it’s your Friday good news

It’s your Friday good news!

1.  “I’ve been reading your column for years. Your column made me realize that my job/company was, while not the worst, fairly unreasonable. My boss was nice but ineffectual… she didn’t set goals with me, made me take more & more job duties after other people left (By the time I quit, I had 4 other people‘s full-time jobs), and she expressed frustration when I said I wanted more than a 1% raise (“There are other people, in the company, who got NO raise! You should feel lucky!”)

I started looking for a new job a little over a year ago and, while I love your column, I confess that I was pretty lazy. My resume was “okay” and I mostly applied to LinkedIn “Easy Apply” jobs so I wouldn’t have to customize a cover letter. I still got a lot of interviews! But no job offer for a year (I’m also a woman in my late 40s in a tech-type job, and I’m sure that didn’t help). Also, I had specifications … I wanted great pay (at least a 20-30% bump), fully remote, only wanted to work certain hours, etc. … I was picky! Picky and lazy!

Still! I kept reading your Friday Good News and felt inspired every week. And I’m happy to report that I was made a job offer for 40% more than I had been making & a step up in job title. I tried negotiating salary and yearly bonus, and I failed miserably (“We offered you the highest we could”). I made one last attempt on the PTO and received an extra week, which I feel pretty good about.

I’ve been at my new job for a little over a month and I LOVE it! More pay, I’m challenged, learning a ton, fun business trips, and serious growth potential!

So I guess sometimes laziness & pickiness pays off … eventually.

One bit of advice for your readers that worked for me most of the time: when the recruiter says “What are you looking for in terms of compensation?” reply brightly with “Well … I’m curious to know what your range is!” And then STOP TALKING. 85% of the time, they’ll say “Oh!” (in a surprised tone of voice) “I’m not sure! Um …. I think I have that somewhere” (if it was over the phone, I would roll my eyes and wait) “Ah yes… here it is. $______.”

This is how I discovered the salary range for my job, which was, I kid you not, $60k – $170k/year. I picked a range way higher than I would have if I hadn’t known this, and if it was less than that, I would (politely) cut the interview short. “Oh, I’m sorry, my range is $_______. Thank you so much for your time! Your company sounds like a wonderful place, and I’m so sorry this won’t work out.” (Some recruiters were utterly shocked by this, ha ha. But I wasn’t interested in making a lateral move and/or getting paid less than I already was!)”

2.  “I’m so excited to have some good news to share! About 3 months ago I had to leave a toxic job (complete with bullying and gaslighting by the staff I was supposed to be managing) after just 7 months in the role, and it was absolutely terrifying to quit with nothing lined up. My mental health was suffering so much that my husband and I agreed I really didn’t have a choice but to leave that job and try to find something better. I’m the breadwinner for my family and we moved states for me to take this job, so I felt a tremendous amount of guilt for putting us in financial jeopardy.

I spent the summer applying and interviewing everywhere — any job in my field that was even remotely close to what I’d been making, I applied for. I had 30 interviews, including 7 final rounds, and came in second place 4 different times. One was a job that was identical to the role I’d had before I took the toxic job, and I was completely devastated when I was passed over for someone with 15 years of experience to my 5. At my lowest point I had a mental breakdown on my couch, sobbing about how I’d ruined our lives and I would never find a job that paid even decently well.

But then I dried my tears and doubled down on applying to new jobs. I applied for 5 roles that week, and was invited to interview with all of them. I had 12 interviews in the span of about 10 business days, and by the end I had two offers in hand – one for the same salary I’d been making, and one for 30% more! My new job is an incredible opportunity to level up my career into a particular field I’ve been wanting to go into but didn’t think I had the experience quite yet. I am acquainted with someone on the team and she’s given me the inside scoop on the culture and management, and it sounds like exactly the kind of environment I want to work in. And, my new salary is high enough that we can afford to expand our family and also get ahead on savings!

I truly never thought I’d be in this position. It’s been a really emotionally intense few months and I’m so grateful to my friends and family who supported me, as well as to commenters here who gave great advice to my questions on the open thread and are always so thoughtful in their insights on other people’s situations. As my friend and professional mentor told me last week, sometimes you have to hit what feels like the bottom to get back up to the top!”

3.  “I wanted to let you know that your blog has helped me land a job I like, improve my work life balance, and get better pay. I have been a reader for a long time. At my previous job, I quit because I was extremely unhappy and burnt out. With the help of your interview guide, I was able to perform a lot better in interviews and finally land a new job with fewer hours. This one has been nothing but positive surprises, from the work culture to the leadership. Now, a year in, I was even able to negotiate the highest raise I have ever got, again using advice from your website.”

4.  “The last year or so has been extraordinarily hard on me. My depression was worse than it has ever been, really bad burnout, and toxic changes at work. I found out Friday that I got a job offer that I am SO excited about. It has the perfect remote work arrangement for me, people doing a really high level of work, and with a mission I deeply support. Then I found out Sunday that my severance package at my company has come through.

After how tough the pandemic has been on me, things are finally looking up. I’m so grateful to have had your website to get advice on my toxic job situation, job applications, and so much more.”

