it’s your Friday good news

It’s your Friday good news!

1.  “I started a fantastic new position in August 2019 after a few years of trying to find the best place for me. I ended up with an amazing salary, good benefits, short commute, interesting and challenging work, great colleagues, and the best boss I’ve ever had.

Seven months later, the panini hit and we were all sent to WFH full time (instead of the previous one day per week). This worked just fine for my team; we’re all spread across the country and I’ve never met any of them in person. I produce a large volume of high-quality work, have excellent performance reviews, and always get great feedback.

Fast forward one year to spring 2021. Work is still going great. I bought a house, got a dog, and then…got sick. I developed a chronic medical condition that my doctors are still trying to figure out.

My health issues don’t prevent me from being able to do my job well, but my employer was dead set on us returning to the office three days a week starting last month, for very stupid reasons. A few months ago, I began the process of requesting an ADA accommodation to continue WFH full time until/unless my health magically improves. My boss and my doctor supported this 100%.

But getting my (very large, global, household name) company’s HR to handle it properly was a nightmare. Before I could even formally request the accommodation, they told me things like “Well normally in a situation like yours, we’d recommend that you take FMLA or use your disability insurance”. Um, no. I will not be taking unpaid leave or reduced pay when I am perfectly capable of doing my job from home. I don’t need time off, I just need to be able to WFH because going into the office for one day will wreck me physically for the next two to three days.

They hounded me about not receiving the form from my doctor within their unrealistic timeframe, and sometimes claimed they didn’t receive it at all (when my clinic confirmed they had sent it). In the end, I think we went through the paperwork process three times. I had to be pretty damn tenacious, including calling them out for not holding themselves to the same turnaround time that they expected from my doctor…that did the trick.

After months of worry and bullshit, I finally got official approval to continue to WFH all day, every day, forever. I don’t even need to periodically get the accommodation re-approved; they made it permanent.

And I’m making almost 300% more than I was five years ago.”

2.  “Four years ago, I received a promotion at work which ended up being a terrible move because I worked with the most toxic boss I’ve ever had in my career. It was so bad, I ended up quitting without anything lined up for the sake of my sanity.

The next three years found me working freelance, job interviewing and finally getting a job only to find out the description and the actual job didn’t line up. Finally, last year, I got a job offer from one of my top choice companies. It’s been years since I felt like I had a normal job (that is, no one yelling at me, no micromanaging, a professional staff) and it’s a breath of fresh year. The pay is good, the work-life balance is wonderful and I find myself sleeping better, eating better and enjoying more peace in general.

In the three years it took for me to find my current job, I interviewed with probably over 50 companies and slowly worked to heal from the negative experiences of the past. I read Ask a Manager every day and picked up all the tips I could. Reading about other people’s abnormal experiences reminded me I am not alone. Reading about other people’s Friday Good News gave me hope that perhaps someday I will find a job I liked again.

And so I want to encourage everyone out there who is looking, keep going and don’t give up!”

3.  “I am a woefully underpaid state employee in higher education and had an opportunity last summer to really highlight that fact when our city government counterparts announced a plan to hire a new position doing 10% of my current job description for a higher wage than I make. The powers that be agreed to a revision of my job description, but the university’s HR department pushed back hard, wanting to give me a title bump with almost no salary increase. My direct supervisor really went to bat for me, and today I’ve been offered a 20% increase in pay with a better title (Admin Associate will change to Program Coordinator), retroactive to the beginning of the current pay period.”

4.  “I’ve been with my current employer, in the same position in the marketing department, for nearly five years. I really like this company — they’ve handled the pandemic really well, they seem to be doing more than lip service to support diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace, and I have great benefits, but I’ve been getting bored recently and thought there was no room for advancement for me in my current organization.

I applied for two jobs, got interviews for both (much more than I used to get, for which I credit your resume and cover letter advice!), but didn’t get either position. Then, while using your “Surprise Me” feature when I had some downtime, I read the post about asking for feedback even when you’re scared, and a post about an employee asking for a promotion. With most of my work history being in contracting/freelancing, I didn’t even realize asking for a promotion was a thing!

