it’s your Friday good news

It’s your Friday good news!

1.  “My note goes out to all the women who have written in about gathering their courage to ask for a raise because their stories gave me the courage to ask for a raise!

My organization approached me about job training for advanced work, along with bumping me up the pay range. At the end of our meeting I said thank you, this sounds good, but I want to review the proposed pay increase. I went back to my desk and pulled up the pay ranges, and it was a nice bump, but did not equal the value I felt I provide my organization. I put in a lot of extra effort during Covid, including transitioning my organization to almost fully digital form processing, covered two vacant positions for most of 2022, and trained both new employees on a significant portion of their job duties. I considered my options, wrote up a summary of why I deserved more money, and asked for two steps higher, which changed it from a $6,000/year raise to a $10,000/year raise. A work friend proofread it, I slept on it overnight, and I sent it to my supervisors.

And they agreed! In the past I would’ve been happy to just accept what was offered, but having read so many examples of women asking to be compensated for the work they do gave me the gumption to ask the same for myself. Thank you!”

2.  “I’m in an extremely competitive yet notoriously poorly compensated field (I’m leaving it out for the sake of anonymity, but readers are welcome to guess!), and for years I had a job where I loved the team and the work itself, but was paid $45,000 in a high cost-of-living city and never received a raise, not even a COLA, despite having asked multiple times and being widely considered one of the company’s top performers.

I passively job searched but never put any real urgency into it.

My workload got much higher during Covid. I rose to the challenge and my output increased further, which grew the productivity gap between me and the rest of my team. I pointed all of this out to my boss, asked for a raise again, and I was told I was ‘top of the list’ whenever there would be money for it. I told my boss to tell his boss that I was job searching as a last-ditch effort to get a raise—I knew they valued me enough not to fire me. The message I received back was, ‘Good for you. You deserve better than this place can give you.’

I got a lot of interviews but wasn’t able to land anything—again, extremely competitive field, and my experience was in the awkward space between entry-level and mid-level, and I didn’t want to make a lateral move. Well, while on vacation in the middle of my job hunt, I got a call from a direct competitor with a job offer they thought I would be the perfect candidate for. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted—while my passion is in, let’s say, teapot painting, they were offering a position as manager of teapot assembling—but it would be a move up, and the pay was significantly better. (They offered $60k, I negotiated up to $65k.) So I took it and let my employer know. They started a frenzied attempt to counteroffer—they were envisioning a “senior teapot painter” role and matching the salary, but they had to get it approved by corporate. Alison, I was livid. It made my decision so much harder, since I did love the team, and senior teapot painter was my dream job! But I remembered your advice that a company that needs to counteroffer to treat its employees well is probably not worth staying in, so I told them not to bother checking with corporate and moved onto the new job.

New job was fine—the workload was way lower and I was making more money, which was great, but I still didn’t love the work itself. I slowly tried to take on more responsibility for things I enjoyed more, which came with stipends that collectively added about $6,500 to my annual salary. And after six months (!) I successfully asked to raise my base to $70k.

Well, about a year into my job, my boss told me the company was thinking about creating a teapot painting manager position, but that it would be hard to hire for. I told them I’d like to throw my hat in the ring, and they were thrilled! I got promoted without them conducting an open search, and I got yet another raise, with another stipend for a specific responsibility I was taking on. My annual pay now is close to $90k.

I’m doing work I love, getting paid nearly double what I was two years ago, and for a company that recognizes talent and compensates accordingly. I’m so SO grateful I took the advice not to accept a counteroffer. While I would have loved the work, I never would have gotten more money beyond the $65k match, and the raises I’ve received in my current company have literally been life-changing.

This is a long one, but I hope it can serve as inspiration for some of your readers: It’s OK for progress to be incremental. Sometimes it takes a few stepping stones to get to where you really want to be.”

3.  “I spent six years at Old Company. For the first three of those years, I got no pay raises, partly due to having a boss who didn’t want to be a manager and wouldn’t make a case to the business for our team. Even though the whole company was building its strategy around our work, HR thought our pay scale should be the same as other divisions of the business.

I kept seeing job postings at higher rates of pay than mine. A lot of the jobs sounded imperfect, but I put some applications in, got some interviews, and eventually jumped for a slightly different specialty which will broaden my expertise and a 40% pay bump.

The best part? Apparently my departure was the last straw, and now all the roles on my old team have their own pay bands — a fair bit higher than they were.”

4.  “After being at Old Job for 3.5 years, I knew it was time to move on. I loved my colleagues and the actual work I was doing, but there was no room for growth, HR was awful, and I wasn’t confident the company was going to exist in 10 years. An oversaturated field (libraries/museums/archives), geographic limitations, and the need to make X salary to survive in my East Coast metro area meant I could only apply for certain positions.

A year of searching got me a few interviews at places that would have been a bad fit, so I was resigned to staying at Old Job for at least another year before trying again. But then Dream Job came up and I couldn’t not apply. I used all your tools to feel confident in the interviews, show the hiring team that I knew what I was talking about, and get the offer! I also used your tips to negotiate for time off for my wedding a month after my start date. After I started, my boss said that I was the most impressive candidate they interviewed and I credit a lot of that to AAM’s advice.

I’ve been at New Job now for 9 months and of course it isn’t perfect, but it is lightyears better than Old Job. I don’t feel like I have to work as efficiently as possible every minute of every day to make sure my work outlives the company; I don’t have to deal with company members with absolutely no boundaries; I don’t have an HR department who forgets my department exists.

