it’s your Friday good news

It’s your Friday good news!

1.  “I’ve had a full-time career for about 13 years, working different jobs in that time, and working my way up in terms of knowledge/title/pay. My most recent job wasn’t the best company or the most challenging job, but the pay was great for what I was doing, I was given a lot of autonomy, and I loved my coworkers. During the pandemic, my husband made a career change and we decided to move 1.5 hours away. My company notoriously does not allow remote work. However, I asked my manager Stacy if there was any chance I could have a hybrid schedule to alleviate the long commute. The head of a different department, Mark, called me one night to tell me he was part of the decision-making meeting regarding my hybrid schedule, and that Stacy and the CEO decided to let me go instead of accommodating my schedule. However, Mark felt I was valuable so he was allowed to “promote” me to his department on a hybrid commuting schedule (that’s the short version — I’m leaving out many details here for the sake of brevity). I put the word “promotion” in quotes, as Mark made it clear this would be a lateral move, financially speaking. I did not want this position, as it would mean doing a job I didn’t enjoy, as well as working for Mark who was known to be verbally abusive, had unpredictable blowouts, made fun of “snowflakes” for wanting flexibility, had lost 15 direct reports in 4 years, and idolized a certain businessman-turned-politician with a bad combover.

Due to personal circumstances, my hands were tied and I had to accept the role. I ended up working for Mark for 2 years, hiring and managing 2 direct reports and accomplishing more than I expected despite the challenges. I did not want to continue here but thought a raise might provide some longevity, as Mark made constant public overtures about how valuable I was and how he wanted to “pay me my worth” now that I’d proven myself. I was also given tons of praise from ownership, had great reviews, and a great rapport with my coworkers and direct reports. In a 6 pm phone call (common on his drive home), Mark promised me a raise to six figures but in the end I was denied any type of raise. He also seemed to forget our phone conversation. He said that 2 years in the role was not long enough to convince ownership to pay me more, and we would have to wait at least another 6 months before we could revisit the issue. That was the day I knew I’d need to leave.

Deciding where to go from there was a challenge. I no longer wanted to be in my current field, but that seemed to be all my resume reflected so I continued to apply to jobs in the same field. I had many fantastic interviews and having a solid job really went a long way in giving me the strength to ask the hard questions and decline offers when they came my way. I’ve NEVER felt that kind of power before while job-hunting, and reading AAM went a long way in helping me know what questions to ask and what red flags to look for. I also had a past habit of taking the first opportunity presented to me, which often led to being in toxic work environments, and I promised myself I wouldn’t make the same mistake this time. On open thread days here at AAM, I often went into the comments to pick people’s brains on what types of roles might be a good fit for someone with my strengths. “Project Manager” came up a lot, and before I could even apply to any PM roles, a former coworker messaged me to say that their company was looking to hire a PM with my specific background. I had 2 interviews, was offered the position, and I accepted! This position is fully remote with a slight bump in pay from my last job, but most importantly, I feel valued, I am constantly praised for my work, and I know that I can do so many great things here. The company is very strict about making sure reviews and raises take place, and they consistently promote their employees. This organization is exactly the type of company that so many employees are looking for right now. One that holds true to their promises, and is always trying to improve the employee experience. I’ve never been part of such an employee-centric organization and I am thrilled to have been given this opportunity!

Mark…did not take my resignation well. He had an actual tantrum, red-faced, yelling, throwing things, but that’s a story for another day! Thank you to Alison and the AAM commentariat for helping me learn so much over the last few years!”

2.  “In April I saw an opening posted for a brand new department in my company. Under the office of the CEO they needed a data scientist. I’ve been a computer programmer for 20+ years so I met about 80% of what the job requirements were. I applied for the position and went through 2 interviews and a written test. Along the way I used all the tips and tricks that I have picked up from you over the years. I also advocated for myself when asked about the type of work environment I work best under.

