it’s your Friday good news

It’s your Friday good news!

1.  “I’m a long time reader and recently saw a Good News Friday submission where a reader mentioned avoiding those posts because they felt like those types of success stories were unattainable for them and realized that I was having that exact feeling-but now I have good news! I’d been working for a conservative organization whose values clash wildly with my own, in a field that’s already notorious for being underpaid, overworked and on the front lines of public discourse. The nature of the job meant I had to plan my exit fairly early, and my early job hunt was really discouraging. I re-read all the articles on your blog about resume and cover letter writing and did a ton of work on my materials to condense and showcase results. Last week, I got an interview for a position that would let me do the part of my job I find the most interesting and rewarding. After two interviews, tons of prep and rereading your interview guide, I got a job offer! I’m looking at a nearly 30% raise, good benefits, and I finally get to work for an organization whose mission and values don’t make me cringe. I get to mostly work from home, they take COVID precautions seriously-plus, we lined up the dates so I get my first multi-week break from work in a long time. I’m honestly in disbelief that this is all happening. Thank you, Alison, for all your practical and excellent advice! ”

2.  “I wondered if I’d ever be able to contribute good news, and now I can!

I started reading AAM, both new posts and archives, during an awful, crisis-filled time in my life, as an engaging replacement for parts of the Internet that I was trying to keep myself away from. The last few years have been hard, as I’ve dealt with sexual and physical assault among other things, while working in a high-stress field that was made more high-stress by the pandemic. I mostly liked my job and I like my organization, but I knew I didn’t want to be in that job forever.

I’ve accepted a new and prestigious position that combines some skills I have that are not often combined. It’s a great fit for my rather unusual background and range of skills, and it will be a 55% pay increase! There were a lot of applicants, and the resume and cover letter advice that I found on AAM was helpful in getting to the interview stage! I am autistic and diagnosed with severe social anxiety disorder, so it was also really helpful to read the posts about how to give notice – not only to find good wording and good etiquette rules, but for the reassurance that I wasn’t the only one out there who has ever been anxious about giving notice. When I did give notice, it went very well. I appreciate this site.”

3.  “I’ve been at an office job for a little over 2 years, having moved to a new city and not being able to find something that was in my desired field (education). I’ve been feeling burnt out and unmotivated, missing working with children and doing what I love.

A few months ago, I started looking for a school-related job. I used your advice to update my resume and cover letters, and I ended up actually hearing back from a number of places. I was able to secure a part time contract gig at a local theatre arts center (something I have experience with and LOVE), which helped me while I interviewed. I figured that even a small part time gig would help balance my day job with my passion.

But I got two offers (from the first two interviews!!), and I ended up taking an offer to work at a school full time, and for more money than I expected! I am working my notice period right now, and I start at the school in January! I am so excited, and I know that reading AAM for advice on resumes and interviews helped me immensely. I recommend your website to so many people, and they find it valuable and highly entertaining. Thank you!”

4.  “Three years ago, this time of year, I was a new widow facing the reality of needing to re enter the job force, after a long break to stay home and raise children. I vividly remember whining to a friend, ‘I’m just a housewife, I don’t know how to do anything!’ I did start job hunting, got a small temp hospitality job, applied for some better things, and got super close to a job offer, when the pandemic began and my close to a job offers all disappeared in a flash.

When things settled down a bit, I started looking again, and eventually landed what was initially a quite small job – 16 hours of office admin a week – but I figured I could do that for 6 months to a year and use it to move to something better. But two surprising things happened. First, I’d accidentally stumbled into a niche sector – economic development – that I’d known virtually nothing about when I started the job. My boss made a point of coming to me after meetings and asking about what I’d understood and where I’d gotten lost and filling in gaps; a crash course in regional economic development. The more I learned, the more I felt like Dorothy discovering the man behind the curtain, the man pulling all the levers and pulleys. It was that aha! moment of discovering how real world economic systems work and why communities develop the ways that they do. Within a few months, I’d fallen in love with economic development and became certain this was the sector I wanted to reinvent myself in. Second, the organization started growing. My boss was hired as an office of one, he hired me and three other staff, then we started hiring more staff. Today, two years later, there’s about a dozen of us, and we’re leading or planning multiple major housing and infrastructure projects. It’s all very exciting.

