it’s your Friday good news

It’s your Friday good news!

1.  “I have a Friday Good News entry from a friend, who agreed I can share her story with the AAM readership:

A little while back, my friend successfully interviewed at and received an offer from a company she’s very excited about! Yet after she accepted the offer and before she started her new job, she met another new hire at that company, and during their conversation, my friend found out that this new hire had received a significantly larger hiring bonus than my friend did. The difference was way too substantial for her to feel comfortable leaving money on the table, but she knew it could be awkward to resume negotiations after accepting an offer.

Together with another one of our friends, we crafted a script for her to use when calling the hiring manager. I was especially inspired by the advice you often give on tone in difficult conversations: to act like this is clearly just a misunderstanding that everyone wants to rectify. My friend called the hiring manager and explained that after hearing more about the company’s bonus practices while chatting to some colleagues, she realized that the hiring bonus she had been offered didn’t line up with those practices, and so she hoped that the company could increase her bonus.

It turned out that it had in fact been a misunderstanding that the company wanted to rectify! Their hiring bonuses were based on hitting certain milestones/recognitions in the field, and the company had thought my friend had only one of these recognitions, when in fact she had two. The company upped her bonus accordingly, and the hiring manager thanked her for bringing the discrepancy to his attention, especially since he recognized that it wasn’t the easiest ask for a new hire to make. It’s a happy example of when negotiations can go very right (even after you’ve accepted the job offer) and how sometimes, the issue really is a mistake that can be fixed once you bring it up. And of course, I’m very happy for and proud of my friend, and hope this is a sign the company will keep respecting her work and expertise!”

2.  “A couple months ago I wrote to you about declining an offer based on culture fit (I did, and used your script basically verbatim). I ended up declining an offer from another company a couple weeks later on the same basis.

While I felt empowered by controlling my career path rather than just taking the first offer that came along, I was also nervous. I’ve been aggressively applying and interviewing for my next role since January 2021 and spoke with some 30 companies. I ran the math and I’ve spent far north of 100 hours interviewing in the past year, not including prep time and phone calls that didn’t appear on my calendar.

June brought absolute silence on the job front, but early this month a recruiter reached out about my application for a role 15 minutes away from home with a very flexible hybrid work arrangement and a role that returns me to doing the kind of work I enjoy doing after a year of grinding out a very frustrating and operational workload. I interviewed with the hiring manager and the person I’d report to on consecutive days last week and received an offer letter on Tuesday. The salary was above their posted range but fell about 15 percent below what I was hoping for, and PTO was very short of my current company’s unlimited vacation policy, but thanks to your great advice about negotiations I was able to secure a small bump and an extra week of vacation time!

I gleefully accepted the revised offer right after they sent it over, and gave my notice to my current (wonderful) manager about five minutes later. I’m sad to be leaving my current company, which aligns with one of my outside-work-hours hobbies, but I’m thrilled to be earning market rates and for the opportunity to challenge myself in a different industry.

Every week I read the Friday good news posts and see someone saying ‘hang in there, the right job will find you!’ and always kinda felt like it was a gut punch, but it really is true. Thanks to you and the commentariat for the endless wellspring of good advice and insane office stories.”

3.  “I took a long time to complete my undergrad (think 10 years), due to a combination of mental health, changing degrees partway through, and studying part time due to working. It’s been a long road, but after a few big breakthroughs with my health, I finally finished last year and had my graduation ceremony in May. I’ve had part time and temp roles in adjacent fields for the past few years, which has been invaluable for building up experience, but hasn’t provided much job security.

But just this week, I’ve started a pretty much ideal early career role in my field! It’s been amazing working with people who share my values and passions, and I’m really excited to settle into this role and focus on growing my skills. It also makes it feel like all of the struggles and challenges of the last decade were at least, if not worth it, then at least leading me somewhere I’m excited to be.”

4.  “Your blog has been such an incredible resource for me – I’m early into my career and in a completely different field from what I went to school for, so most of the time I feel like I’m winging it.

I knew the company I was working at was dysfunctional for a while, but when the pandemic started I was scared to start looking until May of this year. I finally realized things were never going to change where I was, and I started applying elsewhere – and I found a new job! I used your resources for interviews (of course used the magic question) and breezed through three rounds of interviews in two weeks. I will now be making $20k more than I was (!!!) and I will be moving back to my hometown to work for a company I’m very excited about.

