it’s your Friday good news

It’s your Friday good news!

1. I have read you over the years, and I’ve been fortunate over the last 2 years to have been consistently employed during a whirlwind of a time. About 6 months ago, even though I was only 2 years into my current position, I got the itch to start moving on, and not just regular old moving on, but I needed a career change that came with a break. I’ve been in IT, doing break/fix and SysAdmin work starting in college and for the last 17 years. Through 5 jobs, there’s been one constant: lots of long hours at little to no extra pay or time off. Customers who run 24 hours a day mean that you’re on call 24 hours a day, even if there’s a rotation to help you get a break for some of those weeks. I’d had enough, and had started hinting to my friends that if they heard of anything to let me know. I was willing to stake out a totally different line of work, I just couldn’t take the grind anymore.

A friend reached out with a position that they were trying to fill in her organization for a Business Analyst, and while I had never had the title, I had experience with a lot of the tasks of the position, so I threw my hat in the ring. I had barely sent the email out with my resume and cover letter (the accomplishment-style resume wowed them, even though most of my accomplishments didn’t come with hard metrics numbers behind them) when I got a call from the recruiter to set up an interview, and saying that I was already looking strong. They were upfront about wages and benefits, even before the interview. I was already looking at a $15k raise, and the new position would be hourly, meaning they would compensate me for my time after 40 hours a week, which was actually more exciting given my state of burnout.

I interviewed on Friday afternoon, and we had a great discussion about the position and what I could bring to the organization. I used a few of your interview questions, and they had great responses that made me feel good about them. I was fortunate enough to have an offer in hand before the day was through, and accepted the next Monday. My old job even came back with a counteroffer that technically would have put me over the new job’s salary, but (as you so eloquently put it) “it’s okay to turn down money because you don’t like the price it comes at.”

Today as I write this, it’s the start of a 4-day weekend in which I don’t have to worry about customer calls, staying by my phone, or lugging my laptop with me everywhere I go. When I start Tuesday, I won’t have to take calls on my drive home, rushing to throw open the laptop to put out the fire. Thank you for your resources, and your gentle guidance for everyone to do better for themselves.

2. I’ve been reading your blog since college, and have used your advice many many times, but I wanted to say a special thank you for the interview with Em who works at an Employee Assistance Program. I had put off finding a therapist after I was phased out of my university’s service for years. I felt overwhelmed at the prospect of finding a therapist who was accepting new clients and my insurance and nervous about the potential cost if I get it wrong – the US health care system really scares me.

But, reading the interview with Em struck a chord, and I finally reached out! I have an appointment with a therapist next week who is in network, and the first several sessions are covered by the EAP so I can see if we click before being hundreds of dollars out of pocket. I am so excited but wouldn’t have used that resource if not for the empathetic and insightful responses from Em. Thank you so much to both of you!

3. Several years ago I went to work for an international non-governmental organization with various offices and “departments” around the world. This was a dream job that I had spent many years applying for. I found the work to be fulfilling, and the city it was located in to be quite liveable and exciting. However, the particular part of the organization that I was working for has a definite time limit on how long you can stay (though you can return after some time). So when I neared the limit, I searched almost desperately for a job in an another part of the organization. I ended up getting a job with just a few months left, but a medical clearance was required as part of the recruitment process. In the process, they found an abnormality which led to a diagnosis of a kind of cancer that can be life threatening, but which there are now amazing, but very expensive, treatment options. The new job was in a less developed part of the world and it took many weeks to clear me to go. I was shocked and distraught and told pretty much all of my co-workers and boss.

Eventually I was cleared and went to the new job. It was a fascinating job and again, fulfilling, but the location was not ideal for me. The nearest specialist for my condition was a 3 1/2 hour car drive and border crossing away. Still, I made the best of it and adapted by occasionally visiting my old city and doctor, although it was a long flight. Well, I could also visit old friends while there. After about a year, one of those friends – a very close friend – messaged me saying that she missed me a lot more than she had expected. We started an intercontinental long-distance relationship, and perhaps understandably my frequency of visit increased, and I began trying to get a job back in the old city and previous organization.

I had thought I had a good reputation there and since I had served my time away, I thought I would be able to get a job in the previous city fairly quickly. This did not turn out to be the case. Application after application seemed to be simply ignored. My partner and I both became frustrated and it put a lot of strain on the relationship. I worried that maybe what was holding me back was the fact that I had told everyone about the diagnosis. Maybe that part of the organization did not want to bear the cost of the treatment in the future or generally avoid someone sick.

Well, it turned out not to be the case. In the end, I found out I had been held back by other factors that eventually cleared. I was first offered a temporary contract in the old city with my old group. Soon after I was given an amazing promotion and a more permanent contract, and that job is even more of a dream job to me than the first – and one where your advice has really come in handy. The illness is still there, but is still being monitored hasn’t required treatment yet. My partner and I got married just before COVID-19 hit and now live what I think is a pretty nice and beautiful life, and I am grateful for every day.

{ 12 comments… read them below }

  1. Purple Cat*

    I wasn’t expecting someone to be cutting onions during the Friday updates.
    The genuine gratitude and joy in these updates today is awesome to read.

      1. Zan Shin*

        Yeh….. It’s not wildfire smoke getting my eyes watering today. I LOVE each Friday’s small victories and life-changing near miracles.

  2. oranges*

    I loved that Em interview about EAPs. I’ve been in the workforce for a long time, and I STILL don’t understand medical insurance and coverage and what’s in/out of network. (And I’m fortunate enough to have the education, resources, and privilege that others may not. It’s a travesty how hard and expensive we make healthcare for Americans.)
    I’ve used my company’s EAP, and it was such a relief to have it all handled. Thanks to Em, and everyone else in that role, for all they do!

    1. PT*

      My husband’s work switched us to an EAP-style “customer care advocate” to help us navigate our health benefits.

      Last time I called, they said, “You need a referral or preauthorization for this.” And I said, “Could you double check which, because in my past coverage, they were different things?” And she goes, “Sure!…Oh you’re right! You need both!”

      It was for an expensive set of medical imaging and I just shudder how much that would have cost me if I hadn’t known enough about coverage to ask that question. Ten years ago I’d have taken the agent at her word and been out thousands of dollars.

  3. Ask a Manager* Post author

    My backlog of Friday good news letters is finally getting close to being gone (at one point I had about 60 backlogged and now I’m down to 10), which means I’ll need more soon in order to keep doing it. So if you have good news, please send it in!

  4. anonymous73*

    #1 – congratulations! I started my career 25 years ago as a developer. I got laid off after doing that for 7 years and was unemployed for a year and a half. But a recruiter with an opportunity as a Business Analyst contacted me, and I was offered the job 10 minutes after I left the interview. And I loved it much more than development. About 5 years ago I started working as a Project Manager. It may not be a natural progression for everyone, but I think having that technical background makes you more successful on the other side of things. Good luck and enjoy your new job!

  5. Best wishes*

    I loved reading them all!!!
    OP1, congrats for making the courageous switch to a new role. I come with heavy background in that field and I think you are going to rock it. A lot of BA knowledge can be self learnt and with on the job learning. Good luck!

    OP2, Glad you called the EAP program. I’m finding it hard to find a provider for family. Maybe I’ll give a call as well

    OP3, this is awesome! So glad life is looking up for you!

Comments are closed.