it’s your Friday good news

It’s your Friday good news!

1. The company I (30s, she/her) work for was hit hard by the “great resignation” earlier this year and hiring went through a dry spell, and we had a pretty bad gender skew in both, taking us from fairly balanced to predominantly men.

As part of a panel of employee resource group representatives, we brought up the lack of competitive pay and the poor way we handled internal promotions and positions changes. E.g., someone who came in at an entry level position in one department might end up with a significantly lower salary after being transferred and promoted simply because they had a lower starting salary, and the employees most impacted by this were women and people without advanced degrees.

The executive team took the concerns seriously, and spent time restructuring our pay bands, assessing salary inequality, comparing to market rates, etc.

I honestly didn’t think of myself when talking about this: while I knew my pay was on the low end for market value, I have always been on the high end of % increases and was satisfied enough since I enjoy my co-workers and work.

But just got a 30% salary increase as a compensation adjustment (meaning it won’t impact my annual performance review raise potential), putting me at a competitive market rate for the first time in a while, and didn’t realize until I got it that it was actually bothering me.

Since our new hires are skewing towards men, we were seeing women who had risen to the same position from internal jobs making notably less, and I am so relieved that (1) they are correcting this and (2) they are finally making salaries more competitive.

I hope it will help us attract and retain more employees again, and on a personal note, I feel more valued and like my concerns were heard. And very sad to see some of my peers leave this past year, but my thanks to them for sending the message to the company “sorry, you have to actually pay us what we’re worth”.

Fingers crossed that more companies start to re-evaluate the true cost of underpaying employees and address their pay inequality issues!

2. I wanted to share a counter-offer success story! I’m a longtime reader of your site and 2 years ago, after negotiating a salary correction that almost, but didn’t quite, get me to parity with others in my role, I decided to put out feelers to see what else was out there. I received a job offer in February 2020 for a similar role in the same organization (but different company, I am a gov’t contractor) with an almost 30% pay increase! Since I knew that the government was not interested in increasing my rate in my old position and there wasn’t any other similar position in my current company, I didn’t think they would be interested in countering. Well, I was wrong. When my grandboss found out I had put my notice in, he called me for a meeting and flat out offered to meet the new salary, plus a $5,000 signing bonus and parking (which amounts to another $2,000/year) and they were creating a new position for me in corporate, which would give me more flexibility and allow me to grow my skills beyond chief of staff type roles, which is what I’d been doing for 5 years and what the new position was offering.

After a lot of reading and thinking and discussion, I decided to accept the counter offer. Part of my calculation was that I was just coming out of maternity leave and now had 3 kids, so guaranteed flexibility was important. In addition, the fact that they were specific about wanting me to grow and branch out and pursue certification/education was huge, as I was great at what I did, but I don’t have any formal training or certification in my field. I truly liked my company, they had listened when I spoke up about some policies and benefits that were terrible and made changes that benefited employees, and I had a good relationship with leadership and coworkers. Finally, the company had tripled in size from less than 100 to almost 300 in my 3.5 years with them and they were on track to continue growing, so there was a lot of potential for internal career growth. The other company had a great reputation as well, but the position would have been more of the same, just with a bigger paycheck.

And it was a great thing that I accepted the counter offer. I started my new job on March 2, 2020, which was my first day back from maternity leave. The world shut down, with all 3 kids suddenly home from school, 2 weeks later. 2 weeks after that, my marriage imploded pretty spectacularly and I ended up having to move myself and the kids 2 weeks after THAT. My company was incredible during all of the initial upheaval and has continued to be supportive. I think the fact that I had almost 4 years of high quality performance and a great reputation as a team player (and straight shooter, as I’d done research and presented evidence on how the previous crappy policies and benefits were hurting company growth when I spoke up) really helped my boss grant me the grace and flexibility I needed as I transitioned to being a solo parent with kids who were dealing with some trauma. That flexibility allowed me to get my work done, even as I also homeschooled and navigated what has turned out to be an incredibly acrimonious divorce. During the last 18 months, I actually picked up a title change that is essentially a promotion and received a performance bonus. Now that I’m moving out of personal crisis management mode, my boss and I are looking ahead to get me some of those certifications and formal education so I can really progress.

