it’s your Friday good news

It’s your Friday good news!

1.  “I wanted to share my story of success in finding a new job this year. This summer, the small academic library I used to work at was running two separate searches for employees. Right at the end of a successful interview for the second search, the only remaining librarian I had a strong mentor relationship with turned in her notice. I brushed up my resume that very night, thoroughly discouraged in my ability to be satisfied at this job for much longer. I had been in it for a respectable four years, after all, and had been wanting a change for a while but not enough to put in the work of finding said change.

The hit to staff morale after that day was the impetus I needed to ramp up my search. I had one interview that didn’t result in a job, but the very next application I put in resulted in a virtual screening interview within two days, a full video interview by the end of the week, and a job offer in that interview. My new employer was bringing a service back in-house that had been outsourced during the pandemic in an attempt to save money. They had finally received enough justification that the company was losing more money fixing the outsourced service’s mistakes than they would spend just paying in-house employees to do it. They wanted the new team to be a mix of in-person and remote employees, and I got hired on as one of the remote employees.

I started almost three months ago now, and it is like night and day. At my last job, I read your blog religiously because I had very few long-term projects to work on and was essentially being ‘paid to wait.’ I haven’t read your blog at work once since my training period finished at this new job; there is always something to do. When the phone lines are slow, we have emails to respond to. When we’re caught up on emails, there are spreadsheets to go through to help make sure processes are done before customers think to call for a status update. And if somehow all of that fails to fill the workday, we have access to a significant amount of professional development through LinkedIn Learning (I have yet to have time to really dig into this though). I am never bored. I never feel like I’m being paid to waste time. And the work I do is fulfilling the vast majority of the time, since the vast majority of the time, I am able to help the customers who call in and get amazing feedback about my helpfulness from them. Situations in which I cannot help are very rare.

Another plus: three months into my last job, I was still very anxious and not confident at all. Three months into this job, I already feel confident about my knowledge and skills 80% of the day. I do make mistakes sometimes (it would be weird if I didn’t). But I learn from them and keep moving forward, and my supervisors are very pleased with my progress overall. It’s a good feeling to not only be doing so well but also have supervisors who do regular checkins and give regular feedback!

Thank you for all your advice over the years – I used all of it to help the application and interview process go as smoothly as possible. My request to meet with one of my direct supervisors before accepting the job (I interviewed with the department manager) really impressed them and made them even more confident about their offer.”

2.  “Thank you for what you do with your blog – I’ve been reading it since I graduated over 5 years ago and finally have something to send in!

I am a software developer in the UK which is a career in massive demand and salaries going through the roof currently. I’ve been with my current company for nearly 3 years and my salary had only grown from £35k to £36.6k in this time.

Meanwhile I had been getting LinkedIn recruitment messages constantly in the £50-60k mark. Since I’m generally happy at work I let my line manager know how much the market was paying due to demand and she forwarded it to HR.

Annual salary reviews came around a couple of weeks ago and although I got a large raise (£6k), it was still nowhere near the market rate. That evening I received an interesting message from a recruiter, and following 4 interviews over the course of 2 weeks I received an offer and negotiated up to £60k with a promotion to Senior Developer!

This is going to be a massive deal to my family and I can’t wait to start the new job!”

3.  “I’ve read AAM religiously for years, and it has helped me in so many ways. One major way has been reminding me of what healthy work environments are like while I was stuck in a majorly toxic work culture for the last few years.

I was an executive assistant to the President of Human Resources at a large university and after starting the job, I quickly discovered that she was nuts. And not only nuts, but really mean. Outrageous stuff like glaring at me for no reason, not answering when I cheerfully greeted her in the morning, excluding me from meetings and social gatherings, things like that. And I don’t even think she particularly disliked me! But I wasn’t part of her clique. It was the most cliquey place I had ever worked. The previous two assistants had quit within a year – and the previous one just ghosted one day without even giving notice!

I stuck it out – and then we were blessedly all sent home to work remotely due to COVID. She still managed to be massively unpleasant remotely, but even so, it was a big improvement. No more micro (macro) aggressions, hostile body language and social exclusions.

But a year and a half later, we were ordered back to work – and I was told, in no uncertain terms, that I would not be offered any hybrid work, not even one telework day, even though many others in similar roles would be. There was no real business need for it, just that my boss was a control freak.

This was when I realized I needed to make a change. I wanted to find a new job before we had to return to work because I just couldn’t face returning to that terrible environment.

I was only interviewing actively for about a month when I found my new job! My new office culture is night and day from the last place. My new boss is super nice – and I finally feel valued. And I even got a big raise! I definitely feel like I have benefitted from ‘the great resignation’ because executive assistants (in my city anyway) are in high demand, and I felt like my boss wanted to snap me up.

