it’s your Friday good news

It’s your Friday good news!

1.  “I emailed you a few weeks ago asking for advice after I was told that I would never be promoted again even though I had just received a great 1-year review and a promotion. (Note from Alison: this exchange was unpublished.)

Well, I took your advice and went back to my boss to ask for clarification. I cited all the higher level work I had been asked to do in my current position and floated an idea for a new role that would include more higher level leadership and training work. My boss said she liked the idea and would see what she could do. Today my boss told me that she’s worked with HR to create new position for me at a higher level. This new position will involve a lot more strategy and policy work, which I love, and it comes with a 10-15% pay bump.

I’m really excited and I wanted to thank you for your advice and for encouraging me to advocate for myself. Your blog has taught me so much.”

2.  “As of December 2019, I’d been in my first job out of college for about four and half years. It had been a great place to start my career, but as often happens, things changed. My amazing boss left, and the new boss wasn’t as great. There wasn’t a path to promotion unless I was willing to move locations, and several years into the role, I wasn’t learning as much. I decided it was time to start looking.

Between December 2019 and February 2020, I had several informational interviews with people in my network. I updated my resume and LinkedIn and started reading all of your resources on writing cover letters. Plus, I had just started a new volunteering gig adjacent to the field I wanted to enter.

And then, pandemic. The job opportunities I’d been looking at disappeared, seemingly overnight, and the work my team did was severely impacted by COVID-19. While we thankfully didn’t go through any lay-offs, the company did decrease our pay 5% and delayed our bonuses.

I wasn’t confident about being able to find a new job with so much uncertainty in the world, but I kept up a light search. After applying to maybe 10 roles and not hearing anything back, I noticed that a local (huge) tech company was hiring like crazy. I asked a friend who worked there if she would refer me – I didn’t have a tech background but figured some of my skills might be transferrable. She put in the referral. From there, I had two phone interviews, followed by a full day of video interviews with several members of the team. I heavily relied on the AAM interviewing resources and of course, asked the ‘magic question’ (some version of – what distinguishes someone who is good at this role from someone who is great at it), which landed well! My (now) manager seemed impressed, and she told me that one of my (now) colleagues was really the epitome of what great looked like in the role, so I had the bonus benefit of knowing who to pay attention to. Without ever meeting anyone in person, I received an offer in June 2020 for 30% more than I was making previously, with much better opportunity for upward mobility.

I’ve been in that role now for over a year, and it’s been a great step in my career. The work is more interesting than what I did previously, I’m gaining valuable skills, and I’m (virtually) meeting a ton of great people. I’m glad I didn’t give up the search, even when things were so uncertain.”

3.  “At the end of 2019 I was the team lead of, let’s say, Teapot Refining, which includes Painters and Glazers. While I was working part-time due to family stuff we re-hired a Teapot Glazer, Jake, who had left a year before and had a similar seniority to me when he left, before I was promoted to team lead. A couple months later when I was back full-time, my boss told me he was splitting the team up into Painters, led by me, and Glazers, led by Jake, because ‘he didn’t think Jake would handle working under me well.’ (Yeah, I’m a woman.) That left me as lead for an entire one other Teapot Painter. I was not thrilled.

Review time was coming up and I asked Jake (who I got on with quite well actually) if he’d tell me what salary they’d hired him back at. Surprise, his salary was 20% higher than mine, with a promise of an additional raise in 2020 which would have put it at 27% higher. I suspect that they didn’t want him on my team because I would be seeing salary numbers at review time.

Both HR and my boss had waggled their eyebrows and indicated a big raise in the making. It turned out to be 10% more than my current salary, so they were splitting the difference. I said I didn’t think that was quite fair, given Jake’s salary for an equivalent position. There was a lot of bluster about this being the best they could do, and I shouldn’t compare myself to Jake, and there would be another raise next year, and money wasn’t everything, etc etc. I had practiced this scenario with my wife in advance and kept my cool. Indicated I would quit, because I would have! My boss said he’d get back to me.