I’ve learned a lot about myself during the past few years and have absolutely thrived under hybrid work conditions. As a person with ADHD, being able to flex my schedule and work at home has absolutely catapulted my career and is a big part of how I was able to earn my promotion this past January.

I was offered the position today and I accepted it! It’s going to be hard to tell my current manager. I wasn’t looking to leave my current position, especially after getting a promotion 6 months ago. HR sends out an email each week with new internal positions posted and when I saw this one I just couldn’t pass it up!”

3.  “I finally have something to share for Friday good news, and I am convinced your magic question sealed the deal. I have been applying and interviewing, and getting to the final rounds for positions, but ultimately not making the final cut. I’m a year post grad, working full-time in higher education. I applied for a position that seemed like a long stretch, but I thought I had a shot. I went from a first interview to a third interview in one week, and I saved your magic question until the final interview. During the zoom interview everyone sat back, and the interviewer said she’d never heard such an awesome interview question before. They promised a quick response and it was exactly that. Two days later I had an offer for a 40% salary increase and permanent work from home! In higher education, that’s not very common unless you are faculty. I start next week and I couldn’t be more excited. I owe a lot of my success to this blog, so thank you!”

4.  “I’m a long-time reader and submitted a question about a year ago related to gender discrimination I was experiencing at work. I worked for a small business where the CEO had issues with women, and after my supervisor left late in 2021 and I worked more closely with the CEO, those issues continued to worsen until I realized I had to quit this April.

I’ve never quit a job without having another one lined up, and was very afraid despite knowing I needed to leave for my mental health. I was also looking to switch career tracks, though mostly wanted to stay within the same industry. I bought your How To Get a Job book and revamped my resume following your advice, and I immediately had a great response to it. My first couple of interviews didn’t result in an offer, but I soon secured an interview for a job and at a company in my industry that I really wanted to join. Your interview preparation and practice tips were excellent and after the practice I got in my first couple of interviews, I nailed both interviews at this company and got an offer three days after my second. The offer was even on the high end of my requested salary range.

I’ve never had the success rate in any job search that I had with this one, to the extent that I had to follow up with the three (!) other companies I was interviewing with to let them know I accepted another offer. I’m starting at the job I really wanted at a company with a great reputation later this month. Thanks so much for the great advice. It really helped me when I was in a tight spot in my career and I’m so excited for my next role.”

{ 60 comments… read them below }

  1. higheredrefugee*

    Such wonderful updates!

    Alison, we might need an open post calling for best tantrums witnessed at work stories so OP1 can get the creative writing juices going.

    1. Artemesia*

      Mark’s tantrum was perfect — I’ll bet that made the OP’s new position even more precious to her knowing that they guy who blocked her raise because he smugly ‘could’ got hoist.

  2. Warrior Princess Xena*

    Slightly off topic but the new site format looks much better for me on mobile now! Earlier it looked like it was cut off on the side for whatever reason.

  3. Parenthesis Dude*

    OP1 – Was Mark angry at you or at the people that wouldn’t give you what you deserved thus causing you to leave? Or both?

    1. RoseOfSharon*

      Angry at me, 100%. I’ve posted his tantrum below. He was the person not giving me what I deserved, lol.

      1. Artemesia*

        Unless you have lots of information otherwise, the boss who says ‘higher ups won’t let me pay your more’ is almost always lying. Especially after 2 years of well regarded work. At best he isn’t willing to go to bat for you; at worst, he has never tried to get you the raise at all. And usually it is the latter.

  4. RoseOfSharon*

    LW1 here! For those wanting to know about Mark’s tantrum…
    I went into his office, closed the door and ripped the band-aid off “Mark, I’m leaving”. He immediately turned red and started yelling, and imagine the following punctuated by fists slamming on the desk. “How the f*** could you do this to me! We are a f***cking family! I PROMISED YOU the money was coming! This is the ultimate betrayal! We were BUILDING something GREAT here! I can’t believe you would do this to me!” He had a bag of candy on his desk, which he swatted off, and then proceeded to continue yelling while picking up all the pieces of candy off the floor, that was fun to watch. I let him finish his tantrum and then said my peace. Ultimately, we ended things well and I continued to consult for the department for another few months. Happy to be gone!

