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 waiting a long, long time to finally share some Friday good news.

My job has descended into the seventh circle of hell over the past two years. My boss spent most of his time dodging important emails or finding ways to be out of the office, leaving the team to clean up his messes—this resulted in multiple all-nighters from mid- and junior-level staff to get projects done on time. He was also in a not-so-behind-the-scenes power struggle with a senior-level person on the team. The chaos caused 60% of our team to quit; they were not replaced. My boss’s boss refused to manage the issues, and instead asked if I would just run things from behind the scenes, with no extra pay or title changes. (I declined this “empowerment opportunity”, which apparently showed how I am “not a team player”.)

Things came to a head in February of 2020. I am normally known as incredibly rational and low-drama, but an event occurred (which is too identifying to share) and I looked my boss squarely in the eye and weighed the value of flipping a table over to rage quit. I barely kept myself in check, and decided to wait until I closed out a stretch of PTO the following week and then give notice.

In excellent timing, COVID-19 lockdowns began during my PTO. With quitting no longer an option in the turbulent economy, I turned to your blog in order to re-write my resume and launch an incredibly targeted campaign to transition to one specific company, one in an industry I am trained in but haven’t worked in for several years. Turns out I had two different connections to this company via my professional network; both people coached me on the process and connected me to recruiters.

I went through 4-5 interviews over three months. Each interview ranged from incredibly casual to quite formal; I used your interview guide to prep and felt prepared for anything they threw at me. Finally a job offer finally came, and I used your advice to negotiate a higher salary.

I’ll be starting the new job with a 25% raise. I couldn’t have done it without all the wisdom and experience of this site—even just reading the stories of others has been helpful, to see that I’m not the only one stuck in a terrible situation and able to get out.

Read an update to this letter here.

2. I’m a young graduate student and an avid reader for years. Recently, I interviewed for a semester position. They asked me for my rate, and I decided to aim up and use your language as for why my work deserves $30 an hour. (This rate is double what I made in my last internship and more than typical pay for grad students here.) To my surprise, the company offered me double what I asked for! I am in shock and so thrilled to see an organization believe in pay equity and in not taking advantage of students!

3. I was laid off last September due to budget cuts, and because I am a performing arts administrator, I knew the road ahead was bumpy. Five months of searching later (and several interviews that went nowhere), I just accepted a job offer from a very small local performing arts center that has decided to hire their first development professional! I used all of your advice in the cover letter and interview process, and then I negotiated for the first time in my life when they gave me an initial offer (following your script and suggestions). I asked them to come up to an hourly wage that I felt reflected the industry and my experience, and while it took them a day to get back to me (and I bit my nails the entire time), they said yes, they could come up on the salary, how soon could I start? Thank you and all of the AAM community for all of the resources you provide; this has been such a tough time for so many of us, and you have been a bright light in the sky!

4. This is the story of a company treating a pregnant employee well. In late 2019, my boss and I discussed the goals for me to get a promotion in 2020 with a plan of what I would do and how she would assist and facilitate to make it happen. Unfortunately, she got diagnosed with cancer and went off on leave. Her work was divided up among the remaining supervisors, but then Covid hit and really changed a lot of how we were doing our work and focus was on that and just keeping everything going well. My boss did well with her treatment and when she returned in the spring I was pregnant and due to start a 14-month maternity leave in the summer (this is a really normal leave amount in my country). I would be returning around October 2021.

The promotion didn’t get completed before I left and I figured when I returned I would work towards it hoping to get it completed by first quarter 2022. However, when my boss called to let me know the amounts of our year-end bonuses (less than normal due to Covid and because it was prorated as I only worked til August, but also still pretty decent since it is a bigger financial services company) and on that call told me that they are doing the work to have me promoted immediately on my return. She basically made a case to the director to approve the promotion now, that I do such good work and it’s not my fault the promotion was derailed from her cancer, Covid and my pregnancy! I couldn’t believe it. I feel so much better knowing that they don’t see my pregnancy and leave as bad things and that they recognize the circumstances for what they were. This is how companies should treat mothers. We are not liabilities and we can do really great work.

