updates: the better offer, the long business trip, and more

Here are four updates from people who had their letters answered here in the past.

1. Asking to WFH when it’s in my offer letter but I haven’t been doing it (#4 at the link)

I spoke with my boss today, and I used much of the language that Alison suggested. It turns out that my boss forgot/didn’t realize I had negotiated WFH in my offer letter (not a knock on him at all – he oversees a lot of people and I didn’t expect him to remember every little detail of my offer from months ago; he’s a fantastic boss!). He said since I negotiated for it, 1 day a week is totally fine with him. He acknowledged that while our office and industry is extremely collaborative (many large departments compared to me working for myself, basically), he knows I am in a different position than the rest. I in turn acknowledged that I realize the big positives of working in an office, especially in our industry.

We discussed the fact that certain days were better to WFH, so we agreed on a 1 day a week mid-week arrangement. So, all in all, a successful talk! Thank you again to everyone!

2. Ending a looooooong-term business trip

So, the short update:

Within about a week of writing, I was introduced to the new manager, Tyrian! I stayed for another month or so to get him trained and situated, and was home well before Christmas!

The long update:

During the 3 or so weeks I spent with this new manager after he started, I had some….concerns. Firstly, Tyrian was a bit sexist. It’s been a few years, so I don’t remember every comment but I do remember, as a woman, not being impressed. The one major conversation that stands out was him telling me his plan to only staff the front counter with “cute, young girls” to help draw in business. I should note that we were not a “gentlemen’s club” or anything like that. We were a family establishment. We had a strong team full of men and women of all ages, and while I would say they were all “cute” in their own ways, it would have been a very select few of the women that would have fallen into his skeevy brand of “cute” that would have worked at the front (a fairly coveted position in the store because there was a small commission you could earn up there that wasn’t available in other positions). I had to strongly emphasize to him that that is not how we as a brand or a company operate. He pushed back, insisting that “this is how it’s done in this town.” I did finally convince him not to do that (by showing him the stellar sales numbers of the various members of the team who didn’t fit his gross criteria, and emphasizing that he’d be losing out on a lot of potential revenue by not putting strong sellers up there.)

He also really didn’t fit our brand, and didn’t want to. We were a really cool, high tech product company. However, the first time he tried out one of our products, he absolutely hated it, and didn’t understand the appeal. He really dug in his heels against our tech and really didn’t even pretend to try to get on board.

So yeah. I went home happily, but with some misgivings that I shared with HR and our regional manager on my way out. They were too professional to say it outright, but the message I got by reading between the lines was “the candidate pool wasn’t great, but we wanted to get you home, so we took the guy with the most leadership/sales experience.”

He ended up getting terminated 10 months later (my guess is it was a combination of his sales completely tanking,and him just being an overall skeevy guy).

They hired his replacement super quickly, and that guy ended up being a total con artist who lied on his resume and was let go within a month of starting. I offered to go back to help, which they took me up on for a couple of 2 week stints, but it was more for moral support and letting the team know we cared about them. They had a couple of really strong lower level leaders (who I hired!) who took on the official “interim role” together.

The location ended up permanently closing due to Covid before a new permanent manager was brought on.

As for me, I went back to my home location and immediately stepped into chaos. Our GM, who had always not been great, was going through a nasty divorce, and it caused him to completely tank emotionally, mentally, and professionally. He went on an extended leave of absence, and I took over the interim GM role at my home location for close to a year. He ended up coming back for a month, it was a complete disaster and super stressful, and then he quit out of nowhere, to everyone’s relief. I was offered the permanent GM spot, but turned it down. I was aiming for moving cross country to join the corporate team, but told them I’d be interim GM at my home location for as long as it took to find the right candidate.

They hired a wonderful replacement in December 2019, who I had the pleasure of training. Our VP hand created a new position for me out of our corporate office, supporting the global operations and also partnering with the creative and technical teams to provide operational insight as they created new products.

I uprooted my life and moved cross country to a state I would NEVER live in without a dream job in June of 2020 — stupid, I know, but I really, truly believed the company would make it.

The company did not make it. Within a month, we were all furloughed, and within another month, the company was gone.

I’m currently interviewing for a role that would take me to a new state. So we’ll see how that goes! I’m still really sad my last company folded, but hey, at least it was an interesting ride while it lasted!

3. Should I leave my job of six weeks for a much better offer? (#4 at the link)

I reached out to the recruiter and asked to be considered for the next hiring cycle after being offered the position, and they agreed. It doesn’t guarantee anything, but at the time it felt like the right thing for me to do because I couldn’t bear to leave a new job after 6 weeks. Reading the comments now I realize that most agree that I should have taken the better paying job that uses my skill set, but oh well. A week after I withdrew from the first position I was contacted by a different company to do similar PhD-level work, so I am in the middle of that interview process and now know better than to postpone an opportunity because I am scared of burning bridges.

