it’s your Friday good news

It’s your Friday good news!

1. I wanted to share some Friday good news, after using your advice to successfully leave a toxic job. I took a job in 2018 after being laid off during a corporate merger. I mainly accepted the job because I was desperate for benefits and steady income and have been half heartedly trying to leave ever since. It was truly awful – bait and switch on what the job consisted of, hidden info about company instability (they hadn’t been able to make payroll in the weeks leading up to me starting my role), a terrible product, etc.

I was also on a team with the most toxic culture I’ve ever experienced. My manager was a horrible blend of toxic positivity combined with toxic masculinity. I had been interviewing off and on for 2 years but was struggling to make it past initial rounds of interviews, or getting ghosted by companies the few times I did have more conversations.

So I went back in your archives and read through lots of your advice, updating my resume and cover letters using your recommendations. I also overhauled my LinkedIn profile and started posting there more frequently. Only a few weeks after making these changes, I got contacted by a recruiter from my employer’s biggest industry competitor asking if I would be interested in a position helping to build a new department. It is exactly the type of work I love doing and I immediately had a good feeling talking to the hiring manager and the rest of the team I’ll be joining.

I got an offer less than 2 weeks after that initial message from the recruiter and will be making 30% more than my previous salary with an additional 10% quarterly bonus. They also gave me a stipend to outfit my home office with whatever I need to be comfortable, as their offices are closed indefinitely due to covid.

I gave my notice 2.5 weeks ago and my boss reacted terribly. He was a huge jerk the whole time we were working out a transition plan, which just emphasized what a good decision it was for me to leave. I start next week and I could not be more thrilled.

2. I’m about to start a new job that I would never have gotten if I didn’t read your site. But I don’t mean that I got the job because of your advice about personalizing cover letters, focusing on accomplishments in resumes, or turning interviews into two-way conversations. Don’t get me wrong; your advice really helped. (Although I wish you ran your “10 really good questions to ask in a job interview” article the day before my big interview instead of the day after.)

No, the reason I have this amazing new job is that you publish success stories from people who reach for—and get—substantial salary increases. Without that inspiration, I’d probably have stayed in my my current job and been frustrated by wanting to take on more responsibility without having the opportunity to. Or maybe I’d have stuck it out a while longer and then settled for a lateral-and-slightly-up move. Instead, when a more senior position opened up in my organization, I had the confidence to go for it, and next month I’ll have a shiny new title and a 32% increase in salary.

Thank you again to you and your amazing community.

3. I have an unusual work history that combines education, library work and nonprofits and a graduate degree in a field I no longer want to work in. Last year, I was working for an education-based nonprofit that relies on in-person work, so all of our offices were shut down for 6 months with the majority of staff furloughed.

When the office shut down and we were still getting paid, I spent some time revamping my resume based on your advice. When I got news of the furlough, I reached out to my network and three different people connected me with grant consultants who needed subcontractors. I discovered that I loved consulting as a grant writer because I get to work for a variety of clients, rather than writing for one organization over and over again. I wanted to consult full-time and read the archives of your site to look at all the considerations for doing that. I resolved to wait a year and make sure I had enough work to support me.

When our office reopened in the fall, I cut back to 3/4 time so I could continue subcontracting. I was getting a lot of work and having a lot of success, which I continued to enjoy. I also had some minor health concerns and was very concerned about consulting and paying for my own health insurance. I was also applying for my “dream job” as the executive director of a small nonprofit for which I had been volunteering.

While I was interviewing for the “dream job,” I was talking to my boss at one of the consulting firms I was subcontracting and mentioned that I was interviewing for a full-time job. She immediately offered me a job working for her full-time, fully remote, with benefits, with potential for growth, funds for professional development, including Grant Professional Certification, and IT support.

Because of the flexibility and growth potential, I determined that this was a better fit than my “dream job” and am excited to start after Labor Day.

4. Last month, I left my company of 10 years. After 5 years in the same lower-level management position, I had to accept that my company never would see me as anything more than a lower level manager. It was time for me to leave.

