it’s your Friday good news

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

1. A few years ago, I decided to make a career shift to a very technical field that is reputedly quite difficult to get into even outside of pandemic-times. I took a calculated risk, started my master’s program in 2018 (definitely required in the field) and quit my previous career I had been working in for around 5 years.

Then, of course, we all know what came next – the practical work-placement of my degree was heavily impacted by the pandemic and lockdowns in my country. I graduated in January 2021. The field has been horribly, horribly affected (to the point where I can guarantee you’ve seen stories and pleas in the news about it). In fact, I’m working on research into how badly the pandemic has affected new professionals in my field – a very meta and depressing topic while unemployed and conducting your own job search, let me tell you. I just turned 30 (my second pandemic birthday) feeling very sorry for myself indeed. I was certain no one would take a chance on an unemployed, career-shift new grad with limited experience in a cutthroat job market but was unwilling to give up so soon. One entry-level role I interviewed for told me point-blank they were interviewing multiple people with decades of experience… and me.

However, I still can’t quite believe I’m typing this, today I have signed the contract for an unbelievable position in my field! Although it’s not a permanent position (fixed-term project contracts are very common here, especially early career) it’s exactly what I want to be doing, with a big-name institution in Cool Big City That I’ve Dreamed of Living In My Whole Life, and checks multiple career-progression boxes for me. My partner and I move next week. I know it won’t solve all future job searching forever, but it is a huge first step and I’ll be much better positioned after completing it.

The job search was grueling, and everything had seemed set against me. I was getting rejected for short internships and volunteer positions. I had around 10 interviews and (with AAM’s help, of course) prepared extensively for them, but kept getting the same response: my work was great, I interviewed great, in a normal year I’d be hired, but I just didn’t have enough on-paper experience. The dreaded Catch-22 of job searches; there’s nothing you can do to improve except get more experience. Well, I have my next experience lined up! This feels like a real foot in the door and I couldn’t be happier about it.

I spent last year and the start of this year hanging onto the Friday Good News posts for dear life, hoping I’d have my own one day, so thank you for keeping them up. I was actually planning to write you a question along the lines of “how long a resume gap will employers forgive due to the pandemic” and am so grateful to be writing this instead. For anyone going through similar, don’t lose hope, because everything can turn on a dime.

2. I moved into a new position in my organization just two weeks before COVID really hit my state. My entire organization moved to remote work and have stayed that way ever since. Despite the abrupt and sometimes rough transition to remote work, I could tell something was wrong right away with my new department. Nothing seemed to be an accurate reflection of the information I’d received in my interview process. And worse, my new supervisor loved to micromanage.

I was hired into a leadership role, tasked with managing the finances and day-to-day operations for the department. But I had to ask permission from my supervisor before sending out any information to our staff. I would go back and forth with my supervisor crafting an email message, get approval to send it, and then be openly criticised by my supervisor in our leadership team meetings for sending out such poor messaging! Things really hit a low when I realized that our group was in real financial difficulties because of my supervisor’s lack of understanding and history of poor decision making. I even ended up sending you an email last November, which thankfully you didn’t answer, because I was so depressed but was feeling guilty about considering quitting so soon after moving to this new role.

Fast forward to the good news! At the beginning of this year I revised my resume and started seeking out other job opportunities in my organization. I interviewed for two roles and accepted an offer for a new position in another department that is a huge step for me career-wise (with a hefty raise to boot)! From the valuable information I learned on your site, I was able to successfully advocate for myself during the interview process. I am so incredibly happy to be moving on to what I hope will be a much better position for me. THANK YOU!

3. I’ve been a long time reader of your site, and I found myself in a job I wasn’t too happy in. I’d moved from an abusive workplace I’d gotten severe trauma in to another that was going the same way before COVID hit, and once that started, things got worse.

I used your cover letter advice and the help of my partner and ended up landing what was essentially my dream job. The catch? It was temporary and in a very expensive city. I jumped anyway, started in October, got permanent in January and it’s a fantastic workplace. I’m out and trans, the diversity policies are solid, the people I work with are amazing.

What helped me the most were your articles about being in a good environment after being in several toxic ones, and a lot of therapy. I know my worth. I have confidence in my abilities. I want to stay here forever.

4. Almost 4 years ago, I re-entered the workforce after taking 2 years off to study full-time for an MS degree in hopes of getting an opportunity more geared towards my field of study (technology). After not even a full year in this position, I began to have some doubt about whether it would turn into the type of role I desired. This was not due at all to the company per se (aside from the fact that they’re a non-profit and unsurprisingly stingy with pay), but rather the fact that I realized that I need to move on in order to better myself and advance my career and not have my technical skills stall (which was my biggest fear). Since then, all of my cautious optimism about whether the job would become more appealing to me disappeared (it really wasn’t until this past year with remote work taking over that I finally began to get assigned a few more tasks that aligned with my skillset, but too little too late).

I began job searching almost 3 years ago and finally, I will be moving on! I will initially be taking on a project to migrate data from a poorly functioning legacy database to a formal database server with the likelihood of working on a variety of other duties their technical team has been looking to get around to for a while. For comparison, my soon-to-be former position was largely a combination of Microsoft Excel formula-writing (with some data transfer between actual databases) and technical support.

What’s a little bit surprising about my new assignment is that the agency who’s placing me in it and I began speaking about it back in the fall and they called me to find out if I’m still interested/available for it 3 ½ months after our initial discussions (mid-March) and I just got the offer today!

I hope this can give some other job-searching readers not to give up hope on being able to get out of a seemingly dead-end job. While it can be disconcerting at times to have an interview you thought went well only to get passed over, some advice I can give is to mentally move on and try to convince yourself that the right opportunity for you simply hasn’t been created yet. Also, any positions that you haven’t actually been rejected from are still in play.

5. I’ve read your blog for ten years now and am so grateful that I have! I work at a large university and have been in my current position for five years. I’m really happy in my current position but have been keeping my eyes open for another position at the university that might be a good fit to help me expand my skills. I’m currently completing a master’s degree via free tuition benefits for staff so it was important to stay at the university (also our benefits are terrific). I saw the perfect position doing work that was 50% of what I’m doing currently and 50% of work that would use the skills I’d been developing in my master’s degree program. I wrote an extremely targeted cover letter and resume and during the interview process was up front about areas where I didn’t have as much experience, used examples from my past work history to help answer questions, and was honest when they mentioned downsides of the job. I sent personalized thank you notes to everyone who interviewed me referencing things each individual discussed with me. I got an offer and have accepted it! I’m looking at a 36% raise in salary, more vacation days and less evening and weekend hours and new and exciting work. Years of reading your job application and interviewing advice has definitely helped me! I can’t wait to start on July 1st.

{ 5 comments… read them below }

  1. Elizabeth*

    My own brief Friday good news – thanks to the very excellent advice I received over the last few open threads, I’ve resolved the issue with Logistics (Senior management allowed them to hire another body, but they WILL do all shipping now, no exceptions) and I’ve been offered a promotion! Smallish raise (I already used all the tips to negotiate high before so there wasn’t much room for movement) but terrific room for advancement and I’m excited to get going. And it’s all thanks to here!

  2. Chilipepper Attitude*

    As always, many thanks to those who write in their good news. It really helps me get through the week!
    And congrats to all.

  3. JayNay*

    Alison, is it possible to truncate the Friday good news posts (with a “click to read entire post” prompt) or to give them more meaningful headlines? I don’t always want to read them, but They’re a long block of text to scroll by, especially on a phone screen.

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