it’s your Friday good news

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

1. I have spent the last 10 years working in education. Even though I have a license and my city constantly complains about a lack of teachers I couldn’t even get an interview because of a 15 year old shoplifting charge. I finally got a position in a school essentially working as a teacher but at an assistant’s salary. One of my coworkers told me about a company hiring with a reputation for hiring educators. On a whim I applied right before COVID hit. I ended up interviewing remotely and accepting a position in April for twice the money and half the stress. Today I received my second quarterly review and things are going great. I enjoy my job, I feel valued, and I am able to continue working from home as long as I need to feel safe ( a big bonus most schools in my area are back to in person classes and due to previous health issues I have no real immune system, last year I was sick from November to February). Thank you for your wonderful advice, which I definitely relied on heavily during the interview process.

2. I work in central registry services for a famous university in London.

They have been EXCELLENT about covid from the start – during the full lockdown they paid us all full wage but told us they understood that if we’re stuck at home with children/other responsibilities we can’t be fully effective, and we’re just to do what we can and not worry about taking time off or trying to make up the hours. And if we can’t work at all, to take the time off, and we’ll STILL be paid. Amazing.

Anyway, I’ve just received an email telling me I’m getting an honorarium in recognition of my contribution during covid! It’s about two weeks’ wages. I’m thrilled and feel very supported. I was one of those who needed to use the flexibility over lockdown; I worked two fewer hours each day in order to focus on childcare. So it’s even more amazing that they’d still consider me for a bonus.

I feel very lucky and I am now an extremely loyal employee!

3. Just wanted to finally share some good news of my own!

A few months ago, I asked for a promotion. After 2 years of designing, let’s say, teapots and going above and beyond in my role, I noticed I was getting exclusively positive feedback across my teapot projects. It was super exciting, and my boss made it clear I was valued. So, I told him based on my track record, I wanted a promotion. My other colleagues (white, male) were promoted about 6 months into their jobs. Meanwhile I completed several online courses, attended multiple conferences and gave workshops that were inline with my specialty at the company. It seemed pretty obvious that I earned a right to advance.

Well, a few days after asking, he, and 2 department heads ambushed me during a routine meeting. They told me I was totally wrong, that I needed to be placed on a PIP due to serious performance concerns. They said that after I interviewed for my role, they literally sat around and talked about “how much of a project” I was. They said they knew I would be a project, and they weren’t surprised I was being placed on a PIP. Mind you, I took on more teapot projects than my own supervisor, and played a lead teapot design role in a project that kicked off 3 months late. This was total BS – I was being retaliated against.

I later found out they had a pattern of doing this to women teapot designers who advocated for promotions but were not friends with management.

Things continued to slide downhill. A month later, I had my annual review. I was told I made no technical contributions during my time with the company. (I am in a technical role, full time). I was told my workshops were excellent, but they were an example of good public speaking and marketing skills. Apparently, I had potential doing admin work on their proposal team.. None of my contributions were acknowledged or valued. It felt sexist and condescending. I felt gaslit.

I started looking for a new job, leaning on my contacts heavily. I did informational interviews, attended virtual events, reviewed technical concepts related to my field… you name it. I put in 1-3 hours a day towards studying, writing cover letters, applying to jobs, taking interviews and doing informational interviews. Things got pretty busy.

Management realized I was looking for a job because my PTO usage went through the roof. The department head called me in for a meeting to let me know I was doing a great job during my PIP. So great, they wanted to give me a 3% raise and let me know I was on track to promotion in 3 months. What BS. First my contributions have no value. Now I’m on track to promotion and getting a raise during a PIP. Hmm. Seems fishy.