So, I polished up my resume and cover letters. I read lots of AAM tips and guidance and did several Zoom interviews. On a whim, I applied for a position that was in a smaller company. The commute seemed reasonable although it was not in the area that I was targeting. I had two great interviews (seriously, the “Magic Question” seemed to blow their minds!) and I received a job offer. They offered me more money than I was earning, a shorter work week, and no on-call/emergency hours. I was astonished! And the offer could not come at a better time as that was the day that I finally had a real moment of truth with my job and my supervisors that left me feeling so hurt and disrespected that I cried.

You know all those letters that you get about people who fear that them leaving their job will cause their programs to fall apart? Well, my program is still standing but my departure definitely caused some seismic disruptions. It was still the right choice. So many of my colleagues were astonished that I chose to leave. But I had been begging for supervision and support and a clear, honest answer about why I could not get promoted for a very long time and no one would take the time and show me the respect that I deserved. So I found a company that will. Even though I am new, my experience and knowledge is treated with respect. When I say something or offer my opinion, I no longer feel like I am sitting at the kids’ table waving for the adults to notice me.

I had some time off between jobs and I used that to rest and recover from being a mostly front-line worker during the pandemic. I’m proud of the work that I did and I am excited about the chances I have ahead of me. Turns out all of my years in my old job set me up to be excellent at this one!

Thank you so much for all of the information and guidance on Ask A Manager. It really helped me make what felt like a very scary decision.

{ 29 comments… read them below }

  1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

    Here’s a thanks to AAM and the community here from me to add to these wonderful Friday posts.

    Just a year and a half ago I was hospitalised for basically my mind fracturing from under me to the point of nearly being lethal. It took a long time to get back to a work-appropriate state of mind after being released (I was unemployed at the time and honestly thought I’d never recover enough).

    A lot of time at home was spent reading AAM after and I finally gathered back up enough strength to comment. I applied for and got a job in my beloved field of IT and even though this blog is mostly USA based I found a lot of the advice translated very well to here in the UK.

    The informative comments here also helped and people made me feel welcome. I’m a professional again, not just a broken human.

    1. Katefish*

      What good news on top of the good news write ups! This column was a lifesaver when I was furloughed, and is a joy day to day.

    2. Reba*

      All that and you’re a great commenter, too! :) Glad you are here with us. Your posts are often hysterical and frequently wise.

    3. Chauncy Gardener*

      I’m so happy to hear your good news! I really like reading your comments and your user name is the BEST. Congratulations!

    4. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      Keymaster, just like you I found this site while I was out of work, but three and a half years ago. I felt like a total failure at that point, I had been pushed out of my job, the place before had closed (which was why I had lost the prior job), and all my jobs were so random what in the world was I going to do now?

      Now, I’ve had the same job for two and a half years – and even found out Wednesday that my boss was dismally able to get the Cert Lists pulled, and the grade increase I had applied for two months ago came through. It’ll take a pay period or two for processing, but I get my grade increase and to keep my part time hours (which means that now part time I’m earning just under what I was earning being full time at prior push-out job), and the benefits are night and day different. I really used all the cover letter advice (resume at current job is a little different because it’s federal), but I really credit stuff I’ve learned here with helping me out myself back together too.

      1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

        The black pit of despair was definitely my home for a while too. I’m very glad you managed to get out of it. Big transatlantic applause and offer of a cup of tea and biscuits if you ever find yourself over these shores :)

        (P.s. I live near Stonehenge if any of the AAM people find themselves wanting to visit)

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          Maybe one of these days. Covid killed what was going to be the first international trip for our whole family. Now we are thinking the first international jaunt will be something like England so that the younger Orchestra’s can speak the language. Oh well – one of these days.

  2. TeeEmm*

    “I have an unusual work history that combines education, library work and nonprofits and a graduate degree in a field I no longer want to work in. ”

    Letter writer, are you me? When I read that I thought…wait, I don’t have any good news, yet! I have a similar work history and a degree I don’t want to use as well. I will have to look into whether grant writing might be a way to go for me :)

    Seeing you post here gave me hope that I will have good news soon. Congratulations!

