it’s your Friday good news

It’s your Friday good news!

1.  “I am an avid reader (and recommender) and wanted to share a little Friday Good News!
After finally making the decision to launch my job search in earnest, I am thrilled to be starting my new job next month. I was truly torn about leaving my current role, but have found an opportunity with a pay increase, that is majority remote and with just a delightful team. If I ever needed confirmation that I made the right decision, my current employer has been really treating me poorly during my notice period. Thank you for your excellent advice on required notice and how to resign. I was able to negotiate a shorter notice period than I was told would be required and thank goodness I did. Please take it from me – nothing good comes from a long goodbye!

At the end of one particularly snark-filled day this week, I came home to an unusual package. In it was a bottle of champagne and a note from my new boss wecloming me to the team and toasting new beginnings. How classy is that? So if you were wondering how to lay the groundwork for the onboarding of a new fully remote employee, I recommend a nice gift in the week or so before they start, reminding them that they absolutely made the right decision.”

2.  “I’ve been following your site since late last year and have learned so much more about navigating workplace nuances and best practices to land a new job (which I desperately needed). Before I began consulting your excellent advice, I’d been on the job hunt for about 7 months. I thought I had a great resume and cover letter, but learned from you that I could definitely stand to beef those up.

I’m happy to report that I’ve just landed a new job with full benefits and a 30% pay increase in my field (publishing). The best part is I’ll be working with a publisher who puts out works relating to many of the crafts and hobbies I’m involved with in my free time.

I know you get lots of these, but it’s important to me that you know how valuable your site is, and how much you’re legitimately changing lives. It’s such important work. I’ve been so depressed and downtrodden the past few years at my current employer, and now I’m feeling lighter and more like the person I know myself to be deep down. You gave me that, and I can never repay it. Thank you, with everything in me, thank you!”

3.  “I’m one of those millennials who graduated directly into the recession with an impractical degree, and I’ve been underemployed and underpaid ever since. I’ll spare you the details, but they’re both brutal and typical for low-paid essential workers. For the first time, I’m in a ‘good’ job (benefits, prestige, coworkers, everything), and I’m constantly on alert that I’m going to fuck this up and end up working back in an unheated office being yelled at by people who think covid is made-up. Today I got a minor correction from my boss in an email. SO MINOR. And my entire body started to panic, from stomach to sweaty palms, like ‘this is it you’re out of here.’

BUT. I have been a regular reader of your column long enough to realize three things:
a) my emotional reaction was WILDLY overblown to this situation
b) I should take responsibility for my error while also explaining how I arrived there
c) this should be done in a casual, ‘people make mistakes but of course I want to do better’ tone, not ‘OH SHIT DON’T FIRE ME I’M SO SORRY IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN.’

So I did do that. And it was fine. My boss even mentioned that he appreciated my quick response, and that there’s a phrasing used in our hiring material that often causes this exact mistake. This was just a very normal, non-event—but before I started reading your column, it wouldn’t have felt that way to me. (Like, don’t worry—I’m also in therapy.) I know you help a lot of people with wild Hawaiian rolls problems, and people who can’t quit fucking their bosses problems, and all manner of Truly Wild Situations—but you also help people with little daily things like stressful emails, and I’m grateful.”

{ 46 comments… read them below }

  1. I was told there would be llamas*

    Congrats to all of you! #3…”Hawaiian roll problems”, bahaha! Yes, just remember, at least you don’t have Hawaiian roll problems. ;)

  2. Not Tom, Just Petty*

    Congratulations and well don’t go the first two letter writers, but big shout out to OP 3. That is so great. You SHOULD feel proud. That’s huge.

  3. Whynot*

    Well, those are three of the loveliest updates I’ve read in some time. Congrats to all of you – and OP#3, you’re doing great. Learning to recognize when you’re having an outsize reaction AND circumvent it, and how to respond to criticism effectively, those are life skills that will benefit you at work and elsewhere throughout your life. This GenXer still has to work at it, but it gets easier over time. Glad you’ve found a good workplace and I feel sure you’ve got great things ahead of you.

    1. Chauncy Gardener*

      All of these were just AWESOME!! Congrats to all of you.
      And you go, OP#3! I think we all have that to some extent and learning how to talk ourselves off the ledge is just another service we provide here

  4. Insert Clever Name Here*

    OP3, YES. I’m fortunate to have never had some of the wild things happen to me, but the way I think about and phrase normal things at work (following up when someone is late getting something to me, talking about my mistakes, signaling that I’m done chatting now and need to get back to work) is definitely influenced by AAM. It’s why when I recommend it to folks I say “there are crazy stories about potluck drama and bosses demanding liver transplants, but also SO MUCH standard, valuable advice for any situation.”

  5. SJ (they/them)*

    These are such lovely updates. I do wish alcohol was not a go-to gift (unless they had somehow checked before that OP would welcome it), but still, yay for everyone. These are so encouraging to read.

    1. The Tin Man*

      I felt the same way – a small hint of side-eye at the alcohol gift but I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt that conversation in the course of the interviewing process came up that LW drinks alcohol. Also makes the story more pleasant than worrying “What if they sent champagne to a recovering alcoholic?”

        1. Alexander Graham Yell*

          That’s what my sister’s company sent her! A backpack or water bottle or something, a t shirt, and a booklet with all kinds of helpful information, from lunch-on-your-first-day plans to where to park to what “casual” really means for their office. It struck me as really thoughtful and a great way of putting the first day anxieties at ease.

