it’s your Friday good news

It’s your Friday good news!

1.  “I’ve never submitted a question but I’ve been reading your site for years now. I began reading when I started an administrative assistant role at a large healthcare organization. I was unsure how to navigate the more formal, hierarchal environment and trying to figure out how to avoid being pigeon-holed into a secretarial-type career path due to my gender, age, and experience. Your advice, as well as the extremely helpful comments on nearly every post, helped me grow from the administrative assistant role into what ended up being a very visible leadership role at that organization.

Unfortunately, though it had great visibility alongside responsibility, the role was not well paid and leadership was unwilling to reconsider the salary despite everything I handled. I stayed for a while, because of the benefits and industry security, but this past summer I became frustrated by the salary stagnation and started to explore other options. I saw a job posting at a company in an adjacent industry that sounded like it was drafted just for me; the role responsibilities covered all my professional areas of interest and then some. I wasn’t going to apply because it felt out of my league. However, your advice about having confidence in your skills and encouraging women to apply for ‘stretch roles’ was ringing in my brain. So, I applied and figured I’d never hear back other than maybe a form rejection email but at least I could say that I had swung at the opportunity.

To my utter surprise, I ended up not only being interviewed but being offered the role! However, I was worried because there had been a brief salary discussion during the screening interview, and I feared I may have left money on the table by giving a ballpark number (a few days after that conversation, you gave advice about how to skirt that type of salary question and I could have kicked myself!). But when the salary offer came, it was much higher than I anticipated! Even still, I had the wherewithal to stutter out a counteroffer; again, your advice was whispering in my ear and I had prepared solid reasoning for asking for the additional compensation. The company didn’t give me exactly what I asked for but added an additional $5k into a salary that was already 55% higher than my previous one. The benefits weren’t identical but very similar and the resulting 64% salary increase more than made up for the difference. My new role is much different than my previous experiences but I’m enjoying the challenges that come with being in a new industry and learning something new nearly every day. I don’t think my career path would look the same if it were not for your help.”

2.  “I was casually considering applying for other positions but struggling to commit when a position opened at my alma mater. Reading the position description was like reading my own resume; it was a combination of every position I’ve had and I met or exceeded every requirement. I applied, sailed through the interview process, and started my new position in late 2022.

It’s been about three months now and I could not be happier. The position is everything that I thought it would be and is actually better than anticipated. I supervise student workers who are passionate and dedicated, but also just a ton of fun to be around. My boss and grand-boss (and great grand-boss and great great grand-boss…which takes us up to the VP of the division) are all fantastic, as are my colleagues. The Dean and VP of the division are people who I knew and worked for as a para-professional when I was a student, so it’s been great to reconnect with them. I’m using my institutional knowledge; my professional expertise and experience; and doing important work that genuinely makes a difference. I look forward to work every day and, while there are things that could improve (as at any job), I have no complaints. And, because of my experience as a student and my professional background, I was able to hit the ground running on day one. I’ve used a ton of tips from AAM already since this is my first supervisory position and also the first position I’ve had where I am truly running an entire (small, but mighty) department. I also used everything I’ve picked up in the past decade-plus as a reader throughout the interview process.”

3.  “I’ve been looking for a new job for about a year, but being very particular about where I apply. I’m middle aged and would like to have wherever I land be my final employer. Thus, I needed to ensure it’s in my preferred industry, a healthy culture, and has room for professional and financial growth.

I got turned down at the final stages of a few positions I was excited about and I turned down a few offers from employers who weren’t a good cultural fit for me (thank you, Alison, for teaching me that interviewing goes both ways!). It took about three months from my initial application, but I just signed an offer letter from the employer I was most enthusiastic about! It’s a 19% pay increase and I will finally have PTO, health benefits, and paid sick leave after going five years without it!

Getting here was a roller coaster. I applied for Big Position A (a stretch, but I felt qualified), interviewed well twice, and then was informed that they decided not to fill Big Position A and asked if I would be interested in applying for Smaller Position B. I loved the company and didn’t want to burn the bridge, so I agreed to hear them out even though this would be a step down in pay and responsibilities. I figured maybe I can work my way up and the benefits would be worth the pay cut. I even negotiated a 5% increase in the previous maximum pay for Smaller Position B before I interviewed for it, which they agreed to.

