it’s your Friday good news

It’s your Friday good news!

1.  “I have worked in the same role for 3 years, on a two-person team: just me and my supervisor. Our working relationship was decent at first, but during the summer of 2020 my boss started treating me terribly, likely due to the stress we were all under working in an essential service. He berated me for being one minute late (literally) to a virtual one-on-one meeting, told me a report with a few minor typos was “the worst he’d ever seen,” and yelled at me for doing a formula calculation the way that he taught me and then claimed he had not taught me to do it that way. I later learned that he had been investigated by HR twice before for abusive behavior towards other employees. To my grandboss’s credit, when I came to her with my concerns, she took it seriously, had a serious talk with my boss, and his behavior improved considerably for over a year. Then recently — it seems to correlate with times of great personal stress in his life — the same behaviors started to crop up again. Even though I loved my job and the rest of my team, I decided to start job hunting.

I know this is an enviable problem to have, but it turns out I was overpaid for the role I had in the city I was in. This made job hunting difficult — most lateral transfers would mean a significant pay cut, and I lacked one of the certifications that is strongly preferred when promoting someone to a senior position. I felt so stuck. After I returned to work from a month-long hiatus due to being hospitalized with Covid complications, he spent our first meeting back together berating me for the amount of time I had spent on a previous project. After that meeting, where I had to ask for a brief break so I could go into the other room to cry, my wife and I decided to expand my job search to the rest of the country.

I applied for a dream position in a city I had never been to, not even sure they would consider out of state applicants. After three interviews, I was confident that we were a great match but was definitely concerned about what salary they would be offering. I practiced salary negotiations with my therapist more than once! Finally, one day I got a call from HR at the new position, who very apologetically told me the best salary she could offer me was … a $30,000 raise!

This is going to be life changing for my family, and we can’t wait to move on to a new place. I hope that my former supervisor will do well with his next employee, but it’s also possible that my current shop will finally realize that he should not be managing anyone. Either way, soon it will no longer be my problem. ”

2.  “The last couple of years have been incredibly hard for me and things have finally been looking up and I wanted to share.

Most of the 2010s had been a bit of a lost time for me. I started grad school for my masters at 28 in a totally different field and absolutely rocked it … until all I had left was my thesis and I experienced the longest and deepest depression of my life. I faded away from my program and the only thing I had was volunteering at a local museum (related to my field of choice).

We all know how 2020 started for everyone, but it included my spouse being laid off from their job, then my marriage falling apart around July. Then my brother died by suicide on his birthday in early September, followed by my spouse and I having to put our 15 year old dog to sleep just two weeks later. Then my parents’ dog a couple of months after that.

But through all of that, I managed to contact my grad school advisor and get an extension and actually complete my thesis by December and get an A. I officially got my masters in April 2021 and started a museum internship that summer along with another part time job. After the internship was finished, I got a part-time position at the museum.

2022 has seen me officially divorced and with my newfound freedom, I also experienced the joy of getting a full-time position at the same museum I love! I finally have PTO and health insurance and retirement plans to contribute to again. I also have coworkers who are a joy to work with and former coworkers who cried when I left.

I have to thank you for your book “How to Get a Job” because holy crap, your cover letter advice IS FIRE. Compared to applications before my field change, my response rate was incredible.

I feel like I have a whole new life ahead of me and you helped make it possible. Thank you so much, Alison!”

3.  “I am a soon-to-be-former higher education professional, and I’ve been working for months to break into the HR field. After several months of working and reworking my resume, networking my butt off, and interviewing for multiple positions, I have finally landed a job at an almost 50% salary increase, and fully remote! All of your resources helped me, but this one helped me clinch my offer. I had another offer that I was semi-excited about, and the advice offered in that column helped me secure an offer from my first choice company. It was a risk, but I had gotten a lot of positive feedback up until that point and I correctly judged that I could secure an offer from my first choice company by letting them know about the other offer. I would have never thought to use this method without AAM (and literally all of the caution points you outline absolutely apply) but I couldn’t be more grateful for everything you’ve given me, and the wisdom to know when to deploy a method like that one. ”

4. “Your blog was a lifeline for me in my 11 month search for a new job. My last workplace was almost entirely a negative experience for me the whole 7 years. Even though the job wasn’t professionally or physically demanding, I didn’t feel like I could trust anyone or could be authentically myself and I experienced a lot of mental health struggles. I never felt that they valued, respected, or even liked me. It became clear to me after years of working hard and asking how I could earn a promotion, being told that wasn’t something that could happen, and then out of the blue seeing my teammate be promoted above me with no explanation or heads-up by my manager, that it was time to take my job hunt seriously. Upon reflection, I understand now how my childhood trauma patterns were affecting me and keeping me there. I didn’t know there was better for me out there, and didn’t know how to get it. The pandemic showed me I preferred working remotely, and through copious amounts of research I figured out I wanted to work in tech ($$$, remote, and I have always liked tech) and what kind of a company culture I was looking for (kind, respectful, flexible, authentic).