They came up to within 3% of Jake’s current salary plus my suggestion of a guaranteed month of remote work from another country, plus a promotion plan towards Head of Teapot Refining and Packing.

We set up some goals and a timeline. 2020 rolled on, I wasn’t sure about taking on the “And Packing” part, my boss couldn’t articulate exactly what duties the position would entail while pushing me to come up with A Vision for it – it was rocky. When a headhunter dangled a pure Head of Teapot Refining position in front of me with a team size of 10+ people for a 28% higher salary, I was interested. The company culture sounded great, there were a ton of interviews, they loved me, I loved them, I accepted their offer.

The timing, though. While the interview process was happening, review time was coming up. I learned from my boss that they would offer me another raise for my core job duties (which would keep me at 3% under Jake’s 2020 salary). And that they would finalize the promotion for Head of Teapot Painting and Packing… but not Refining… and the promotion would not come with its own raise. I put in my resignation letter instead of having a review meeting. They were puzzled.

I’ve just passed three months at the new job and I couldn’t be happier. My new boss and team gave me rave reviews, the company culture is amazingly good, I am challenged and excited and still turning my computer off right after 8 hours. And it’s 100% remote!”

Read an update to this letter here

{ 101 comments… read them below }

  1. Monday is not Friday*

    Always happy to see positive news. The Friday good news felt especially important to me in the heart of the pandemic when everything was so bleak. From what I understand now, the job market is pretty good at this point (I see Alison took out the previous intro about the tough times, too). I wonder if this series will continue indefinitely? Be curious to hear what other commenters think.

    1. You get a pen and you get a pen*

      I personally love the Friday good news posts. I think we all need more positivity put out there in the world.

    2. Meg*

      I still love them! The job market is better, but I personally don’t really feel like the state of the world is better. I also think that even if the job market is good, it can sometimes be hard to see that if your own situation is bad. These good news posts are great for that.

    3. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I’d love to continue them! For a long time I had a big backlog of good news letters waiting to be posted but that backlog has shrunk significantly. I’ve got enough for a few more weeks, but need people to send in more if the series is going to continue!

      1. lb*

        Maybe we put out a call for submissions? I’d love to see stories of not just new job success, but also things like using a script (for shutting down diet talk, dealing with weird co-workers, working something out with your boss, etc, etc…) as well!

      2. Allornone*

        I just sent one a week ago (under a different email address)! Mine probably isn’t interesting enough to actually publish, but dang, it felt so good to write.

        1. Scout Finch*

          Doesn’t have to be what you would consider interesting. Just has to be good news!!! Love to hear of others’ major & minor successes.

    1. PT*

      Well you see, because she is a lady, and ladies don’t need moneys. Why would she want any money, when work is just a hobby for her. *eyeroll*

      1. Spicy Nonprofit Iconoclast*

        If I read correctly, OP3 is queer, which makes the whole “Women Don’t Need Money….(because they have husbands to support them)” even more condescending and obnoxious. I’m also queer, and SO THERE ARE NO HUSBANDS IN MY HOUSEHOULD THAT CAN SUPPORT US.

      2. Artemesia*

        I remember the letter of the woman who needed to tip a lot of high rise people at Christmas — she was suggesting money for the men and cookies for the women.

        1. Candi*

          There’s a pic I have in my “netpics” folder.

          It has a cartoonish guy standing there with his mouth open and his finger up, a look of shock on his face.

          Next frame has his finger down and his mouth shut, slightly different look of shock on his face.

          Last frame has him just walking away.

          That’s where I’m at now with that.

      1. Sara without an H*

        Even if they’d corrected the salary issue, I would still have left. The dithering and dishonesty would just have cropped out someplace else.

        Congratulations on your new position!

      2. Arts Akimbo*

        I am old enough to remember a commercial from the 1970s where Batman and Robin are tied up by the Joker and relying on Batgirl to save them, whereupon they are SHOCKED to hear her say, “I’ve worked for you a long time and I’m paid less than Robin.”

