it’s your Friday good news

It’s your Friday good news!

I’m writing to tell you about my good news and to restate that your site was extremely helpful from soup-to-nuts: recognizing a bad job, seeking out good opportunities, interviewing, and landing an offer.

Up ’til early 2022 I’d see AAM posts come up when I’d google certain career-related questions, but it wasn’t until then that I subscribed and read in earnest — I wish I did earlier.

I just started a new job in early 2022 and I was quickly seeing that a) it seemed a bait-and-switch of job responsibilities b) my manager was non-existent to address these and other issues and c) I was quickly learning that people had to stay in their roles for 5-10 years for advancement. Couple that with the fact that upon starting my role, the availability to join the 401K, have a salary review the next year, and even use the basic benefits was a bit of a false-sell from what I had been told when interviewing.

I was devastated. I had taken about a 22% paycut to take this role because it was very close to home versus the long commute I had prior. So while there was the benefit of +/- 2 additional hours back to my day, I didn’t see any way to fix the overall situation because while my duties, (lack thereof), relationship (lack thereof) with my manager, and future growth (lack thereof) at the company could theoretically be addressed, there was no viable way to change the facts that all of the other items – pay, benefits, personal satisfaction with job etc were not looking positive.

I did try to take the high-road several times and give it a solid try to turn things around. I – in the most positive light I could – brought up these issues at the 90 day check-in I asked to have. I was listened to but nothing changed. In fact I was told that at the 1 year mark I’d see why things were the way they were. That was ominous.

Then, after attempting more than 8 (!) times to meet with my manager over a 2 month period that never ended up happening (always cancelled by them) I knew I had to make a decision quickly. I was approaching the 6 month mark and I was at the point where I either had to call it a day and give my notice, or eke out an existence there for 1-2 years. When I gave my notice my manager finally contacted me and said that they wished I had given them at least a year to figure things out (!?!).

I used several tips from AAM in the interview process for my next role, but I think the two most important ones were to 1) make every communication count whether it’s a thank you note, a confirmation email, or a question in an interview and secondly 2) the worst thing you can do on a resume or interview is to leave the important things unsaid. I learned don’t take for granted that someone will read bullet point #6 and don’t be shy about repeating a very pertinent skill/accomplishment/trait in a conversation that is truly material to the role.

When I put those strategies (and others in action) after about 2.5 months of interviews I was able to get a role I feel valued in where I’m mostly remote, have amazing benefits (the best I’ve ever had in a job), and a 27.5% salary increase.

It’s been about 9 months in my new position and while no job is perfect, I’m very satisfied… my family jokes with me and asks if I’m ok because they were so used to hearing about how ‘bad’ work was every day at dinner – now I hardly even talk about it – in a good way!

I’ll add one more thing which you’ve (Alison) said several times — call it chance, call it luck, call it out of your control — there is no way to know what the interviewers are thinking, what the behind-the-scenes push factors are. It’s impossible, but try to put it out of your mind, check in after 5-10 days, a second time, and then move on. Thank you and the AAM community for showing me what ‘normal’ in a job should be – having that balance, and thinking about other things at the dinner table is great.

{ 31 comments… read them below }

  1. MigraineMonth*

    Congratulations! I’m amazed at the gall of your manager demanding a full year to do anything management-related. I imagine they would not have been equally patient if you’d declined to work during your first year.

  2. Salsa Your Face*

    I’m really happy for you, OP!

    Is anyone else dying to know what happens at 1 year? Do they suddenly festoon employees with a million dollars and a gilded pony for putting up with 365 days of bullshit?

    1. Velawciraptor*

      Yeah, I’m wondering about that bit too.

      And how is anyone supposed to have faith that things will be “figured out” when the manager is actively hiding from their employee? WTAF is any of that nonsense?

      1. MassMatt*

        If my manager cancelled eight meetings I requested in a row I would definitely start looking. It’s a clear message of what you can expect. What, after a year he’s going to actually meet with you?

    2. Sara without an H*

      +1. I’ve worked at places where you really did need to be in the position for a complete fiscal year before you saw everything involved in the roll. But that doesn’t mean the manager just abandons the employee to wing it for 12 months running.

      OP, this sounds like a very high level of organizational dysfunction. You were smart to get out when you did.

      1. SansaStark*

        Yeah, my job needs a whole “cycle” (about a year) to see how things fit together, but we certainly have conversations along the way so that a newer employee has an idea of what the whole cycle looks like. And I can explain why we do ABC process so that 3 months later XYZ process is smoother or whatever. It’s not like “oh this will all make sense at the 12-month mark.”

