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 loving the good news Friday columns and I was wondering if I could submit some good news of my own! I didn’t negotiate my salary when I started at my current job – it was my first job out of college, and I just didn’t know how! But I realized as soon as I started that my salary was much lower than it should have been.

It’s currently been about a year and a half. A couple of months ago, I sat down with my management chain and pointed out my fantastic track record with the company and asked if I could bring my salary in line with the other folks who do my job. They said, basically, that they had been pushing for me with the higher-ups, but because of COVID, the board was being really really tight with money and so they would keep pushing. A month later, my then-grandboss retired, and as part of that he sat down with me and told me that a raise wasn’t coming anytime soon, again citing problems with the board. I don’t hate my job and didn’t want to leave, but I still made preparations to job search.

Yesterday, though, I got news that my raise finally went through! And it’s a really big one – almost 25%, which brings my salary in line with other jobs in the area! And I got a title bump – nothing that really changes my job duties, basically went from Associate Teapot Painter to Teapot Painter, but still! I feel pretty great, especially because I wasn’t expecting to receive this kind of raise if I had stayed. I’m so thankful my bosses worked hard to get this sent through, I’ll probably get them a card! Thank you so much for your advice, as always.

2. For the past few years, my husband and I worked for the same healthcare company. We’d both been feeling ready to move on, and had decided to start job searching in March (would that it were so simple!). Pandemic hit, opportunities dried up, and our work became a lot more difficult, with constantly changing rules, dealing with Covid testing, poor communication, etc. It was hard but we felt lucky to still be employed.

Then, a few months ago, catastrophically terrible decisions from higher up lead to a completely-non-covid-related disaster for basically our whole company. It was a gratuitous unforced error that basically demolished our ability to ever do our own jobs well, and the work became so impossible and panic-inducing that we (and tons of coworkers) racked up hefty medical bills from the effects of the stress. (I began screaming in my sleep! Multiple times.) We started job searching in earnest, as did many other staff, and it was bad enough that we were constantly re-evaluating how much of a paycut we would be willing to take in order to flee.

I’ve been reading AAM for years now, and your advice has really transformed my understanding of the workplace, professionalism, etc. With our accomplishment-focused resumes and our newly-honed interview skills, we were both finally able to get out! My husband’s new job is a lateral move paywise but a huge step up in competence of the company as well as in the nature of the work. I languished a little longer, but just before Thanksgiving I was able to secure a great promotion and a hefty raise! I’m stepping into a great team, more interesting work, and a much less stressful position, and we both couldn’t be happier about it.

It’s really hard to interview and show your best self when you’re being ground into skeleton dust 40 hours a week, but we are both proof that it can be done! Thank you so much for all the great insight you’ve provided; we definitely couldn’t have done it without you.

3. I started reading your site this year, after leaving my previous job. I had to quit without anything lined up, as a senior coworker was harassing me. I later found out that she had driven away the person before me by spraying… bodily fluids… all over her office, so we are talking serious instability here (and no one did anything! In fact they keep promoting her!). It has been such a hard year since, with rejections from a couple of places (which is a lot in my very small field, as full time openings are so rare). However, this time around I prepared according to your interview guide and really did my homework. I was ready for almost every question they asked, and today I was offered the job! It pays better, and is in my hometown, so I can finally relax and unpack. I’m so grateful for all the advice here, and to the commenters for making me smile through a very bleak lockdown.

{ 45 comments… read them below }

  1. sherSher*

    Congrats to all! Yay!
    OP1 – your story sounds similar to when I worked in a family owned company. Brought in at a salary a bit on the low side (had to push to get that much!). They admitted they started people low (really?!) and then rewarded accordingly. Well, the rewards were absolutely true. They said they would re-evaluate at 6 months but they liked my work so much they did it at 3 and gave me a 30% bump! Every year after that I would get good raises and also extras like bonuses and extra to my 401(k). It was a great job and I would be there still if we hadn’t had to move for my partner’s job.

  2. OP 2*

    OP #2 here – thank you again to Alison! I’ve been in my new position for over a month now, and it’s an amazing relief to have a job that doesn’t do me 3d20 psychic damage every day. I don’t know where I’d be right now without AAM, but it wouldn’t be pretty. Thank you!

    1. knitcrazybooknut*

      I know that it’s not going to happen, but I am MASSIVELY curious about how horrible something must have been to make you scream in your sleep. I am also terribly sorry you both went through this, and so glad you made it out! Congrats!

      1. JSPA*

        Good bet it’s niche-specific enough that it can’t be revealed, or OP would have done so.

        So it’s probably not, “firing without warning the lowest 5%, monthly, on the basis of some mysterious metric” or “group sharing of past trauma as a team-building exercise.”

        Could be something like, having to use one’s own personal cell phone number to call people whose claims are being denied.

        Or requiring people to look at graphic videos as part of their job duties (whether that’s to moderate them or something medical or something nominally terrorism-related).

        Or go out in the field to argue with 5G conspiracy theorists.

        Companies can go from legit-but-badly run to borderline illegal (or beyond): trying to push rent-controlled tenants out the door (and onto the street), pushing insurance that’s become essentially a pyramid scheme, or a slightly iffy dating site that morphs into deception-based porn.

        Then, there’s plain old laxity, in areas where there’s a direct line between laxity and catastrophe, whether that’s airline safety, infrastructure, testing “kits” in the criminal justice system, for-profit prisons, nursing home policy (there are many sins in that sector!) or some of the edgier that were done under looser regulation of the various extractive industries. Then there’s danger to past and present co-workers. The non-renewal of visas for foreign correspondents who have, through their work, become personae non gratae in their home countries is a too-recent example, but probably not the only such example.

        Even if a lot of people leave, it’s probably not that tough for an ex-manager to connect a person’s writing style, family situation and timeline, if you also have something that would point fingers at a particular large enterprise.

