it’s your Friday good news

It’s your Friday good news!

1.  “After sending a question to you in May (which you didn’t publish, no worries), I realized that writing to an advice column might be a sign that it was time to look for a new job. I identified a large organization that I would like to work for that was posting lots of remote positions. I subscribed to their weekly job postings and kept my eyes peeled. The first one I was keen on closed before I could apply (why say ‘open until filled’ but only leave it up for a week?) so I pounced on the next one, using all the resume tips from your site. There were several hurdles to clear but I am thrilled to say I will be starting my new gig in January: One with total flexibility in terms of hours/location, better pay, more vacation, and that will give me a year of maternity/parental leave at close to full salary if I have a baby.

Ironically – or perhaps not – it was some of the qualities that I wrote to you about in my current manager (the hyperbolic praise and intensity) that helped me secure the new job. My current boss is so super supportive and enthusiastic about me, she had no problem being a reference and talked me up to the moon. My new boss has mentioned several times what a glowing reference it was and I think I’ve already earned some credibility going into this job because of it. It was a gift to realize that now was the perfect moment to leave: The longer I stayed in the over-managed situation, the less confident I felt in finding something else. But I also valued my boss’ appreciation and I’m glad to have found a way to channel it into a new opportunity.

Thanks for your site, it is absolutely my favorite thing to read and I check it first thing every morning!”

2.  “I wanted to write in to thank you and your readers for the incredible gift you gave my family! My husband is an attorney and has practiced in a couple of different areas of the law during his 7-year career. He is very underpaid in his current job and is bullied and frozen out by one of the partners at his small firm. So needless to say, he has been considering a change.

I read your reader’s suggestion about the data privacy field and shared this with my husband. He obtained the certification, updated his resume, leveraged connections, and now will be starting a job in the field of privacy law next week! He is more than doubling his pay in salary alone (not including bonus) and is extremely excited about the role and the people on his new team. We are so grateful for your blog and your reader who gave us this idea. This is truly life changing for our family!”

3.  “I have spent the last two covid years at deputy director level, struggling with an unmanageable workload and an unreasonable director. Between the Covid pressures, the struggle to deliver all our normal workload, all of the additional projects he would come up with, and his apparent belief that all of these things could be top priority simultaneously, by September 2020 I was in tears every time I spoke to him. I kept saying we shouldn’t take on more projects while we couldn’t resource the ones we already had, and kept getting told off for being ‘negative.’

I kept forcing myself to work and ignoring my sypmtoms, but by summer 2021 I reallly could not cope, at which time I got ‘why didn’t you tell me earlier?’ (Apparently tears 3 times a week and regularly telling him I couldn’t cope didn’t register at all.)

Our occupational health diagnosed me with burnout at a level amounting to a protected disability, and backfill was arranged so that I only had one person’s high workload rather than three, but I still had ridiculous and impossible deliverables on top of 70 meetings a week (no exaggeration), plus vendor failures etc. So I was struggling on but not recovering.

Throughout this he was planning a restructure, and all of the drafts had my role in them. But this turned out to be fake documents he produced specifically to mislead me, and my job was removed from the new structure. (I suspect this is targeted because he doesn’t want to deal with my mental health issues, but can’t prove anything.)

This was the last straw and I gave up trying to fake being well, and accepted I just couldn’t go back there. I luckily live in a country/industry where I get a lot of sick leave, so I have been using that, and applied for voluntary severance.

I suspected that the jobs in the new structure were paid significantly below market rate, and that has turned out to be quite true.

I have just been offered a 1-year contract role at 12% pay rise, doing essentially exactly the same duties. This is perfect because I am looking to make a big move in a year or two anyway, and in the mean time I can put the extra money and the severance payment directly into savings to help fund it. And laugh all the way to my leaving do, where I intend to make him make a speech about how great I am.

