it’s your Friday good news

It’s your Friday good news!

1.  “I am so excited that I get to send in my very own good news letter! I did not think it would ever happen for me. I am older and was trying to make peace with sticking it out at old job when I saw the job advert for my new position and I went for it. I have been at my new job just a short time but it is so very amazing in so many ways. I want to maintain anonymity so I’ll be a bit vague but I shifted from a municipal job to a private org doing the same thing but with a better title and in a different sector. It is better money and benefits but the biggest thing is they trust me and let me do interesting things! It’s true that you leave a manager but I left a whole system of poor management. Sometimes that was caused by the larger municipality but, I know from years of reading AAM, mostly caused by the way managers at old job chose to manage. It was not filled with evil bees, more like clueless bees who never understood they were the reason staff were unhappy.

This might shock some of you, but I am so happy at the new job that I completely forgot to read AAM this week! That leads me to some advice. For those of you who ask how to keep going when it gets so tough, I found out that my work self-care was reading AAM. I literally planned my day around the times when I thought a letter might drop. I also lived for the Friday good-news letters so I hope mine helps someone out there! I made the decision at old job to focus on developing skills I wanted. There was no path to promotion for me at old job and so I looked for professional associations and activities that I enjoyed. I started doing the minimum at work (sadly, no one noticed or cared! I am productive, but still.). That gave me the mental break I needed to pursue these things – I did them completely on my own time, after work. In large part it was these things that made it possible for me to shift sectors and orgs; they told me this showed them I was a fit. I also approached the interview with the idea that I was checking them out too. I have always been good at interviews but there was a subtle shift for me this time. I did ask the magic question – I have used it poorly before but this time I was truly interested in their answer to help me know if it was a fit for me. And I asked behavioral questions, like “tell me about a way you try to work together as a team and how that helps avoid staff conflict.” And they said they liked my questions. I kept telling myself to cool it, it was just a second-round interview, not a big deal, etc and that if I heard more, it would be a great surprise (Alison advice!). I did all that while screaming inside that anything would be better than old job, please hire me! But I did not let that show, even to myself. I am being careful to make sure that bad habits from toxic job have not followed me – I am feeling very uncertain about one part of my role here and they have noticed, so I’m going to have to work on the impression I might have made.

I am so thankful for all of Alison’s advice as well as advice from the amazing community here. You kept me going when I really needed it and I am so very grateful!”

2.  “I’ve been a devoted reader of your blog for several years now, and it’s helped me through toxic work situations, multiple job searches of my own and my husband’s, and also just provided me with a welcome diversion. I’m so excited that I finally have something to share for the Friday Good News!

About six months after the pandemic began, what had been a job I loved in spite of the low pay quickly became a job that made me miserable. A change in leadership led to intense micromanagement, my grandboss told me on multiple occasions that he didn’t think my job should be a full-time position (I think he thought he was helping, as at the time I was very bored, with little to do), and my boss was spread so thin herself that she didn’t have time to supervise me on any of the projects I proposed. And this was all on top of low pay in a high cost of living area. It took almost nine active months of applying, interviewing, and coming in so close before I finally received a job offer last month. My new role will give me much more responsibility, the boss indicated in the interview process just how much he’ll value my insight and initiative, and it’s a 40% raise from what I’ve been making. Your advice, in particular the “magic question” to ask during interviews, absolutely helped, and I want to thank you and let you know how excited I am to be starting my new position in a little over a week!”

Read an update to this letter

3. “I work for a university and felt my job had got a bit stale and I was getting less engaged. With no potential promotion or changes in sight, I used your resources to apply and prepare for new interviews. This example helped me structure a really good ‘story’ about my career in my cover letter. It also helped me convey my enthusiasm for the job in a clear and professional way, which is a tricky balance to strike.

Your website and the commentators have influenced me to be massively more confident, and given me hope when I got rejections.

In the past, I’ve accepted the first job offer that looked half-way decent. This was partly through necessity, and partly from a lack of confidence to listen to my instincts if something felt wrong or like a bad fit.