None of this would have been possible if I hadn’t had the skills to negotiate the offers, advice on how to clearly evaluate both offers and the ability (and confidence) to clearly communicate with my leadership on what I can and cannot deliver. The reputation I built at the company was due in part to the advice here on how to advocate for yourself and the general “this is what a healthy workplace looks like” stories. Most of my working life has felt like floating along with whatever is happening, it’s been incredible to take control and come up with a plan for what’s ahead. Thank you!

3. This saga starts in May 2019, when my husband was transferred to a new boss. The new boss was someone who should never have been allowed to manage people. After almost 25 years, my husband was done, and he started looking seriously to leave.

In July 2019, a job came open that a friend who used to work at the new place strongly encouraged my husband to apply for. My husband hadn’t written a resume in years, so he asked for my help. I had him write out what he thought it should look like, then I used Alison’s resume writing advice to take it from mediocre at best to really good. I convinced him to concentrate on achievements, since there were a lot of them after 25 years in higher education IT. He also wrote a really robust cover letter detailing why he would be a good fit for the job.

The combination of the cover letter and resume got him the interview in mid-August. I bought him a new suit, and I persuaded him to go to my stylist to get a good haircut. That, along with the interview practice I got him to do with his friend, helped him ace the interview. Four days later, he had an offer for more than he asked for. He started at the new position that October.

I knew that if he got the job, I would need to start looking for a new job because it wasn’t reasonable for him to commute 100 miles each way indefinitely. I took the resume that I had used to earn two promotions in the hospital where I worked for 25 years, and I updated it to reflect the most current accomplishments. 

I applied for a job at the nearby academic medical center and I was almost immediately asked to do a phone screening with the recruiter. That was on Monday. On Thursday, I interviewed with the manager and team lead for the position. A week later, I had a second interview with the manager and her director, where they told me to expect an offer within 48 hours. I accepted the offer, as it was about a 25% increase over what I was making.

I started the new position in December 2019. We continued to commute until March 2020, when we closed on a new house. The weekend we moved, the shutdown orders began. My husband and I have been working from home since then.

I couldn’t ask for a better employer. The health system I work for prioritizes patient care, patient safety, and science in everything we do. We have an incredible team where the most common statement is “I appreciate everything you do.” I know that the work I do, in revenue cycle informatics, is making a difference.

4.  I just started a new job last week after a few months of unemployment. I was made redundant after an acquisition after only being in the position for a year. I was almost relieved to be laid off as I was sinking deeper into a depression as each day was passing — I absolutely HATED my supervisor, my boss, and the company. I spent nearly every day trying to work up the courage to ask you a question, but couldn’t even begin to figure out what problem I had that could be solved with anything other than “leave.” After I cried a whole bunch post-layoff, I took some time (with severance and unemployment in hand, thank god) to visit friends and family I hadn’t seen since the pandemic. I had a few interviews make it to final rounds, and finally cinched the job I’m in now.

When I tell you this job is night and day from my last, I could not be more serious. My bosses laugh with me, respect my opinion, and are genuinely happy in both the company and their decision to hire me. (It certainly doesn’t hurt that the job came with a 16% salary increase!) I feel my old confidence coming back and I couldn’t be more grateful to you and your blog for helping me cling to the shreds when the walls felt like they were closing in on me. Time after time I returned to Ask A Manager, for both advice on staying professional and moral support.

I know a new job doesn’t solve all my problems, but I finally feel like I’m on the right path to move forward.

{ 40 comments… read them below }

  1. PivotPivot*

    Cograts to all the writers. But OP#2, wow! That’s a traumatic and eventful year. I am glad you and your family are going better and I hope for continued growth at work and peace at home.

  2. Not a College Student Anymore*

    Congratulations to all!
    OP2, I wish you all the best and hope you and your kids are healing well ♥
    OP3, I hope he does for you all you do for him.
    “I had him write out what he thought it should look like”; “I used Alison’s resume writing advice to take it from mediocre at best to really good”; “I convinced him to concentrate on achievements”; “I bought him a new suit”; “I persuaded him to go to my stylist to get a good haircut.”; “the interview practice I got him to do”.
    Damn, you should’ve been hired.

    1. Gigi*

      Ha, I thought the same. I’m in my 40s and single, and sometimes I wonder why any woman would get into a heterosexual marriage given how much work they are expected to do as a given. It’s hard enough for me to take care of myself. This woman has a full time job on top of that husband!