A friend of mine (also an executive assistant) also got a new job with a huge raise recently and she successfully negotiated that big raise due to Ask a Manager! When the recruiter made the initial offer, she actually said, ‘Can I call you right back?’….then she called me and I coached her on how to negotiate based on what I’d learned from AAM! She called the recruiter back and within a few hours, had successfully raised the offer by $5,000!

All the great advice – and reality checks – of you and the commenters really helped me get through a tough time!”

{ 36 comments… read them below }

  1. Sara without an H*

    Congratulations, OP#1! When the dust settles, I suspect that a lot of teachers and librarians will have discovered that their skills are highly transferable to jobs that pay better and offer less stress. Good luck in your new career.

    1. underemployed librarian*

      Question for OP#1 or other librarians: What other type of positions outside of the norm are they finding success? I am stuck in a dead end paraprofessional position (underemployed – I have my MLIS) and would like some ideas of where to start looking.


      1. ex-librarian*

        I was in academic libraries for the past 6ish years and jumped around to a number of jobs where I kept encountering serious workplace issues endemic to the profession. This month I jumped ship for a job with a vendor, but I was also exploring Instructional Design positions during my job search. I’d recommend utilizing any on the job training you have access to, like LinkedIn Learning, to get a few skills based trainings down in areas you’re interested in. Instructional design and curriculum coordinator roles often have transferrable skills for instruction librarians, and things like training and professional development within corporations. Also any customer service facing job can be a good transition if you like reference. I can’t really speak to other areas of librarianship though.

      2. Staring down a grim applicant pool*

        If you’re not set on leaving libraries, law libraries have been really struggling to find qualified applicants for librarian jobs and turning to candidates who “only” have the MLIS, without the JD or other previous legal experience. There are tons of postings at

      3. Evelyn Carnahan*

        I’m a librarian and not currently thinking of being a librarian, but there are lots of options depending on what you’ve done in libraries. I’ve known library people to move pretty seamlessly between libraries and IT, web design, UX design, etc. People in public facing library positions are basically already doing customer service support. I went to library school to move up in records management, but I’ve also thought that if I ever wanted to get out of libraries I could work as a researcher (I’m not sure if this is a big thing in the corporate world, but I’ve always worked in non-profits where it was more common).

        1. Middle Aged Lady*

          I transitioned to database management and research for a non-profit after I left the library world.

      4. Nethwen*

        Has there been a post here where people tell their profession and the key things it needs to help people know what’s transferable?

        I know a lot of people misunderstand what library workers do and library workers might not know what’s needed in other professions. I bet things are similar in other industries and having something to look at to help us think about where we could transfer to might be helpful.

  2. Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii*

    I always look forward to Friday good news, as usual these are awesome!
    I am curious about this:
    “and was essentially being ‘paid to wait.’”

    What does this mean?
    What kind of jobs do this?

    1. PT*

      It means they are paying you to have your butt in your seat and wait for them to find some work for you to do.

      1. Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii*

        If i can do this from home i might be interested.
        But i don’t know what jobs to apply for (or what background those jobs would need).

        1. ecnaseener*

          Yeah, the only real examples I can think of are “front desk” kind of jobs, by nature in person — there might be some remote admin assistant jobs where they only need you to answer phone and email?

          (I’m certainly not saying all or most front-desk/admin jobs are paid to wait, just that it’s one of the only type of job that COULD be if the workload happened to be low.)

      1. Evelyn Carnahan*

        Worse — a paraprofessional in an academic library where there’s usually tons of snobbery from librarians towards parapros. I’m guessing that OP #1 was in a staff position and wasn’t being given projects to work on because it was “above their pay grade.” I worked in an academic library where many staff members begged for projects or work that was more interesting than just sitting at the check out desk and shelving books, but were told that they were unqualified for it. Just because they were in a staff position.

        1. Chilipepper Attitude*

          This happens in public libraries too. The fights are so large because the stakes (and power) is so small.

    2. medical librarian*

      it’s academia, not librarianship. i’m also an academic librarian and a lot of what we have to wait on is the whims of upper administration. good librarians have a lot to do, a lot of ideas, and great work ethic, but we’re bound to whatever politics are governing the climate

      1. not a medical librarian*

        Oh, hey! I’m an academic librarian who’s interested in medicine but not a medical librarian. I’m curious if you have any suggestions for training, professional organizations, etc. or if you think it’s even worth exploring the field right now. I really like where I work but I’m getting bored with my specialization.

        1. medical librarian*

          i fell into the health sciences after grad school when i got a job at an academic health science center. i’m pretty involved with the national organization, MLA (medical library association), and the local chapter of MLA as well. i have learned so much from them and NNLM (national network of libraries of medicine). here’s a link to information about health sciences information:

          and here’s a link to NNLM training info:

    3. Evelyn Carnahan*

      In a library, you have to have someone at the desk. Even if it’s super slow, you have to just sit there and wait for patrons to come in and need help/need to check something out. If you don’t have projects to work on, you have to just sit there and find a way to fill the time while also not looking busy or distracted so that patrons don’t avoid you.