{ 19 comments… read them below }

  1. Maglev to Crazytown*

    Oooof, OP #3… I am living this right now, month 1 into being jobless and terrified. In my case, I was let go after only several months on the job, and it was a tremendous relief after having 300% manager/director turnover above me in that time, and intense bullying since other groups saw the fact my group was completely adrift with no one to back us up. I felt physically threatened at time in bullying situations, it was truly a toxic workplace I wouldn’t recommend to my worst enemy, and I had been questioning when the time was that I voluntarily leave to preserve my mental and physical health. Good thing is, my hand got forced… bad thing is, I am currently unemployed and having the periodic mental breakdowns to my spouse of, “I got terminated, no one will ever hire me again!!!”

    I have had four interviews in the past two weeks, keep putting myself out there… and am hopeful for a new start soon. Your story gives me hope… congratulations to you on your new role!

    1. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister*

      I’m OP2 – Thank you! And good luck to you!! It’s so hard and emotionally draining, and sometimes feels like you’re never going to get to the other side. But you will! Don’t give up and something will come along!!

      1. Sarah*

        I’ve been through it too and was shocked (still am) at how insidiously damaging adult/work bullying can be. I had a thriving work life for a decade before a new manager – a bully – changed everything. Slowly building my way out of it.
        First step was finding work so I could make money. My industry is hugely oversubscribed, so once I quit my job, I had to take another even if it wasn’t great. At that new job I was also bullied (no connection, just awful luck – maybe becauseI had to take first job I was offered, without being picky). Then got *another* job, where I was not targeted but the company was toxic to others…Then got a job where everyone is burnt out but at least management is nice! Exhausted. Years of strategy just to keep afloat. I’m still shocked that that one bully years ago changed everything for me.
        And I dream about her sometimes, and whenever I run into her in my industry I feel cowed.
        And I know she is respected by people “above” her and leaves a trail of damaged “underlings” in her path!
        I was diagnosed with PTSD, and just beginning to do physical/mental/emotional work to try and process the whole thing.

        I have lots of hope for the future, but…work bullying is a crazy, hidden thing!

        1. Sarah*

          ps. Remembered that Friday Good News is meant to be uplifting and inspirational! So, my good news is that I was fortunate enough to find an opportunity to retrain, for an industry where jobs are in more plentiful supply. Change feels great.

      2. Caroline+Bowman*

        OP2 / love your story! Over the last couple of years my husband and I have both, for different reasons and in different fields been in a tough spot, trying to find good new jobs and it can feel like pushing water uphill A LOT of the time. Kudos to you for A/ getting out of the hellish-sounding dodge that you were in, because it WOULD have had very bad consequences for you in time and B/ finding something so much better in every way!

    1. Sariel*

      Yes, thank you to everyone who shared their stories — and to everyone who has shared their stories on other Fridays. I look forward to this post all week!

      1. allathian*

        Yes, me too. My favorite posts of the week. Even if I’m reasonably happy in my current job and not looking to change at the moment, it just gives me such a warm feeling inside to read about other people’s successes.

    2. NotAnotherManager!*


      I really love the Friday Good News and am just always so happy to hear from people who had something work out well for them.

      I will also say that OP#1’s advice to STOP TALKING is spot on. Most of the time, other people will move to fill the silence, and it’s a great technique.

  2. Sally*

    RE: #1

    I tried negotiating salary and yearly bonus, and I failed miserably (“We offered you the highest we could”).

    Doesn’t sound like a failure to me!

  3. Artemesia*

    # 2 gave me shivers because early in my career I almost uprooted my family for a job that would have been like that. After just getting that spidey tingling I turned down what looked like a fabulous job — and later found out the president of the Foundation I would be working for had his hand in the till, the community project I would have run has burned all its community bridges — and that everything they told me was a lie. (I know this because a friend of mine took the job; he was in the middle of a divorce and so a big move didn’t hurt him and he was able to do what he could for a year and get out — I actually hired him later at the place I ended up). I had one big move because my husband’s career was not movable, so he would sacrifice and cope once, but he couldnt do it repeatedly.

    So glad you were able to get out and move on so spectacularly — making a big move into that kind of mess is so devastating. Congrats on moving beyond the horror or it.

  4. Anons*

    #1 – YES, I’ve started that too! I’ve quit giving salary ranges, I just always ask for theirs over email if they reach out about an interview (or if I’m particularly interested, once I’m on a call). It is SO liberating, and I’ve had zero issues with it. In fact, I find it helps to weed out issues (salary ranges too large to make sense, companies that aren’t sure how much they want to pay, etc). It’s very liberating and helpful.

  5. Caroline+Bowman*

    OP1/ your story is amazing! Isn’t it incredible how many places simply refuse to give salary ranges until they are absolutely forced to, and it is literally only to see what they can get away with re compensation. I too was somewhat on the lazy side over the summer, had holidays booked, kids were off school, earned just about enough at what I was doing that it wasn’t desperately urgent (though clearly it was important!), also wanted remote, though would have settled for slightly hybrid if a genuinely fantastic role came along etcetera. I admit I was a bit defeatist too: who’d hire a person who hasn’t been in any kind of permanent, let alone corporate, employment in well over a decade, right?

    Turns out that I’m more employable than I thought, and at a better salary than I imagined! Who knew?

    Love these good news stories!

  6. Maz*

    If you have a resume on LinkedIn or any other online job sites, it’s actually worth uploading them in Word format because Word documents are searchable. Recruiters and hiring managers will often identify suitable applicants by doing keyword searches.

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