it’s your Friday good news

It’s your Friday good news!

1.  “I’ve been a reader for half a year, but I’ve never actually written in. (I did type up a longwinded question and leave it in the drafts once, though!) I certainly didn’t think that I’d be writing a letter for Friday Good News, but here we are.

I work at a well-known healthcare organization in an area whose main function is directly related to COVID. When I started, I had no healthcare experience and a high school degree. At the time, everyone thought that COVID would be a hard year, and would get better once we had vaccines. Obviously, that isn’t what happened. My workplace is a meat grinder: everyone I started with has quit, is trying to quit, or is burnt out beyond belief. I thought I was stuck working through it— I need the money to get through college. I’d written off getting a high-paying job until I finished a college degree.

Looking back, I didn’t understand what the job market was like or what my skills were worth. My skills outgrew my role quickly, but I took your advice to remember how junior I am and do all the ‘boring’ stuff cheerfully. When I started to get handed high-level projects, I excelled: I was regularly mistaken for exempt roles based on that work. Some of my work fed leadership, executives, and regulatory agencies. I found out that people around me assumed that I meant a Master’s degree when I said I was accepted into a program and am back in college.

That’s about when I started reading Ask A Manager daily. I realized that regardless of how much I like the people I work with, my workplace isn’t going to get better. COVID is out of organizational control. I spent time between college and work building up key proficiencies, and then I started applying even if I didn’t meet every requirement on the posting.

I had really intended to shop around, but what do you say when your first interview results in a dream offer? I was offered a fully remote role in my field with more PTO, a huge title bump, and a 95% pay raise! The application wasn’t a stretch, I’m told I was their top candidate, and I know I can thrive in the role. I didn’t have anything left to negotiate. I just said yes.

Thank you so much for your help. I don’t think I would’ve had the confidence to try for it without this resource.”

2.  “I am writing to thank you for all of the great information you have imparted on Ask A Manager. I have been stuck in a seemingly never-ending cycle of overwork and stress at a non-profit organization for 15+ years. It felt hopeless and my confidence was at 0 from all of the nitpicking and negativity. I have been religiously reading your blog for several years and it was so helpful in enabling me to see the toxicity for what it was. Finally, I was ready to escape. I used your tips for resumes, cover letters and interviewing.(Thank you for the posts about the “magic question” because it is magical!) I was shocked that my very first attempt netted not only a screening interview, but a second interview, an in-person interview and a job offer all in the space of about 1.5 weeks. I accepted a new position that pays over $10K more annually, works remotely, and is doing things that I am excited to do! I couldn’t be more thrilled.Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your advice!”

3.  “I’m a longtime reader who has never written to you before, though I do occasionally interact via Twitter! I used to regularly think about writing to you about my previous workplace. It was such a dysfunctional environment and I have many bizarre stories.

Anyway, I spent 5½ years at that job. I got a lot of praise about my work, stellar annual reviews, and increased responsibilities (which sadly came with no pay increase). I ignored a lot of toxicity over the years because there was nothing I could do to fix the culture on my own. At the tail end of March, two incidents occurred that finally broke my resolve and created enough of a hostile work environment that I knew the end was very near. I spoke with an acquaintance who’s an experienced lawyer, and three days later I resigned on the spot with no notice.

Such a drastic move is very out of character for me but it was undoubtedly the right decision! Soon after I resigned I found out a friend of mine, who works in a completely different industry, had an opening in his department that matched pretty well with my skill set. I applied for the position, and along with his referring my application internally to the department manager, I quickly got an interview. It went wonderfully and I was invited back for a job shadow, which also went great! Everyone was gracious and welcoming. The manager who I’ll be reporting to said everybody I met told her I was wonderful — I nearly cried hearing that kindness lol! They ended up being so interested in hiring me that they skipped the final interview that they normally do and wanted to immediately offer me the job instead!

For the first time ever, I negotiated a salary increase and a start date 6 weeks later than their original proposal (because I desperately needed some time off for my mental health). I got a 41% salary increase(!!!), triple the PTO I used to have, expanded benefits, a work environment that is much more professional overall, and a company that continuously tries to empower their employees.

I almost can’t believe my good fortune. It doesn’t feel real yet. I AM nervous about making a total industry change but am overwhelmed with joy too! I read lots of your posts on resume restructuring and interviewing and I just can’t express my gratitude enough for how your tips helped me advocate for myself and create the best fresh start.

Thank you very much, and thank you to all of the commenters who also provide such pertinent, insightful feedback. This is going to change my life in a really positive way and I’ve waited so long to have this kind of update.”

{ 22 comments… read them below }

  1. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

    Hooray for everyone! Now please send in all of the funniest horror stories from your old workplaces so we can join in your joy for escaping.

      1. Slow Gin Lizz*

        Same. I mean, I did read the letter (awesome news, OP!) but am disappointed it cut off before the horror stories. I guess since this is supposed to be a good news post, maybe Alison didn’t want to trigger anyone by including bad stories too. Anyway, this post is all great stuff, I’m so happy for all the LWs!

      2. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Apologies — I meant to cut LW3’s reference to her horror stories out! I didn’t know if she meant for the stories after her message to be published or not. (I’ve now removed the reference to them from the post so it won’t confuse people.)

        1. OP 3*

          Hi all! OP #3 here. :)

          Thank you, Alison, for publishing my letter!!

          I’ll include the portion of my email to with the stories now if that’s ok! Feel free to remove if necessary.

          (There is a little bit of sensitive content, just to give readers a heads up.)