I emailed you twice during the whole year-long search  (asking about vacation time when job searching and then freaking out when my offer letter at Dream Job was revised) and so appreciated your grace when answering. Thank you, thank you for all the advice on the blog!”

5.  “I’ve been an avid reader of your blog for over five years and I am happy to say I have a success story to share!

After following your site for tips on cover letters, resumes, interviews, and job offers, I am happy to say I have accepted a new position making 96.0370% (yes, I did the math) more than I did, I’m on a tenure track, and I get half days on Friday! Now into the wild world of academic libraries!”

{ 26 comments… read them below }

  1. CommanderBanana*

    A company that is only motivated to give you what you’ve asked for once you’ve announced you’re leaving is not worth working for. The only thing that changed about you is that you got another offer.

    1. Peanut Hamper*

      This. When I gave my notice at my last job, my boss put everything that I was concerned about on the table. (A big one was that I was the only person in the org who didn’t have a job description, which made it possible to dump anything and everything on my plate.)

      I was worried that it would be hard to leave, but honestly, realizing that he was only interested in doing something once I had my foot out the door made it really easy. I’m so glad LW #2 got out. It can be done!

      1. Grumbles*

        I was invited to interview for a board position today! the interview itself is next week but this has done wonders for my confidence, I’ve been job searching without any real luck in the last 6 months and looking to move into the field this nonprofit covers. Feels like a positive step towards that move!

      2. cabbagepants*

        yep! it’s proof that your boss thinks it’s reasonable to give you the literal minimum to keep you.

    2. Momma Bear*

      Agreed. So many good points about that letter. A lot of people think that success is a straight line when so often it is not. I spent a good chunk of time doing things that were not entirely my career path but also not too far off it. Those skills helped me land the job I am in now. If I hadn’t wandered some, I wouldn’t have this resume. I’m glad OP knew better than to stay where the company only appreciated them on the way out.

    3. Random Dice*

      I have a question. Is that advice still true in this case?

      My manager encouraged me to interview and return with an offer letter, so he could get me a pay boost. (Which he did.) He said the company, and industry, was stacked toward pay bumps when moving between companies.

      Is that admirable managing – recognizing the limitations of the system and advising how to navigate it successfully – or is it just a manager giving up on having to do the hard stuff?

  2. All Het Up About It*

    All great!!

    LW2, especially though.
    The message I received back was, ‘Good for you. You deserve better than this place can give you.’
    And then PANIC when LW called their bluff. Delicious schadenfreude.

  3. Chilipepper Attitude*

    Thanks to all for writing in, I love these!
    #4, what did you do about the revised offer letter, I could not see any comments from you in the original post.

    #2, as All Het Up About It said, delicious schadenfreude indeed!!

    1. KB*

      LW4 here, as I mentioned the offer changed from exempt to non-exempt. I’d only ever been exempt and salaried at permanent positions before, and the change to non-exempt hourly freaked me out. But after hearing from Alison and talking with others, I didn’t see any other red flags with the job and decided to accept. So far being non-exempt hasn’t been an issue.

  4. cabbagepants*

    LW2 — ugh, there are so many possibilities! Art, fashion, libraries, academia all come to mind.

  5. Pinkie Pie*

    I got good news today. After my main customer stopped providing work, citing my health (I had chemo), I decided to wait out the treatment. Today, I accepted a federal job with better pay and benefits.

  6. Bookworm*

    Always great to end another week with these good news letters. I really like reading these so thanks as always to the LWs for sharing!

  7. Academic Librarian too*

    Advice to the Academic Librarian on Tenure Track.
    No matter what anyone says (you have time, get the lay of the land, …) start building your promotion and tenure portfolio NOW.
    Aim to have a complete ready dossier for review by year 3.
    Choose 3 mentors. A tenured person some with time in, a recently promoted person (who will know what the most recent requirements for promotion are) and someone who was on the promotion committee. Ask to see their dossiers. Ask them what a successful candidate looks like.
    For a cohort of “on- track” librarians to book end writing and publication. Block out 2 hours a week for research and writing.
    Keep your cv up to date and know the “value” of each of your contributions. For example, a peer reviewed article is worth more than a “how I did this” article. An invited lecture is worth more than a paper presentation.
    Keep a file of printouts or emails of nice things people say about you.

    1. Chilipepper Attitude*

      Great advice. Can I sadly add that libraries (and US educational institutions) are some of the worst places for workplace bullying. In academic libraries, the bullying is worse around the time of tenure applications. And it is worse for people from the global majority.

      All that to say, when you think of mentors and your path forward, consider these issues.

  8. lol*

    LW #2: If you’re not in publishing, I will be… incredibly depressed that there are two industries like this :`)

  9. Katherine Vigneras*

    I have good news too!

    Awhile ago I got a new boss. They were great for a while, but last year their true colors started to show and things got really bad. Lies, gaslighting, harassment, all kinds of fun. I have been so miserable and it’s just been awful.

    Earlier this week I accepted a dream job – I’m currently cutting llama hair, but I wanted to get back to llama haircolor (I’ve been really successful at this before and I’ll also get to learn some llama balayage on the job.) It’s a good package and the boss is someone I’ve heard a lot of good things about. I’m over the moon.

  10. MomOf3*

    I asked for a raise last summer & was told I was already overpaid. I’m at the finish line of being hired for a new job and can’t wait to tell my boss I’m leaving. But I’m mentally trying to prepare to see my old job posted at a higher salary than they would ever have given me. Annoying when companies do this, but we all know they do. I’m trying to see it as planting a seed someone else will see the harvest of, and be thankful for the times in my own career when it’s probably happened to me & I didn’t know.

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