    1. Aeryn Sun*

      It’s a weird place to be in and I found Alison’s advice in using my network so helpful- people who knew me and recommended me also gave me the confidence to know I could do it. You might look at grant writing- I tell people it is the closest thing to writing a research paper that you can get paid to do! And library work is great preparation for grants research.

    2. Lionheart26*

      I thought the EXACT same thing. I was so excited to read the rest and find out what field LW ended up going in to. I’m not sure grant writing is calling me, but the idea of being a consultant has definitely been on my mind for a while now. Maybe this is the push I needed…..
      I guess there are more education/library/non-profit workers out there than any of us thought!

  3. Bookworm*

    Thanks once again to all the LWs for writing! Also special shout out to #5: wasn’t quite in your position but could relate to quite a bit.

  4. Funfetti*

    Congrats all! So happy to see your hard work get recognized and I wish you all the best in your new jobs!

  5. Tangerina Warbleworth*

    OP #4, boy can I relate. I’m not to the success story yet, but on the way, I think. If/when it happens, whenever it happens, I will raise a glass to both of us. Some people do not know and refuse to learn just how much work we do, and how complex it is. Eff them. You ROCK.

  6. CW*

    OP #1 – Your boss reacted terribly and was a jerk during your notice period? That reminds me of my dad’s old boss, though he did it to my dad’s coworker, not my dad. I’ll save you the story, but I am happy for you. Your boss acted childishly and doesn’t deserve you. And you deserve better. Glad you are moving on to a better opportunity.

  7. do i just suck at grant writing?*

    Random question: I get confused when I see “grant writer” as a position. I am an academic, and everyone I know (including me) writes their own grants on top of their research, teaching, and service (ie committee) work. My current university supports us with staff personnel who double-check that all the documents are in compliance with the granting agency standards and that we wrote in the right numbers for the fringe benefits, etc., but my old university didn’t even offer that support. But all the words come from the professors. Who are these grant writers working for? Are there really a lot of people who draw in enough grant money to hire a grant writer full time?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Nonprofits hire grant writers to write grant proposals for the organization. It can be a full time job (especially if it includes doing grant reports on funds received).

  8. Chauncy Gardener*

    I just love Good News Fridays!! What a perfect way to end the week.
    Thanks to everyone for sharing and congratulations!!

  9. Caroline Bowman*

    I love Friday good news, and this one has been a doozy for sure!

    In our small corner of the world, we have our own Friday good news, which is that my husband, who has been strenuously trying to get a job in the UK (we currently live in South Africa, where things are… not going well…) for some long time. Obviously being on a different continent has been distinctly unhelpful, and a worldwide pandemic hasn’t exactly improved matters (we have the relevant passports and job hunting started before the pandemic, so this is a long saga), but I managed to persuade him to really properly read the advice on here about (but not limited to) cover letters, CV structure, knowing your worth (he struggles with this, is not remotely a ”political” networker, though is always very well-liked and relied-on/ taken advantage of) and generally not fixating too hard on why one particular application might not have worked out, but rather assuming that most actually won’t, and that usually it’s nothing to do with you, the candidate blah blah… Anyway. Yesterday he got a verbal offer from the UK branch of the company he currently works for after only one interview, something he wasn’t expecting at all. I tried to tell him that because they have a lot of what would be involved in a longer process, that the timeline might be shortened, but he was very surprised, and in the best possible way! The money is a good step over what he’d been aiming for and the role is a fantastic one, a kind of lateral / slight step up, but with many, many more prospects than he currently has, for advancement.

    It’s really turned into a good-news-Friday for us!

    1. Ella*

      Congrats and good luck in UK hotel quarantine, or fingers crossed you guys will be off the red list before you come!

  10. Maika*

    reading these updates every Friday gives me hope. it’s been rough and i’ve applied to like 25 jobs with 4 interviews and no dice so far. keeping my chin up and continuing on the path.

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