it’s your Friday good news

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

1. I’ve been applying for jobs for over two years, trying to get out from under a micromanaging, hypercritical, fussbudget of a boss. I’d get interviews, they’d seemingly go well, and then I’d be ghosted or rejected, again and again.

I had many crises of faith, knowing my professional growth was being stunted in my current position, but unable to see a way out other than to keep doing what I’d been doing, which didn’t seem to be getting me anywhere. Add the personal and professional stress of the pandemic, and I was just spent, mentally exhausted, and feeling like giving up.

But now I’ve finally been offered a position! It’ll be a promotion, in an organization that’s going through some significant challenges, widely publicized in my field. There’s the possibility that I’m jumping out of a frying pan and into the fire. But, having given this a lot of though, particularly in light others’ stories I’ve read on “Ask a Manager”, I’ve decided that it’ll be worth the risk to accept. For one thing, it’ll be a different fire! But more importantly, there will be a chance that I can help improve the situation at the new organization in some ways that match my skills. And, from what I hear through networking, my future boss seems to be open, honest, enthusiastic, and not a micromanager!

I hadn’t thought I’d be able to get out of my miserable current situation during the pandemic. I don’t have any job hunting hacks to offer others: I think it was just that something finally worked out after dozens of interviews. But it’s good to know that even now, hope and stubbornness can sometimes be rewarded.

2. After 4 years at my job, I am resigning. I didn’t realize how bad I really had it until I received my new job offer and was so excited to quit. I started as a temp-to-hire manager. On my first day, they told me I was an assistant and there was no way to change it. Thankfully my pay rate was not affected but it caused me a lot of stress. This was supposed to be a step up in my career, and if anything, it was a step down having been a coordinator in my previous organization.

I was only supposed to be a temp for a month and it turned into 6, even though I constantly followed up because I needed benefits. When I did turn permanent, they made me hourly instead of salary when I was promised an exempt position. This made me ineligible to telecommute on days I had a home delivery or if there was inclement weather. I tried my hardest for them to change me to salary but it never happened. I asked to be trained on new assignments and was always ignored. Even after agreeing to train me, the manager took it upon themselves to complete the assignments so they didn’t have to train.

When I moved to another state, I was surprised they offered me to work remotely and I accepted. I felt like I finally got what I was waiting for. However, once the pandemic hit, their response was awful (even though I was not directly impacted) and it broke my heart seeing their inability to accommodate their employees to telecommute even though it’s 100% possible. They are incredibly old school.

I dealt with sexism and ageism the entire time. The dept director would tell me that “twenty-somethings think they know everything when they don’t know anything”. I’m in my mid-20s and they know that. Since I was the only fully-remote employee in my department, some were jealous of me and cut me off despite me reaching out to keep in touch. My boss constantly questioned if I hated working remotely and told me I needed to talk to people other than my spouse. My work performance never changed and the treatment concerned me that my job may have been in jeopardy.

After months of searching for a new job, I landed a remote team lead position with a Fortune 1000 organization. I couldn’t be more excited to say goodbye.

3. I’m writing to share good news! My boyfriend’s company just announced they’ll be switching to unlimited PTO for their exempt employees in the new year. They’ve decided that everyone can be trusted to decide when and how often they need to take time off and will be focusing more on outcomes rather than hours worked. They’re encouraging people to take off somewhere between 3 and 4 weeks a year! We are both thrilled and think this is an awesome move for the company! After all, they are adults and should be able to manage time off without having to accrue it based on hours worked and as long as they’re meeting their goals it shouldn’t really matter.

4. I have good news for the Friday good news dump! I was hired in September 2019 to be a summer associate at a big law firm in the Southeast, and when COVId hit I was very nervous that the program would be cancelled. Many peer firms did cancel, but my firm transitioned to a fully virtual program. It was great – all of the attorneys were so receptive to meeting us summers via Zoom for virtual coffee and we still got great work experience. I was able to use a lot of the advice I’ve gotten from your blog, especially asking for (and listening to!) feedback, and I just got a full time offer for fall 2021!! I am over the moon.

5. I’ve been an avid reader of your blog since before I graduated, about 2 and a half years ago now. I had gone straight into a masters degrees after getting my BA, so I made sure to tailor my CV to show the skills that I had and any achievements I had in my college jobs. I also found your tip to treat interviewing as a two way street so helpful, and it’s made me more relaxed and confident in interviews. (And, yes, I did use the magic question, and yes, it made all my interviewers swoon.)

I’ve been working since I graduated from my masters, but as a result of your advice, I got a wonderful role in a great company that I truly love working for almost a year ago. Your advice has been invaluable as I entered the workforce, and has made the difference between being a good employee and a great employee. I recently had my (slightly late) 6 month probation review, and it was 100% positive. It was a glowing review, and my manager had no areas for me to improve on.

Whenever I encounter something I’ve never seen or experienced before, I always think “what would AAM do?” I think of it like having my own little AAM voice on my shoulder giving me direction. It’s particularly useful at the moment because a recently promoted colleague has been throwing his weight around, pissing off a lot of people in the process. I’m trying to enjoy watching the chaos unfold while also channelling my inner AAM when dealing with my colleague.

{ 27 comments… read them below }

  1. Niniel*

    Anyone else want to know what company is #3?? I could use 3-4 weeks of vacation a year, taken at my discretion!!