4. Friday good news (#1 at the link)

I was hired at a new company (B) and got a 50% raise over my last job (company A). First, the bad news — due to the merger process, my position was eliminated. I was notified in December and laid off right after the new year. I don’t fault the business decision, it made a lot of sense with the new company structure, and they were very generous with severance! I started applying to jobs soon after the layoff notice, and thankfully had some interviews right away.

I started my new job this month and while I’m not making as much as with company B, I’m earning more than I did with company A. The work is incredibly interesting and makes great use of my experience, there are a TON of perks (free snacks!), teleworking is strongly encouraged, and they understand their employees are people with families and interests outside of work. In December I was concerned about how it would all work out, but I’m so thankful I got laid off!

{ 24 comments… read them below }

    1. CBB*

      Yes, good luck! Sounds like you deserve a break.

      I’m going to spend the rest of the day trying to guess what kind of high tech products your company sold.

    2. OP2*

      Thank you HeyHeyHey and to the folks who commented below! I actually sent that update a few months ago- the interview went fabulously, they offered me on the spot…but there were some red flags (plus some personal stuff) that led me to turning it down. So I’m still trucking along here- I do have a stable and positive, albeit boring, job so I’m just focusing on making it through the pandemic for now :)

      1. dresscode*

        You sound like a rockstar, so I’m sure you will land on your feet. Sometimes, boring is better for the short term.

      2. Your local password resetter*

        Good luck!
        For what it’s worth, you sound incredibly resilient and competent, so I think you’ll make it out just fine!

  1. Czhorat*

    OP#2 started off with a long trip and gave us an even longer journey in the updates.

    I’m glad the sexist idiot they hired lost his position, sad about how many things fell apart. I’m so impressed with how well she handled both the job and the roller-coaster afterwards. This is one person I’m sure will be fine in the long run.

  2. SM*

    #1 – I was in a similar situation a few years ago. I negotiated the remote work provision with the CEO directly and it was noted in my employment contract (up to 7 days per calendar month subject to no on-site responsibilities on those days). Unfortunately, we had a real knob in HR who despite being informed of this, proceeded to note those dates as unexcused absences. I eventually had to escalate back to the CEO who wasn’t amused to have to waste his time to tell someone to “just read what the contract says and follow that!”.

    1. OP 1*

      Oh my goodness. I am SO sorry to hear that. Of all people, HR should be the ones to honor contracts to the tee. I’m glad your CEO stood up for you!

  3. No Longer Looking*

    #1 I’m sorry to hear that your 1-2 days/wk that you negotiated was tightly interpreted as “1-1 day/wk” by your boss, but I am glad that you seem happy about it and consider it a success!

    1. Need More Sunshine*

      Same here; I’m hoping that OP proves to her manager that she’s successful working from home and can bump that up to 2 days every now and then!

      1. Ha2*

        I think it’s the other way around – it’s 1 day in the office per week, not one day at home per week?

        1. JM60*

          It’s ambiguous. I interpret “1 day a week is totally fine with him” to mean he’s okay with 1 WFH day a week. If it’s the latter, I think it’s worth it for the OP to push a little harder.

          1. OP 1*

            Hi all! Thank you for responding. I did mean 1 day a week working from home. Our industry is so incredibly collaborative to the point where I didn’t feel comfortable asking to honor the 2-day arrangement quite yet. Despite the fact that most days I work completely on my own as a one-man show without anyone needing me in-person (most of what I do can easily be done remotely, whereas some of the other departments don’t have that luxury), I do realize that being in the office most days in my industry is important.

            What I plan on doing right now is reserving that 2nd day in my offer letter for emergent purposes. For example, if my dog is sick and I need to watch her, if I’m home alone and have to wait for a big delivery, etc. I do hope to bump up that 2nd day to an every week deal eventually, but I’m more than happy with 1 day a week WFH for now. I really appreciate everyone’s insight and I really am happy!

  4. Momma Bear*

    I am also doing just one day a week from home. What you might consider is after you establish you can do this well, add in a new day or see if the boss will allow flex days by request.

  5. awesome3*

    #2 if you don’t mind my asking, do you still have a ferret? I remember thinking that part of your original letter was quite charming

    1. OP2*

      I do! Reginald is thriving, and is actually snoozing in his enclosure about 4 feet away from me as we speak haha

  6. Krabby*

    LW3 – One of our office administrators literally just handed in her notice to go back to work for her PhD supervisor, so I’m seeing this from the other side. Does it suck for us? Yes. Will we hire her again in the future? Not unless she’s applying for something related to her PhD, which is a field we’re not in. Do we hate her or hold a grudge? 100% no. We got her a cake and a card and we all understand why she would have made that choice.

    Do what’s best for you, always. People will understand.

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