So there really is light at the end of the tunnel. :)”

{ 21 comments… read them below }

  1. Mid*

    For LW 3, and everyone else dealing with burnout—be kind to yourself. My doctor told me that it takes around 3-5 YEARS to fully recover from burnout. I’m still dealing with it. It will take a lot longer than you think, and that’s okay. You are still excellent, you are still a good person, you aren’t a failure/lazy/whatever else your brain likes to tell you (mine likes to say a lot of mean things.)

    Best of luck on your move LW3!

    1. Corporate Drone Liz*

      Seconded on being kind and gracious to yourself. Whether it’s pure burn out from work, struggling with work due to personal issues, or a super fun combination of the two, I want to stress: it is damn near impossible to estimate how long it will take to truly recover from a chronic issue when it’s been impacting your work.

      I went through a break up earlier this year that involved scrapped plans to move across the country (which my company approved me to be 100% remote for – wasn’t fun to let them know plans had changed) and moving into a one bedroom apartment, which doubled my my living expenses during periods of 9% inflation (yay!). Completely uprooted my life. Even before that, our relationship issues first cropped up during COVID shutdowns and slowly built up and persisted/worsened, and my ability to remain focused, engaged, and interested in my work was severely hampered. My company simultaneously went through a period of unusually high turnover in my department (natural attrition that all happened in rapid succession), so not only was I unfocused but I was SLAMMED with work. It was so debilitating, and I remember feeling so anxious and depressed for SO long.

      The break up was awful at first, but things got better over the weeks and months. My then ex and I got back together six months later, but stayed pretty friendly throughout. I felt my independent again (my own place! just me and my cat! we can decorate however we want!), I felt excited and happy to switch up my boring life and get back in touch with myself. By summertime I was really starting to feel like the break up, while painful, was the radical shake up I needed. My company finally hired more people and worked slowed down! I finally started feeling like a real person again!

      … and my productivity was still abysmal as hell, my productivity came in hot streaks that would fizzle out an hour later, and despite the easiest workload I’d had in MONTHS, I was still barely making deadlines (and missing some too). My brain still felt fuzzy and unfocused at work, and I simply could not make myself care about getting things done at all. Even though things were generally getting better, my anxiety starting worsening because I was sure my boss (who clearly knew about my breakup since I didn’t relocate) noticed I wasn’t on my shit despite having a light project load. I knew we were short staffed and kind of coasted on that knowledge… so if I wasn’t going to get fired, who cares? I hated how nihilistic I felt, but I simply didn’t have the energy and motivation to care.

      I was in therapy all year already, and in early fall my general practitioner put me on Lexapro and I swear to god, everything since has gotten so much easier. I don’t think I truly realized how depressed I was until I’d been on it a few weeks and starting feeling, like, not shit haha. For the majority of my adult years and AT LEAST from the time COVID hit til now, I’ve been doing life on hard mode. And even when the immediate problems were resolved, beneath the surface the root cause wasn’t fixed, so it kept rearing its ugly head. I never told my boss that I started antidepressants, but we had our biannual review a few months back and I confessed that I wasn’t particularly happy with my performance in the first half of the year, but acknowledged that I had a lot of curveballs thrown my way and I did my best, and now things are shifting in a better direction. My boss certainly appreciated by candor (we’re both straight shooters and it’s nice to be able to speak bluntly in reviews haha), but added his feedback that he thinks I am WAY too hard on myself (every good boss I’ve ever had has told me this at least once, so it wasn’t a total shock haha). So all my anxiety I had about my boss being fully aware of my slacking/struggles to stay focused were all cooked up in my head. It was a good lesson haha.