    1. 653-CXK*

      OP1: I’m glad you got out of there when you did. Mark seems like a piece of work…very fragile ego, and when you decided to pull the plug, he showed his true colors. Bonus points (not) that he pulled the “but we’re a family” card.

      1. RoseOfSharon*

        To be fair, I’ve known his true colors from the day I started at the company. But I was able to get along with him and tolerate it. But I saw the way he treated people, including his own family, and knew very well who he was. I had a high tolerance for a while that eventually just withered away.

        1. Observer*

          In other words, he may actually BELIEVE the “we’re family” but, since it sounds like he treats them like garbage, too.

          I’m glad you are out of there.

        2. Funfetti*

          Omgosh your story had so many twists and turns! First I gasped they were just going to let you go after asking for remote, then thinking Mark was a hero and then gasping at his behavior (and then some!)

          So happy for you and congrats on your new job!

    2. 2 Cents*

      “This is the ultimate betrayal” is quite the drama. I’m glad you’re working some place that truly values your contributions!

    3. ILoveLlamas*

      I love the whole “we’re a family” posture. Holidays at Mark’s house must be lively. Congratulations!!!

    4. Pool Noodle Barnacle Pen0s*

      “We’re a family here”
      “How could you do this to me / betrayal”
      Throwing things/pounding desk

      We’re one “we can’t promote you because you’re too important in your current role” short of bad boss bingo. Impressive! Glad you’re out of there!

    5. Slow Gin Lizz*

      Thank you for posting this, as I came here to echo the other requests that you tell us what happened. And, wow. “I PROMISED YOU the money was coming”??? Really?? We’ve all seen how well you keep your promises, Mark.

    6. REP22*

      So glad you got away from that insane c*ckwomble. Wishing you many happy (and nutjob-free) times ahead!

    7. Salsa Verde*

      I’m so glad things turned out well for you!!
      I am definitely side-eyeing the old company for many reasons, starting with: you made a request to work hybrid and they jumped to firing you rather than just coming back with a no?
      That seems like an overreaction – glad you are out of there!!

      1. PersephoneUnderground*

        I suspect Mark spun that story to make himself look like her only option when he told her that. “People other than me want to fire you but I’ll save you” stinks of manipulation to me. It was probably more like “we can’t give her hybrid in her current job, so if she’s willing to leave over that she’ll have to leave or move to a different job” and Mark reported that to her as “Your only chance to not be fired is to move to hybrid in my department now! Quick! Pay no attention to my high turnover numbers!”

    8. A. Tiskit & A. Taskit LLC*

      So…after lying to you about a promotion and a raise, Mark just can’t BELIEVE that you would have the unmitigated gall to actually apply for and accept a position in which you have the flexibility you need and the compensation that you’ve earned. Well, clutch my pearls and hand me the smelling salts! Mark is doomed to be awfully disappointed in an awful lot of his reports – frankly, I’m surprised that he has ANY left at all!

      And he seems to have learned his managerial style from a certain (failed) businessman-turned-politician, too; don’t pay people what you promise them, expect loyalty FROM them while giving none of it TO them, and throw a tantrum when they exercise their option to leave. Good thing there wasn’t any spaghetti in Mark’s office when the LW quit or the custodian would have been washing off the wall!

      1. Ellis Bell*

        He smelled blood in the water when OP needed to go remote and took advantage of that vulnerability. He’s not angry because OP is disloyal, but because they have options and power. People like this are overly reliant on power dynamics because they have nothing else to offer.

        1. RoseOfSharon*

          LW1 here, I wholeheartedly agree that almost everything he did was a power play. A few commenters above mentioned whether or not the “management” meeting went down as stated, and the longer I worked for him the longer I wondered if he had manipulated the truth, exploiting the fact that my hands were tied and I had to make a decision ASAP. SO GLAD TO BE OUT!