So.. that 11-month hunt was especially brutal but I’m so proud of myself for picking myself each time and continuing on. My self esteem and confidence in my work was at an all time low at the beginning of the hunt (being in a dysfunctional workplace can do that to ya!) but interviewing built me back up again. I learned SO MANY valuable lessons and even though I cried a lot, I’m grateful for that time.

Even after all of that hunting, I was recruited for my new role through LinkedIn by an in-house recruiter. I paid close attention to what was being said and done in the interviews. I think you also tend to adopt a ‘be yourself, do your best, don’t care too much’ attitude after that many months of interviewing that can attract the right folks. Everyone I talked with was very kind and very authentic. It felt right from the start. I received a 56% base compensation increase (amazing!!! but I was also being underpaid), fully remote job at a small tech company. I’ve been here 4 months and just got back from a team off-site. It feels wild to say after all these years of negativity but… I genuinely like my job and my coworkers. We all communicate effectively and work well together. The leadership is transparent and I feel respected, valued, and supported. I finally feel like I’m fitting my job into my life, rather than building my life around my job and it feels AMAZING. Who knows what the future holds but I am feeling optimistic and never knew it could be this good!”

{ 18 comments… read them below }

  1. learnedthehardway*

    I’m so glad to see that so many people have found they don’t need to put up with toxic managers or company cultures. Kudos to Allison – please know that you are making a real difference in the overall health of company cultures and mental health of workers everywhere!!

  2. NotMy(Fancy)RealName*

    Depression in grad school is so pervasive – especially during the thesis/dissertation stage. I’m glad you were able to work it out!

    1. Artemesia*

      This. Bosses like this who don’t act when their subordinate managers abuse person after person deserve to be left with that abusive manager and no one else. I am thrilled for #1. Nice going.

  3. Penny Hartz*

    Holy carp, I could have written the first paragraph of update #4! This is where I am right now, and I’ve just started job hunting because I AM DONE WITH THIS PLACE. I’m glad you got out LW#4 and have my fingers crossed that I’ll be somewhere else soon.

    1. LW #4*

      I understand being totally DONE with a workplace that feels so suffocating. I wish nothing but the best for you on your job search journey! There is an org out there waiting for you specifically. I hope you get everything you want and even more than that in your next role! In the meantime I hope you experience plenty of peaceful, loving, creative, and fun moments with your favorite people/pets. You deserve joy.

  4. Jessica*

    Wow #2, you’ve been through a lot of heartbreaking times. So glad you are full of hope and have a good new life. Very best wishes for everything!!!

    1. LW2 (Andraste's Knicker Weasels)*

      Thank you! I’m so much happier now and even got back from a great trip to Montreal, spending time with friends. I also got to see my favorite band of all time. I had wanted to go with my brother,so I had him in my heart with me. :)

      This weekend is the second anniversary of my brother’s passing. It feels like no time at all and like decades simultaneously.

      1. Rufus Bumblesplat*

        I’m sending you a big virtual hug, LW2.

        I also lost a brother to suicide on his birthday. It’s been 7 years and I completely agree with the feeling of it being eons and yet no time at all. You have my sympathies.

  5. Goldenrod*

    Those of you who shared about escaping abusive workplaces – these types of stories always warm my heart the most and I am soooooo happy that you successfully changed your situations!!

    And LW #2 – You actually deserve some kind of award for completing your thesis and getting an A – after that giant sh*t sandwich life served you!! That is beyond impressive, and I don’t know how on earth you did that, but clearly you have an inner resilience that is….phenomenal. I’m speechless, really.

    Congrats, all!!! :)

  6. 2 Cents*

    #1 congratulations on your job hunt! I live in a vhcol area, so i just caution that even though I outearn most of my college friends on paper, it definitely doesn’t go as far (plus the government thinks I’m rich! Lol).

  7. Johannes Bols*

    Viz. the abusive boss. Since it happened before and the ‘chapter’ was closed. The INSTANT it started again, I would’ve said IN WRITING and copied your boss’s boss: “Our exchange Friday afternoon at 1740 needs to be address. You berated me for completing a task exactly the way you wished for it to be completed. This is workplace abuse. You must stop this now. I will only discuss this in the presence of Grandboss Name Here.
    I gave you an opportunity to resolve your problem with negativity and directing it at me. I have no intention of another grace period.
    Respectfully yours,
    My husband throws a mean left punch.”

  8. just another queer reader*

    Extremely low stakes question, but maybe someone here knows the answer!

    When I use my corporate card, why does it take three days for the expense to show up in the company’s expense tracking system (Concur)? It seems like it should be nearly instant!

Comments are closed.