        “This is no time for jokes, Batgirl!”

        “Oh, it’s no joke! It’s the Federal Equal Pay Law. Same job, same employer means equal pay for men ANNNND women!”

        Quoth Robin, “Holy act of Congress!!!”

        So now whenever I hear stories like this, I hear this exact exchange play out. #3, you’re our Batgirl hero! I hope you love your new job and that your old employer reflects on their poor actions.

        1. Candi*

          I first saw that scene as an adult, and I was like, “The scriptwriters totally did that as a public service announcement.”

          Maybe it was really a throw-it-in that got kept, but either way, it was awesome.

      3. Candi*

        Oh for… you probably could have hit them with a clue-by-four that said, “Equal Pay for Equal Work”, and they would only have wondered why the squirrels were throwing nuts.

        Congrats on bailing, may your current work cruise be long and happy.

    2. Elenna*

      Lol yeah. “You mean if we offer you a crappy underpaid job and a “promotion” that’s really just more undefined work without any extra pay, you might… leave?? But why?????”

      1. The OTHER other*

        Yeah, expecting the OP to come up with a “vision” for a role the boss was unable to define set off an alarm bell for me.

        1. Decima Dewey*

          Yeah, come up with “a vision” for a hypothetical role. So TPTB can shoot it down as impractical or otherwise unacceptable.

          1. Autumnheart*

            Or so they can decide that “now that it has a formalized structure”, they should “open it up to a full interview process” and then surprise, hire a dude. Sorry OP. It’d be great if you would train him though.

    3. Sparkles McFadden*

      This is definitely a Good News, letter but the whole thing made me so angry! I did laugh at “They were puzzled” but you just know the entire mindset was “We’re throwing you some nice crumbs here, why are you so ungrateful?”

    4. Cleo*

      That made me giggle snort. Love the deadpan sentence.

      Love that OP is in a new job that appreciates her even more.

  2. kiki*

    I was recently in a situation with some similarities to #3. It’s so fascinating to me how upper management can expect you to be super excited about a “big raise” that doesn’t even bring you to parity with others in your same position with similar experience. Sure, it is financially very exciting to be taking home 10% more than I was before, but it doesn’t make me think fondly of the company when I know Jake and Josh have been making 15% more than me this whole time. Money isn’t everything when it comes to jobs – respect is also really important and it’s disrespectful to underpay people compared to their peers. ESPECIALLY when they’re from an underrepresented or marginalized group.

    1. EPLawyer*

      If money isn’t everything why was Jake offered so much? Surely out of loyalty to the company he was returning to he would have taken less money to come back RIGHT?

      1. Jen*

        I know you are not actually asking, but if their company is the same as me, the answer is simple:
        * The budget for hiring is separate from the budget for raises and promotions. There are stupid internal guidelines that say that an employee cannot get more than x% raise, but there is more flexibility in the hiring budget.
        * OP was hired when the position benchmark was x to y, and now the benchmark is y to z. Jake was re-hired at the new benchmark, while OP’s salary has lagged due to the previous bullet point.

        This is a very common situation where I work, and I would assume in most large companies. The more seniority you have, the more screwed over you get.

          1. Zee*

            Yep! I have a friend who works in a field where typical tenure is only 2 years, because it’s pretty much impossible to get raises. But, you can go work somewhere else for 2 years, and then quit and come back to your original company making significantly more money than if you had stayed there the whole time. It’s so dumb!

          2. Jen*

            Yeah, my company is currently doing the shocked pikachu face at the number of seniors they’ve lost this summer.

        1. Le Sigh*

          It’s also really bad if you have no way to take into account pay equity. You need to pay attention to the practical effect of these kinds of policies or else you end up with lopsided pay structures. And even if you don’t intend to pay women less (though I think OP’s company did), that’s exactly what can happen.

