it’s your Friday good news

It’s your Friday good news!

1.  “After many years freelancing part-time while being a full-time parent I decided to return to the workforce. Job-hunting is stressful and full of disappointment. I’ve been ghosted more times than I can count and I stopped counting how many jobs I applied to a long time ago. To say I am discouraged and suffering from ‘job-related low self-esteem’ is an understatement.

So when I got an email from a recruiter about a seemingly-perfect job I was over the moon. I bought your guide on how to get a job and poured over the interview tips. Alison, I went into that first interview more prepared than I have ever been for anything in my life. I absolutely nailed it. I was immediately invited back for a second interview, and then a third.

But thanks to all my prep work, I wasn’t nervous, and I wasn’t thinking about how to make them like me more. I was able to also focus on whether I liked them. And the more I talked to them, the more I got the sense that all was not right in job-land. When I did a team interview, the tension was palpable. They were evasive when I asked what happened to the previous person in my role. In an interview with my would-be manager I felt empowered to interview her right back and asked all kinds of questions about her management style. When I asked her if she had ever received any feedback about her management style that really resonated with her, her face visibly darkened. All in all, I left each interview with a feeling of dread instead of enthusiasm.

They offered me the job and I asked for the weekend to think it over. In the past I would have shoved all those doubts aside and jumped at the job, and somehow convinced myself it would all be ok. On Monday I called them back and said I did not think the role was going to work for me and thanked them for my time.

Thank goodness I trusted my gut! I found out later through a professional contact that my would-be manager is notorious for burning through staff at an alarming rate. She turns hot and cold on a dime and goes from ‘you are the best employee I have ever had’ to firing you in under a week. Apparently ex-employees of hers found each other on LinkedIn and formed a small support group. Especially after reading so many horror stories of bad employers and toxic workplaces, I decided that my mental health is not worth a paycheck.

So, I am still unemployed with no real leads on the horizon but I feel really empowered now. I took control of my career instead of jumping on the first offer that came along. And I know I can really kill it in an interview. Hopefully someday soon, a mentally stable hiring manager will call me and I can wow that person too.”

Update from yesterday: “I have an update to my good news! I just (an hour ago) accepted a great new position! I am so glad I held out for something better. The job pays 25% more than the one I turned down and the team I am joining is a really great group of people that I am legitimately excited to work with.”

2.  “Loooong-time reader and credit your site for helping me grow as both an employee and manager. Years of reading your salary negotiation posts as well as how to frame things effectively paid off for me about a year ago. I was offered a transfer to our European office. I understood it as a lateral move so I assumed the salary would be whatever the going exchange rate was of my US salary. Instead I was offered the equivalent of a 5% pay cut (7% when factoring in cost of living increases). The HR person acted surprised when I pushed back and said, ‘It’s a good living.’ When I was newer in my career I would have just accepted it (I’m fulfilling a dream and moving to Europe after all!). However, I instead laid out all the figures of how much of a difference it would make and escalated it. I was told HR made a mistake and I was actually getting the equivalent of a 10% raise! Which really hammered home the importance of questioning things and knowing my worth. I have been in Europe for just over a year now and it is everything I dreamed.”

3.  “I have never written in before but read your column all the time. I was previously working at an extremely toxic company which was compounded during Covid. Since this is a good news post I will spare you the details, but the final straw for me was when I was told at a year end review that I had not been promoted the previous year because I was on parental leave, and that I would not be promoted that year because I was pregnant. I was terrified to be job searching during a pandemic while pregnant, but I read your all of your guidance (particularly about interviewing while pregnant!) and landed an amazing, fully remote role at a company that I’m actually excited to work for. The 25% pay increase and amazing benefits helped too. I enjoyed more paid time off when my daughter was born than I’d had at any previous job as well, and with the way things ended up working out I had only worked there for six weeks before she unexpectedly made her appearance a few weeks early.

I’m nearly two years into my new job and while this place has its issues like any other, the change in my mental health is profound. I no longer spend Sunday night laying awake dreading going to work the next day, I have more flexibility to be with my family, and I work with really awesome people who are supportive and care about my professional development. Without the help of your site I would have stayed at toxic job at least until my daughter was born, and I would have completely missed this opportunity. So thanks for all of the help you provide, you’re out here changing lives!”

4.  “I was working in an industry that was drastically affected by the pandemic; it basically relied on people going places. I returned to work from my first maternity leave in January of 2020 and had been trying to secure a new role during my maternity leave and had no such luck. I had been invited for an interview at the beginning of March and had made it past the first round but the position was cancelled. I kept working but my position was basically eliminated as no one could go anywhere. Luckily my company had other ventures so I transferred departments. My original position paid salary plus commission, so with no commission coming in my income dropped 12K. We managed but it was hard.

I was determined to get out, and found out I was pregnant again. I’m in Canada so I was able to take an extended maternity leave for 18 months, which I hoped would enable the world to get somewhat back to normal and I could go back to what I was originally doing, just maybe with a different company. At the end of my leave in 2022, I was randomly scrolling indeed and came across a position that matched my experience perfectly in a totally new and different industry, so I thought I would give it a shot. I reworked my cover letter and resume using your advice and was invited for an interview. I had been sent interview questions, which I made my husband and my best friend ask me. I practiced in the shower and out loud in the car — I think my 3-year-old thought I had a screw loose.

