it’s your Friday good news

It’s your Friday good news!

1.  “I spent the past 8.5 years in an interesting but emotionally draining management role, with 6 of those years based overseas. In January 2020, we moved to my husband’s home state for him to take a fantastic new job; I was offered a short-term remote contract by my overseas employer, and I thought I’d do it for a few months while job hunting. It was bittersweet but I was looking forward to moving on.

And then, of course, the pandemic hit. A few months stretched into 2.5 years of juggling difficult work, managing a team from a distant time zone, parenting a toddler, and the stress of repeated short-term contract extensions. Not to mention a few disappointments along the way as I searched for a different job in an uncertain economy, with the difficulty compounded by our rural location. While I felt reasonably valued by my unit, the institution as a whole was not always as supportive, and it could feel profoundly isolating even before Covid-19.

An interesting opening was posted at my husband’s employer in March, and a few days after I applied, I was told that my existing contract wouldn’t be renewed again. I was mostly … relieved? I’m pretty sure my boss felt worse than I did–she had lobbied hard for my remote job to become permanent, but was blocked by the head of our organization. Fortunately, I was invited to interview by the local employer, and by the beginning of May I had a verbal offer. It’s just been formalized and I can’t wait to start! I’ll be taking on many responsibilities I’ve genuinely enjoyed in the past, in the service of a worthwhile institutional mission.

Especially as a working parent of a pandemic toddler, it has been an exhausting and depressing few years. I’ve appreciated so much advice that has come my way from Ask A Manager and its community, especially the sanity-checks about dealing with WFH during daycare closures. I am so heartened to be starting a new chapter with an employer I know to be flexible and understanding, thanks to my husband’s experience there (albeit in a different department). I hope everyone who feels stuck or tired or underappreciated gets the respite they need.”

2.  “I’ve been working for a small and pretty obscure state government department for three years. We are housed within a larger and mostly unrelated agency. Both deal with trauma victims but that’s really the only connection. I have a master’s degree in social work and I’ve always worked with traumatized people so my current job really appealed to me when I started. Unfortunately it turned out to be a high-volume call center understaffed by about 30%. So it got overwhelming pretty quickly. I tried to remind myself that the work is important (and it is!) but I also couldn’t get past having a master’s with over 10 years experience working in a call center.

A job opened up in another department, still working with victims, but in a quasi-judicial capacity. I have no legal experience and none of the technical skills they wanted, but I wrote a cover letter arguing for why a social worker would be perfect for the role. In my interview I doubled down on that. I asked the magic questions, which led to some really interesting discussions about my previous experience. I allowed myself to be a bit vulnerable and admitted that some work I’ve done in the past has been traumatic for me and it would be nice to move past that.

I waited for an entire month and I was very certain they’d hire someone with legal experience. But then yesterday, right at the end of the day, I got the call from HR. Not only did I get the job, they doubled the raise I was expecting. I about fell out of my chair. I would not have applied if it weren’t for this column and everything I learned about selling myself, applying for jobs I wasn’t 100% qualified for, and remembering my worth. Thank you. ”

3.  “I am so excited to be writing to you with good news! I have slowly been realizing that my current workplace is quite toxic, but until a month or two ago did not feel like I would be able to find anything better since I am in a niche industry and LOVE what I do (just not the person I do it for).

Well, I used your cover letter guide and resume advice to apply to a bunch of different roles, including some which were quite a stretch for me. I got interviews for two different director-level roles (I have been a manager for a little over a year), and an offer for one of them came in while I was still mid-process with the other. I thought I was paid pretty well, but this was a 20% increase in salary. I have never negotiated an offer before and was super nervous, but used your negotiating tips to ask for more money, and THEY GAVE ME THE TOP OF THE RANGE – a 30% increase over what I’m making now. I also asked them to delay my start date to give me time off between jobs and OMG THEY DID.

I was so anxious this morning when I resigned, because my boss has not handled these conversations (with other people) well in the past, but I browsed the “resigning” archives, especially how to quit and how to write a resignation letter. Hearing all the other stories really calmed my nerves. And then this morning…I did it. I quit. I almost can’t believe that I only have a few more weeks here, and then I get a nice long break between jobs and a new exciting role doing work I love!”