So, I built up the courage to ask my manager what he needed to see from me to consider me for advancement. He said he was so happy I asked! We just acquired another company, and are considering expanding the work we do in another of our lines of business, so there are going to be tons of opportunities for more advanced work and possibly create a new position for me. While that is in the works, he’s going to make sure I get assigned to a new project to develop my strategic marketing skills.

I’m so grateful for your blog and the courage it gave me to ask for this feedback!”

{ 42 comments… read them below }

  1. JTP*

    LW #4 here – I have an update to the good news! Last month, we had our annual salary adjustment. I got not only an adjustment but a merit raise! Like, I didn’t think I could get this big of a bump in pay without being promoted. And the extra money has enabled my husband and I to buy a house!

    1. David K Kassisieh*

      So Happy for you its always good to work for a company that appreciates the work that you do

    2. Dont be a dork*

      That is awesome! Congratulations on your salary bump and the ability to buy a house.

    1. Emby*

      wasn’t there the ask a manager where the panini did hit? someone accidently threw their sandwich and hit their boss?

      1. LW1*

        Yeah, that happened! I just commented with a link to it, but it’s not showing up yet… probably because comments with links go through the moderation queue.

    2. LW1*

      LW1 here! That was not autocorrect, at least not for me. I’ve seen it before on AAM…I think it started as an autocorrect for someone before becoming an intentional thing for lots of folks. I’m so glad that Alison didn’t edit it!

      1. Hlao-roo*

        I’ve seen both “panini” and “panorama” purposefully substituted for “pandemic” on AAM and in other places on the internet!

      2. DataGirl*

        it’s also a reddit thing- some forums like AITA don’t allow mention of the pandemic so people use code words.

    3. The Lexus Lawyer*

      Pretty sure they did that on purpose.

      I also see people use panorama, but panini is more popular as a replacement for the p that shall not be named

      1. Forrest Gumption*

        Yeah it was intentional – my friend in South Africa calls it the pannacotta, but panini is the more common one

        1. LW1*

          I am now frantically searching for restaurants that can deliver a panini and panna cotta to my house…it’s lunchtime!

    4. Triple Toe*

      Yes yes to this. As most people I’d really really prefer two years of panini over just about anything!

  2. 2% merit increase lol*

    I’m similar to #3 in that I’m also a woefully underpaid state employee and HR gave me a “promotion” with a title change and a laughably insulting pay increase. However, my manager did NOT go to bat for me so I just received another offer and gave my resignation! After 100+ applications and over 17 interviews in April alone, I’m happy to leave this place and thrilled to WFH FT.

      1. 2% merit increase lol*

        I should clarify that the 100+ applications were from last fall til now, so not just in April! It rained interviews in April, though. It truly is a numbers game at times, which is exhausting.

    1. LW1*

      SEVENTEEN interviews in one month (that isn’t even over yet)? That sounds absolutely exhausting. Congrats on the new gig!

      1. 2% merit increase lol*

        YES! Thankfully, I’ve been hybrid at the underpaying job so on the days that I WFH I did a bunch of interviews. Some days I had 2! If we were in the office 5 days/week I wouldn’t have been able to do nearly as many.

    1. Chilipepper Attitude*

      Yes, home sick now (from my wonderful new job that does not bat an eye at wfh or sick leave) and these cheered my up!

  3. Goldenrod*

    Congrats to all of you! I am so happy for you. OP #2 – Totally been there (toxic workplace) and I’m so glad you got out!

    OP #1 – Your letter helped me today. I was feeling lonely and bad because my husband has been really sick, and I just found out he may have a chronic autoimmune disease (diagnosis still unclear). It’s easy to feel like no one else has these problems (though logically, I know they totally do!). Your letter reminded me that we all struggle with stuff like this – and I hope you find out what you have and get on a treatment plan soon! So glad you can WFH as of course you should be allowed to do. Thanks for your letter which helped me feel less lonely today.

    1. LW1*

      Damn. It makes my day to know that my letter helped you. Best wishes to you and your husband!

      I have an absolutely amazing medical team, but they’re all stumped as to the cause. I don’t have a real diagnosis, but my symptoms stay mostly under control with the right cocktail of meds…as long as I keep physical activity to a minimum (which sucks, but it’s better than feeling constantly miserable).