This time I took control of my choices and was much more selective. I asked lots of questions and (for the first time in my life) turned down job offers that I knew weren’t right for me, because I could imagine what you might say if asked for advice. (Listen to your instincts!) One recruiting manager was inflexible about my notice period and withdrew a promising job offer, which was tough, but I realised (thanks to your site) that her unreasonable expectations were a red flag anyway.

It took me from May through to November, but I have a new job at a highly respected university, with a 20% pay raise! The new role should let me focus on the most interesting areas of my skillset, and help me get ahead in what I feel will be a huge growth area in a brand-new department. There’s a lot of unknowns, but I’m excited and this site was a huge factor in my success.”

{ 15 comments… read them below }

  1. The Smiling Pug*

    These are wonderful updates!! And the common theme is AAM. I know this site has been critical to revising cover letters and my resume. Knowing that I’m equipped to job-search properly has been such a boost, it’s amazing. Thank you Alison and LW’s who sent in! :)

    1. KateM*

      I don’t think it is particularly surprising that for Friday Good News on AAM the common theme is AAM.

  2. JelloStapler*

    LW3 that is amazing! As a Higher Ed professional myself, I can relate to your experience and I am so happy to hear of your success!

  3. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

    Excellent news! I have to say, AAM helped me focus my job search on the area in which I really wanted to work. I’m in that industry now, I’m improving my skills and knowledge every day, and I couldn’t be happier.

  4. Falling Diphthong*

    All three updates are great; I especially appreciate in #1 making an effort to not carry habits from the old dysfunctional workplace forward into the new chance.

    1. Olivia Mansfield*

      I love that she, as a candidate, asked the interviewer a behavioral question about their management practices! I just started a new job last week, but I’m keeping that in mind for next time I’m ever interviewing.

      1. Chilipepper Attitude*

        This is OP #1 – It really was much easier than I expected to ask behavioral questions.
        I really cared if they had ways they got along and managed conflict; I did not want a repeat of my current workplace. I cannot say that they had a great answer about specific steps or methods, but they communicated that they thought the topic was important and talked about the answer a lot.

      2. StrikingFalcon*

        I asked a question about how conflict on the team is managed in my last interview too! The answer I got wasn’t super specific but it made me feel confident that they handled conflict with relatively little drama.

  5. SandrineSmiles (France)*

    Hey all! I’m still alive!
    So happy to read good news ^^
    I’ve got good news too, I found a job recently, and while I still need to improve, I’m very happy with the pay, the environment, everything.

    I still need to adjust to a few things, but a new life is coming so long as they keep my after my probation period :P .

  6. Casey*

    Ok, I have my own Friday good news that I can’t help but share! I used to work with Todd, an awful program manager who was consistently ready to throw engineers under the bus, cut corners to make himself look good, lie to higher-ups about schedule and then make us rush to catch up, etc. Ultimately he did leave the company, but working for Todd was the most miserable 6 months of my professional career. Since then I’ve moved onto a new role at a company that’s somewhat-competitors with Todd’s, and I am pleased to announce that a) I love my new role and b) we are absolutely killing it, whereas Todd’s company is … at the point where they’re described as “beleaguered” in news articles. I don’t usually rejoice in the misfortune of others but in this case, I’ll count it as karma ;)

  7. Teekanne aus Schokolade*

    All three letters were just beautiful BIG medicine I needed. This is easily the most cheerful corner of the internet on a Friday and thanks to Alison for planting it!

  8. Chilipepper Attitude*

    I’m OP#1 – one thing that I did not say was just how happy and light I feel. Life is so much better when your job is not toxic. I hope everyone who wants to finds the courage or energy or whatever it takes to go for it and look for something better. You deserve it and it is so worth it!!

    Also, just sayin’, when I gave notice, my boss cried a bit in shock, and just after I left, my boss left and two coworkers left – all three without other jobs lined up. It was not a good workplace.

  9. Little Ricky*

    #3 (tangentially): on the original cover letter, I would absolutely NOT say “I want to use my skills and privilege to help make the world a better place.” I think the word “privilege” is far too overused these days and usually NOT an argument against whatever point is being advanced. I hire for roles in an office, not social justice crusaders. I realize that some people will disagree, which is their right; but if your goal is to get hired, rather than make political points, realize that this phrase may make an otherwise strong cover letter go straight in the wastebasket.

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