          1. Daughter of Ada and Grace*

            The only thing I’ve seen to help with the pay equity issues is to have regular compensation reviews, where you compare the compensation of a certain role performed at a certain level for a certain period of time in a certain location with a set benchmark, and adjust people’s salaries upward to make sure that everything is comparable (once you’ve accounted for role/level/experience/location). Which strikes me as a lot of work. And you can’t just do it once – these things continue to creep back in: Bob gets a 2.5% raise while Mary gets 2.25%, Jane gets hired at $X, Fred gets hired at $X + 2K, Company Y gets acquired and everyone stays on the old pay scale, the list goes on and on.

            These aren’t raises, in the sense of merit raises or COLA adjustments. This is a salary adjustment, designed to bring compensation to where it should have been already.

            I know that Salesforce does an annual compensation review like this for the entire company, as well as doing it whenever they acquire a new company to make sure everyone’s salaries are in line. They’ve got information on their website about how they do this. I’ll post a link in another comment, but if you search for “salesforce pay equity” you should get both their own articles, as well as articles other people have written about the practice. (And I will say, this practice is why Salesforce is on the very short list of companies I’d consider leaving my current employer for.)

        2. CaviaPorcellus*

          Back in the day, I worked for a retail jewelry chain, with a Boss From Hell.
          I was the lowest paid employee in the store – $8/hr plus 1% commission. It was insulting. I knew I was the lowest paid because sales goals were tied to base pay, with the higher base earners being expected to sell more. Sales goals were easy to access in our intranet. Mine was the lowest.

          So, I put together some research and I went to my Boss From Hell and asked to be raised up to the current starting rate. I was told to wait until my review, when “maybe” I could get a merit-based raise if I continued to hit/exceed my sales goals.

          And then Boss From Hell followed up by literally, explicitly saying to my face that the men she hired after me needed higher base pay than I did, because I was a young girl who liked jewelry and they were men, who needed “extra enticements” to work in jewelry sales and “had families to support”.

          I prefaced this by saying “back in the day”, but it wasn’t THAT far back in the day. It was recent enough that technology allowed me to quit via text message. Boss From Hell, like OP#3’s company, was surprised.

          1. Marthooh*

            “Young lady, you are amply compensated simply by being allowed to look at jewelry all day long.” — Boss From Hell, probably

          2. Candi*

            …She was the “the glory of working for the company should be enough to make up for not giving you raises in three years” type, wasn’t she.

            You pay someone enough money, and as long as it doesn’t hit their deeply held ethics/morals/beliefs, they’ll walk through burning lava, get chased by boulders, and make their way through a room with a thousand affectionate kittens for it.

    2. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

      Money may not be everything, but it sure is the reason we actually, you know, have a job. I swear some folks think employees would show up even if they didn’t get paid!

    3. The New Wanderer*

      I love how people who say “money isn’t everything” always think highly enough of it to not want to part with it.

      I’ve also heard “grades aren’t everything” from a jerk professor who gave me an undeservedly poor grade, which he admitted to me but then said he’d deny it if I took it up with the dean.

      Finally, I’ve heard “credit isn’t everything” from an otherwise awesome professor who did then change the authorship order on a paper to better reflect my actual contribution vs. another (male) student. THAT’S how you prove you mean what you say.

      1. BitterMelon*

        to the part about paper contributions, I literally had to fight with my prof to get a student off a paper bc well…they didn’t do any of the experiments in the paper, it was all mine. He was quick to change his mind when I reminded him it was an act of academic misconduct.

      2. Expiring Cat Memes*

        I love how people who say “money isn’t everything” always think highly enough of it to not want to part with it.

        LOL, too true! One of my early bosses believed that “money is a poor incentive and not what people really want”. Um, ok… I guess you’re paying for that brand new Alfa Romeo with certificates of appreciation and pizza then?

        1. Candi*

          Well, what people want is a life where all necessary items are available to them in abundance, and some comfort and luxuries as well.

          But her argument still falls flat. Under most economic systems set up since history was recorded, some form of money is required to obtain such.

          As long as something must be exchanged to get what people want, people will prioritize earning that thing. Love of the company or the work might happen, but it’s entirely secondary.

