it’s your Friday good news

It’s your Friday good news!

1.  “Sometimes bad news turns out to be good news.

A few years ago I applied for my ‘dream job’: more pay, exactly in the specialism I want to work in, and in a city I’d like to live in. But I went into the interview overconfident and underprepared, didn’t answer their questions well, and didn’t get the job.

Over the last few years I’ve occasionally thought about that role, imagining how different my life would have been if I’d got it. Then this weekend I met the person who did get the job. When I chatted with him about his role he said, ‘I do mostly and X and Y, and not Z.’

The thing he doesn’t do is my favorite part of my job! I would never have imagined that it wouldn’t have been a major part of this role too.

So I’ve spent four or five years regretting not getting a job, and suddenly realize I might have hated it if I had got it. When the interview panel decided I wasn’t the correct person for the role, they probably did me a favor by not placing me in a job where I wouldn’t have thrived.

For everyone else who has missed out on what they though was the perfect job, remember the reality might have been quite different – the bad news of not getting a job might be a blessing in disguise.”

2.  “I discovered AAM around 2016-2017 while I was working for an incredibly toxic company, always holding out hope that someday I’d break free and be able to share my own Friday good news with y’all, and it’s finally happened!

Some background, for context: I went to college for animation and had been working on and off in the industry as an artist for about eight years. During the pandemic, though, the amount of burnout I was seeing among my industry friends really made me start to reexamine whether I wanted to keep pushing exclusively for artistic positions.

I finally made the decision back in January to pivot from the creative side of animation to production, and on Monday, I started working full-time on a show with an absolute dream of a crew! Everyone I’ve met so far has been so welcoming and kind, and there’s a genuine understanding that the production side of the animation pipeline is a LOT of learning on the job; I’ve never once felt stupid for asking questions, or like I’m the load holding my team’s progress back because I’m not perfect.

I’m so excited to see where this new career path takes me, and I don’t think I would have gotten here without your killer advice. Thank you Alison (and the AAM Reader/Commenter Brigade)! <3”

3.  “I am a baby boomer. I spent several years active duty military, and then spent many years as a SAHM. I got an AA degree when my youngest was about to graduate from HS. Then a divorce and I started back in the work world in health billing related fields.

I did not exactly flourish but I managed for the most part. I changed jobs for a variety of reasons, most jobs lasted about 2 years. My last job was with customer service in a hospital finance office. The medical staff was amazing and kind, but the non medical staff was awful, there was bullying and gaslighting. If I needed something made more clear I was scolded for not remembering my training. I was told to dumb down my vocabulary. My supervisor made a big deal of it when I didn’t know if a transaction should be voided or cancelled. The gossip and backstabbing were rampant. It was a very toxic environment. I was fired at the start of the pandemic, which was relieving but scary. I had a temp job for a few months, and then I started the job search again. I was just not getting good results.

I decided to consider other industries. A financial institution was hiring for customer service staff, and I decided to try. I don’t like numbers and was not financially well educated but I felt like I had nothing to lose. It was the best gamble I’ve ever taken!

We have been remote for the pandemic, training is all done over Teams. Support is only a phone call away, and everyone is kind and patient. I love working from home. I got a new supervisor a few months ago, that is always tense, but the new supervisor is always helpful. He has been encouraging me to consider applying for other positions in the company. I haven’t been there a year yet. I got a bad QA, he reviewed it with me and discovered it was graded wrong, my score increased. A few weeks ago I had a rough call, the customer was angry and started using bad language, I warned him that I’d disconnect. The customer started to tell me about his right to ‘express himself’ and I did disconnect. I also might have said something inappropriate while the line was still live… I IM’d the team lead right away to warn him. He said, ‘If it is QA’d, don’t worry, I’ve got your back.’

I have had more raises and get more PTO and sick time in this job than I’ve ever had in the past. The training and support has been better. When I have been in the office they have free snacks and newspapers in the break room. At one time I was just hoping to work until I could qualify for Medicare and retire. Now I’m planning to stay as long as they’ll keep me, I can actually see working there until I ‘have’ to retire. Plus with the financial education I’ve gotten from working there, my financial picture has improved greatly.

I’m still amazed I’m working for a financial institution and enjoying it, but being open to change keeps you young.”

4.  “I just wanted to write to say thank you, your site has been invaluable for my career including successfully arguing for a major raise recently.

I’ve been with the same company since uni, progressing steadily, but my first manager was problematic in a way that is only visible once I started undoing the damage. Nothing dramatic just a long term failure to manage and a bit of a personality cult that excluded me while convincing me it was my own fault. No professional development or support. They were followed by a manager who was dismissive and unhelpful.