Well, I arrived for my Smaller Position B interview and the CEO and a Director from another department had been given the opportunity to review my resume and they joined the interview. After a bit of chatting the three interviewers began to spitball about all of the ways my experience could help take things off their own plate, advance other objectives, and so forth.

The C-suite decided to revamp and reopen Big Position A based on that interview and offered me that position with the higher title and pay! They even allowed me to give a month of notice at my current employer so I can wrap up some important projects and transition my work.

So here I am, yet another reader who thought it would never be me sharing Friday Good News, thanking Alison for all of the sage advice and belly laughs over the more than a decade I’ve been reading. Don’t give up hope!”

{ 20 comments… read them below }

  1. Ellen*

    I left my old, terrible job and am now a month and a half into working new job. it is such an improvement that I’m feeling guilty for the folks I left behind and keep looking for problems that are not there.

    1. Goldenrod*

      It’s so common to feel shell-shocked and jumpy after leaving a toxic job! That feeling will wear off eventually.

      1. DJ Hymnotic*

        100% co-sign. I landed my current job after back-to-back awful, soul-crushing experiences at utterly toxic jobs. I had to spend the first few months just reprogramming a lot of my reactions to relatively normal, mundane things because I had just spent over two years having to adapt to surviving in completely poisonous workplaces. It takes genuine effort, and I think the need for that effort can catch us by surprise if we’re just so relieved to have escaped.

        I’ve kept in touch with a couple of my former coworkers, but I don’t feel any survivor’s guilt at having left them for the sake of my own sanity and wellbeing. Partly because they completely understood my reasons for leaving and partly because they’ve told me they’re actively job-searching themselves, so I know they’re using their own agency to get the heck outta dodge too.

    2. English Rose*

      Congratulations Ellen, there was a letter in just last couple of days (I think) about not feeling guilty. Enjoy the new job instead.

    3. Flying Fish*

      I left an awful and toxic place about a year and a half ago and I feel like I’m still recovering from it. Didn’t help that my first new job closed, so I’m on my 3rd job in a 2 year period. It’s like I’m just waiting for something to go wrong!

  2. skirting salary question*

    OP 1 talks about a post on how to skirt the salary question. Any links to that or similar posts?

    1. Huckleberry*

      LW1 here – the post I specifically remember is titled “how to ask about salary when you’re invited to interview” and is from July 2022. Alison linked several other posts within that reply that all correspond to the topic.

  3. Bookworm*

    Thanks to all the LWs for sharing! Especially to LW3: I’m not in that same position but am looking into work that I’m hoping would be at least more stable and/or lead to something that I can finally settle into for what might be the last part of my career (depending!). Glad to see the good news as always!!

  4. Goldenrod*

    Yay, these were all so satisfying and heartening to read. Congrats to you all!!

    I second the emotion that AAM is so educational, with so much practical, applicable advice. I know I learn something new here all the time, either from Alison or the commenters.

    AAM is a positive force for good in the world!

  5. TGIF*

    LW3 – Congrats on your new job! And I hope it continues well…but a bit of caution about your statement, “I’m middle aged and would like to have wherever I land be my final employer.” I, too, thought this once – before being part of a layoff, which can happen to anyone at any time (plus…ageism is real). Just sayin’ – keep networking, keep your options open, and keep reading AAM because who knows.

    1. AnonNow*

      Yes, I had thought that I was going to end my career at a well-known and respected company with very few layoffs ever, but guess what – that changed. Now I am back to my normal practice of always scanning job ads.

  6. English Rose*

    Many congratulations to everyone, lovely news to hear. Especially reiterating the salary negotiations.

  7. Just a girl*

    Congrats to everyone!

    Any recommendations on where to look for jobs now a days? I’ve just been looking at indeed; wondered if anyone has better luck with something else?

    1. Mirve*

      You are probably better off asking in the Friday open thread and mentioning your field or what type of job you are looking for. Places to look can be field dependent.

  8. Falling Diphthong*

    I really appreciate #3 as an example of how sometimes it’s worth it to give a hearing to something that is tangential to what you want. Not that it usually plays out quite this well, but it can be worth a few hours to consider new things and perhaps impress some new contacts.

  9. TSportsCat*

    Love these stories! I identified with all three in one way or another. Thank you for sharing!

  10. TG*

    I read AAM everyday and it’s very inspiring. I’m lucky I love my current role but know that if I ever needed to leave or open up to my boss I can find a lot of information here.
    And all the good news in Fridays kicks off my weekends on such a high note.

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