it’s your Friday good news

It’s your Friday good news!

1.  “I am so excited to share my own good news update with you. After twelve years in the same role, including six as PhD student, I reached burnout by the end of 2021. My job, though personally rewarding, had no opportunity for professional or financial growth and I didn’t see a clear path to my next role. I read your site daily and started applying for jobs in various fields. I got a few interviews but no offers. Then at the end of June, with a family member facing two upcoming surgeries and a dissertation proposal still in draft mode for more than two years, I turned in my notice at work.

Only with my partner’s generous support, I left my job without having a new one lined up. My boss was as relieved as I was. They knew they couldn’t get me more money, couldn’t expand the role, and most importantly, that I needed new opportunities. Like so many of the commentariat, I had to figure out who I was without the role I’d held for so long. I struggled to see my value without a paycheck, without external validation from students, coworkers, and bosses.

I then spent five months doing all the things I didn’t make or have time for when working full time– home improvement projects, caring for my family member through two surgeries, defending my dissertation proposal, and just living – at coffee shops, yarn stores, and on one hot summer afternoon in August a last-minute trip to the zoo. I also worked with a life coach and a career coach, read your site daily, and practiced my zoom interview skills (finally learning where to focus my eyeballs!).

And then after two interviews, I received an offer for a position with much more responsibility and opportunity. This position pays 30% more than my last with great benefits and a beautiful office (I am one of the rare folks who prefers to not work from home). I’ll be leading an amazing team and more importantly, using what I am learning from you, in the process.”

2.  “I wrote a question in your Friday Open Thread in January of 2021 about how to “be a team player” while still getting credit for the work I did. The responses I got were overwhelmingly that I was doing everything right and that the problem was with the culture of my work group. I really appreciated a comment that ‘a place that routinely allows your work to be credited to someone else, and what little credit you are allowed is apparently too much and should be spread to others? This is a culture that isn’t going to let you succeed.’

This motivated me to start job searching. I had felt very hopeless job-searching in the past because my industry is very niche and dependent upon specific, uncommon infrastructure (imagine if my job was being an operator at a nuclear power plant), as well as the pandemic recession, so I felt lucky when a friend passed along a job description that seemed to match my background. I quickly revamped my resume and kept in mind your words of wisdom, Alison, that hiring managers want to find and hire qualified candidates, so I should mentally approach our interaction as me (potentially) solving a problem for them, rather than me supplicating for a favor.

Long story short, they made me an offer! I was beside myself with excitement. I take the fact that I was offered the first job I applied for as a combination of luck and probably also the fact that I had been underestimating my desirability as a potential hire in my industry.

Taking this job would require a cross-country move and selling my family’s house. Having done this before, I knew how expensive and logically-demanding this could be, so I negotiated hard on the relocation package. The hiring manager was able to give me what I asked for and I chose to not negotiate as hard for salary since it was already a pay boost. Maybe I could have negotiated harder but I got what I wanted in terms of relocation, and I was just eager to get out of that awful job.

Quitting the awful job was awkward but I took your advice and held my tongue even as the various evil, complacent managers badgered me for why I was leaving. I gave vague ‘ready for the next challenge’ answers and ‘want to be closer to my parents’ for those who really pressed. My instincts told me that the organization was rotten to the core and there was no good to be had burning bridges. I took pleasure hearing from friends still at the company that my departure ‘sent shockwaves’ through the organization, and wasn’t surprised when the company killed the entire division roughly a year later (though I can’t take credit for that!).

I started the new job in May 2021. The new job is a huge improvement in quality of life, my contributions are highly respected and acknowledged, and my new manager gives me lots of opportunities to grow and expand my skillset.

Thank you to you and your commentariat for providing a sanity check and then a lifeline to recognize how much better things should be, and to get out!”

3.  “I submitted an (unpublished) question late last year about dealing with massive irrational performance review anxiety. It turns out – as I suspected – that I needn’t have worried: out of seven ratings, I got four ‘Meets expectations’ and three ‘Exceeds expectations’! I earned a sizable bonus that will be paying out by the end of January.”

{ 11 comments… read them below }

  1. HitThatReplyAll*

    Reading LW 2 is so cathartic. This is the dopamine drip I need for a sleep deprived Friday morning.

  2. Sharks Are Cool*

    I’m so happy for LW1 and SO envious. Five months off to focus on personal growth sounds like heaven!

    1. I have RBF*

      It also sounds like it was very much needed to push the dissertation through.

      I’m glad they were able to do it!

  3. Nervous Nell*

    LW1, your letter made me bookmark this Friday Good News. I’m on the precipice of doing something very similar and have been so anxious but excited. I will keep coming back to this page when I need motivation. I wish you all the best!

    1. ilyasaurus*

      Me too!! I’m three weeks from the end of my notice, when I’ll be on a five-month sabbatical from work before starting school full time. I’m doing a complete career pivot- I’ve been working as a legal admin for the last decade, but I had a mid-ish-life-crisis where I realized that I was half the retirement age (just celebrated my 33rd birthday last month), and I couldn’t envision spending my entire lifetime over again working with lawyers without an assault charge (mostly joking). I’m going into set design for either theatre or museum collections. I’m terrified, my mom has gotten into my head about it, but my extremely excellent spouse is excited.

      1. a perfect third*

        Hey! Good for you for making this change and being brave enough to respond when something is not working. I know how it feels to get your mom in your head. You have to remind yourself that so much about the world (economy / society) changes so fast, that no one can give an informed opinion on what you are doing at this moment.

        This anonymous 33yo is so happy for you and thinks you are making a very smart choice.

  4. Boof*

    These are all beautiful! And wow #2, what an amazing update from an open thread, glad you were able to get out of that sexist quagmire!!!!

  5. Mimmy*

    #1 – I can relate to some of your feelings about your previous job – long period in the same role, personally fulfilling but lacking professional growth. I’m definitely at burnout and have thought about giving notice without anything lined up. I don’t think I’m in a position to do that. However, I’m so happy that you were able to take the time you needed for yourself and are now in a more fulfilling role.

  6. cat in cardboard box*

    LW1 That struggle is so real and shared by me as well… it’s really hard to see your worth without the pay or external validation!!! Way to go on not giving up!

    LW2 Way to go and way to push for the things that are important to you!!

    LW3 Oh, the joys of anxiety – turn out to be far more common than we first thought! So glad things turned out well, and hopefully you can remember that situation when anxiety reappears in the future!

  7. A Simple Narwhal*

    Omigosh #2 that was my comment, I’m honored that it resonated with you! So happy for your success in finding a great new job and successful negotiations, wishing you the best!

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