I really don’t think I would have had the confidence in myself to make this move if it weren’t for your blog. Thank you!!! I start my new job in two weeks and I couldn’t be more excited.”

Read an update to this letter

{ 14 comments… read them below }

  1. tennisfan*

    The first story is very heartening! I hope the company has a takeaway that if hiring bonuses are tied to milestones/recognitions, they should triple check those, whether confirming with the candidate, their references, etc. The OP would have never known to ask if it weren’t for a spontaneous conversation with another new hire. Though three cheers for continued open conversations with colleagues about compensation.

    1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      That was so great to read. I am really happy OP’s friend allowed her to share.
      I agree with you that the offer letter should include a checklist type explanation, “signing bonus $X based on meeting the following # of # of criteria.”
      Then candidate can reply, “I actually have one more.

  2. ZSD*

    Many congratulations, #3! I’m so glad your perseverance has paid off!

    And story #1 is delightful and inspiring!

  3. Emily Dickinson*

    #3 – I love stories like yours. I am preparing to apply to go back to school and finish an undergrad after health issues prevented me from being able to complete a different subject years ago. I’m already in an entry level role in my chosen field, but am going to need an undergrad to be a viable candidate at most other companies.

    1. Rain's Small Hands*

      My youngest, if on schedule, would have graduated last year – but is taking an extra two. There were mental health issues to start with, neurodiversity, Covid hit hard (their brand of neurodivergence made virtual classwork nearly impossible) and then being in quarantine meant that their support network became just their roommates – and their roommates turned out to be abusive – including what my youngest says was Munchausen’s by Proxy turning garden variety low grade anxiety and depression into something MUCH bigger and trying to separate them from the support of their parents. (I have garden variety depression and anxiety myself – it isn’t psychosis and usually doesn’t involve inpatient treatment and anti psychotics that harm your heart).

      Its been a long six months, but they are back home, found new friends, and restarting at a new university. And lost the SIXTY POUNDS that the heavy duty antipsychotics they ended up on due to their roommates insistence that something was “very wrong” helped them put on.

      Best wishes to you Emily.

  4. Mr. Bob Dobalina*

    #1: In the interest of presenting a balanced view here, not all companies would have responded this way, but that is great for OP’s friend. In my industry, signing bonuses are highly variable and not at all standard, and in the companies that I have worked in, many new hires don’t get any signing bonus. (I have access to this info.) In my experience, desirable candidates for critical positions are more likely to get signing bonus. High level positions are also more likely to get signing bonuses. The strategy that OP describes would probably not work at any of my prior or current employers, but I assume this is very industry dependent.

  5. Anon (and on and on)*

    LW3, congratulations!!! It took me 9 years total to get my undergrad due to mental health issues that the field of psychology didn’t have great tools to treat at the time. Since then, I’ve gotten my masters, a career I’m passionate about, and a job… at a prestigious university that wouldn’t have admitted me as a student in a million years!! Ha! Mental health is definitely still a struggle but I’m steering the ship these days. Good for you for sticking with it!

  6. Dust Bunny*

    Vicarious good news: I posted on Open Friday a couple of months ago about what advice to give a new college grad. Our friend got a job as a receptionist, with the potential to be trained and moved up, at a law firm. She loved it . . . but it turned out the lawyer wasn’t good at running his own business and had to lay her off (and cut everyone else’s hours).

    I told her to call them and ask if they would give her good references, and they said they would.

    She starts Monday at a different, bigger, law firm, as a case manager, for $3 more an hour (with benefits). They’ll offer tuition assistance if she wants to become a paralegal or go to law school. They also want her second language and, because of the specific kind of law, her STEM degree. Plus, the commute is against rush hour to a smaller town.

  7. Bookworm*

    Another long week, so seeing these good news posts are always great. Thanks to all who shared.

    1. Ann Ominous*

      I hope your weeks get increasingly filled with the things you want to experience and less of the things you don’t.

  8. Pam Adams*

    LW #3- my job is encouraging students like you to complete degrees! I’m always happy to see my students succeed.

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