I came across your site in 2015 and it’s really helped me reset what a normal workplace should be and establish better professional relationships so I was doing well. Got promoted, etc. but just prior to Covid I realised because I had been with the company so long and started so low my compensation wasn’t anywhere near market rate. I took your advice and put aside the emotion, instead I put together a case not for a raise as such but just an adjustment of my remuneration to be more in line with market rate.

I outlined the company knowledge I had, the specialist technical knowledge, how my work load was consistently higher than others, etc. I asked them to consider what it would cost to replace me, and why I saw benefit in my staying. To my surprise my current manager agreed and we put together a plan.

Covid slowed things down as there was a company wide freeze in 2020 but I got a 5% bump last year with the promise that this was my managers focus, and I have now been told they’ve agreed to my case which means an additional $25,000 a year.

Im spending the next year saving and investing the extra but this means I will be able to start travelling more. I can save to reno my apartment. It’s a massive weight off.

I would have not been able to advocate for myself and keep my sanity without this site.”

{ 22 comments… read them below }

  1. Observer*

    Such a nice set of good news. Especially #3. It is SO great that you were able to move your customer service skills to a different industry and that you are flourishing.

  2. Linda Evangelista*

    Re: Post 1 – I didn’t get a job with an amazing company, only to get hired by them almost 5 years later, doing a job that’s WAY more relevant to my skills and interests! Sometimes getting passed over is good even if you can’t see it right away. :)

    1. Samesies*

      Same thing happened to me. I wanted to work for the specific company I work for now, and applied for at least three positions. Finally, the CEO called me up about a position that hadn’t even been posted and offered it to me! Now that I’m here, I realize I would have been TERRIBLE at those other positions! Glad I kept trying, as it’s been an amazing experience.

    2. A Pinch of Salt*

      Slightly different take–I was miserable in my current job and FINALLY, after years of job searching, got a job offer with a medical supply company…when I was 2 months pregnant. They only offered 6 weeks leave (and I wouldn’t be covered by FMLA). I turned it down, but was devastated and full of regret.

      A year later…COVID hit. I had read some bad reviews about their work/life balance. Imagine what that would have looked like in a pandemic, and with a 5 month old baby.

  3. OnetoFindTheGiraffe*

    OP #3, this is one of the best Good News posts I can remember! So delighted for you!

  4. Purple Penguin*

    About the post #1 – it’s so true! When we don’t get a job, it’s easy to assume “I screwed up the interview” but it’s just as likely that the interview went well enough that they could correctly determine that the job they were offering wasn’t the one you wanted. If they moved ahead with another candidate that was a better fit that’s not always bad news or the interviewee’s fault!

    1. top five???*

      And the idea that they were regretting an idealized version of the job is very important. I dropped out of my Ph.D. program ABD to get an industry job, and I spent a long time regretting that because I think I would have liked being a professor. But a grad student I recently met reminded me that I’m regretting my idealized version of life as a professor, but in reality the life of a Ph.D.-haver who wants to stay in academia is actually pretty hard these days.

    2. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

      I have been OP1. I applied for my “perfect job” didn’t get it. 2 yrs later I meet the person who did and she wanted MY job. We were in the same org, but different roles. Apparently her’s was great on “what if” and my job was, “so if happened, now what”. I love the fixing things mode more than the “what if” so, thanks hiring manager!

  5. stefanielaine*

    I can relate with #1 so much, except I’m the one who got the job! There was an organization that I had admired for my entire career and FINALLY, a position I was perfectly qualified for opened up. The job description was a dream: a mix of data analysis, policy analysis, and meaningful problem-solving. I gave up a job that I liked and moved to a new city for this job, which…turned out to be absolutely nothing like it was described. The culture was a nightmare and the job was almost entirely meeting-planning, and I spent my time reviewing catering invoices with hotel staff while the actual problem-solving was going on in the other room. I left after barely a year. It sort of paved the way for the position I’m in now which I love, but I’ll never call something a “dream job” again until I’m actually in it.

    1. Goldenrod*

      Yes, agreed! The whole “dream job” concept is inherently flawed, as Alison has pointed out before on AAM.

      OP #1, thanks for taking the time to share this, because it’s important for people to know! The reality is, you never really know what a job will truly be like until you work there. The people I know who really love their jobs (including me!) didn’t take a “dream job” at first…instead, they made an educated guess and a leap of faith, and the job they took evolved over time into something they loved. In some cases, this can take a few years! Things shift, bosses change, the job turns into something different but great. So it’s better to take “the next best step” than to stay paralyzed waiting for a dream job that may not appear.

      Also: CONGRATS to you all! Particularly those who escaped toxic environments – I’ve been there, and there is nothing like the joy of escaping a bad boss / workplace!!

