it’s your Friday good news

It’s your Friday good news!

1.  “I recently accepted a job offer and I put so much of your advice to good use! Especially around salary, negotiation, and just keeping my cool and not stressing about it. Throughout my job search, every time a recruiter asked what I was looking to make, instead of answering I politely asked them what their range was, and almost always they did give some kind of answer instead of pushing. With the job I ended up accepting, I made especially good use of your podcast episode about negotiation and negotiated for the first time in my life. I will be getting a 25% raise and taking three whole months off between jobs, which I think is the longest break I’ve had since pre-k.

I really credit your blog with giving me the confidence to stay cool about salary and negotiation. Thank you so much!”

2.  “I am writing this completely in awe of how much has changed for me in just two months. I started a new job in March, and was miserable by the summer. I wrote in to the readers asking advice because my boss had walked back everything I had negotiated or specifically asked for within three months of my start date – including some job duties. My mental health was really starting to suffer, but I wasn’t sure I could afford to remove myself from the situation, and was worried about job searching from a place of desperation. After much agonizing (and validation from AAM readers), I put in my notice in late October with nothing lined up. Using advice from AAM I updated my resume and sent out about 20 job applications. So far, I’ve been contacted to move forward in about 7 of them, and received three offers – which is easily the most successful I’ve ever been in a job search! I cannot stress how much the perspective shift of interviews being a two-way street helped me be my best self during interviews.

Exactly a month after I worked my last day I landed my next job at a big nonprofit (I’ve only ever worked at small businesses where the owner was the only boss), with an HR department (I know they aren’t always helpful but I’m still excited), that sent me an actual offer letter (never seen one of those before)! It’s an amazing opportunity, I feel really valued already, and my salary bump is 36% – landing me somewhere that I never thought I would get to, and finally affording me financial stability. I didn’t get to negotiate the salary but I did successfully get an extra week of vacation, putting me at 19 days. If I dreamed of working, this would be my dream job – though I of course have some reservations (I’m coming in under a new just-hired manager – would it be weird to casually drop AAM into conversation so that they get all their management advice from here?). It’s a huge step for me, and I’m feeling ready to commit to the challenge. The best part is that I pushed back my start date a bit, so I have six weeks to truly relax and recover from burnout after two really tough years. Thank you so much Alison for all of the job search help you’ve posted here, and for this great community that was an important source of support for me during a really difficult time!”

3.  “I am retired from the Federal government, and I’m absolutely delighted at the prospect of never having a job again.

I somehow stumbled across your site maybe six weeks ago and began binge-reading. I don’t know why it’s so addictive, but I’m well and truly hooked. Along the way, of course, I’ve read countless tales of interviewing and your great advice.

I never thought anything here would be relevant to me now at this point in my life, but I had an opportunity to audition (as a singer) for our local symphony chorus. The audition was yesterday, and among other things, I had to sing an unaccompanied solo. I am NOT a soloist, and the thought of this would usually send me straight under my bed. But all your interview advice had taken up residence in my brain, and I decided WTH, I’ll treat this audition as a job interview. I followed the advice to use this as a chance to determine if the fit would be good for me as well as for the director, aka the hiring manager. (Who wants to sing for a tyrant, right?) That got rid of 90% of my nerves.

The audition started out with the solo, and sure enough, I had a brain fart, umm, senior moment and spaced on the lyrics for the last two measures. Instead of breaking into tears or babbling apologies, I started laughing as I grabbed my music and finished the song. Pretty sure that having someone crack up (in the good sense) was new for the director. The rest of the audition went well, and I was accepted!

As we finished and were walking out, I even flashed to your Magic Question, and asked a version of it: in what areas would I need to get stronger so that I could audition later this year for the chamber chorus (a much smaller group singing very challenging music)? He was floored, but he gave me some specific feedback on my strengths and weaknesses, and this evening I reached out to a highly recommended vocal instructor to begin singing lessons.

Thank you, Alison and the commentariat, for your advice, your support, and the endless positivity of this site. It absolutely made the difference in letting my self-confidence come forth and ‘get the job.’ I wish all of you the very best in your own dealings with insane bosses, slothful coworkers, lecherous clients, and clueless HR!”

Read an update to this letter here.

{ 28 comments… read them below }

  1. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

    LW #3: Handling a challenging situation is a skill that can pay off in many areas of life! I hope you have a wonderful time in your musical life.