      This is WAY longer than I intended it to be, but I want to conclude again by screaming this from the rooftop: BE KIND TO YOURSELF!! You are already working at a deficit when you’re burned out/dealing with health (mental AND physical) and personal issues – and those things will drain you more than regular work, chores, etc. So when you wash a single dish that was sitting in your sink for 3 days, CELEBRATE IT. Buy yourself a treat for sending an email you were supposed to send a week ago. Order Postmates for dinner every night for 2 weeks until you muster the energy for grocery shopping. Under normal circumstances that might seem silly, but when you’re under duress these are ACCOMPLISHMENTS haha. Carrot > stick

    2. MM*

      I am trying so hard to tell myself this every day. I’m finally in a (more or less forced) rest period after 3 years of nonstop full-throttle work plus 1 world-historical crisis and 2 personal ones, and I am itching to get back to work most of the time, but when I try I can’t really do it. I know I should just wait longer and there is no fast-forwarding this, but god, I’m so bored.

  2. Dr Sarah*

    LW3: I do hope we get an update about how the ‘make boss make speech about LW3’s awesomeness’ plan works out and about how he takes that. Great news on the update and I hope all is wonderful for you at the new job.

  3. Jamboree*

    Not sure I understand #3 tbh. You’ve got a 1-year contract with a 12% increase but will you be responsible for paying your own taxes as a contractor? I hope I’m misunderstanding something! But also it sounds like a good place to plan an escape from! Good luck!

    1. MI Dawn*

      I suspect OP#3 lives in a country where contracts are the norm for employees, not like the USA where they are a very rare bird unless you are a contractor. So no, OP won’t have to pay their own taxes.
      I’m going by the words “leaving do” where in the US we’d normally say party and from some other things in the information that OP isn’t in the US, more likely Europe.

      1. London Lass*

        I agree. In the UK (for example) a fixed-term employment contract would be quite normal, that is how I read it.

  4. dorothy zbornak*

    #2 – SO HAPPY FOR YOU & YOUR FAMILY! I don’t usually all caps my comments but I loved your good news!

    1. Mallory Janis Ian*

      I love that a reader passed this advice on to the group, and that another reader was able to profit so much by it — good feels all around!

      1. Sabrena*

        I remember this post and actually researched it but thought at 55, I wouldn’t be taken seriously even if got certified.

  5. Corporate Drone Liz*

    I rarely comment on here but I had to post to say my jaw dropped at SEVENTY MEETINGS A WEEK!! I used to work for a place obsessed with meetings (they would unironically schedule pre-meetings to discuss meetings later in the day) and in my current role thankfully have very few ever (hooray for things being handled by email and 15 minute phone calls!). I’m so blissfully free of regular meetings that I forgot just how bad they can get, and totally sympathize with OP3!

    1. MI Dawn*

      My boyfriend, before he retired, used to have close to that many. He’d have meeting double and triple scheduled for the same time slots. I’d complain about 3-4 meetings in a day, and then he’d show me his schedule for the same day…

    2. Trillian*

      I recall a week at one job when out of a supposed 37.5 hour work-week I had 32 hours of meetings, and I realized that execs love meetings because they get to give away tasks, and peons hate meetings because (a) they get tasks and (b) they can’t get on with those tasks because they’re in meetings.

      One of my favourite jobs ever, though oi, the meeting culture. Exacerbated by the fact that decision-makers would triple book themselves and then not show up, so decisions would not get made, and we’d have to have another meeting.

  6. Reluctant Aardvark*

    After reading AAM for a year, I used some of the advice about interviews and how to deal with negative work places to do so well on an internal job interview. I started my new position a few weeks ago and I couldn’t be happier. The new job is more secure, in a field I’ve been wanting to return to, and the team and management chain are all warm and supportive. This was after several years of depression and failed interviews due to awful work circumstances and some personal stuff that was going on. Everything is so much better now!

    1. Mrs. Pommeroy*

      Congratulations on your very own friday good news! I’m glad everything is better now and wish you continues happiness in your new position.

  7. A lawyer*

    Not me now looking up data privacy certification and debating if I would rather do that than my current work…

  8. OP1*

    OP1 here – my update to Alison was actually submitted about a year ago (lots of good news = delay in posting :). Happy update – I started my new job in January 2022, and had a baby girl in August 2022. I’m now 4 months into a year of fully paid maternity leave, and so happy that I made the leap when I did!

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