By this point I was a finalist for a teapot specialist role at 2 companies, and I ended up getting 2 offers. Both of my offers were 20% above my current pay grade. Plus, I networked with some pretty awesome women teapot specialists, and expanded my network. So I accepted the better offer! I start my new job in December, and I could not be happier :)

It was really harrowing for me, especially because it was the first time I ever asked for a promotion. I sacrificed as much of my personal time as possible to Get Stuff Done. I was constantly stressed, wondering if I would get terminated before finding a job. I was so angry and hurt that management would treat my contributions like they had no value. Getting two competitive offers gave me a ton of closure. I feel like I can move on, and up. :)

4. This summer, my years of reading Ask a Manager finally paid off in a big way! I was getting frustrated in my current job due to some toxic coworkers and wanted to start exploring other opportunities. I cleaned up my resume, using your advice, and marked myself as “open to opportunities” on LinkedIn and off I went. I was contacted by the hiring manager for what sounded like a role that was similar to what I was currently doing but it would allow me to move closer to family, something I wanted to do. Using all your advice, I went through the interview process, crushed it, and was offered the job! I negotiated for a relocation bonus and a higher salary and I got the salary I wanted!

In the new role, I have a direct report. This is my first time managing anyone. I have a lot to work on (already seeing some places where I can improve communication) but I’ve started off strong thanks to your advice. My manager sat in on a 1:1 meeting between me and my direct report and had really positive things to say about my communication with my direct report. Thanks for providing me the knowledge that got me off to a great start in my new job!

5. In case there’s anyone who doesn’t know yet how valuable your advice is, I used your materials and instructions to get a new job 2 years ago – after 17 years at my previous job. After being at the same company for so long, I was really nervous about finding another job. The new job included a substantial jump in salary, and I loved the work, the culture, and the company’s mission.

Unfortunately I was laid off from this really great job in April, but I used your advice again, and I’m now in my second week at my new job. I am getting the same salary (which is what I asked for), and even though it’s harder to start a new job remotely, the people I’m working with are doing their best to make it easier for me, and I’m really enjoying the work.

{ 39 comments… read them below }

  1. Monty & Millie's Mom*

    I love the Friday good news! And I hope OP #3 left an honest Glassdoor review for her previous company!

  2. Sara without an H*

    I’m seeing a theme here: organizations that treat their people well are rewarded with loyalty and high performance. Organizations that treat their people badly…get turnover.

    Congratulations to all the letter writers and best wishes for the new year.

  3. Kidz Bop OP*

    OP #3: While it’s awesome you were able to find a great job at another company, I can’t help but feeling angry (on your behalf) about the rest of this letter. As a woman working in a highly technical role (let’s say: designing coffee pots) this would infuriate me. I’m fortunate to be in a company with bosses that support me (although we also have a problem of women getting driven to management/business leadership roles vs. technical ones.)

    The fact that your company faced no consequences for this beyond losing you is so frustrating.

      1. 2 Cents*


        So, you were on a PIP for serious issues, but then they thought you were great and wanted to give you a raise? Gaslighting, indeed! So glad you’re out of there. As a woman in a technical role, I’m rooting for your success!

    1. Elsie*

      I was also very angry reading this as well. I totally get that you want to move on and I’m not a legal expert but would you consider filing a complaint with the EEOC or taking any other kind of legal action? They should be held accountable for discriminating against you and compensate you for the harm they caused. So sorry this happened to you and hope your new job is amazing!

      1. Observer*

        I was wondering the same thing?

        OP, if doing this would be harmful to you, I would understand. But if you could file the complaint and you have the documentation of your work, I think it would be a good thing. Even if YOUR complaint doesn’t trigger something, it would be part of a pattern and something they would legitimately look at if they decided to investigate another complaint.

        1. Properlike*

          This was also my question. It won’t help you, but it could help the next woman this happens to.

      2. Ismonie*

        I would definitely recommend talking to a lawyer and a possible EEOC complaint. In some states you can file a lawsuit as a Jane Doe, and maintain your privacy.

      3. de Pizan*

        Unfortunately, with EEOC complaints, you usually only have 180 days from the time of the event to the deadline to file a complaint (you might get up to 300 days if your state has anti-discrimination laws that also apply).

      4. OP3*

        As a matter of fact, I’m consulting with multiple attorneys to explore the feasibility of an EEOC complaint. I don’t know if my ‘evidence’ would compel a successful settlement, but I’m going to weigh their advice heavily. It’s been 100 days since I was retaliated against, so I have some time to at least gather information. :)

    2. Anonosaurus*

      +1 more person enraged on your behalf. Honestly I would have mooned these guys out of the window of an uber as I left on my last day. But I’m immature. So glad you’re out of there.

