it’s your Friday good news

It’s your Friday good news!

1.  “I have worked for the same company since graduating, and have been there nearly 8 years. I felt relatively well paid … until the company paused pay rises during the pandemic and that came at the same time as me taking on loads more responsibility. To their credit, my company did promote me (multiple times) but I didn’t get much extra pay with that. I knew that other people at my grade were earning significantly more, and though they also had more years experience, I was/am getting good feedback and knew that I do a good job!

I don’t want to leave, but also looking at the salaries other companies were offering, started to feel like I was leaving money on the table. And the others at my grade at my site are all men and I am a woman in tech who has had to work to not undervalue myself.

A good friend at my grade told me how much he earned, which was super helpful because it showed me that actually my company is not out of step with the market and they can pay the salary I would like. So I got some advice on the friday thread, then built up the courage to talk to my manager about it.

My manager, who is absolutely great and a key reason I am happy in my job, reacted really well. He couldn’t give me an answer in the moment but didn’t bat an eyelid at the amount I proposed as pay I’d be happy with, and was clear that they are invested in keeping me.

A few weeks later, I get the news that I’m getting a $28k pay raise (!!). I am so so happy that my company values the work I do and agrees I deserve more, and would like to thank AAM (both my regular reading and the helpful commenters) for helping me have the confidence to ask. I managed to phrase things in a way that made me sound invested in the company and the culture, without having to threaten directly to leave. My manager said that they were already aware my pay was not right, but I do not think they would have fixed it so quickly, nor necessarily have given me such a big bump if I didn’t ask. Thank you!”

2.  “I wrote to you about a year ago talking about how my job was very supportive with my name transition and everything else through my divorce. They have continued to be supportive in many ways, but I’d grown a little bit less in love with the job. I had grown the program I was running, making well above the projected revenue for the year and got enough new interested parties that it was looking like we were going to have to hire a part time person to help with the workload. I asked for a title bump during my annual review in January and was told that the conversation would happen up the ladder, but I haven’t heard anything about it since.

As of Friday, I don’t need to worry about it! I got a new, amazing job at a really cool company doing really cool stuff. And it’s one of those situations that I’ve heard of but never thought would happen to me where it was down to the top two candidates and they gave the job to the other person, but created a position just for me! The interviews were like a conversation, I asked the magic question, and I said something I don’t say out loud too often. I said I am smart. And it paid off! The new position is partly what I interviewed for and partly like what I’m currently doing. I was stunned! I didn’t negotiate on salary (which I know is a no-no) but I was absolutely gobsmacked by the 65% pay increase of their first offer! I just said yes! I did get a week off between jobs and a preapproved week of vacation in November for a friend’s birthday vacation.

There are so many exciting things with this job. It’s my first time in a new industry in over a decade, and it feels like a ‘big kid’ job, even though I’ve been a professional for a while. I’m just over the moon to be doing something so new and cool and to be making enough money to not have to worry about rent. Thank you for your resume, cover letter, and interview advice! I can’t wait to use your column to help me navigate my new office culture!”

3.  “I’ve been a reader for a few years…and your site and the commentariat have helped me to really understand that I work at a truly dysfunctional place. It’s a family-owned company which, on the face of it, isn’t a bad thing, but I share my time between 2 facilities and there is zero consistent leadership or direction and seemingly no adults manning the ship. There have been so many letters where I have thought, “Wait…that isn’t the way you should run things?” In my current role, during our peak production, we work 7-day weeks for up to 8 weeks, and I’m just not willing to do that anymore. I finally stopped seeing leaving as ‘betraying my coworkers’ and ‘leaving the company in a tight situation.’

In the last few weeks, I threw out a couple resumes just to see if I’d get a bite. I got one interview right away, and one with another company soon after. One HR director said my resume (built on your tips and pointers) was one of the best he’s seen in 15 years, and asked if I’d used a resume-writing service to create it. I went into a second round of interviews with an offer already in-hand from the first company, used your interview guide to prep, and they were openly impressed with your magic question. I told them I had another offer already, and scarcely made it to the car before I had a request to take a call from their top management that evening!

The next morning I woke up to an offer that was higher than I requested, from a company that I respect, where I can use knowledge and skills I’ve worked hard to learn, and where I already feel appreciated. I put in my notice today, and my boss (or, I wish I was exaggerating, one of my *SIX* bosses) told me, ‘I keep reading about the Great Resignation but I can’t believe it’s happening to me!’ Hm. Go figure? Another of my many bosses has called and hung up on me 3 times. Just in case I wanted to rethink my situation, this makes my decision even easier.

I can’t thank you enough for your blog and all its resources, and for the wonderful comments that helped slowly lead me from ‘this isn’t ideal’ to ‘this isn’t right’ to ‘this is toxic and I deserve better!’ I am ready to make 2022 my year! Thank you from the bottom of my heart…and my wallet!”