    4. LimeRoos*

      Yeah…there can be such a disconnect with upper management. My husband had a similar experience with a promotion & raise and it’s just so frustrating when someone promises parity and you’ll be in the middle of the job band, but then you come to find out they just picked a number that sounded good, didn’t take into account the yearly review raise, so what was supposed to be amazing, is still in the lower 1/4 of the previous job band and wasn’t backdated to when he officially took over the responsibilities. Am salty.

    5. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      How does it go? For people with privilege, equality feels like oppression. For the oppressed, equality feels like, well, we can’t ask OP because they still came up short.

    6. Artemesia*

      I came in at a very low salary in a merger and my peers were making much more. I had a boss who got me a 20% raise two years in a row. Didn’t make me rich but at least comparable to peers — and this was in an organization where 1 or 2% raises a year were the norm. When she pointed out that Jake was brought in much higher and they still didn’t even manage to get it done — puzzled indeed.

    7. Hannah Lee*

      I went through that at my last job. I was brought in as an analyst, promoted to project manager where I managed several successful project over several years.
      Then a big show was made about how I was going to promoted to program manager, the most senior position in our department, reporting to the VP. I had already been doing the work of a program manager, independently managing my projects and teams without oversight from a program manager, and already reporting directly to the VP so this would be a formal acknowledgement of that.

      My manager (the VP) brought me in to his office, all excited about this great new position and opportunity for me, and talked to me about expectations and goals, etc etc. And then drops the news that “well, obviously, we can’t pay you what all the other program managers make, since you’ll be new in the position. But you will be getting a 10% raise above your current salary, and BTW you won’t be getting the same stock options all the other program managers get … but at least you’ll have the same goals and expectations as them, so that just shows how much we value you! Isn’t that great!” The actual salary range for the new position should have meant at least a 25-35% raise, because there would be a lot more responsibility, more strategic, complex work, client facing work, etc.

      Of the other 4 program managers, 3 were married men, 1 was a married woman … the 3 men were well compensated in well into the 6 figures, the woman was about 10% below them, and my new “great” salary would be tens of thousands of dollars below that. I was a single woman (who, BTW, was told a mediocre colleague would be getting a bigger raise than me with top performance marks, because he had a family to support … so I’m thinking that line of thinking played into it … they never asked to find out that I was supporting an elderly parent and disabled sister)

      I’m not sure if they intended to completely demotivate me and cause me to dial my effort back from 120% all systems go, to maybe 95% hit my goals but not go above and beyond? But since they were treating me like I was somehow “less than” my peers through my compensation plan, I figured it made sense to actually be less than … and I was out of that company within a year, off to a new, better paying position.

      Managers should not get cheap with employees they want to keep, and should definitely be equitable in pay for peers and not get stingy with someone they think they can get away with it on.

  3. Not Tom, Just Petty*

    OP 3: wow. They are probably STILL shaking their heads…insert Jackie Chan meme “wha? Wha? What?”
    We didn’t demote OP, we just gave her responsibilities to Jake.
    We didn’t underpay OP, we just paid Jake 25% more.
    We gave in to all OP’s “demands,” we just didn’t set a timeline to implement them.
    Where did we go wrong?

      1. Public Sector Manager*

        Apparently the joy of employment is pay enough in their eyes! Except when it comes to their own inflated salaries.

        1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

          Right after they told her that they thought* Jake wouldn’t like working for her, so they created a “dual” position.
          *Jake had no problem sharing his salary with her. Was their fear of losing a “good man” all projection? Did they assume his interview spiel about taking the lead on projects and being confident meant he expected to lead the group, even though the position was for an individual contributor? Was their thought process, “well, we’ve had OP in this position, but now we have man, so of course things will change.”

          1. Good News #3*

            Jesus, yeah. My boss: “You don’t look excited about this news.” Me: “No shit, Sherlock.”

          2. Ama*

            I think OP hit the nail on the head that the big bosses just made up an excuse when they really didn’t want her to find out his salary, which it seems like she would have had access to if she was his boss.