5. Thank you so much for creating and maintaining such a valuable resource and supportive community (I feel like I receive support even just seeing people supporting each other, here!). Long story short, I started a new job last July that immediately turned out to be not at all what I hoped. I wanted to give it a real try, and I thought I might have a chance of changing things (and I’d told the hiring manager that I’d stay a year if I took the job, which I felt bound by even though I was not legally bound), so I hung in there for several months hoping things would get better. Then COVID hit and I felt utterly trapped. I’ve historically been very bad at job applications. Everywhere I’ve ever worked has loved me (I receive counteroffers every time I give notice—seriously), and I interview well, but for whatever reason, I don’t seem to present myself well on paper. I have always had trouble reaching the interview stage, even for roles my experience and education seem like a terrific match for. Job searching during COVID felt hopeless and self-defeating, and it felt like I would just exhaust myself for no reason (and I did feel lucky to still have a job, even though I was…quite unhappy in it).

But, reading AAM regularly made me feel like I should at least try, a little. So, I did…and then I tried a little more, and kept trying…and this week received an offer for something that will fit SO much better with my life. The pay is comparable to my old position, but it’s a *substantial* improvement when benefits are taken into consideration (I went from basically nothing to a very wonderful set of benefits, including more PTO than I’ve ever had at a job). The company has demonstrated throughout the interview process that they really value work-life balance, and the actual job duties will be the kind of thing that I find very relaxing to do all day (a serious departure from my current role).

I feel like AAM has helped me with motivation to get out there and keep applying for jobs, staying grounded in workplace norms while working in a place where professional norms were not, uh, there, and in upping my game in the application and interview process (though I still seem to represent myself poorly on paper—I have read all the guides, but my resumes and cover letters must just be…bad? Hopefully I won’t need one for a long, long time).

{ 29 comments… read them below }

  1. Bookworm*

    As always, thanks to all the LWs for sharing their good news! Much appreciated and nice to end the week on a happier note. :)

  2. Sara without an H*

    LW#1: I have reached the conclusion that any use of the expression “team player” should be treated as a red flag. Right up there with “we’re like a family.”

    Congratulations on extracting yourself successfully and good luck in your new role.

    1. Good News Buenos Aires!*

      “Team Players”
      “We’re Like a Family”
      “We like Passionate People”
      “We’re focusing on Diversity” – (meaning we want to check our box and hire the 1 POC in our homogenous building as the head of EDI, but ultimately give them no power or budget to implement any real change)
      “We have an EDI team here” (that we are expecting you, our new POC, to be on because, well, you’re POC and that’s your other job that we aren’t paying you for)

      These are all Red Flags that have sailed on my SS Nonprofit Employee.

        1. Des*

          Often ends up shortened to just ‘work hard’ after you join. Can also end up with ‘and participate in mandatory Fun(tm)’.

      1. Who Am I*

        “There’s No I in Team”
        “Teamwork makes the dream work.”
        In my experience, the only people who say those things are the team members who think everyone else on the team should be doing the work. (Everyone else is to0 busy to walk around spouting silly platitudes.)

      2. IT Guy*

        “Team Player” is fine if there is a reward. “Team Players” at my company get rewarded with 10-20% pay raises. Everyone else gets 2.5% each year or managed out.

      3. Caroline Bowman*

        We really need people to be flexible. This means we the company are not remotely flexible at all, but change our minds and requirements at a moment’s notice, with zero concern for the people tasked with the actual doing of the tasks associated. They need to ”flexible”, and if this means being the receptionist for 4 months when they were hired in credit control, well, that’s part of being a flexible, team player.

  3. EPLawyer*

    Congrats to all.

    I have to chuckle how many letters say “and then Covid hit.” I know its the reality. EVERYTHING changed a year ago. I wonder how long we will be feeling the effects.

    1. Cat Lover*

      I work in healthcare and a yesterday a patient was checking in and when she wrote down the date she just kinda stared… she said “I can’t believe lockdown started one year ago”.

      Like…… one year, y’all.

  4. Amaranth*

    LW5 Congratulations! You don’t sound like you’re quite sure about your resume being the problem – if its just that you don’t get interviews that you think you should, well, that happens to everyone. Maybe a friend or peer or professional resume writer could review your resume and cover letter and give feedback for peace of mind.