But I’ve been sitting in no man’s land stuck at 30 hours a week for well over a year now, and having grown flight feathers, I have more clarity about what I want to do moving forward. So a couple months ago, I applied for a role at an economic development corporation in a nearby big city. I have the minimum experience and education for the role, but because my current role evolved into such a ‘wears many hats’ situation, I have skills and abilities well in excess of what the EDC is looking for. Relating to my ‘flight feathers,’ my current organization works regionally. We have more than a dozen member counties, and we primarily work with their county and city governments on projects that support creating, retaining, and attracting high skill, high pay jobs. At the moment, that means we’re doing a lot of extremely necessary, unsexy, not visible broadband and infrastructure work. EDC’s are local city/county organizations. They work very local. You drive through the communities they work in, and you see the new and thriving businesses that arrive, or grow out of the communities. I applied for this EDC role for that reason – to see the results of the work the organization does. I got the sense pretty early in the interview process that I was a front runner and sure enough, this week, I got an offer call, shortly followed by an offer letter in my email. I am thrilled to death. This is a ‘real’ professional job: Salaried, a package of benefits that warms the cockles of my newly middle age heart, and a starting salary that acknowledges all of the amazingly hard professional and personal hard work (god, the hours of therapy . . . . !) I’ve put in over the past three years. My starting salary is slightly more than double what I make now, I’ll be in a busy, fast paced office that will challenge me just enough without being too much, and I’m going to gain even more skills in the next few years. Perhaps even more importantly, I can take care of my children on my salary, without being dependent on the survivor benefits they get.

The friend who witnessed the ‘just a housewife’ comment has delighted in reminding me of that moment. It’s become an inside joke over the last three years.

I’m leaving my current office on good terms (and in fact know that my boss gave me a stellar reference, although of course I don’t know details). I’m a little heartbroken to stop working in a community I absolutely adore, but I’m only going to be an hour up the road, and I have a 5 to 8 year plan to come back south when I’m ready for the next step.”

{ 33 comments… read them below }

  1. Good News #4*

    I’ve been at NewJob for a few weeks now and it is indeed as good of a job as I thought it would be from the interviews and offer conversation! Even more important, the leadership team is absolutely thrilled to have me in the office and doing well. It’s as supportive and encouraging as a work environment can possibly be without becoming saccharine.

    1. TG*

      Your letter made not just my day but my week – amazing!! I know it’s a totally different situation losing a spouse and mine was a divorce, but I worried if I had what it took to support my child and I alone – and I’m so proud of myself years later that I do! You should be even more proud of how you are taking care of your three kids and yourself after navigating a loss like that – you deserve a big party in my eyes and know how truly heroic you are getting yourself to this place in your life

      1. OyHiOh*

        I have friends who have been through loss of a spouse, and friends who have divorced, and a friend who has gone through both – they’re all flavors of grief and loss and U-turns in plans and expectations. I’ve seen some people in grief groups play the suffering olympics but loss is loss and no matter what type, it turns your world upside down.

        This internet stranger is proud of you too!

    2. All Het Up About It*

      I’m so excited for you! I’m excited for all of this week’s posters, but your story especially hit me in the feels.

    3. Gigi*

      I’m tearing up a little bit. This is so amazing! I’m so happy for you, Awesome Stranger!

    4. Sharon*

      GN 4 – This is the best piece of news ever, I think. This internet stranger is grinning ear to ear for you! I’ve been “just a housewife” and I know how hard that transition is. You did it!

    5. Meowsy*

      I could not be happier for you!! My graduate work is in community development and while I’m taking a nontraditional approach to applying it, I feel many many warm feels toward people who love this field like I do. Keep doing the good work!!

      1. Good News #4*

        I wound up here through a wild combination of community participation (board service and similar), and jobs in hospitality and culture non profits. I have, in all seriousness, used the famous King Leopold quote that begins “beware of the artists for the mix in all classes of society” as part of my introduction to economic development people because my background communicating and drawing ideas from all sorts of groups of people is much more of a strength than I ever thought when I was wailing about being just a housewife.

        Depending on how the next 12 months or so develop, I may step sideways towards community development over straight up ED (this can be very sales-y sometimes, which is not my cup of tea at all) but we’ll see how I progress here!

  2. Observer*

    I love this feature.