{ 40 comments… read them below }

  1. Cards fan*

    The boss called you, and then hung up on you? THREE TIMES?! Yeah, good decision on your part.

    1. Icandothis....nope*

      Your boss isn’t by chance 15 and trying to work up the courage to talk to you?

    2. Anon for this*

      Was just coming here to say this. And if the OP needed a little reassurance that they were making the right decision….here you go!

    3. tamarack and fireweed*

      There are indeed a lot of flags that should make anyone take a hard look at whether there aren’t any better options for employment out there. LW3 lists quite a few of them. Maybe there should be a reference list.

  2. Tapdancearian*

    Oh my gosh. The boss hanging up on tou. Three times! What’s the phone equivalent of a ding-dong-ditch? Because that’s sort of it.

    That is… so immature, I’m honestly stunned.

    1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      Crank yanker?
      Ring ring run?
      Red flag waving for the vision impaired?

    2. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

      Nah, I was yelled at when I left toxic job. One guy said “you’ll be out of this business in three years! You wait and see! YOU’LL BE SORRY!”

      Yes I was – but he was off in his timing – by around 36 years.

  3. Observer*

    Another of my many bosses has called and hung up on me 3 times.

    I’m making like a fish right now. Just. . . Good move getting out of there!

    1. All Het Up About It*

      Same!! I can’t even believe it.

      Congrats to all the letter writers, but especially number 3!

  4. Ruth*

    Fantastic news all around! We all needed to read these happy endings this week. Congratulations.

  5. Momma Bear*

    I love that everyone is getting paid what they deserve. I didn’t negotiate my current salary, either. It was well above what I was asking and I knew the culture was regular merit raises vs having to beg. Sometimes looking around really does help you realize your overall value and encourage you to ask for what you deserve, be it at the current place or somewhere else.

    1. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

      I just accepted a job this week and didn’t negotiate either. It was more than I had put as my range and more than their original number when I talked to the recruiter. That and the bonus program and very good 401k match and PTO, there really wasn’t a need to negotiate. I was more than happy with the amount I was originally told, and they upped that by 5k!

    2. Cedrus Libani*

      Sometimes different places will give a wildly different value for what your skills are worth. Why not look for an employer who thinks people like you are pretty darn awesome and worth paying for?

      Had a lesson on that in my last job search. Two interviews, two days apart. On the first interview, when it came time to talk salary expectations, I opted to lay it out: “This position is too advanced for me right now. It’s the job I want to have in twenty years. I think I could muddle through, but I won’t be as fast or as good as the person you really want. That said, what you want is in extremely short supply, and they don’t pick up the phone for under $300K. Market for my level is around $100K. I’d take the job for $90K and accept getting paid in experience.”

      Got looked at like I’d asked for three firstborn children and a llama. Turned out they’d originally hired some kid straight out of college for $40K, and when that didn’t work, they had gone scrounging under the couch cushions to raise their maximum salary offer to $60K.

      Second interview. “I think market for my level is around $100K.” Hiring manager replies: “You already gave that number to HR, didn’t you? Don’t worry, I’ll fix it.” Offer came in at $128K. For a job that was at my actual skill level. I took it, and regret nothing.

  6. TiredAmoeba*

    Boss: Looks around at the chaos. I can’t imagine anyone leaving this wonderful place.

      1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

        They tried pulling that on me once. ONCE. I talked about my wife and daughter and said “THAT”S my family.”

        There’s a scene in the movie “For Love of The Game” – where the film’s protaginst, Detroit Tiger Billy Chapel, is helping a team mate and his family pack, because he just accepted an offer to play with the Yankees. Chapel says “what about the team?” to which the departing player responds by pointing to his wife and kids and saying = “THAT’S my team.”

        Don’t ever forget that. In the end it’s not about them. It’s about YOU.

  7. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

    Always negotiate salary! You may be very happy with the number they offered, but think how much happier you’d be with $5K or $10K more! (Sorry, my late father sometimes takes over my body and his words spill out through the keyboard.)

  8. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

    #1. They likely had a plan to give you what you deserved, but not until you brought it to their attention.

  9. Nopity Nope*

    I’m very happy that LW#1 got the pay raise (congrats!), but confess that this makes me livid: “My manager said that they were already aware my pay was not right.” What the actual f? What kind of manager/company sees a *$28K* pay discrepancy and just shrugs their shoulders? Why is the onus of ensuring pay equity on workers, especially women and poc, and especially when companies are so opaque about pay? The ripple effects of underpayment (salary-based raises and bonuses, 401(k) matching, etc.) are enormous, as well.

    I’m happy that AAM advocates for sharing salaries, and long for the day when no one has to *fight* to be fairly compensated for their work.