I nailed the interview and when I got the offer letter, I cried because I more than doubled my previous salary, didn’t have to work weekends, and our office is closed for the holidays at Christmas. I have been in my new role for 3 months and honestly it’s a dream. I’m pretty much fully remote but sometimes need to be able to come into the office, my team is amazing and I hit the jackpot with my new boss. She’s everything I wish my 20-year-old self had in a boss. I didn’t realize how underpaid and how much my previous boss had been holding me back with her weird micromanaging.”

5.  “I’m so happy to finally join the good news club!

At the end of the summer I was abruptly let go from my job when they decided they wanted our department full-time in-office only, with no exceptions whatsoever (despite the fact I had been working remotely for many years prior to the pandemic). No, this definitely was not actually necessary for what we did. I could have written in with dozens of questions and anecdotes from my bonkers time there, and I can’t deny that I was ready to leave, but the way it ended still hurt a lot.

While I’ve been a long time AAM reader, I dove deep into the archives during my unemployment to do everything from update my resume, write fresh cover letters, and even find book recommendations to help fill my free time (Hench? Incredible. I still can’t stop telling people to read it.)

Today I signed the offer letter to accept my first management position! I never would have made it through the 5-round interview process without all the advice I’ve held onto over the years, most especially the tip to not read too much into anything! After each round I was able to just take a deep breath, say ‘whatever happens happens’ and not dwell. I kept my expectations in check and just laughed and shared the couple of odd things with friends instead of freaking myself out about them being secret red flags about the company.

I’m so excited for my fresh start. Now I’m off to comb the archives again to figure out how to re-acclimate to working in an office again after being at home for 7 years! (At least the new position is hybrid, so my cats won’t miss me too much!)”

{ 23 comments… read them below }

  1. Bookworm*

    I had a bad week so I was happy to see the good news. Thanks to all who wrote in! Always nice to end a week with some happy news.

    1. Respectfully, Pumat Sol*

      It is getting a sequel! She’s working on it now. It’s called Right Hand and should come out this fall.

  2. HCTZ*

    Don’t know if I’m in a weird space mood-wise but these letters made me EXTRA happy today especially #1!!! That feeling of confidence just cannot be beat. It can do us sooo much good and take us sooo far. Congrats to all!

    1. Artemesia*

      #1 did the hardest thing — to say ‘no’ when you are unemployed and anxious to find a job. So glad it worked out well. Take courage.

    2. Love to WFH*

      The “why is this position open” question is so important! I once got the answer “The previous two people were fired”.

  3. Not Tom, Just Petty*

    LW #2, you are in Europe now. I’m guessing you use more public transportation. Do you look for your HR department every time you ride a bus?
    “They made a mistake.”
    Big ups to you for handling it so professionally, not blowing up your spot and coming out as you should have. It must have been hard not to lose it.

    1. Artemesia*

      An interesting story. SURE they made a mistake. Probably they figured they could roll you because of their assumption you were anxious to make the move and would be confused by the money differences. It was a mistake so they could save face. Congratulations for seeing this one out.

  4. Free Meerkats*

    For #3, if they put either of those into writing (no promotion because maternity leave and pregnant), you have the possibility of a payoff. If you have any evidence, file an EEOC complaint immediately. Even if you don’t get anything, the investigation will make it better for other women there.

    1. Seashell*

      I’m amazed that people would even say that orally. Seems like a lawsuit waiting to happen or at least terrible optics.

  5. Chilipepper Attitude*

    As always, many thanks to those who wrote in to fill us with good cheer.
    To those who are still working toward their own Friday good news, hang in there, I never thought it would happen for me!

    I keep feeling like we should have a club – Alison’s Happy Cats or something. For everyone who has felt the positive impact of Alison’s work.

    As OP#3 said, Alison is out here changing lives!

  6. E*

    This is off-topic and I’m sorry for that but is anyone else not seeing today’s posts in their RSS reader? I use feedly (RIP Google Reader) and I’ve tried re-adding the RSS feed link for AAM and nothing. The last post I see in my feed is the “How to request time off for a last-minute interview” post.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Yes, the RSS feed is at least partially broken and won’t be fixed until next week (my tech person is unavailable this week and I am still dealing with DDOS issues on my own, which is also why you might see the security check is temporarily back — everything has gone haywire and I’m just trying to keep things minimally functioning!).

      1. I have RBF*

        Ouch. My condolences on the DDOS garbage. I hope the jerks get bored and go harass someone else.

        Try to have a great weekend anyway!

  7. I take tea*

    Such a nice roundup of good news today. #1 was so satisfying, it really underlined Alison’s mantra of “interviews go both ways”. So good to trust your gut.

  8. Clara*

    I love the generic ‘Europe’ in LW2’s post, whether it’s Paris or Doncaster, I hope you’re having a great time!

Comments are closed.