It’s your good news for Friday!
1. I don’t know if you realize how often your advice actually turns people’s worlds upside down again, often when they didn’t even realize that things had become untenable in many ways.
I’m a prime example of this because reading your advice over the past three years has not only helped me switch areas but also dealt with some personal issues in a very controlled way. After a badly timed graduation with a seemingly useless master’s degree, an international move and the pandemic, I was only able to work freelance sporadically for almost two years.
As a result, I struggled with terrible depression and anxiety, but I lived your gospel and just kept applying, writing better cover letters, and attending online networking events for various industries even when I felt I had no right to do so. I took the free time I had to do therapy and learned that my employment status or title wasn’t what determines my worth.
It was your wisdom that protected me when not one but two companies came up with incredible job offers, but research showed that rats would always leave the ship. I wanted so much to take the offer both times, but you taught me the warning signs to watch out for.
I’ve heard gems like, “Because we’re a family-run business and we don’t want to contribute to the breakdown of the family, we need to check that your husband has moved with you” (from a religious nonprofit). I was able to provide open feedback to their HR department that male employees I knew personally did not have this requirement from their spouse and was rewarded with the humiliated HR director who promised to change the direction they had taken with their questions.
When the stars were finally aligned I got a great job in a very low COL range. As an American in Germany and although I was looking for an English-speaking job, I did what you advised me to make me as relevant as possible and prepared myself with lots of language courses, watched Netflix in German and spoke to mine Man (and everyone) in German in the months in between.
Since I did not remain idle, I was able to do a surprise interview in German. It turned out that they didn’t expect me to be able to speak it at any level, but because I could at least hobble through, I was able to interview the CEO when my American colleagues couldn’t, which translates into something special can do tasks later.
My transition was from training to recruiting to journalism, and the latter wasn’t even an area I was looking for. I pointed out why all of my wide range of experiences were relevant in order to explain things to the general public in an interesting but understandable way.
I can now work from home with my dog, which, despite the lower salary, makes me feel more rested and in control than I have done in a decade. In addition, I now know how to treat every contact with my boss from a “consultant’s point of view” and no longer feel paralyzed by criticism. (This is for sure the best superpower you can give someone, Alison!)
I share your site with everyone professionally and have now been tapped to write advice myself. I have successfully run a technical advice column (a hobby of mine) as women are underrepresented across the industry. I’m finally looking forward to the future!
2. As a young professional in a dysfunctional workplace, I relied on your website to learn healthy work habits. And for me it finally paid off! Like many others, the pandemic was a reckoning time for me – I realized the little nagging things that bothered me about my employer were actually endemic problems that would only get worse, not get better. I realized I had to get out in the summer of 2020, but I had to wait for a hiring freeze in my area first. It was a difficult, dark time for me because I knew I was unhappy but was temporarily stuck.
Everything changes now. I took a job with a big (huge!) Name in my field and got a 25% raise in the process. This organization offers a generous range of benefits, a supportive work environment, and brilliant and inspiring colleagues. To be honest, I have the feeling that I’ve won the lottery and I’m finally looking forward to my career again. I know I couldn’t have passed the interviews without absorbing the information from your website and book over the past few years.
3. I was offered a job by a small healthcare startup while I am currently employed by a FAANG technology company. Since I didn’t need the new job, I really focused on negotiating benefits that would convince me to leave. A sticking point for me was maternity leave – the current job offers one of the most generous maternity leave in the US. The startup was willing to offer a reasonable amount, but it was 4 weeks less paid mat vacation. I asked them to make up for the 4 weeks in another way (signing bonus or equity). They came back to me and said they wanted to be competitive in the industry – so not only did they offer me the extra 4 weeks of paid maternity leave to match my current accomplishments – they would make this the company’s standard offering going forward! With such a corporate culture, I immediately took on the new job.
4th Thank you for all of your advice in helping people who aren’t binary get out of work. I could take it and use it to talk to my own boss. I was able to use the email signature option to speak to her about the change, and only recently I was able to change my nickname! I knew my company would (probably) support it, but I don’t think I would ever have had the courage to do it if I hadn’t seen it on your website in this normalized way – so THANK YOU!
5. For the past 6 years, I’ve had trouble getting hired because a former manager gave a bad report card (I quit without notice at a very bad point).
I revised my resume and cover letter after reading all about resumes and cover letters on your website and started getting job interviews. I wasn’t offered some jobs that I interviewed for, but that’s fine as I learned later that I would not have been a good fit due to corporate culture or other reasons. Basically, I was grabbing straws to get out of my current job and applying for anything and everything.
A great job was advertised a few weeks ago. I applied through Indeed.com and received an interview request within a few days. They needed someone who could get started asap. I’ve read all of the interview guides and went with the mindset that I’ll interview them to see if this suits me well. I also had an attitude that the worst that can happen is that I don’t get the job, but now I don’t have it! The interview went really well. They called me on a Saturday to offer me the job. I quit for 2 weeks the following Monday and just finished my first week on the job. As far as I can tell so far, the corporate culture is supportive and it’s going really well.
The other important part of this story is that since they had to make a decision quickly, they didn’t contact my previous employer who gave me a bad testimonial. They asked me why I left my previous employer (it was a really good job without the manager) and I was honest without being too honest. The company was about to be taken over by another company and we didn’t know if we would keep our jobs. Two people quit a few weeks before me. I was then reassigned to cover their department (completely different from the one I was hired for, but I was qualified for the job). I said I was not happy to be transferred to another department without a schedule for returning to the position I was hired for. I added that 3 other employees left the company in less than 2 months after me.
I can’t thank you enough for all of the great information on your website, as well as all of the readers’ comments. I would never have got this job if I hadn’t stumbled upon this site last year. I feel like this is a job and a company that I can withdraw from. Many Thanks!