    1. TG*

      This LW was really inspiring because they took the advice and really worked it into a situation and were able to nail it!

  2. Retired Teacher*

    LW #3 I too am retired and stumbled onto AAM and am addicted as well. Love that all this wonderful advice helped you approach your audition with such confidence! Have fun exploring your wonderful talent.

  3. OrigCassandra*

    OP3, I am dreading my next choral audition much less now — and I will totally ask that question. Thank you!

  4. Belle of the Midwest*

    Ask A Manager: for every age and stage of life! I loved all these updates. As a reader who will turn 65 in a couple of weeks and launch the retirement parachute sometime in 2023, I plan to continue reading here. I’m going to be a district officer for my sorority and the advice on leadership and handling dicey situations will come in handy there over the next few years as I serve my sisters. Thank you, Alison and fellow readers, for being such a great bunch of human beings!

    1. a tester, not a developer*

      If my MILs experience with her sorority is anything to go on, you’re going to need those ‘handling difficult people’ skills as much – if not more! – than you did in your day job. So much drama! :)

  5. Jay*

    I’m a recently retired choral singer and I LOVE the last story. Thank you! I’ve been thinking about auditioning for community theater and I find the idea much less intimidating now!

    1. Em*

      Hi Jay! I direct plays with my local community theatre, and my absolute favourite people to direct are first-timers who’ve always wanted to do theatre but never had the time. Any good community theatre will be delighted to have you audition.

      Pro tip: don’t be afraid of being too much! It’s way easier to start at too much and bring it down than it is to start at very subtle and bring it up.

  6. All Het Up About It*

    These are great updates!! I’m especially impressed/jealous of the breaks between jobs in 1 and 2. Three months LW1!! Fabulous!

    Congrats to everyone!

  7. Lucien Nova*

    As a member of my local chorale, I am especially charmed by the last one. You have got this, LW 3 – I hope you have an absolute blast and learn a lot from your lessons! :D

  8. Certaintroublemaker*

    LW1, it’s good to hear that interviewers are sharing salary information without pushing back. Congratulations on successfully negotiating salary and time off!

    LW2, oh my goodness, what a nightmare. So glad getting out gave you the time to really shine in your search! And what an awesome result. Enjoy your healing time and your new job.

    LW3, another “interviews are a two-way street” success story! And the “magic question,” too. Best of luck with your post-retirement career.

  9. ICodeForFood*

    LW # 3 and Belle of the Midwest: I thought I was the only one, but I guess I’m not. I’m 65 and definitely in my last full-time job, but I too am finding AAM absolutely addictive reading! I wish I’d known about it back when I was interviewing and stressing about getting the next job, but I am still enjoying it even though I don’t plan to ever interview again. (I’m a singer, though, so maybe I will audition for something once I retire, and all the advice might be useful then!) Thanks to Alison and the entire Commentariat for the good advice and interesting reading!

  10. Elizabeth West*

    I just want to say yay for everyone in Friday Good News! And I live for the day when I have something awesome to post. *soon, please; fingers crossed; please universe*

  11. Purple Cat*

    I loved #3 update especially.
    And cracking myself up thinking of Moira and the Jazzagals (Schitt’s Creek).

  12. It's not Monday*

    LW #3: what a great experience! That really made me smile.

    You have inspired me now to try applying AAM learning to other areas in my life.

    Perhaps I could apply this to dating, since it really is (sort of) an interview!

    1. Jackalope*

      I’ve definitely found that it helped to think of dating as a two-way interview instead of me trying as hard as I could to impress the other person. I remember once when someone said something really off-putting in a date and I thought, “And we are DONE with this interview.” (I didn’t leave right away because I did enjoy myself on the date, but I knew it was never going to work.)

  13. Anon-E-Mouse*

    I love this audition story! As someone with a lot of professional musicians in my family – and who’s heard MANY audition stories over the years – this is downright inspiring. Wishing you many happy musical moments to come!

  14. Whomever*

    #3 . If you have never heard it, there’s an incredible recording of Ella Fitzgerald completely forgetting the words to Mac The Knife and just faking it. She’s awesome and it’s a great illustration of just forging ahead to the best you can. I think you can find it on Youtube.

  15. Raia*

    LW2, Thank you for giving me the confidence to hand in my 2 week notice tomorrow at Current Role and give myself a month off of burnout relief before starting New Role. The strain of existing in a ill-fitting role under a sucky manager is just unreal!

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