    1. wendycoded*

      LW #2 OP here! [waves]
      I started in mid-April and cannot believe how much happier I am in production management than I ever was in storyboarding. :’D

  6. Rain's Small Hands*

    RE #1 – I was the person who got the job. It was an internal promotion and the guy who wanted the job and didn’t get it wasn’t a fan of mine to start with. It was a job that turned out to be a lot of program management – strategy, vendor relations, project management – with a small amount of systems architecture thrown in (I gave one of the engineers most of the high level systems architectures tasks, I took the “I know enough to get this on paper” stuff). He thought it would be a systems architecture role as its primary responsibility. It took about two years before he apologized, but give him credit, he did. He certainly DIDN’T want to do program management and create Powerpoints and negotiate strategy between the engineering team and the non-technical business.

  7. I'm just here for the cats!*

    #1 similar situation for me. I had applied for a position at the local tech college. I thought it would be great. It was a new role for the department and it would be dealing with incoming/prospective students, doing campus tours, but also doing more creative tasks like writing which is what I have my degree in. But if I had gotten that job I probably would have been laid off in 2020. Working in the same system (Im in the university but both tech and university are in the same state system) there are so many people who got laid off or had limited hours. And then later would have had to be business as usual with limited covid procedures. I am so thankful for the job I did get as I grew my skill set, can still be creative (although not as much writing as I would like) and we had WFH available for at least all of spring 2020.

  8. Courtney*

    For #2… that is my exact job! I don’t want to discourage you but the burnout is real in production as well and the learning on the job is a big reason for it. I hope you enjoy it though and have fun with the process, my first PM started as an animator and she loved the switch!

  9. Bookworm*

    Thanks once again to all the LWs for sharing! Especially #1. I’ve been in that spot so it’s good to know that sometimes what we think we want actually turned out to be not what we thought it would be.

  10. Kivrin*

    I’m excited to have Friday good news! I just completed my my first week at a new job in an entirely new sector and industry. I never thought I’d be able to leave nonprofit development, nor would I want to despite the stresses. After not receiving a significant raise I expected, I started looking seriously. In the end, a friend who knew what I did and my skills (I had encouraged her to apply for a role in my agency before she got her current job and she made it to a final interview with the CEO) asked me to apply at her new company for a 100% remote position.

    I got a $15k pay raise with opportunities for bonuses, am fully remote, and I feel like a weight has been lifted. My role is much narrower. It’s easier to leave it at the office when I close my laptop for the day. Before last week, I felt constantly like I was barely keeping my head above water with way too much on my plate and so much pressure on my department. And, this agency is in the field of child abuse intervention and counseling. There’s a lot of vicarious trauma. I was there 5 years, and at another nonprofit for 3 years before that one.

    I was feeling some guilt at leaving such important work behind but I need this for me. Focusing on myself and letting the stress go is my goal. And the raise is a huge win. Surprisingly, my benefits are not as good – i will say my agency was committed to a strong total compensation package that included 8 weeks paid parental leave, fully covered health insurance for the employee, and 24 PTO days plus 11 holidays. I don’t get as much PTO, have to pay some out of pocket monthly for health insurance, and don’t get paid parental leave but luckily that doesn’t impact me.

    It’s hard to judge work only a week in, but i am optimistic!

  11. Move it move it*

    #1’s experience is true in so many cases (including romantic relationships!)

    Congratulations to all 3 of this week’s Good Newsers!

  12. Alexis Rosay*

    I love reading about a supervisor who defends their staff against abusive customers. Thanks for sharing OP 3! And kudos to you for taking a chance on a new industry, I’m so glad it worked out.

  13. Me*

    For those of us not in the field, what is the difference between voiding and canceling a transaction? They sound like the same thing to me!

  14. Jonquil*

    LW3 this is one of the nicest Good New Friday letters I’ve seen on this site. Congratulations!

    It also goes to show that life is long, and so are careers, so just because you are doing one thing now, doesn’t mean you will be doing it forever.

  15. MAC*

    In the spring of 2018, I had been unemployed for ~6 months. I’d missed out on a couple of jobs that sounded pretty good, and then interviewed for what seemed an ideal role – great pay, terrific match with my experience and skills. The person retiring had been in the position 30-some years, which seemed to indicate it was a good culture.
    I was not offered the job. I was SUPER bummed. I eventually found a decent position, albeit for lower pay and seemingly higher workload/stress. And then came 2020 and COVID. The organization that didn’t hire me (as their public-facing spokesperson) has been embroiled in one highly-publicized pandemic-related controversy after another for 2 straight years. I have offered up my thanks nearly daily that I didn’t end up there.
    Epilogue – 6 months ago I left the low pay/high stress “butts in seats” position for a 67% salary increase and less than half the workload, working primarily from home. There are happy endings!

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