    #4 just gets to me in a good way! You sound like you got lucky, but that you also really, really took appropriate advantage of the good stuff that came your way! I am really happy for your success and happiness.

    1. Good News #4*

      Lucky = started reading AAM years ago, and a ton of therapy, TBH. Also the privilege of having family who could help during the worst of pandemic 2020.

  3. Murfle*

    OP 4, I am SO happy for you. My mom was widowed in her 40s and while she had a salaried job at the time, I know it was a huge blow to her. I’m so glad, having been in a mirrored experience of yours, that you have been able to grow and thrive!

    1. Good News #4*

      Women who are widowed have to cope with enormous economic impacts, even if they are comfortable, salaried professionals when it happens. For most, it takes about 5 years to stabilize social-emotionally, and a decade or longer to stabilize economically.

      Realistically, I probably won’t ever be able to retire. Between taking far too long of a gap to raise children (fueled by mental health issues to be honest) and experiencing the loss of a life partner, the deck is well stacked against ever being able to not work.

      1. Jean (just Jean)*

        TL;DR: Go you! Three cheers and thanks for inspiring the rest of us!!

        Longer version: Please don’t berate yourself for having made your best possible decision(s) at the time. I’m sure your entire family, including you, benefitted from your ability to be so present in their lives when you were a stay-at-home parent. It’s not always easy to contain the stress that inevitably arises at least occasionally when both parents are employed and family needs collide with workplace obligations.

        Do credit yourself for all your hard work (meaning hours of therapy, and self-reflection away from the therapist’s office or Zoom meeting) that got you to this point! You give hope to all of us whose quake at our present circumstances. If you can meet your challenges, we can, too.

        Enjoy your new job.

  4. New SAHM*

    As someone who is about to embark on being a stay at home mom (my last day of a job I love is next week), the last letter is such an encouragement. Thank you to that letter writer for writing in and best of luck with your new job!

    1. Good News #4*

      If you find yourself experiencing mental health impacts, please treat them sooner rather than later! (If post partum depression or other impacts are likely to develop in your SAHM phase.) I stayed out of the workforce a decade too long in part because of depression and anxiety I waited far too long to treat.

  5. A Pound of Obscure*

    Friday Good News updates are always great, but I love #4’s letter so much! Congratulations to every one of you. :)

  6. Good News #2*

    My update since I first emailed Alison is that I’m enjoying the new job a lot so far, and while it’s hard to assess such a thing early on, so far it seems like by far the best fit a job I’ve had has ever been for me. :)

  7. Mac*

    Every single one of these letters thrilled me to pieces. Big congrats to you all, and thank you for sharing! I also don’t always feel up to reading the Good News, but I’m so glad I did this week– cheered me right up.

  8. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

    I love all the good news updates, but I especially like the “flight feathers” metaphor. Thanks! I’ll use that in the future!

    1. Good News #4*

      I live in an area where a lot of osprey families come to nest every year. The babies usually hatch in June, and they take to the skies generally towards the end of August. A few times, I’ve been around the first time the babies take to the skies, shrieking their baby heads off in terror and delight. Gaining that ability to fly isn’t easy and can feel downright terrifying, but the rewards of getting there – !

      1. Pidgeot*

        Sometimes I think it’s good to remember that growth isn’t supposed to be comfortable. You are a remarkable person, to come through the loss you’ve suffered with the strength to continue on – we are all cheering you on as you gain your flight feathers – it won’t be comfortable, but it will be a gain in the end. And may you find a happy place to land that is meaningful to the life you are building.

      2. buddleia*

        I love that you were inspired by the Osprey babies! Thank you for sending in your story. Huge congrats for all your success and stumbling into something that lit a fire in your belly. :)

  9. Bookworm*

    Thank you once again to all the LWs for sharing their awesome news!! It’s so nice to read.

  10. FanficWriter*

    Congrats to all LWs this week! Fantastic work by all of you. Savor this success.

  11. Numbat*

    I’ve wondered what would happen if all the “housewives” and stay at home parents and such put these rules proudly on their resumes. I wish it was a thing! Being a Mum means I have to plan, budget, manage, cope with change, be emotionally intelligent, deal with stakeholders (in-laws, mothers group, midwives), schedule appointments, be a fast learner, adjust strategies in a changing environment, communicate, etc. etc. etc. I suspect I’d be laughed at but I’d really love to try…

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