4.  “I have been a long time reader of AAM. I have used advice from your posts many times as I have moved between individual contributor and management roles. I have worked for the same company for 25+ years and expected to work here for 10-12 more and collect my coveted pension. Instead, a former co-worker reached out to me a few months ago about joining his company to fill a high-level manager position.

I used many of your resume tips, but things happened in a way that I didn’t need a cover letter. I had interviews with other C-Level employees, the longest and most in-depth tech interview I have ever experienced on either side of the table with their Chief Architect, and then a short interview with those who would be my direct reports.

I was very open about salary and benefits, and since the hiring manager had worked at my current employer, he knew my existing salary structure anyway. Most of their openings also include thorough benefits and salary range info. I received an offer 18% higher than my current total compensation (including the employer pension contribution). The one sticking point was that though I am in my 50s I would start at the bottom of the leave accrual ladder. I was able to point out that I would be giving up very generous leave benefits at my current employer, and asked to be placed at the 4-weeks/year level in their system. The request was granted. I gave notice today. I will “retire” from public service at the end of July, and will be starting a new and exciting management role with a private software company in 5 weeks.”

5.  “In 2020, I was laid off from the only job I ever had after graduating college. 30+ years. In the midst of the pandemic. At that time, my husband and I were planning on downsizing and moving to a major metropolitan city not too far away. Once we got there, I really started my job search. A few bites, but nothing that interesting. And then I decided to volunteer with an organization not too far from my new home. I found it on a volunteer matching website I really enjoyed being there! While looking at their website, I found a job posting that was similar to what I had done in the past (HR), but not exactly-I did not have all the skills listed in the job description. I decided I would write a cover letter, which is never been my favorite thing to do, but I have seen your comments about cover letters often and know that I needed to do it and tailor it to that specific job as well. I got the job! And I am really enjoying it! Different from what I was doing before, but some similarities. And I feel valued at my new job, which I did not feel at old job for quite a while. Thank you for your good advice!”

{ 22 comments… read them below }

  1. Abogado Avocado*

    I love reading these!

    And OP#2: thank you for your work with trauma victims. I have no doubt that it is draining, but it’s so important if healing is to occur. And many best wishes as you move onto your role in the quasi-judicial agency.

  2. RJ*

    Congratulations to all posters! These stories always give me hope during a dismal job search. Much love and light to all my fellow jobseekers and may we soon have our own tales of triumph to share.

  3. Bill and Heather's Excellent Adventure*

    Reading these gives me hope on my own job search. One day I will be able to send in a good news story of my own.

  4. Rachel*

    Love hearing positive news from a social worker! Our work can be so traumatizing. Happy you found something new that excites you!

  5. Wenike*

    Last year, my team was finally moved from hourly/non-exempt to salary/exempt and bumped up salary bands so that everyone got at least a 7% raise only a few months prior to annual merit & COL increases (and on the right pay period to get a better random 1% bonus too). That had me going into a Team Lead position in duties though my title didn’t fully reflect that. My boss recently had an offer he couldn’t refuse drop into his lap and I’ve been accepted to be his replacement as manager. Not only am I getting another stellar raise in salary but I’m also getting the opportunity to backfill several positions on my team, including hiring a contractor on as an FTE. I am going to be a new manager but I have my entire team supporting my promotion and quite a few people in the larger company also supporting me. I’ve definitely been taking notes on what to do from Allison and hope that I can keep my team growing as well.

  6. Econobiker*

    I am happy for all these folks especially when they’ve been in the same place for 20+ years and get outside of their “comfort zone” and succeed.