      1. Kyrielle*

        It could be her strong area and his weak area. I do a lot for my husband – but he also does a lot for me. We both have jobs, and we both help each other out where needed. (And we both hate doing dishes, so life isn’t perfect, but we deal.)

        1. Caroline Bowman*

          100% this. My husband is a very competent, sensible, practical person who has always, since we have been together, taken his share of the life admin stuff, and always been an on-board parent, from when our 3 kids were born, to-date. He does not see kids / home as ”not my problem”, despite the fact that he works full time and I work part-time. He sees what stuff needs to happen and pitches in with no expectation of a round of applause.

          When it comes to professional advancement and promotion, he is… not strong. He IS an excellent, highly-skilled, very valuable asset within his field but he does not really see that. He is completely not able to do the kind of advantageous and targeted networking, other than by complete chance, and just accepts 90% of whatever crap his various jobs have dished out.

          Enter me. I have a background in HR and recruitment and have gradually helped him towards realising his value, negotiating for his true worth, refusing to be unduly put-upon (he would work till he dropped. He worked straight through having Covid, only told them when someone on a conf call asked him why he kept coughing, to their absolute consternation). Anyway, the whole ”look smart and professional, make sure you’ve shaved, check your video background, no, do not wear that shirt with a stain on it, wear this one with the flattering colour, is my department. He’s not an idiot, he’s not a baby, it’s just not an area where he’s confident. We practice questions and how to ask them, I help him write cover letters, the whole shebang.

          He does literally all of our ”dealing with insurance and levies, medical insurance, car tax discs” admin. All of it. I am pathetically weak in this area. I *could* fumble through and know all the passwords / get involved when it can’t be avoided, but…

          Essentially, being in a partnership means you take on stuff you’re good at.

          1. TeaCoziesRUs*

            Sounds like you two have a wonderful and balanced marriage of friends. :) I’m similar in that hubby is AMAZING about kids and house with full time career, while I work part time and go to school part time. Yet, I’ll be the one to remind him to send a congratulations note to a former commander who has visibly succeeded (pinned on a star, taken command that has made new, etc.), keep in touch with peers at other bases, etc. He’s not great with networking, I am pretty decent at genuinely staying in touch with people, so I help him with this blind spot.

    2. Good News #3*

      Yes, he does :)

      We have very different skill sets. He does hard IT; I do informatics, which is the soft side of IT along with a lot of meetings and, for lack of a better term, ego-massaging. I love healthcare, but I am not at all blind to its problems. He feels the same about higher education. We each love that we get to change lives.

      One of the biggest advantages we have had is our respective networks. We are both plugged into large groups of people who have been colleagues, co-workers and/or vendors, many of whom we also count as friends. As soon as we put out the word that we were seriously looking, each of us had long-time friends contacting us to ask how they could help. The friend who pushed him to apply for the new job, for example, knew that he was capable of much more than was coming to him at the placed he had worked for so long. I had a former boss who flat-out asked if he could be a reference for me, as he had started working at the academic medical center a few years before I did.

  3. KuklaRed*

    Wonderful news all around!

    OP#2 – I just want to give you a huge hug! And offer to babysit. I went through a bloody divorce while my kids were elementary school age and while my parents were in their final declines and while I was holding down a high level position at a law firm with a hefty commute into NYC. The fact that you have come through all of this and sound so amazing speaks volumes about the kind of person you are. I hope you come back and post further updates, because I think I’m not the only one who will want to hear how you are doing.

    1. TeaCoziesRUs*

      Ouch. I want to give you both hugs and buy you a bottle of wine (or other beverage of choice) while I watch both sets of kids. I’m a kid of divorce, which sucked enough. Both of you are strong and amazing.

  4. Not So Super-visor*

    Counter offer question: how long would you consider too long for a company to get back to you in regards to your counter offer?
    We had a really promising candidate with a unique skill set interview for an entry level, customer service position. The entry level position has a set start rate. We offered her the position, but she counter offered asking for a rate that was in line with our senior CSR rate. We don’t currently have a senior role available. I told her that I would see what I could do and that I would call her back one way or the other. I spent almost 3 days arguing and advocating all the way up to the VP of my division and the VP of HR to get it approved. When I called her back near the end of the 3rd day, she told me that since we had taken so long that she wasn’t interested in working with us anymore. I get it that candidates have their choice of positions in today’s marked, and I would totally understand if she’d said that she’d accepted another offer in the meantime, but this just struck me as a little odd.