      2. hellohello*

        I’ve found in most jobs I’ve had that it takes about a year to feel fully confident in the role, but that’s because the person doing the role needs to learn the ropes, not because a bad work environment suddenly gets more tolerable after 365 days.

      3. Paulina*

        Seeing the job throughout a full year might be able to address OP’s concerns about the duties of their job (though if the manager can’t do more than “wait and see” then they don’t deserve to have employees, and half a year of a bad job probably can’t be made up for). But unless there were significant bonuses available from later “other duties”, then there’s no way that a full fiscal year would help with any of the other concerns. “We hope you stick with it for long enough to feel committed and absorb the internal groupthink despite us being poor communicators” isn’t a viable employee retention strategy.

    3. SHEILA, the co-host*

      Ha! My mind went in the opposite direction – you learn it’s a front for the mob or similar, and now that you know the secret, you can’t leave.

      1. OrdinaryJoe*

        That’s what I was thinking! You’ve learned the secret and have accidently committed multiple felonies with the work so now they own you!

      2. I should really pick a name*

        It sounded kind of like The Firm where lawyers eventually discover they’re working for the mob.

    4. Falling Diphthong*

      They pull back the curtain to reveal the giant alien jellyfish that has been running the company the whole time. It takes 1 year for the nutrient absorbing tentacle to fully attach.

    5. Gumby*

      Yes! Like at one year you magically “understand” why the benefits are terrible and your manager doesn’t talk to you but also then your manager will somehow figure out how to talk to you? None of it makes sense. I desperately want to understand.

    6. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      I wondered, and I really think that the boss watched those movies about civil suits where the insurance rep says, “they will stop calling and go away at a year,” and figured OP would give up and get in line by then.
      The problem with basing your professional life on a Hollywood movie, is that you can only write your part of the script.
      Boss: “In a year OP won’t bother me with this.”
      OP: Peace out.
      Boss: “No! Not like that!”

    7. Enai*

      Yes, I am very curious. Good for OP for getting out before the alien transformation or semething is complete, though. I wouldn’t have stayed in their shoes, either.

    8. CG*

      What happens after one year? They tell you to wait six more months, and then you’ll understand. And then six months later, one more year… :)

  3. Emily S.*

    Yay! That is such a wonderful happy ending, OP.

    Well done! You were very thoughtful in your approach, and I am really glad you have landed in a much better role.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

  4. English Rose*

    What a brilliant story to end the week. So happy for you OP, and really agree with your comment about learning to make every communication count.

  5. ina*

    Very minor and dumb but my resume was forwarded to the hiring department of a job I really want (had to get past a central HR review that took two weeks, much longer than other jobs I’ve applied to at this place — it’s academia)! It’s the kind of work I like doing. My experience doesn’t align perfectly, but it’s 75% of the way there and the other 25% is more learning a new deployment of what I can already do. It’s a wondering opportunity for growth and the mission of the department is something I would feel good supporting.

    Holding so much hope on my back, lol. Someone else please carry a little of it so I can relax…I haven’t even gotten an interview!!

    1. ina*

      Sorry, meant to also say congrats to the LW!!! Made me happy to read as I’ve been taking the same notes from AAM.

    2. Squirrel Nutkin (the teach, not the admin)*

      Good luck! And if this interview doesn’t work out, keep trying. : )

    3. sillyRabbit*

      Hey ina,
      I think you’re very smart to reset your expectations for a response to “academia time.” Here’s hoping the interview invitation comes relatively soon.
      Best of luck!

      1. ina*

        Yes! And apparently the HR department at this place is in the midst of an overhaul, too, so I’m gonna set my expectations to “federal time,” haha. No response, at this time, is better than a rejection, I guess!

        Thank you so much!

  6. Purple Jello*

    So glad you found something better for yourself. It sounds like the old place was so messed up that your boss thought it was “normal” and probably that you were impatient.

  7. Squirrel Nutkin (the teach, not the admin)*

    Great work getting out of a bad situation and knowing your own worth, LW! : )

  8. Bookworm*

    As always, thank you so much for sharing the good news!! Always nice to end the week on a better note.

  9. Sage*

    Congratulations for cutting losses and search something better. No one deser es to be left in the dark like that, and not everyone manages to stand up for themselves!

  10. MassMatt*

    Congratulations, OP! This was IMO the best “good news” letter in months, if not years. I hope other stuck in bad jobs read it and follow your lead.

  11. no weapons, fair deal, your rules*

    I’m very happy for you, OP. God knows you tried to make it work at the old job, but am glad you ditched them for greener pastures. Wishing you continued success going forward!

Comments are closed.