It’s your Friday good news!
1. “I have been a reader of your site since 2009, and I finally put your advice about negotiating salary to work! I received an offer for a position at a base salary that I would have absolutely accepted at face value, but I gave myself a moment to ask, ‘Is there any chance you can come up a bit on that?’ and then stopped talking. I didn’t present a specific number as a counter (note to self for next time), but even just the ask was a big step for me.
The hiring manager got back to me the next day with an increase of about 4.5%, which I gladly accepted. Obviously I would have had a target number in mind in the ideal situation, but even just the open ask meant that I wasn’t leaving money on the table.
Thanks for your easy scripts and reminders to advocate for yourself!”
2. “For a while I was actively avoiding Friday Good News posts, because I was so unhappy and pessimistic about my own situation. Obviously, since I’m writing this, things have changed significantly.
I have ten years of experience in my field, and it’s one with a lot of positions in a lot of different organizations in my area. So it should be relatively easy to find a decent role. But I had two major obstacles: 1) that 10 years of experience was spread over 15 years of my life, because I have a chronic health issue that has caused attendance problems at every job I’ve ever had, and my job history has a few gaps where I was on disability, and 2) I am desperately bored with my particular field and have been wanting to get out for years (but kept getting reeled back in because when you’re trying to overcome a potentially problematic history, it’s a lot easier to get hired for something you’ve been doing for a while.)
I ended up working with a temp agency that specializes in placing people with disabilities, and in December I finished a two-year contract (in the field I’m burned out on, at a lower level than I’m qualified for, at 2/3 the pay I would ordinarily be making, but it’s a good length to have at the top of my resume). There have been some lifestyle and treatment changes that had me feeling better about my chances of actually working all the days I’m supposed to work, and of course to qualify for unemployment you have to apply for jobs, so I didn’t/couldn’t wait around for another contract to come available.
This is when the good news starts. The contract ended at the beginning of December, and I knew that any responses to job applications were unlikely until after the holidays. Sure enough, not a peep on anything until February. And then, in the space of three weeks, I interviewed for four jobs (only one of which was the type of role I’ve been trying to escape). And got two offers.
I’ve been reading AAM for several years now, and I credit that with helping me do well in (most of) the interviews, being able to accurately assess how well I did, and not feeling devastated about the one I bombed while dealing with a lot of personal stress. It also meant I had a plan for managing multiple offers.
I’ve been at my new job for four weeks now, and I am thrilled about it every day. It’s different enough from my past experience that I’m able to challenge myself and learn new things, but it still plays to my strengths and my experience gives me a perspective that adds value to the team. It’s a very Goldilocks situation – my boss is neither a micromanager nor negligently hands-off, she is just right. The team is neither indifferent nor overly involved with each other, but just right. It’s a very flexible hybrid schedule, which is better for me than either 100% in office or 100% remote. And so on. I could write a whole letter on how excellent my boss is, but for brevity’s sake I’ll keep it to: if you and I weren’t both Jewish, Alison, I’d say that I wrote you a letter with everything I wanted and you came down the chimney and dropped her off.
All that and the pay is decent too! I haven’t taken any sick time at all this month, which is unremarkable for most people but very exciting for me. And I’m back to happily reading the good news posts.”
3. “I’ve been reading your blog for about 4 years, since I graduated college with my bachelors in math at the end of 2018. I started out as an administrative assistant for a large shipping company in Pittsburgh at $42k. I job-hopped after a year and a half to an insurance company for a $10k increase. I have been working on my Master’s (fully paid for by my company and which is not required to be paid back) in business analytics over the past two years and just finished yesterday! A year ago I applied for a job as a fully remote data analyst at another company, but there were several hiccups in the process, where they told me back and forth twice that they had decided not to hire. But the third time was the charm! I was extended an offer yesterday for the position. And thanks to your blog’s wonderful advice, I negotiated my initial request of $68k last year to $75k this year, and they offered me the position at $72.5k! Currently seeing if I can get a few more vacation days in line with my current position (I haven’t quit yet, but fully plan to accept the offer!), but I should be starting in less than a month!”
4. “A few years ago, I was talked into applying for a job I was well-qualified and well-suited for, but didn’t want. It’s a service-based organization, so when the pressure came from our seniors that I should apply — down to bribery with cookies! — I caved. I can do anything for a few years, right? I’m known for fixing things and solving hard problems. How bad could it possibly be?
Nightmare fuel, that’s how terrible. I’ve redacted a lot of identifiable information and examples that would also have given you fuel for a thousand short responses and fits of indignant rage.
I knew it wasn’t good, but I was invested in the system after so many years. No one ever leaves! It’s normal to handle everything, that just means you’re ready for the next step! I had the power to enact occasional small changes that made life marginally better for others! Those major, terrifying health issues are normal!
Then a friend prompted me with a job advertisement. Why not apply?
That’s when I was able to start distancing enough to realize that my normal was neither normal nor good. My confidence, resilience, and self-esteem were all gone. I was exhausted after years of ridiculously long days and perpetually snappish after constant interruptions in a job that required deep work. I even understood why my predecessor had left a bottle of alcohol in my office cabinet – which horrified me when I found it. (It still horrifies me. But I get why he went that direction. Last heard, he’s enjoying a happier retirement.)
In other words, the more I looked at Old Job, the more I realized the entire organization had transitioned from idealistic goals into a stagnant monstrosity that sucked and wasn’t going to change. It was this situation, complete with all the consequences of burnout.
New Job was a good deal. Old Job was shocked, shocked! that I would ever walk away from power and influence. During exit interviews, I discovered they’d been about to pile still more on my plate, because I’m The Person Who Fixes Things. I guess they thought I would just keep fixing things forever. Rather than planning the transition to an acting (title), my manager kept asking if I’d rescinded my resignation yet. It’s fallen apart, since I was handling everything, so I’m told rumors are a mix of what I’m being blamed for, when I’ll come back to fix it all again, and hateful gossip about when (not if) I’ll fail.
I genuinely wish Old Job the utmost success, but love my new job. I’ve been there just long enough to take the rose-colored glasses mostly off, and it’s a lot of adjustments – but it doesn’t matter. The contrast between the two organizations was obvious the first day. And I’m me again.”