      1. Chili pepper Attitude*

        At my public library we were on the desk less than half our hours but had no projects for the off desk time bc only managers could do projects. Total waste of city dollars.

      2. OwlKit*

        At my previous hospital my librarian was very much a ‘this is above your pay grade’… and when she went on holiday for 2 weeks there was no one to give me any work.
        Since noticeboards *were* something I was allowed to do, it resulted in some ridiculously over the top noticeboards- as in, entirely knitted or felted displays.
        That I did in work time.

        New workplace? They recognised I was working above my pay grade. So promoted me.

    4. harmonybat*

      I dispatched tow trucks for a while, and if there were no calls I was being paid to sit there. You can’t have no one doing it because the need for a tow truck is often urgent, but sometimes there weren’t many calls.

    5. Chirpy*

      Honestly, retail sometimes. Even if there’s nothing to stock, nothing to clean, and just generally nothing to do and no customers on a dead night, they still need bodies existing in the departments. The worst thing is there’s no opportunity to sit and/or pull out a book or something, like you could do at some desk jobs (or even some cashiers), you just have to walk around looking for even the slightest thing to straighten. When you’ve gone through the entire clothing department and turned all the hangers the same way on the racks, and there’s still two hours left…

    6. OP #1*

      I was a co-supervisor at an academic library paid largely to make sure highly competent student workers had an adult in the room. They very rarely needed me and my other duties were quickly and easily finished for the most part.

    7. BasketcaseNZ*

      Oh, I’ve had a run of these.
      In some cases it was simply that I was too efficient and they couldn’t find enough work to keep me occupied. “Here, this data entry should keep you busy for the afternoon”… 25 minutes later it was done and filed.
      Once it was certification work for international exports that was time-sensitive when the request arrived, but no way of knowing *when* that would be.
      The last one (that I quit without another job to go to), they just genuinely did not seem to know what to do with me. Everyone assumed I was very busy, so every time I asked for something to do, they wouldn’t give it to me. Every time someone DID give me something, it was soon taken off me to keep someone else busy. The team never needed me, I genuinely don’t know how they persuaded the government department to fund my role.

    8. Critical Rolls*

      Regarding “above your pay grade” projects — not to say some librarians aren’t snobs, but there can be more to it. People shouldn’t be required to work outside their duties if they’re not receiving commensurate pay, especially if it won’t lead to promotion due to no room in an organization to move up, or a degree requirement at higher levels (both common). Also, that’s a good way to get burdens permanently shifted to paraprofessionals that should rest with librarians. “Oh, we don’t really need to pay for a children’s librarian, the paraprofessionals run all the programs anyway!”

  3. 2 Cents*

    OP#2, congratulations on your new job and fantastic increase in salary! The irony is your old company will either have to increase what they pay the next person or make due without when they could’ve just paid you the going rate. Their loss!

    1. Name (Not Required)*

      Fob off the old employee with a paltry rise and lose the employee. Employers weren’t learning that this is no longer the way. They deserved to lose good employees, and pay more to recruit new ones, if this is the way they treat them. People are willing to work, not just for the crumbs employers think they can get away with paying them. If you can’t pay competitive salaries then shut your business.

    2. OP#2*

      Thanks! They are replacing me with a Senior Developer so will be looking to pay the higher rate anyway so pretty short sighted in my opinion. Either way I’m happy with my decision and looking forward to the future!

  4. Candi*

    #3 -Head of HR, nuts, and mean? There’s a dangerous trifecta. I don’t blame you for bailing, and I’m glad you landed in a much better place.

  5. Lunch Eating Mid Manager*

    #3, I love that your friend took the “phone a friend” option and you helped her get $5K! That’s so awesome.

  6. Chilipepper Attitude*

    Congrats to all!
    I could have been OP#1 except I moved into an academic librarian role from a public library.
    I am so very happy now but at the public library, I was so bored, waiting to see if I could do a project. They had no idea what I did for most of the day, never had staff meetings or one-on-one meetings so no plans or goals, and liked middle management that was obedient.

    It was a mean-girls situation, only the in-group could do projects. And anyone who knew where the bodies were buried! So the super mean supervisor who did things like make inappropriate sexual comments to staff and the coworker who had to take training bc her customer service skills were so bad both got to do projects, but no one else did. And they pushed out any librarians they did not like; upper leadership sang a song mocking a librarian by name every time they had to meet with her (and then told staff they did that) and they refused to manage another young librarian and instead just pushed her out by making her life very unhappy.

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