          1. YogaSloth*

            I love this idea! I am going to take it back to my upper mgmt to see if they want to include it as part of the new employee onboarding process.

        2. Radio Girl*

          I had some of the same thoughts, but wanted to see if anyone else did. I’ve learned to be cautious here.

        3. Uranus Wars*

          I would hate company swag, which I think just goes to show different strokes…not saying alcohol is the best answer, but a plant/flowers would also be welcome by me.

          1. Gumby*

            I mean, if a theoretical new employer of mine *wants* to send a plant to its death, I guess that is their choice.

            No gift will be perfect for everyone and they are even less likely to know with a new hire. So anything they sent that was not blatantly insulting/criminal/in spectacularly poor taste I would greet happily. It’s one of the few cases where “it’s the thought that counts” is legit.

            1. Reluctant Mezzo*

              “I am a gray thumb, a hospice worker sending plants on their way to Jesus”. (stole from FB)

          2. Oui oui oui all the way home*

            I agree! Different strokes for sure. What you would enjoy, I wouldn’t and vice versa. I would appreciate usable company swag, but would not feel good about getting a plant. It would feel a bit like a burden trying to keep it alive for the rest of its unfortunately short life with me.

    2. Higher Ed*

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels that way about alcohol gifts. At least err on the side of caution and make it non alcoholic sparkling cider.

      1. Jim Bob*

        May as well make it a gift/snack basket or in that case.

        Sparkling cider would tell me “we want this to look like alcohol, but we’re either cheap or easily offended.” Not a good first impression.

    3. Khatul Madame*

      A gift of champagne is not for everyone sure, but the idea of welcoming gift is great, and I wish more companies would do this.
      Many years ago I started with a small company and they sent me a potted flower/plant arrangement and it meant so much to me! Interestingly, even though I am the opposite of green thumb, this arrangement lived in my home for years.
      I am not the greatest fan of company swag as the welcome gift. If I were starting a new job now, I’d welcome equipment for home office, like a standing desk to put on top of an existing desk, or a whiteboard.

    4. Goldenrod*

      I wondered about that too….but then I wondered if the employer had perhaps asked if OP drank alcohol before sending?

      Aside from that potential problem, this is a really nice idea, in general!!

    5. Boba v Bubba*

      I don’t drink alcohol due to medication I’m on, but I feel like anything consumable is so easy to pass on to someone who would enjoy it that I’d still be delighted by the gift (because of the sentiment). To me company swag is much more of a burden.

      Of course, if an employee has a religious objection to alcohol maybe they won’t feel good giving it away either, so that’s stickier.

    6. Very Social*

      My new company sent me cookies before I started! Which… I couldn’t eat, because I’m vegan, but my husband and toddler sure enjoyed them :)

  6. KateM*

    OP3, if this is a known problem, maybe you can think of a rewording for that phrasing in hiring material? Just think how useful that would make you.

  7. Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii*

    I know you get lots of these, but it’s important to me that you know how valuable your site is, and how much you’re legitimately changing lives. It’s such important work. I’ve been so depressed and downtrodden the past few years at my current employer, and now I’m feeling lighter and more like the person I know myself to be deep down. You gave me that, and I can never repay it. Thank you, with everything in me, thank you!”


  8. 30 Years in the Biz*

    Such wonderful outcomes. Ask a Manager is “legitimately changing lives” as one Good News poster mentions above! I’m hopeful everyone is telling their friends about this valuable site. I’ve recommended the site to those new to the working world as well as those with many years’ experience. The feedback has been positive in all cases of course.

  9. WantonSeedStitch*

    OP #3, I know exactly how you feel! Ages ago, I left a job that had me on the edge of a breakdown, and after temping for a while, ended up in a truly great workplace. But every time my manager called me into her office, I would start getting an anxiety attack because I was bracing myself to be belittled and insulted and made to feel about three inches tall–because that’s what happened when I was called into the boss’s office at my old workplace. It took a few months of having her just say, “here’s an assignment for you,” or even “hey, when you did this assignment, you did X. Can you do Y instead/in addition?” or other normal stuff like that, for me to stop panicking. You will get there. Time heals, when it’s spent in a good place.

  10. TootsNYC*

    Re: the idea of sending a gift to your new hire

    Even if a gift seems too much, or not in the budget, I recommend an email or two during the process.
    “Just finished all the paperwork to set up your onboarding process. Looking forward to seeing you!”

    1. Velawciraptor*

      Exactly. Gifts aren’t really possible with a government agency, but I do my best to stay in touch with people ahead of their start date, especially if they’re moving for the position.

  11. Candi*

    Exhibits 126873, 126874, 126875 in how dysfunctional to toxic workplaces screw you up.

    I’m glad all three of you are in better, healthier environments.

  12. Squirrel Nutkin*

    Congratulations everyone! : ) And OP #3, my especially hearty congratulations on managing your workplace anxiety springing from the fact that it had previously been so hard to find a job that paid enough to support you. I am a Gen Xer who failed to launch until my late 30s and felt like it was a !@#$@ing miracle when I finally scored a real full-time job with benefits; then, I was an anxious wreck for years fearing that I’d lose the job over things that really weren’t that big a deal. I can totally relate!

  13. Bones*

    OP 2 here. I just finished my last day at my old job and I’m feeling on top of the world. Thanks again, Alison! Couldn’t have done it without you.

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