        1. Artemesia*

          Or it could be something as simple as not hiring people to do a function central to the mission — know two companies that destroyed themselves that way. One decided that recruiting students for a basically training related company was ‘everyone’s job’ and thus nobody’s job and the company failed to have a plan or personnel to recruit the students that were the reason the company existed — which it no longer does. Although the only way that would induce screaming would be if it drove people watching their livelihoods melt away was scream inducing.

      2. Chilipepper*

        Knitcrazybooknut, I’m with you. Really want to know what could make someone scream in their sleep!

      3. Flora*

        Right? I am like almost in pain with curiosity about what on earth that catastrophic decision-making thing was because wow, sleepscreaming? (OP2, you absolutely don’t owe us an explanation or details and I want you to be safe about what you reveal and stuff, but wow do I ever extremely want to know)

      4. KayDeeAye*

        I am a-dyin’ to know, too! I understand why the OP can’t, but I would give a good deal for even some hints. Ah, well.

  3. Almost Empty Nester*

    Congrats to all…but #3, ewwww! How in the world does that happen with no repercussions? I’m struggling to picture what that must have looked like in real time. But bless you for landing on your feet!

      1. The Rural Juror*

        Like a dog marking territory and going around *spstt* over here, *spstt* over there…?!?

      1. Zephy*

        I also kind of want to know, but also, there is no answer that makes the situation better, only worse.

        1. Coder von Frankenstein*

          Tears are not on the list of bodily fluids that can be… ah… “sprayed.”

          Really, I can only think of one possibility that doesn’t involve a serious injury.

          1. Dr Rat*

            Well, you can spray urine right from the source, so to speak, but you could collect pretty much any fluid in a bottle and spray it around. Although if it’s something like CSF she’s gonna run out sooner rather than later…

          2. George*

            You lack imagination. Which is probably a good thing, to be honest. Achoo! Cough, cough. Phbbt! Bleargh!

  4. Calyx Teren*

    OP2–please don’t leave us hanging! A work change that makes everyone’s job impossible to do and makes you scream in your sleep? What the—?!? Please explain a bit. I’m happy to hear you escaped, and hope the company comes to its senses.

    1. PT*

      Did they move clinic staff into a COVID ICU? They couldn’t do their regular jobs and were seeing suffering and death?

      1. OP 2*

        Hah well any specifics might be fairly identifying, but basically imagine something stymieing (your and everyone’s) ability to ever do their job properly, with no hope of being fixed in months (years maybe), which offends your sense of logic, results in emotional draining from constant anger from the general public, and also if you don’t summon “Into the Breach”, last-stand level energy every single day for months on end, could easily result in people dying. (And it’s not like Covid went away just cause we had another problem, too!) The energy and emotional requirements were largely responsible for the sleep-screaming. See also: weight gain; biting halfway through my mouthguard in the night.

        Basically, the chain of “Whose job was it to make sure none of this happened? And whose job to make sure that person was doing their job? And whose job to make sure that other person was doing their job…” goes pretty high up indeed.

        Now not only am I shielded from the brunt of it, but I have much more influence to make sure we fix everything fixable and that nothing remotely like this can happen again. Plus the cash and the lack of heartburn are amazing!

        1. Concerned citizen*

          OP2 – Is there anyone you can report your previous employer to, like a government agency that regulates your industry or something along those lines (maybe even the local/state health department/ health officer), maybe anonymously if that’s easier? It’s really concerning to hear that your former employer is compromising patient safety and there must be someone who can intervene before a patient gets seriously hurt. It sounds like you have been through a lot (I’m so sorry to hear how much stress you were under!) but it really seems like they should be reported.

  5. Gamer Girl*

    Congratulations OP3, but talk about burying the lede! Oh my goodness! And they keep promoting this person?! Are they all afraid she’s coming for them? We already need an update!

  6. Not Australian*

    Drive-by admiration for the expression ‘being ground into skeleton dust’; no other expression I’ve heard conveys the hopelessness of the situation half so well.

  7. Artemesia*

    # 1 been on both sides and had a boss who got me a 20% raise one year and a 10% the next after a merger where my salary was seriously out of whack with the new merged entity. And been that boss who had incredibly important people whose compensation was ridiculous compared to their contributions — and got them huge adjustments like this. It takes a lot of work to get this done in organizations like mine that didn’t give great raises except for showy stars who threaten to leave. I had to really dig in to get it done and I am sure my boss had to for me. I don’t know if by ‘card’ you mean gift card or just thank you card, but I would write a short letter — or on a blank card, a personal message of gratitude. Your old boss did a great thing for you and this kind of written expression will be the most valued thing you can do. I would not send a monetary card of any sort.

  8. Clever Alias*

    I take a strange comfort in that, no matter how challenging my previous job was, I was never sprayed in pee or sleep-screamed.

    1. Colleague’s Dog’s Viking Funeral*

      Yeah, it’s the little things like that which make my job so pleasant. Like I am not into coffee or tea, but the urine free office space and the psychological warfare free treatment is good, too.

  9. LW 3*

    It was a small place in a very bleak rural area, so they have trouble filling jobs out there. They do deal with medical samples in the lab, so I’m guessing that’s where the ‘spray’ came from, but I don’t know (or want to know!). I am SO happy to be states away now. That place is even crazier than I can recount here. I’m so glad to be out, but still pretty traumatised to be honest.

      1. Autumnheart*

        It’s all someone else’s pee if you’re the target. What’s insane is that a company looks at a person who does this and thinks, “They have a real future here!”

    1. Self Employed*

      At my first job, one of the warehouse cats kept getting into my cubicle and marking his territory… but he’s a CAT so that’s kinda what unfixed male cats do.

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