    1. justanobody*

      Did you have any contact with her during those 3 days? If not, she may have thought the silence spoke for itself and she needed to move on.

    2. a tester, not a developer*

      To me, it’s not a ‘too long’ situation; it’s more a lack of communication around how long it would take to get back to her. If you’d said at the outset that it would take about a week then she could have let you know up front if that was too long for her. I’ve been in Big Corporate long enough that I would have been impressed with a 3 day turnaround, but someone newer to the workforce or used to small businesses might have been expecting a call by the end of the day.

    3. Momo Mia Willis*


      “I get it that candidates have their choices of positions”… I agree that those bargaining chips have tilted the game in your candidate’s favour however, if asked I would coach a ” Thank you so much for this opportunity and no thank you, I appreciate your time and the company’s time” sort of reply.
      I am very biased. I did a letter of reply to a company detailing 3 reasons why I saw myself in the role but stating that the company knows what is right for their team when I didn’t get the final offer 3 years ago. The recruiter received a very positive reply for the talent he presented and because of that he referred me to a company. I am working on a large proposal for them. The recruiter’s recommend to the company meant a series of talks moving up the ladder and AFAIK when budget is decided and start date determined I will be their contractor.

  5. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

    These are all great stories! I’m particularly impressed with OP#3 who successfully found new jobs for TWO people!

    1. Good News #3*

      If you hear about racist, sexist, homophobic and anti-intellectual comments made by a manager at minimum several times a week, especially when they work in higher education, it becomes a point of “we have to get out of here”. I had already accepted that we weren’t staying where we were when my DH started applying.

  6. Miss Muffet*

    Just so amazed at #2 who seems to have managed it all during the most difficult time with everything just compounding. I’m sure there was no shortage of night-cries and screams in an empty car, but sista — you did it and are coming through the other side and a lot of us are out here cheering for you!

  7. *daha**

    I’m a bit confused about two different companies working for the same organization. Can someone who understands what this means give me an example.

    1. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

      Government departments often have contracts with different companies to provide people for similar/same roles. For example, I worked in a state health department as an employee of a university foundation who was handling staff for a specific grant, but my coworker who was on a different grant, but same title and department, was an employee of a private company that was handling staffing for another grant. You see this a bunch in civil service where there are a lot of “long but not permanent” grant funded jobs. You can’t be hired as a government employee because the $$ ends in 3, 5 or whatever years and the department can’t support the position after the project is over, so they contract with companies to hire you and work on their projects. You get benefits, leave, etc. and are just an employee from a different organization assigned to work for a government organization.

      1. TeaCoziesRUs*

        That’s one way I’ve seen, here’s another:
        In the Department of Defense you can have contractors from multiple companies sitting side by side doing the same or complimentary roles because contacts can be big or for multiple years and the mission can grow within that time. In this case, Seat A’s contract was won by Raytheon 3 years ago, Seat B by Boeing 2 years ago, and Seat C last year by small biz run by an economically disadvantaged, minority-owned, veteran-owned company that no one has ever heard of. (Small biz can win over big behemoths because a certain percentage of US Government contracts MUST go to small businesses, and then within that percentage, a certain amount must be minority-owned, veteran-owned, economically disadvantaged, etc. If one contact meets all 3, it checks ALL the boxes pretty neatly.) Also, I’ve seen that contractors TRY to keep the same people in their jobs, unless they already have someone, because that person knows the job better than an outside hire… unless the contacting officer makes it clear that the person is not welcome to come back.
        In OP’s case, using the scenario above, I could see where she applies for Raytheon’s seat from her Seat C, then her small biz comes back with a counter. (Or visa versa)

        1. TeaCoziesRUs*

          And in the DoD’s case, they prefer to contract vs civil service because it shifts money around from personnel budget to contacting budget, which I believe is more flexible? Also, it avoids military and civil service pensions, which is eating a ton of the military’s current budget because no one really understood what an all volunteer military would cost long-term (retirement at 20 years means most military retires in their 40s or 50s… then lives in a pension for the next 40-50 years). Last I heard was that retirees were 30% of the personnel budget for a year, which makes it harder to do a many missions as we have, because we can afford fewer people.