    Unfortunately I can’t relate going to the same place for 10+ years. I graduated college in 1993 and have had a long meandering career path but not in the function of the current “job hopping for a raise” system.
    Never fired but laid off several times for individuals company, industry/ market, or global economic crises or a company restructuring (that happened unplanned concurrent to covid pandemic situation- a win for my unemployment then!) I’ve quit for family relocation, or to take a more secure position from being a contractor consultant (‘professional’ temporary worker) or when the company was bought out. I’ve even worked true temporary work positions far under my experience and schooling when I needed to keep going and show activities to the courts per child support requirements.
    All told my 3 longest tenures were 5, 5 and 6 years with some jobs just 2 years to 3 years down to 90 days (company finances crater-ed and family ownership sold it after the intended heir manager went crazy/ nervous breakdown). So since mid 1993 I’ve had 14 different jobs (2 instances of true temp work) and roughly 12 different in my career focus of manufacturing so I guess it’s an average of 2.5 years each or 16 years with 3 postions and 14 with 11 different gigs. (Temp jobs and the one contractor consultant job put me into so many different companies over the years I can’t even count some for months and some for just several days)

    Like I said kudos to those people getting into a new gig but I just can’t fathom 10 years plus at one place. Perhaps my current job (two years from pandemic July 2020 to current) will be my last but I doubt it…

    (And moving homes- 11 moves and 2 wives over 29 years- only 2 paid by a company, the rest either self inflicted or performed & paid for but only one house ever owned) Sigh….

    1. NoSuchThingAsJobSecurity*

      Same here (graduated in 92), although I haven’t come close to making it 5-6 years anywhere. My longest tenure at a job was just over 3.5 years and I’ve only had one other over two years before my current job (started April 2020, and wasn’t that fun!). After my 9/11 layoff I ended up doing a lot of contracting since that’s mainly what people were hiring (I’ve gone back and forth since following the work). I’ve been laid off from all but one of my previous full time jobs (I left one voluntarily in 2000 after 2.25 years when I was recruited by a name company offering a big raise) and even from some contracts (the rest ended on schedule or, in a few cases, after an extension).

      1. Econobiker*

        Commiserate with you about the lack of direction. Luck and being able to kiss butt has alot to do with networking success and staying within a company. I’ve got a friend who’s a successful executive in the transportation industry with only 2 companies in 25-30 years but multiple jobs in his first place plus 1st company paid for his MBA. Twice I’ve come close to getting companies pay for an industry certification but both places laid me off. Got a membership free in an industry professional organization both times and free educational books paid for but never got past the enrollment process….

  7. Lise*

    Congrats everyone! I’m also about to start a new job this week, following a bit of a bumpy few months. Happy to hear so many others moving on in positive ways!

  8. NeverSeenACoverLetter*

    Those of you stressing cover letters, just be aware that at least some of your interviewers likely haven’t seen whatever you sent. I’ve interviewed applicants at 7-8 different companies and never once saw a single cover letter. Note, I was never the hiring manager but I know the hiring manager also never saw them in at least two of those companies (I don’t know either way on the others).

  9. Princess Deviant*

    No.36 “I want to be napping all the time” is me too.
    And no you’re not alone OP. I would like to be paid for not working but sadly that’s not a possibility.

  10. Heffalump*

    #45: You’re right about lack of checks and balances in a smaller organization. I once worked for an abusive sole proprietor.

    #17: Megan Thee Stallion was shot in the feet a couple of years ago. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen to you.

  11. Essess*

    #23 – since you say you are in the tech field, I would jump on the opportunity to learn Hindi if this was a benefit my company offered! I am also in the tech field and frequently I’m one of only a few people on the team who are onshore and the rest are usually India-based.

  12. Mike Judge Lookalike Contest Loser*

    Oh no, TPS reports are a real thing. Mike Judge just made them famous in “Office Space”.

    “According to Rolling Stone, Judge was asked this at a 10th Anniversary screening of Office Space. He replied, “When I was an engineer, it stood for Test Program Set. Isn’t that exciting?” A Test Program Set a document describing the step-by-step process in which an engineer tests and re-tests software or an electronics system. Before getting his start with Beavis and Butthead, Mike Judge earned a degree in physics and was an engineer and programmer for a subcontractor working on military jets. In other words, the man had to fill out his fair share of TPS reports in his day.”

Comments are closed.