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 really excited to share an entry for the Friday Good News series, which has always been one of my favorite recurring segments as a reader. At the start of 2020, a project I’d been working on in my previous job for several years offered me full-time employment leading the project as an independent spinoff. Unfortunately, the decision to leave my full-time job to focus on building this project was made in February of 2020… and then the rest of 2020 happened. I stayed with the project in an interim role for about 9 months, but it was clear to me that while I loved the work and the team, leading a brand new venture long term in the midst of a global pandemic was not feasible, or frankly within my current skillset.

I was just starting to seriously think about job searching when a fantastic opportunity came up via someone in my professional network. Reading your site for many years prepared me well for every step of the application process, but I particularly want to highlight how helpful your advice was in utilizing my connection to the role appropriately and respectfully. I was very pleasantly surprised when I received an offer for this role; after a brutal interviewing process post-grad school in the mid-2010s I was ready for 2020 to be exponentially worse. I am very proud of the professional network I’ve built in a new field post-grad school and grateful for the connections who helped me find a job in the midst of a global pandemic. While I no longer believe in the mythical “dream job”, I do think this job is a wonderful fit for my current career trajectory and the unique logistical challenges of this year. I’ve been here for just over a month and I’m so happy with the role! Thank you, from a long time reader who happily evangelizes for your blog to anyone who will listen.

2. Good news! I didn’t feel like going to work on Monday.

I went anyway, so it’s probably not clear why that’s good news. The good news is that this job, which I’ve had for two months now, is the first one that has let me understand what most people mean when they say they don’t feel like going to work. I spent my 20s in a series of jobs that were toxic in various ways, and I honestly came to believe that most jobs were like that. I assumed that when people complained about their jobs, they were talking about the same problems that caused me nausea-inducing anxiety in my own job. I assumed everyone else was just better at dealing with those problems than I was. Surely if I was better at the whole ‘being an adult’ thing, I would be able to fix all of the problems in those jobs and make them into something tolerable (never mind that none of my coworkers were doing very well, either – there was a lot of crying and a fair amount of people quitting soon after being hired). Unsurprisingly, nothing I tried made things any better.

Finally, after quitting one job without another lined up, with some decent references and a graduate degree but no particularly impressive accomplishments to show for the first decade of my working life, I decided to take a chance on a career change. I knew the career I wanted, but it required a masters degree in a very different field than the master’s degree I already had, so I made sure to research it as thoroughly as possible before committing to anything. I even took a low paying job that would give me chances to interact with professionals in that field and do some related work. It wasn’t like I thought anyone would hire me for any well-paying jobs, anyway. Once I was sure about the career I wanted, I threw myself fully into my education. It was incredibly helpful. I learned new skills, learned to value the skills I had, and learned how to represent those skills in an interview, so I could finally dare to apply for jobs that had a better chance of being tolerable than the ones I’d tried in the past. It worked.

So, I didn’t feel like going to work on Monday, not because I dreaded what horrors the week would bring, but just because I enjoyed my weekend and wished it would continue. I did go to work, and it was fine. A few problems came up, so I asked someone with more experience some questions. She treated my questions as reasonable, and gave me reasonable advice. A different coworker asked me to do something while she was in a hurry that I should have known how to do but didn’t. I had to ask for clarification. I was somewhat awkward. She sounded slightly irritated in the moment, but afterwards, everything was fine. She didn’t hold it against me. She was reasonable. Everyone here is mostly reasonable. Working hard pays off here. Asking questions is appreciated. Expectations are clear, they rarely conflict, and when they do, both management and coworkers are helpful in resolving them. Minor mistakes aren’t treated as an irreparable reflection on a person’s character, or chastised as if the employee is a very lazy child. It’s not a perfect place to work, but it’s a pretty good one. I even enjoy the work, and I’m reasonably good at it.

I didn’t dread going to work on Monday; I just didn’t feel like it – and that was how I realized that I’ve finally made it out of my string of toxic workplaces into a sane, rewarding career.

3. I’ve been reading your blog for about a year now, beginning the summer going into my senior year of college and now through having graduated. It was an incredibly valuable resource for me as I navigated job applications, graduating into a pandemic and everything that came along with that. My field is relatively specialized — and was hit hard by the pandemic — but I was still able to use your advice and knowledge to improve my applications and interviewing skills.

Despite everything going on in the job market and in my field, I ended up interviewing for four opportunities and was offered two of them, one of which is absolutely perfect for me. I would not have had the confidence and skills needed to secure these opportunities without your advice! Thank you so much!

4. I wanted to share some good news (GREAT! news!). I left my job as an ED for a nonprofit arts association late last year to strike out on my own as an an artist and instructor. I had so many things scheduled for 2020 and more in the works. And we all know how that turned out.

I’ve been able to pick up some virtual classes here and there but 2020 was supposed to be my building year so I don’t have the tech or support I need to really make the change from in-person to online. I mean, I’m working with a 12 y/o laptop – not exactly cutting edge technology. My plan had been to acquire new equipment, etc. over the course of the year.

In September, my state (Delaware) offered Relief Grants for small businesses. At first I wasn’t going to apply, thinking I wouldn’t qualify. But I read up on it and decided I had nothing to lose. Late last week I was approved for a 14k grant to use on tech upgrades, web consulting, and all the necessary SasS to really grow my business. I am still in shock. My breath catches everytime I think about it.

So I’d like to say this to other small business owners – contact your state small business division and see what they have to offer. Don’t think you’re too small or won’t qualify (I thought those things!). You never know until you try.

Stay safe and healthy all. Here’s to a MUCH better 2021 for all of us!

{ 12 comments… read them below }

  1. Deanna Troi*

    The insightfulness, clarity, and excellent writing of #2 has blown me away! What an epiphany! Thank you, #2, for sharing this with us.

    1. Emma*

      It’s lovely, isn’t it! And a really good example of developing a better and better intuition about how a job is going.

      Unfortunately my job is going in the opposite direction – things that used to get a joking “Ugh, I don’t fancy it today. I’m just going to unplug the phone!” now wind up in 15 minute breaks crying in the next room (when wfh). I’m hoping it’s pandemic badness and will improve after the busy period is up, but if not, then as much as I’d hate to leave my lovely colleagues, it’ll be time to move on.

      Here’s to us all getting better at knowing when a job is good for us, and when it isn’t.

    2. Lady Liz*

      Yes I came here to say the same, thank you for sharing… and very inspiring to those of us who look forward to being where you are :)

    3. I take tea*

      I really enjoyed reading about the path to normal work. Work isn’t fun all the time, but it should be reasonable.

      Emma, I hope your situation improves.

  2. Sarah*

    Yes to number 4!! I am a small business owner not in the US, but I encourage everyone I know to apply for any of the grant programs you qualify for. Yes, it’s a lot of work, but it can make a big difference. Someone is going to get that money, so why not you!

    1. autumnal*

      OP here. Thank you! And in the more good news department, they’ve added a 20% bonus that I will be receiving soon. Apparently they had funds left so decided to use them to provide additional support. I’m just floored. In a year of so much loss and sorrow, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for all the support my family has received.

  3. Wine Not Whine*

    What has become my favorite post of the week, once again did not disappoint – congrats to all and thanks for sharing your good news!

  4. Bookworm*

    YAY! Always love these bits of good news. Thanks to all of the LWs. These entries give me a few minutes of a bright spot in what has been a long and exhausting year.

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