    1. fhqwhgads*

      Wedon’t know that they shrugged their shoulders. For all we know, they were doing a pay equity study, which is why they knew, and the adjustments were in the works anyway. Could certainly be they knew and wouldn’t do anything until someone pointed it out, but benefit of the doubt, could also have been in progress. My whole company just did a company wide assessment – hired an external consulting firm to do it – and anyone underpaid got a raise. This is completely independent of annual raises.

    2. tamarack and fireweed*

      Well… bureaucracy is a real thing. I’ve had a similar situation myself. When I got my first proper job in the corporate sector, I had been in a new-to-me country for just a few weeks, coming out of a phase of entrenched under-employment and had a few hundred £/$/€ to my name and in my pocket. I got a job offer at what sounded good *to me*, but it was in the “too much to qualify for housing assistance, but not enough to rent anything on the rental market without housemates” range. Not unusual for European cities at that time, or now for that matter. When I was made team lead, it came with a 25% jump, while everyone else had pretty much zero increases. Then I got another 20% jump a year later when the Managing Director was conducting pay review. Again, while COL adjustments or merit raises were in the 2-5% range.

      My guess is that the LW’s company, or at least her management chain, either has a formal pay review process or does it informally – but the employees that get flagged up still have to be filtered up through innumerable meetings for actual pay adjustments to happen. It does make it easier, though, for her manager to act when the employee herself asks for a raise: both sides already agree on the facts of the matter.

      (I do hope that even without her asking they’d have ended up by getting her a raise! And I, too, had to find my spine and start standing up for myself because even with my 33% combined raise within a year and a half I was, of course, STILL underpaid. Admittedly my qualifications and skills exceeded what they needed at the entry-level job that I started out on! My next job, after about 4 years at the company, was at more than double what I started with at the first place.)

  10. AstridInfinitum*

    This is LW2. I feel better that I’m not the only one who didn’t negotiate. I literally had to ask her to repeat herself when she named the salary because I was in absolute shock. And after conversations with my new boss, raises are a regular thing and not tied specifically to annual reviews, etc. It’s not just about the money, but not having to worry is making a huge difference.

    1. Chauncy Gardener*

      If the salary is that high and you know the band you should be within, what’s the point in negotiating? It sounds like your new company knows exactly what the correct (and market tested) salary bands are for their roles and they’re offering comp in conjunction with experience and role.

    2. Artemesia*

      I have a relative who has negotiated at most of her jobs, but the last one they offered a very nice salary and basically said — we try to make a fair offer and don’t negotiate about it — and it was a very fair offer and she was happy to take it as is.

      1. AnonMom*

        My last job offer’s HR team said the same thing, so I asked if my bonus percentage could be increased since the salary was firm. They said no, but they could bring the base salary up $5k. Ironically, this was more than the bonus increase I was asking for (and it means my bonus will be a higher dollar amount as well, since it is a percentage of my base salary).

  11. Be Gneiss*

    LW3 here (and I’ve always wanted to say that!!) and…yeah. My last 2 weeks there, I was reminded every day that I made the right choice. That same boss set aside ONE HOUR on my last day to learn my whole job. Honestly, I’m not even mad. The “natural consequences” she’s experiencing are all the just desserts I could ask for.
    I started my new job this week. I know it will take some time to learn what issues this company has, but the first week has been amazing. I showed up to a gift basket of like $200 of company swag (we want you to be proud to advertise that you work here), a detailed 7-week orientation schedule (we want to set you up to succeed), and have been welcomed and checked in on by people from every level of the company.
    I’m there to build and launch a training initiative, and there is buy-in at every level. Unprompted, enthusiastic comments about how great this will be. I know no company is perfect, but so far this seems 180 degrees from my last gig. Even just the fact that it seems to be run by functioning adults is a huge plus.

    But my inner high-schooler is seriously tempted to set up a Google voice number for a couple hang-up calls.

    1. Observer*

      I’m not even mad. The “natural consequences” she’s experiencing are all the just desserts I could ask for.


      Well, it’s certainly nice when you don’t even have to make any effort.

    2. Squirrel Nutkin*

      Congratulations, Be Gneiss! : ) I’m so happy for you and proud of you that you were able to take the leap to something better!!!

  12. Pugs for all*

    LW3 – I love how (one of) your bosses said they couldn’t believe the great resignation was happening to them – it’s not the great resignation- it’s the great reshuffling! Employees are moving on to better jobs and companies, not just sitting around eating bon boons. (That would be nice of course but I haven’t found that covers my mortgage).

    Congrats to you and the other LWs!

  13. Alan*

    It’s good to be reminded that there are good employers out there. I’ve always felt very well compensated and fairly treated, and I must not be alone because we have many employees that have been there for decades. Good companies are out there!

  14. pcake*

    LW 3, one of your many bosses saying ‘I keep reading about the Great Resignation but I can’t believe it’s happening to me!’ shows a stupendous lack of self-awareness, awareness of others or basic human decency. No halfway decent employer would expect people to work 7 days a week for weeks on end without offering some serious perks. Congrats on getting out of there!

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