          They include but are not limited to:
          – an employee telling people how they wished a particular manager would hang themselves and die,
          – an employee using the work bathroom to take videos of himself jerking off and then accidentally sending it to his (female and married) manager,
          – an employee comparing her bodily functions to murder scenes, explaining how her boyfriend would plan to to sneak up on her for anal sex with no warning, describing how she wanted to hang her ex-husband’s body up on some meat hooks and “beat the shit out of him”, and trying to get other employees to go donate plasma during work hours so she could collect the money,
          – an employee who brought MAGA panties to the company Christmas party and handed them out to everyone along with copies of their divorce agreement,
          – a manager telling me there are no reasons why I should like myself,
          – a manager who requested I get reprimanded for correcting someone on my pronouns via email (which I did get in a lot of trouble for despite never having been disciplined before and despite the person on the receiving end of my email apologizing to me and still giving our company their business),
          – a manager who regularly got drunk and would inappropriately text female employees on Friday nights,
          – that same manager being the person who sent my boyfriend of 3 years (he works at this company still, which is how we met) and myself some vitriolic text messages stating that I was going to ruin his life and his future and that I have the devil in me,
          – and the owner of the company now refusing to pay me for my last 2 weeks of work.

          None of these actions received any consequences, except for the pronouns incident with me. Management prefers not to intervene, ever, and would state how “everyone just needs to get along” whenever problems were brought to their attention.

          1. Artemesia*

            I hope you have or will file a formal complaint with the appropriate labor bureaucracy about the pay thing. That one can and should be fixed — the rest — well you are running which is the right thing to do.

          2. Very Social*

            Holy… wow. I’m glad you got out of there and amazed you managed to get a(n apparently functioning) relationship out of it!

    1. Pizza Party Connoisseur*

      I’m Letter Writer #1. I didn’t include any horror stories because I didn’t want my coworkers to recognize this and think I feel anything less than positive about them! But I’m grateful for AAM commenters’ help getting a job, so I wrote this down on my break…

      My current work hired dozens and dozens of contractors every COVID surge to keep up. They were almost all fresh college graduates. We have mini-meetings at the start of each shift, and one day during the Omicron surge, senior leadership surprised us by attending to get a feel for how things were going. (These would be our grandboss’s grandbosses. One is a preeminent scientist in her field- if you work in the same field, you know her blog and her papers. She is so, so nice.)

      Naturally, they showed up early, and none of the new contractors recognized them or questioned their presence. Our leaders were walking around listening in on a bunch of overcaffeinated college kids talking **** in just those terms. I confirmed with one of the new people that it was as bad as I thought. I’m sure they appreciated the decorations, such as a whiteboard prominently featuring a drawing of one of the instruments on fire in a dumpster, a hand-drawn Elmo on fire meme taped to a problematic instrument, and the printed memes about patting yourself on the back when nobody else notices.

      They only introduced themselves at the meeting. Nobody ever said anything about it.

  2. Zan+Shin*

    Oh these are wonderfully joy-inducing !!!! Congrats and best of luck moving onward and upward!

  3. Tupac Coachella*

    Congrats to all, but especially happy about OP1. Look, I have an advanced degree. I work in higher ed. I love college, and think most if not all people can benefit from formal education beyond high school (US perspective, I don’t know enough about other countries’ ed systems to comment either way). But I also recognize that a college degree is not the only measure of workplace ability. One of the after effects of the “go to traditional 4 year college or you’ll be destitute” propaganda is the myth that OP expressed: there are no good jobs until you finish a degree. Some students don’t even try to find what they perceive as “real” jobs, and ignore the often ample opportunities to build transferrable skills in retail and service jobs. Then they end up gutted in the job search with a mountain of debt later. I love that OP gained the confidence to find a path that will likely make them even more marketable after graduating, and help provide the financial support to pursue the education they want.

    1. Boof*

      I loved college but i gotta say i don’t think it gave me much anything extra practical for work except proof i have the ability to get through college. My masters and MD were much more relevant – i do think trade schools are under appreciated (and i also think med school is basically a trade school! But i haven’t gone to other vocational schools and can’t speak to the differences in reality)

  4. TG*

    Wow what awesome Friday good news – LW I am so excited for you and good luck completing your degree – but goes to show when you shine, people see it!

  5. Bexy Bexerson*

    NINETY FIVE PERCENT!!! Way to go, LW#1!!!

    And congratulations the other LWs as well…this is an especially good Friday Good News all around.

    1. Elysian*

      Right?? I can’t even imagine how life-changing a 95% pay raise is. Congrats to the letter writer!!

      1. Database Developer Dude*

        And here I was thinking how low do you have to be to have your next job be a 95% raise? That’s incredible!

  6. Chilipepper Attitude*

    Thanks to all for sharing! I really value that you took the time to write in.
    And congrats to all!

  7. SofiaDeo*

    Thank you, everyone, for bringing a bit of joy to my day! Love Love Love hearing how people choose toget out of toxic workplaces! And the strategies!

  8. Bookworm*

    Yay to all the LWs!! Thanks as always for letting us the week on a happier note. :)

  9. hodie-hi*

    Ninety Five Percent!!!

    Yowzers! That is utterly fantastic and I’m so happy for you!

  10. Squirrel Nutkin*

    So thrilled for you ALL, Letter Writers! WOW! These good-news stories always warm my heart.

  11. Time to destress*

    I love all three happy endings!!! So happy for you all, Congratulations on your new jobs!!

Comments are closed.