        2. OP #2*

          This exactly!
          I actually survived a contract changeover on my program several years ago as well, Seat A was with Company A, Company A lost the contract and Company B won it (as a sub). I was doing a good job, so stayed in Seat A, but Company B now signed my paycheck.
          The offer I received and ultimately turned down was for Seat B, with Company C. Same program, similar role, different department. Our program is about 65% contractors, since it’s cheaper for the gov’t in the long run to hire services and not people.

          It’s very confusing for people not in government work!

      2. Kal*

        So it sounds like its similar to temps hired through an agency? Like, they are working at X company doing work for X company with coworkers who are employees of X company, but are themselves actually employed by Y temp agency?

        1. OP #2*

          Similar, but longer term. And people often stay in the same position but switch companies if a company loses the contract. Not always, but frequently.

          And there can be multiple contracts, with various companies (as subs) on each, for one program. It’s common for people to jump from company to company in order to move up in seniority or take on a different role within the program.

  8. elje*

    Loooooong-time reader, first time poster! All these stories are so great, but OP4 hit my heart in a way I can’t even explain with the words “My bosses laugh with me, respect my opinion, and are genuinely happy in both the company and their decision to hire me.” After many years at an organization, I was let go a few weeks ago. I’m heading toward the final interview at a company I would LOVE to work for, and yet I feel like the PTSD of being in a situation where there was never any humor and nobody respected my opinion will stick with me for a long time. It could be years before any boss walks into my office and I don’t panic because I think I’m going to get my butt chewed. Congrats to you, OP4! I hope I can write a similar post – regardless of pay – one of these days!

    1. Squirrel Nutkin*

      Best of luck, elje! May you find the kind, respectful, funny bosses of your dreams who put you at ease and make you feel truly welcome and valued.

    2. Lizzo*

      @elje, workplace PTSD is real. It will go away. If you recognize that anxiety when it’s happening and be patient and kind with yourself and just let it dissipate, it will eventually be manageable. Therapy also helps.

      Good luck with your final interview!

  9. Good News #3*

    An addendum, because the good news keeps coming…

    Last week, I received an award for exceptional performance.

    There are 10 of these awards given out every year.
    I am the first person in Revenue Cycle to have received this award in at least 5 years.
    I am the first person on my team to ever receive this award.
    I am the first person in the health system to receive the award after being with the health system less than 5 years. (December will be 2 years.)

    I am incredibly fortunate. I love the work I do. While I am working, it engrosses me, but I don’t live with it outside of my time working. It doesn’t dog me every waking and sleeping moment. (The old job …. did.) I have more to give during the hours I work, because I’m not giving it every hour of my life.

    1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      Yay Good News 3!

      I agree so much with your closing paragraph – when you are able to routinely disengage and rest it’s amazing how much impact you can have during normal working hours.

  10. TimeTravlR*

    I always love these great stories! I am so happy that there are great jobs out there!
    (I actually have a great job with a great boss, but I’m glad other people do too, especially after reading some of the horror stories on this site!)

  11. Bookworm*

    Thanks as usual to all the LWs! I *really* needed something uplifting and I am glad I can count on this. Thanks to all for sharing!! :)

  12. germank106*

    It’s almost 5 am here and I just finished binge watching the series “The Chair” that Allison recommended. It was so good. I’m sure I had too much ice-cream but it was so worth it.

  13. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

    #2 – I’m late to the dance here, but you’ve proven that counter-offers can work, depending on the circumstances..

    Some people – headhunters in particular, who stand to lose if you accept a counter, will preach “never never never”.
    But do you scrap an investment in, say, five, ten years or more at a career stop if management comes to their senses and decides to work with you on your career?

    It also comes down to the trite line = “no employee is indispensable”… well, you can say that, and yes, most companies can survive the loss of one or two or three key people – and as I said = SURVIVE.

    But the company may not THRIVE as it did, or function as it did. Or be as profitable as it was. And in today’s world of demands that companies perform quarter-to-quarter, a management team will be cursorily supported in allow key players to walk away, but when the bottom line’s affected, and/or things just don’t get done – goals missed, deadlines passed… etc. etc. etc. — THEN it’s on management.

    There’s also the exit interview =

    “Why are you leaving?” — money, career advancement, etc. “Could we have provided it?” YES YOU COULD HAVE. “Well if this is what you want…” It wasn’t what I wanted but you forced my hand. We both lose here, and that’s the real tragedy.

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