  5. Somehow_I_Manage*

    These fantastic updates should serve as a reminder to those out there that market conditions remain very favorable for upward movement right now. Be smart, and if the moment is right, take advantage to find the right fit for you!

    1. esdw s*

      It’s linked in letter 3 – “Thinking back to people who have been in this position previously, what differentiated the ones who were good from the ones who were really great?”

      It takes the “what would success in this role look like” type of question a step further. I thought it was a pretty good question when I read it on here the first time, but I’ve also had an interviewer give me the “what an *incredible* question” reaction. It’s also good as the interviewee! It forces the hiring manager to think about who has been “great” and what qualities they’re prioritizing, and helps you figure out if the role is a good fit.

  6. Worker Bee 83*

    It’s too bad that Mark’s behavior was so over the top because it’s taking away from a couple of things that also seem super toxic from that workplace:
    -LW1’s manager and the CEO decided to let her go rather than accommodate her schedule (not sure if the message given was “hybrid or I quit” but LW1 says she was asking “if there was any chance” of a hybrid schedule so this response seems cold at best)
    -LW found this out from another manager rather than her own sitting her down to have a conversation about why it wouldn’t work (if there was really a reason)
    Mark seems terrible to work for, but people can be quietly terrible to work for as well (lookin’ at you Stacey and CEO) when they won’t be honest with you.

    1. RoseOfSharon*

      LW1 here…
      1) When I talked to my original boss, I didn’t give an ultimatum, but did say that I don’t know how sustainable it would be to commute 1.5 hours each way every day so I hoped they could accommodate the hybrid schedule.
      2) My original manager, while less volatile, was hands off to the point where it was detrimental. After my conversation with Mark where he offered me the new position, my original manager never talked to me again. So I never even got official word from her that a new department was taking me on.

      Yes – Mark was terrible to work for, but the entire company culture was toxic. Lots of lying, politics, poor management. Making money hand over fist but no one ever got paid promotions or raises there. When I started, many people used the phrase “you’ll leave with what you came in with” but of course I thought it might be different for me. They hire some of the most wonderful coworkers I’ve ever had. Smart, driven, capable individuals…they just can’t seem to keep them. wonder why???

  7. how*

    Springing off on a tangent from number 2 … ADHD commenters who thrived when working remotely … what are your secrets? Because I find working remotely MUCH harder.

    1. Kacihall*

      my company does not let us work from home (theoretically I can in an emergency, but my VPN hasn’t been working for a month so they got to go without me this afternoon to learn their lesson) but WFH for me is easier because I can control what the distractions are. I know I’m going to be distracted, but if I can limit it to a boring show on the TV, or loud music, I get distracted much less than in the office, where there are essentially 9-11 people in my office (and another 6 in the other office that may as well be one room from how sound carries.) Today there were two zoom calls going on and 3 conversations between the other people. I got next to nothing done because I was listening to the zoom presentation being given ten feet behind me, and two of the conversations involved my work indirectly, so I could not pay attention to my own accounts I needed to be building. Some days I cheat by downloading Netflix episodes of Bake Off or something to listen to (by putting my phone face down) and that helps, but I can’t completely shut myself off with headphones because someone might need me.

      Admittedly, working from home because my child was quarantined and couldn’t go to school last year (3 or 4 times) was a hot mess at best. But that’s because a clingy, upset 6 year old is equal to about 10 other people in the office. (And even then I could usually glue him to the TV for a couple hours in the afternoon and let Pokemon be my background noise.)

    2. Curmudgeon in California*

      For me the biggest thing is the lack of noise and visual distractions.

