldn’t act on the advice you gave for my letter, I would not have gotten this role without your resume, cover letter, and interviewing tips.

2. Company ordered people to quarantine, then told them to use PTO for it (first update here)

I wanted to send in a second update that is a little apologetic. I should have listened to all of the commenters — I have been in so many truly messed up workplaces that being somewhere where I was happy and not harassed or worse felt great for once. Things have only gotten worse in a way I decided I cannot continue supporting them with- I currently am sick, and everything is so cloak and dagger and I’m being treated pretty ridiculously and finally decided to take the offer I received from a company that pays more, has fewer hours, and best part has a week and a half of PTO!! And THREE PAID HOLIDAYS!! And yeah those are still like bare minimum but it feels good to move in a better direction. Thanks for all of your advice, I really wish I listened in the beginning and it didn’t take pretty terrible things to realize it.

Update to the update:

I’m doing amazing now! The new company has two weeks PTO! And pays almost double, and has specific policies about covid that make me feel much better. The best thing is that I also got my friend who was forced to quarantine and not be paid a job at the new place. Very nice happy ending!

3. How to list partial grad school on my resume (#5 at the link)

I wanted to thank everyone for their comments, especially from those feeling the same burnout. Everyone can use the reminder that the first step in taking care of anything or anyone else is taking care of yourself!

Some of the commenters were expressing the worries I had, but it turned out to be no problem at all! I had (at least) initial interviews with something five different companies, and not a single one asked about the grad school experience. My job hunt lasted a total of two weeks, and I wound up with competing offers from two amazing companies, both at 50%+ raises (I knew I was underpaid; I was not aware HOW underpaid). I accepted, and start my new job for an organization that does truly wonderful work in a few weeks!

{ 17 comments… read them below }

  1. Rainy*

    These are such lovely updates. Congrats to everyone involved, and thank you so much for sharing your triumphs with us!

    1. Gazebo Slayer*

      Yeah, it’s depressing as hell that a week and a half PTO and 3 paid holidays is so exciting.

      But then, provided OP is in the US, we’ve been reminded again that we are the real shithole country.

  2. WellRed*

    I’m glad OP 2 has improved their situation, but three paid holidays? For what sounds like a professional role? Whoop. De. Doo.

    1. Lauren*

      This is pretty common in certain jobs and parts of the country. OP feels like it is a gift, because it is in some states. Only a few offer paid sick time let alone any holidays and still its the bare min like 5 sick days in MA. Blue collar jobs, retail, or even low-level office jobs don’t offer anything beyond days worked unless that absolutely have to as in all the competitors are and they can’t get any hires.

      1. 2 Cents*

        In her other letter, she said “clinic,” which leads me to think she works in healthcare. Probably has Thanksgiving, Christmas and one other day off (Labor Day?), which is typical in that setting.

        1. Lauren*

          Ah this makes sense. There are no rules for holidays then. Nurses and doctors rotate to get those days off. If she is other staff, then its just the min they give. This is obviously annoying since there is no way the nursing or doctor staff doesn’t get real PTO time. The most she can do is ask about it at her next review and see if she can negotiate another week off, but it likely won’t be holidays because of the clinic setting unless they are completely closed on those days.

    2. The Other Dawn*

      Well, it appears to be more than what she had at her crappy former company so I’m sure she’s pretty happy to get some PTO. It tends to be industry- and company-dependent as to how much people get.

    3. WellRed*

      You’re right. If she’s happy, that’s what matters. I just hate for people to normalize and consider good something that’s still below paltry. My first job out of high school for a company with four people, I still got two weeks PTO and 6 or 8 paid holidays. I don’t think health care or anyone else should get a pass on such paltry benefits to the workers they can’t do without.

    4. Firecat*

      I felt the same way. I get it’s better but it still sucks and I think it’s important to not let companies trick us into thinking it’s great.

  3. Firecat*

    #1 Wow. You had an amazing turn around on that. Very glad everything worked out for you.

    You were essentially a super star job finder – so if you didn’t feel that way about yourself it could be worth exploring why when you feel up to it.

    I get panicking about finances, but less then two months of job searching and you were landing interviews and turning them down is an amazingly positive job hunt. Even in a good economy, two months is lightening fast, let alone in a global pandemic.

  4. Wren*

    OP#3’s update and letter might give me the boost I need to list my three years of a Bachelor’s degree in Education. I was doing well and finished all the theory, but I started the in school placement and decided that I hated teaching.

    1. Wren*

      Note: I’ve completed other degrees since then but I learnt a lot from that degree and it felt like a waste or something that I should never mention.

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