  4. LB*

    LW2 I work in a UK university too. To say they have been supportive isn’t understatement. They even have us 5 extra leave days! The government support for universities and students though? Awful.

    1. Foxgloves*

      I also work for a UK university and totally agree that they’ve been FANTASTIC throughout all of this. It’s been insaaaanely busy, but I’ve never felt anything but supported. Honestly, I’ve rarely felt so lucky to work in the industry I do!

  5. Iluvtv*

    OP3, I was expecting that your ambush meeting was actually an inappropriate fake out and they were going to end the meeting by surprising you with a promotion. As bad as that would have been, I’m sorry to hear it was worse but happy for you that you have found something better.

    1. Certaintroublemaker*

      That’s exactly what I thought—they were pranking her to announce the promotion. My jaw dropped and I had to read the letter from the start. The whole thing is unfathomable.

  6. Temperance*

    LW1: just a suggestion, but have you considered seeking an expungement for the shoplifting charge? Something so minor from 2005 shouldn’t be limiting you like this!

    1. Observer*

      Yeah. I was thinking about this. For some roles, this would be relevant, but to be honest, not for a teacher.

      1. Roja*

        If anything, I would think it would give LW1 a different and valuable perspective, especially if they’re teaching teens.

    2. Ismonie*

      I was thinking the same thing. If the charge is more serious, sometimes you can get it reduced, and then expunged a year later.

    3. Properlike*

      From what I’ve read, expungement does not mean it disappears completely — the information may be available to certain employers. Teaching fingerprinting and background checks are no joke.

    4. LW1*

      Unfortunately the state I live in doesn’t do expungements unless you were found not guilty, which is super helpful.

    5. Anon Anon*

      My thoughts exactly. I had a very similar thing on my record and at 20 years past the original charge, I was able to get it expunged. There was no law saying you had to wait 20 years, so I could have tried much sooner, but it had never really come up in a job search until the 20-year mark (I was at the same company for 18 years so that’s why it never came up in a job search until much later).

  7. Another Teacher*

    OP 1: Teachers fleeing the profession everywhere would LOVE to know if your new company is permanently remote and hiring nationwide!

    1. LW1*

      So the company is remote until a vaccine is widely available. We have a lot of parents so there is also flexibility for childcare issues. They are looking into more of us being remote full time. All told I have been thrilled with the company’s response to COVID. We are one of those lucky companies that have grown during this time so we are definitely hiring nationwide. (I’d leave the company name but I’m not sure if that would break the rules)

      1. Meredith Rose*

        I’m dying to know. A good friend of mine is currently struggling to transition out of teaching.

  8. Maxie's Mommy*

    LW1—now that you have a good income, see about having your shoplifting record expunged. It was a petty, non-violent crime.

    1. KikiB*

      I was coming here to say the same thing. Speak to an attorney about it in the jurisdiction the crime occurred. You may be able to get it expunged.

    2. Brioche*

      I would also see if your local law school has an expungement clinic. There might be limits on who can access the clinic (i.e., if the clinic only serves low-income individuals, etc.) but it’s definitely something to check out.

  9. OP #5*

    I’m now in month 6 of my new job, which I love. I’m learning a lot of new technical skills that I’ve been wanting to learn for a while. Being proficient in these areas will make me more employable and has made me much less anxious about being able to get another job in the future (although I don’t plan to leave this company any time soon). In a meeting a couple of weeks ago, my boss said that my work has been “phenomenal” and that they want to start the hiring process (I’m a contractor now) as soon as the board approves next year’s budget. I’m so happy and excited! Thank you, Alison, for AAM. it has given me the skills and confidence I needed!

  10. Lucifer McFluffypants*

    LW1 – You may not need to worry about the shoplifting charge now that you’re in the teaching world, but you may want to re-research expungement. Call a couple local lawyers and see if they think it’s possible, based on laws in your jurisdiction. This is one of those areas of law that does evolve, so the rules may have changed, or there may be new loopholes.

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