    1. High Score!*

      Lots of companies are starting to do that. I used to work at Honeywell and that was what they did. Unfortunately my local branch has a lousy work environment that was not typical of them in general so I left. It was nice though. And it wasn’t completely unlimited but you could easily take 3-4 weeks without any questions being asked.

    2. Daffy Duck*

      One of the downsides of unlimited time off is many companies that offer it have a culture that frowns on actually using it. So “officially” you can use it but it impacts your chance at raises, stretch projects, promotions, etc. if you do. At least one study showed that employees in unlimited time off companies actually took less than those with traditional time off systems. So companies that truly encourage their employees to take it are !!!wonderful!!! but it can work against employees under dysfunctional management.

      1. Ray Gillette*

        This is why I’m glad my company doesn’t offer “unlimited” PTO. It’s not that leadership thinks less of people who take time off, more that there’s so much to do it never seems like a good time. Having a cap to how much time we can accrue tells us “it’s been too long since you took a vacation, so take one!”

      2. J!*

        My husband’s old company was like this. Technically PTO was “unlimited” but nobody ever took vacations. My company had a similar culture but with earned/accrued vacation time. When we both left those jobs to move to a new city, he didn’t get anything and I got a $3000 pay out for all my unused banked time. (Now I’m happy to work for a place where people actually get to use their time, which I would take over the payout any day.)

        1. mrs__peel*

          I assume the main reason more companies are moving towards the “unlimited” system is so that they don’t have to pay out unused PTO when people leave…

          1. MN Auditor*

            This would be exactly right. EY had a memo leak about their switch that it would save them an estimated $5m.

      3. new city same me*

        This happened at my husband’s old employer. The unlimited PTO seemed like a great benefit! Then he took 3 vacation days leading up to a holiday, making sure to finish his piece of a project that was due around that time, and management actively encouraged him to take the time off. But at his performance review 6 months later, it suddenly wasn’t okay that he had taken vacation at that time.

        I’m very glad he’s out of that place (for a lot of reasons.) His new employer is relatively stingy with accrued vacation time, but having a counter for it gives peace of mind that they won’t pull what the last company did.

    3. Rachel in NYC*

      I work for a university. As an exempt employee, you start with just over 4 weeks vacation- vacation, not PTO- sick time and doctor appt times are separate. And, at least in my department, we’re strongly encourage to use it.

      [It’s the trade-off for the pay.]

  2. Bob*

    “Whenever I encounter something I’ve never seen or experienced before, I always think “what would AAM do?” I think of it like having my own little AAM voice on my shoulder giving me direction.”
    Alison is becoming immortal!

  3. Monty and Millie's Mom*

    I do enjoy the good news on Fridays! Fridays tend to drag for me, so it’s a nice break, plus I’m just so happy for these people!

  4. Bookworm*

    Thanks to all the LWs for the good news! This Friday morning was not so great for me, so nice to read happy news. :)

  5. Jam Today*

    Ahhh the unlimited PTO racket! Its an easy way for companies to make their books look better since its no longer a paid benefit and is taken off the “fully loaded” employee comp numbers, and people wind up taking *less* vacation due to social pressure and fear of being “watched”. Also, since its not a paid benefit, companies don’t have to pay it out when you leave.

    1. Lisa*

      Way to snatch some negativity out of the Friday good news. It is possible for the company to mean it – it all comes down to culture.

      1. JZ*

        Unlimited PTO is definitely a scam, especially at technology companies that have workaholic cultures. When my former company switched to unlimited PTO one of my work buddies lost five weeks banked PTO. They just wiped it off the books, no payment, no suggestion that he should take extra time to make up for the loss.

    2. Is 2020 Over Yet?*

      Right there with you on this – in most cases I think unlimited pto is a bit of a sham (people watching how much you use/judging you on it but you aren’t given a benchmark on what to use, no payout when you leave, etc). I won the jackpot where my first job out of college gives me 5 weeks pto, but if they said “unlimited” I’d feel bad using that much time and would probably only use 2 weeks because that’s what society says is normal for new grads.

      But good for the OP, because it sounds like this unlimited is a better situation for them, I just wish more organizations would be generous in the first place.

  6. Blaise*

    It’s so funny how different fields are… I’m a teacher and if someone asked that magic question in an interview… I can’t imagine they would be considered for the position. Maybe if they were a first-year teacher, but even then it would probably come across oddly.

  7. DeepDarkBlue*

    Dear LW2,
    Your description is concise and complete and I sense there’s so much more that happened that you didn’t include. I’ve been in similar situations and I’m so happy for you- am celebrating that you worked your way out of this broken landscape. It’s clear you’v got everything you need to succeed, but I hope you’ll also find everything you need to heal after that godawful group of people. You give others hope. All the best to you.

    1. PeachCube*

      LW2 here — you are so kind!! Thank you so much. I am so glad my story gives hope, and there is a whole lot I did leave out. It took a lot of adjusting for me to work for the new company where my boss and coworkers are genuinely nice and helpful. My wish for everyone reading my letter is for them to realize that toxicity should never be something we settle for.

      Happy holidays!

  8. Bostonian*

    I want an update from #1 this time next year. I’m sooo curious to know how everything turns out. It sounds like at least having a good manager will be a major improvement. Good luck!

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