    1. TrackingCookieMonster*

      *OP points out she’s paid less than someone in the same job with same level of experience*
      *OP is continued to be paid less*
      *OP leaves*

      Boss: *Shocked Pikachu Face*

      1. LPUK*

        Yup. My boss promised me a promotion (he was in a position to do so) handed it over to HR for job regrading who then said it didn’t warrant it, claiming my role was ‘coordinating’ which made it clear that my boss hadn’t even been involved. I spoke to boss, he promised to sort it, came back with no promotion but a little extra money. I expressed my severe disappointment and said that of course I would now be looking elsewhere for career development. He said he hoped I wouldn’t ( funny, his most used quote was ‘ hope is not a strategy’). Five months later I had secured a more senior role, 30% pay rise etc and went to him to give him my resignation, having identified a successor and written a handover plan. When I told him I was leaving and these were my recommendations, he stopped me saying this had come out of the blue and he wasn’t yet in a place where he could discuss plans with me. How could it be out of the blue? I HAD TOLD HIM I WAS LOOKING ELSEWHERE. Then I said , it had been a tough decision but I had made what I felt was the right decision for me, so please don’t counteroffer as I would consider that an insult- if they couldn’t do it when I marshalled all my arguments it’s insulting to be offered it as I was leaving, as if I had threatened them. Guess what. They counteroffered anyway. Guess what again – I left anyway- their begrudging treatment of me had loosened my emotional ties to the company. The next company was fabulous, and when I again asked for my role to be reassessed due the value I was bringing, they agreed and signed it off in the middle of a hiring/ promotional freeze no less

        1. Lily of the Meadow*

          Did he really think that telling you he “wasn’t yet in a place where he could discuss plans with me” would make you just STOP turning in your resignation, and just be like, oh, well, if that is the case, then let me just stay here in this position where I am illegally being underpaid, but it’s okay, because you are not in a place to discuss plans. What in the heck kind of response did he expect there? I do not think I could have stopped myself from saying “That’s good, because this is not ‘a plan’, this is me LEAVING because of lack of parity in pay, and lack of concern regarding payment law, so your input is neither expected nor needed. Date will be my last day, after that, I will NOT be here. Take all the time you like to plan, but this is what is going to happen, and it will happen on date, whether you are ready or not”. What in the actual rose colored glasses your manager lives on Fantasy Island fresh heck is this even?

        2. Candi*

          At that point, I’d be questioning what he had really told HR five months before, vs what he was telling you. My gut is saying he wanted to keep you exactly where you were, doing work that made him look good.

  4. Good News #3*

    #3 here. I am so glad to be out of there and so happy to be somewhere where, according to my end of probation feedback, I am “doing a hell of a job”.

    My replacement hired a guy who upper management then decided to fire right before the end of his probation period (guy was a class A jerk, we overlapped for a month); my replacement secretly told the guy this before upper management’s meeting; my replacement promptly got fired; the sole teapot packer quit; and my buddy, the teapot painter, is moving away and will either work for them remotely or quit and find a new job. Also the two teapot salespeople quit to, I am not making this up, “go surfing in Central America”.

    In my last month at that job I posted to the open thread worried that I wasn’t good enough for the new job; someone responded and said they hoped to see me in the Friday Good News someday. Here I am. And it rocks.

    1. Elenna*

      Good for you!

      I’d like to think that they’ve figured something out from all of this, but I suspect that they are still just puzzled about why people keep leaving them.

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        I highly suspect they are still completely confused as to why it all went so wrong…
        Some people just don’t want to learn if it involves them doing something wrong.

        1. Artemesia*

          I think it is ‘people just don’t want to work anymore’ –we can’t hire people who don’t just quit — lazy I guess.

    2. Observer*

      Maybe I’m being too cynical, but given what an idiot your replacement turned out to be, I have to wonder if they didn’t just assume that A GUY, ANY guy, would fine at the job because “wimin, ya know? And how hard could it be anyway?”