    1. CollegeSupervisor*

      Came here to say this, too! It’s not uncommon to have trouble getting interviews, even when your materials are really good!

      1. LW #5*

        Well, it is hard to tell from my end. If I could tell why my paper materials didn’t seem to get me interviews, I’d have changed them XD…but I guess eventually they did get me into the interview I needed! Of course, it took a lot of (cumulative) effort over an extended period. I honestly didn’t think I had it in me during the pandemic, and a lot of days, I didn’t…especially because that job was draining my energy and making me desperately miserable. But it turned out that if I chipped in a tiny bit of effort toward a job search on the regular, I could feel like I was doing *something*–I could at least tell myself I was trying, and I might get lucky–which helped keep me emotionally afloat. Part of why I wrote in was because I know how much it helped me to read the Friday success stories. I hope other people who feel trapped don’t give up! Applying for jobs is just terrible, and truly, if I hadn’t been reading AAM regularly to remind myself that there were better places to work out there, I might have let the pandemic convince me not to even try.

        Fingers crossed that I don’t have to revisit my job application materials any time soon!

  5. Who Am I*

    “There’s No I in Team”
    “Teamwork makes the dream work.”
    In my experience, the only people who say those things are the team members who think everyone else on the team should be doing the work. (Everyone else is to0 busy to walk around spouting silly platitudes.)

  6. Message in a Bottle*

    OP1 – Congrats! I wonder how you stuck it out for three months in Dante’s Inferno but glad you made it to the other side.

    And yay, OP5 who doesn’t translate on paper. You are not alone and I’m glad you found a great position!

  7. HRBee*

    As someone who is literally – at this moment – putting off trying for my 2nd child to wait for my promised late Spring promotion, #4 gives me all the feels. Congrats OP4! So happy for you!

    1. Lindsay*

      I am #4 – it was my second baby. After my first baby I went back to work early after only 8 months off as my spouse took part of the leave and then I got laid off 16 weeks after returning from having a baby. So this was so much better.

      Baby is now 5 months old and I will be off until October with him til he is about 1 year old. :)

      I just think that it is great that they recognized that my experience, work quality etc should be rewarded and not put off again.

  8. Process Geek*

    Thank you to all of you – these Friday good news posts have become a key part of my mental health. And thanks again to Alison for making them happen.

  9. Marni*

    The details on number one are sufficiently different that I don’t think it actually is the company where I was working 2020, but I did have to read it carefully. :-)

    In my case, I was brought into a project as a contractor without realizing that the reason I was needed was because other people who’ve been carrying the casket for a difficult boss had had enough. I did a hellish project with them, had to threaten to sue to get the balance of my pay, and was left with all kinds of PTSD.

    Since then, hearing that the rest of the support staff who were propping up this bully have all left is giving me all the schadenfreude I can stand.

    1. Marni*

      Sorry posted prematurely. Anyway, when I first read your post I thought maybe you were one literally of the people who skipped out of there and into far better jobs for far better people, and I couldn’t stop grinning. Even though I don’t think we actually know each other, I’m still thrilled for you.

  10. Megan*

    Congrats to OP4! It’s such a great update that I almost want to know the company name and send across my resume!

    1. LW4*

      Thanks. I’ll just say it’s one of the big banks in Canada but I work in the insurance division in a head office role (though I work at home since prior to pandemic). My boss is a woman, her boss is a woman, and her boss above that is a woman. They’ve all had kids although even my prior male boss at that work was great and understanding. He had a 2 year old and would often be on daycare pick up so understood the “sorry can’t work late tonight I am on pick up”

      When I was only there three weeks my Husband was home with our sick kid, he had him at the doctor who sent him to ER as kid ended up with pneumonia. I mentioned it to my trainer off hand that I didn’t know what to do my husband has meetings he could not miss the next day but I just started and didn’t want to ask for a day off. and she was like “go see boss” I told him I was sorry but I had to be out the next day (a Thursday) he told me to “leave now, go to your kid and don’t come back this week”.

      They have “unlimited sick and emergency” days to be used at manager discretion so they were paid still and didn’t have to use vacation time.

      My prior company laid me off within a few month of returning from a maternity leave when I had my first baby so this was much more welcome!

      Baby is almost 6 months old now and doing great!!

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