      1. Goldenrod*

        LW1 – I’m glad you have an amazing medical team, that is so important! I feel like there are many, many conditions that elude diagnosis. As long as you are getting good help and treatment, that is the important thing! Hang in there. xoxo

      2. Ky*

        Oh gosh, same. No real diagnosis (and haven’t had the money or good enough insurance to try to figure out the diagnosis) but i’ve improved to the point that I am pretty functional if I keep physical activity to a bare minimum. Which is SO frustrating and SO hard to explain to people.

        1. LW1*

          I am fortunate to have very good medical insurance. I’m sorry that’s not the situation for you, and I hope it changes. I’m glad to hear you’re relatively stable right now.

          And yeah…although my friends and family are fantastic, a lot of other people just don’t get it. And trying to explain it in detail is just one more thing that I don’t care to spend my energy on.

          Last month I took myself on a solo night out to have a fancy dinner and see a comedy show. The restaurant and theater were only three blocks apart, and that three block walk had me hurting for three days afterwards. No regrets though…I had a great time!

  4. Anita Brake*

    LW #1…that was one honkin’ panini! I’ll bet it would rival the cheap ass rolls!

    1. LW1*

      As luck (or fate) would have it, around the time I sent my letter to Alison, I was going through some boxes I never unpacked when I bought my house…and guess what a found? A sandwich press! So now I can have ALL the paninis!

  5. Cremedelagremlin*

    LW: Fellow mysterious chronic illness haver here – I’m so glad things worked out for you in the end! I hate that tenacity is so often required most of the people who have the least bandwidth (like, you’re sick and don’t know why? Here is a labyrinth of people and processes for you to navigate to get your basic needs met!). But good for you for fighting for yourself <3

    1. LW1*


      Last fall, one of my specialists referred me to another specialist. I tried to make an appointment, only to find out that that none of the docs in that specialty at my clinic were accepting new patients.

      I get it…there’s a global pandemic going on, there are not enough medical professionals to keep up with the needs of patients, and they need to prioritize their existing patients.

      I could have looked for a physician in that specialty in a different clinic system, but it’s extremely convenient to have all my docs in one building. And adding another clinic to the mix would have meant dealing with another online records/charting/billing system. A total pain in the ass. I ain’t got time/energy for that.

      So I just didn’t get in with that new specialty, until a few months ago when my clinic called and said “Hey, Dr X is seeing new patients now. Can you come in next week?” Wild.

      I wish you the best, my fellow medical mystery person!

    2. LW1*

      The Labyrinth: great movie!

      The labyrinth of people and processes for you to navigate to get your basic needs met: absolute crap!

  6. 15 Pieces of Flair*

    LW2’s work turmoil sounds very similar to my own experience. I was working as a solution delivery manager without the appropriate title or salary and was offered a small raise to work full-time on one project. The technical solution, which didn’t exist, was overpromised and dramatically underquoted on the expectation that our parent company would fund the solution once a customer was signed. That haphazard plan fell through, leaving me
    on the hook for delivering something that we had no money to build.

    My breaking point was when our VP demanded that I take over the operations manager role in addition to my full-time job with no additional compensation and be on-site (traveling Sunday or Monday and not returning home until late Friday) two weeks a month. Job searching while working that schedule was nearly impossible, so I quit with nothing lined up.

    Like LW2 I freelanced as a stopgap for 3 years while job searching pretty aggressively the first year. I also went through a series of unfortunate events with a job offer that fell through. After dozens of rejections, multiple employers that disappeared at the offer stage, and the job that fell through on the first day, I was totally demoralized and stop looking for two years. Eventually, I worked up the motivation to try again since freelancing wasn’t advancing my career.

    After a three month search, I had multiple offers and accepted a fully remote role at a higher salary than I made at my last full-time job. That was three years ago. Since then I was promoted once at that company before being poached by a competitor where I’ve been promoted two more times. Six years after quitting that terrible job, I’m earning ~105k more (170k in 2022 vs. 65k in 2016) in a role that’s fully remote.

  7. Abit*

    LW1 This is really encouraging for those of us with Long Covid and other related illnesses who have just about been managing to stay employer with WfH. It’s so hard.

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