      In the typical open plan office there is no visual or auditory privacy. People walk by, you see them out of the corner of your eye. Walk behind you, same thing (I have great peripheral vision, which is great while driving and sucktastic in an open plan office.) Any and every conversation in your area you hear at least snatches of – and it’s usually sportsball, family trivia, or TV show blow by blow. People will walk up behind you and tap you on the shoulder when you have your head down in something – to ask how it’s going. If you have a startle reflex you can get in trouble when you reflexively hit the person.

      At home there’s none of that.
      * You can play your own music without needing uncomfortable headphones.
      * You can use your own bathroom and good TP.
      * You can set up your workstation however you want.
      * You can take a siesta for a long lunch.
      * You can control the interruptions much more easily.
      * You don’t have to take PTO to wait for an important delivery or workman.

      Plus, if you are not a cis, white, able-bodied man, you suffer far fewer microaggressions than you would in person. What is seen most is your work output, not your differences or disability.

    3. Mouse* for body doubling/scheduled times and accountability for showing up.

      A desktop whiteboard for deadlines and open tasks.

      Heavy focus on planning, schedules and deadlines — *not* my strong suit, but it’s been a focus with my whole department that’s eventually resulted in some improvement.

      Daily stand-ups and weekly team meetings to keep the schedules on track.

      Permission to myself to take a break for a while when my brain just *won’t*, shifting that time to later in the evening when things are quieter and my focus is better.

    4. Ellis Bell*

      I expected to do horribly at remote work because I am a procrastinator, but the energy you save makes the difference. My ADHD is really time of day dependant and I am a better worker in the afternoons, so it really helped that I could slow slide into things in the morning; checking emails and doing low effort stuff while still in my pajamas on the couch. I’d find that by 10, 11am I’d be so full of energy just because I hadn’t had to do typical morning stuff too early or be socially and professionally “on” for people – even though I’m really good at that. It’s something to try, and to try different incarnations of. I thought unless I was disciplined about getting ready in the morning and segregating my workspace I’d be useless, but it was actually pajamas and the couch that was the ticket.

    5. Gary Patterson’s Cat*

      I’m not ADHD but how I WFH successfully is this:

      > Keep a set workday schedule.
      > Have a designated workspace and desk/chair.
      > Take a regular lunch break. I typically do 30 minutes.
      > Do not, under any circumstances, turn on the television, start major chores, or invite friends or neighbors over during work hours. Music is ok though if you like it while working.
      > If you get distracted, use a work / break timer to give yourself 2-3 hours of deep work followed by a 10-15 minute “mini break.” Eventually, you won’t need the timer, but it helps initially.

      Point #4 is really important for me. While I can do little quick things like throw in a load of laundry, scoop the catbox, or load the dishwasher, I will go into the chore distraction zone if not stopped. Ditto with friends and neighbors who might start chatting. I can’t disengage, so I avoid until after work.

  8. Mark the snowflake*

    Ha! Mark makes fun of “snowflakes”, but his reaction makes him a pretty flaky snowflake himself. So funny!

    1. PersephoneUnderground*

      Definitely – or at least spinning things hard. The “no” to her request might not have been made up but the part where he reported she was going to be fired for even asking is extremely suss.

    2. RoseOfSharon*

      LW1 here…I often wonder about that. I truly never found out what really happened behind the scenes, all I had was his word. I wouldn’t be surprised if he twisted the truth, seeing as after he offered me the new position I never heard a word about it from anyone.

  9. Johannes Bols*

    Would it have been at all feasible to take out your phone and start filming Mark throwing his toys out of his pram? Did you remain in his office whilst he did this or get up and walk out, leaving the door open in the process (they hate having to get up and close their own door).

    Congrats on landing the new position. I’m sure you’ll be raised out before you know it!

  10. Gary Patterson’s Cat*

    OMG for #1
    If 2YEARS isn’t long enough to convince ownership to pay you more, it never will be.

    How horrible. I’m not sure if this was the company as a whole, or just jerky, tantrum toddler “Mark,” but it’s so great to get outta that place.

    Ps: I wish it were possible to secretly film that tantrum when you quit. Must’ve been entertaining.

Comments are closed.