        1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

          Culturally, indeed. I commented above that I thought the hiring group and company leaders assumed that Jake would not work for a woman, of course! And put all the pieces in place based on this assumption.

    3. Anonosaurus*

      It’s always quite satisfying once you’re out if there to watch your former employer repeatedly miss the Clue Bus even as it reverses over them.

      1. Been there, Done that*

        Yep, my former employer is on my 4th replacement in less than 6 years. Same boss. 5 reports, only one has been there 2+ years. It was very satisfying to say “no” to coming back and filling in while they recruit yet another replacement.

    4. TrackingCookieMonster*

      Right now you are down and out and feeling really crappy
      (I’ll say)
      And when I see how sad you are, it sort of makes me…happy!
      Sorry, Nicky, human nature, nothing I can do! It’s…
      Making me feel glad that I’m not you!

    5. Candi*

      I’m wondering how many of your ex-coworkers were watching how things were going down and got on the job-hunting nopetopus. Even in a place where a sexist culture is inherent and promoted, there are people who will bail on that once they realize how bad it is.

      I’m thinking of at my kids’ high school a few years, something big went down, and when the administration refused to handle it properly (and it came out that the perpetrator had pulled the same thing a year ago, and it had been covered over), the students staged a major protest. Caught the administration flat-footed that the “silly teens” (I’d heard that one from one of the teachers prior to the incident) cared about serious things so much.

      (The “big thing” 1) might be triggering for some people and 2) would identify the school, since the whole event made the news, with interviews with 18-year-old students being featured in the story.)

  5. Spicy Nonprofit Iconoclast*

    Good on Jake for sharing his salary info. That’s one small things men can do to support wage equity. Big surprise they underpaid the queer female employee.

    1. Good News #3*

      Heh. They were equal opportunity penny-pinchers. Jake left because he had been begging them for a raise for years and it never materialized. He’d been making less when he left than I got when I joined. I don’t begrudge him his salary one bit.

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        And if I’ve read your letter correctly – Jake left again (possibly for a place not run by people who pinch pennies).

  6. Falling Diphthong*

    Letter 3, I really appreciate these reminders that sometimes it isn’t you, it’s them–and the answer is to swap “them” out for a different company. Not keep trying really hard to show you deserve a promotion.

    It reminds me of someone who wrote to Alison about how he was now training the people who would be over him as they came in, but management refused to promote him because he had been vocal about management’s shortcomings in the past. Alison said he wasn’t going to ever be promoted here. A couple of years later he wrote back to say he’d taken a job at a different company that was delighted to promote him.

    1. The New Wanderer*

      Can confirm! I’m not the OP or the referenced letter writer, but I recently took my undervalued niche expertise to a new company who is thrilled to have me. I’m always happy to see when others do the same thing and find they’re finally appreciated in a new role.

      1. CupcakeCounter*

        Same! Worked for 5+ years at a company that continually promoted less experienced men over me (their excuse for denying me mine was “budget constraints” but then the intern I trained, mentored, and recommended for hire would get a promotion at almost exactly 12 months from hire date and site his 2-month internship as “additional professional experience” that I didn’t have before I joined…I did just at a different company and my internship was 18 months). Was finally promoted after 4 years because I was literally the only one qualified to do it and 3 other people threatened to quit if I didn’t get the role. A measly 7% increase (compared to the 10% that is standard for jump from jr associate to associate) and the “oopsy” forgot to backfill my old role that directly feeds my new role. The VP overrode my bosses end of year review of “excellent” to “needs significant improvement” because “Cupcake isn’t meeting the benchmarks set by her predecessor and other teams are complaining they aren’t getting the reports she used to provide while in X position”. (For clarification, those reports were common and easily found and I had provided instructions on how to run them to those team members with a note saying that I wouldn’t be able to run them for them anymore due to the job change. They pushed back because running them took a bit of time and they might have to stay an extra hour one day bringing their hours up to 41! I was regularly at 70 so I had no sympathy and my boss told them and their boss to go jump off a cliff and complain to the VP who was preventing the backfill…I had a good boss.) Well of course not! He had me doing the core support work and I had to do both jobs while undergoing a massive system change. Boss brought back the edited review and handed me the number of an excellent recruiter for our field.
        I had a job within a month which led to massive panic on behalf of said VP because “Cupcake is a vital member of our team and we just (over a year ago) promoted her”. Panic escalated to stroke level when my boss also quit the following day specifically siting my treatment at the hands of VP as the reason for leaving. The head of HR was not good so nothing came of it but friends there told stories of the massive cluster that was the next 6+ months. They had to hire 2 people to replace me and since they waited so long they had to hire experienced people so cost them a ton more than paying me the proper 10% and hiring a new grad as my backfill.
        As for the new company? I negotiated the offer and even though I didn’t get exactly what I asked for, it was in the ballpark and almost a 20% increase. Within 6 months they bumped me retroactively to the original amount I asked for and said I had more than proven I was worth that much. Promoted twice in the 7 years I was there and if the parent company hadn’t decided to meddle in our operations causing our amazing controller to leave, I would probably still be there.

        1. Elenna*

          Ah yes, the “you need to improve” “how about I leave instead?” “No you can’t you’re a vital team member we need you!!!” Uh huh, sure. Bye.

          1. Candi*

            If it was a big enough clusterfudge, they probably lost a lot of future employees as word got around. A lot of “kids these days” won’t put up with that “traditional values” sexist garbage if they have any choice about it.

  7. Zan Shin*

    Shout out to Letter Writer #1 – handled brilliantly and kudos to your manager for going to bat for you.

    1. OP1*

      OP1 here – thank you! This blog has really taught me how effective advocating for yourself calmly and factually can be.

  8. Pterodactylate*

    Congrats to everyone! I’ve seen people talk about getting paycuts in a couple of letters– I’m sure it’s different by company but generally does that just mean your company says hey we can’t (or “can’t”) pay you as much, here’s the new salary, take it or leave it? Is that a frequent occurrence? (Asking as someone new to the work world)

    1. Gracely*

      I think it was a pandemic thing, for the most part, if it happened last year. A lot of companies were like “okay, we don’t want to do layoffs, but business has tanked, so we gotta make cuts to stay afloat”. It’s not normal for it to happen in a well-run company.

      Good companies reversed those paycuts once business picked up; bad companies have kept them in place.

    2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      Agreeing with Gracely – I saw several places around me that did pay cuts/hours cuts instead of laying off people to balance the budgets. The really good places brought everybody’s hours back to full or restored pay back to pre-cut levels as soon as they could.
      The jerks of the working world confirmed they were jerks by continuing cuts after business returned to normal.

  9. SlimeKnight*

    Nearly two months ago now, I interviewed for a job in state government. I work in local government, and the job would be consulting/advising people in local government who do my job. I finally got a call that they were moving forward and would like to offer me the position…although I have yet to get an official job offer (the state is notoriously slow in hiring).

    I’m excited. I feel like I’ve been spinning my wheels in my current job. It’s become very rote and I’ve been seriously unchallenged. There is very little opportunity to continue moving up. I should learn a lot more in this new job, face new challenges, and network a lot more.

    This site has of course been great for preparing a cover letter, retooling my resume, getting ready for the interview, etc.

  10. Candi*

    #3: “I put in my resignation letter instead of having a review meeting. They were puzzled.”

    “Oh, there’s a big surprise! That’s an incredib… I think I’m gonna have a heart attack and die from that surprise!”

    Seriously, they’re flagging red sexism flags all over the place, LW 3’s spelled out that they see the flags just fine and the bosses need to drop them pronto, the bosses don’t, and then they’re shocked LW bails? The salary differential is where most of the continuing wage disparity lies -it’s much easier to see in an hourly wage where Kathy’s not getting paid as much as Bob for the same work.

    Wait until the teapot production takes a hit, considering that women generally have to operate at 90+% where men get by at 50-60%, especially in an environment like OP was in. Those guys just won’t be able to figure it out.

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