It’s your good news for Friday!
1. I’ve read your website for a long time and rarely commented because I spend my time reading your advice and what the comment has to say about it – I’m still pretty young and I’m autistic, so I understand that I’m enforcing it am at a disadvantage from labor standards. Additionally, I came up with several opportunities that weren’t ideal due to the pressures outside of work – from graduating from college in the middle of the recession to family emergencies where I’ve moved to or from five different states in the past six years. When I started reading your blog, which was recommended to me by someone I knew from college who I believe worked with you (!), I was surprised how many other people not only in work situations know what to do or say and like many other people have problems with applications / cover letters / resumes etc, especially when they are one or more standard deviations away from perfect privilege.
This recent family emergency led me to move to a small town in a conservative state to live with my in-laws, where my wife and I are almost instantly read as queer and the job options … are not great. I found a retail job and while – barely – paying the bills, it was both physically and mentally demanding until I was burned out within a few months. At the same time, I’m working part-time on a passion project for a former (and now current) boss of mine, so with your encouragement and advice, I spent two days of my Covid-required quarantine, revising and revising my old résumé and basic cover letter, to get the types of jobs that i really want. I also did a lot of research into what kind of experience I would need to have an actual career – I knew what parts of each job I held I liked best, but wasn’t sure how to turn that into one steadily advancing “career” until I really got into reading job descriptions, rejections and the LinkedIn profiles for people selected for positions I wanted.
I also got better at the interview and practiced a lot with my core family. The result of all of this work is that I have sent out a new round of résumés with highly customized cover letters that illuminate my personality and sense of humor while also specifically highlighting the skills and experience I bring to the table To communicate that I was offered and accepted a position in the type of job that I had identified as necessary experience for a future career goal. I now work from home, have a set schedule, earn twice what I do in retail, and end my day with energy to invest in my relationships. Also, I’ve only been here for six weeks and they are already giving me smaller projects that are directly related to my future career goal!
I know this letter is long because I wanted you (and the comment in case you want to post this Friday!) To know the context and how incredibly grateful I am not only to have this job, but to be safe and safely navigating a job for literally the first time in my life.
2. It’s finally my turn to write good news of my own! I have been a loyal daily reader of the site for years. I have tried to find a new job several times in the last five years, but I finally got a position that I am very excited about. During those years I struggled to find what I wanted, and that showed in the odd job search that fizzled out after an interview or two. This time, however, I knew what I wanted, I knew what I didn’t want, and I had a very focused search. I applied for one job a week and allowed myself to be very picky and only apply for jobs that sounded like what I wanted, at companies that I was passionate about. I have adapted all of my application documents according to your instructions. It only took me eight weeks to find a job. I have applied for a total of 13 positions.
I got interviews with two companies. I interviewed them again for both of them. I wanted to make sure I got a company with a healthy culture and in an interview it was pretty clear that I wouldn’t be happy there, even though the work sounded interesting. The other company was SO impressive. I interviewed twice and received an offer within a month of applying. The interviews took place within seven days of initial contact, and I had the offer letter two full days prior to announcing that they expected offers to be posted. Since I was interviewing for a project management role, the level of organization they displayed was comforting and encouraging.
I’ve been here for a little over a week and I’m SO much happier than I thought I could be. I was with my previous employer for eight years and really liked the culture so I wanted to find a company with similar values around the culture and I absolutely found that. In my interviews, I asked questions about culture and made my own values clear. It’s even better than I thought! I am so supported and there are very clear and reasonable expectations with regard to the start-up. I’m pretty much switching over from PMing in sales for llama care to PMing elephant care technology and I feel so great about the change.
3. I can finally be one of the success stories! I’ve written to you about a bad boss in the past (and your advice was just get out of it) and I’ve tried desperately for years. The past year has been tough for a lot of people and there was no way I wanted to complain about my job when others didn’t have a job or the security I had. But I could feel myself letting go of myself and just not caring anymore, which was just horrible because I knew all along that I can’t be good at something I don’t care about.
The pandemic opened up many more remote working opportunities that were never an option before, and allowed me to look into an adjacent industry that just doesn’t exist locally. But it still took several months, during which I was constantly watching new job postings, applying and interviewing, until I finally got an offer. At this point, I couldn’t read the Friday Good News posts because, while wishing everyone the best, I would feel even more disillusioned with my own unsuccessful search. But the wait and the agony was worth it: I am enthusiastic about the new company, its mission and the cooperation with my new future boss and the team. And on top of that, the salary and benefits package is incredible!
4th The context: Before this happened, I was on the highest salary I’ve ever had. That was my reward too when I lost my job in 2014 due to health issues that I wasn’t managing well, resulting in absenteeism and poor performance. That alone felt like a victory for me, after a time when it was a matter of slowly rising again from 1) unemployment to 2) minimum wage to 3) just below the subsistence level to 4). “Hey, I can actually pay all my bills and maybe save a little for emergencies” to 5) “Hey, I can actually feel good financially!”
The raise: In 2019 (!) I started talking to management about a raise and a change of title to reflect the fact that I was contributing at a much higher level than was intended for my position. Everyone agreed that I was underpaid compared to my job, but I work for a large, bureaucratic company so the process started slowly. And then
attacked the Fire Nation COVID hit. My industry was up and down, but uncertainty delayed my promotion as we laid off people when off-period wage adjustments took place. As 2020 came to an end, the ball got rolling again and I finally got word of my raise!
An increase of 20%, with 10% effective immediately and 10% effective January 1, 2022. It was split because 20% was too high for a one year increase per my N + 4 manager who had to approve it for bureaucratic reasons. I will also receive a change of title and will be entitled to the annual bonus that will be paid out in the fourth quarter.
I know there are some negatives here related to the slow process and pay raise split, but it’s a long way back with my story and this just feels like a major milestone and win to me aside from that financial impact.
To update – I have received the official title change and the associated bonus eligibility! And my new manager is pushing for this 10% increase to take effect earlier on January 1st, 2022!
5. I am an avid reader of AAM. Especially during the pandemic – when I realized I wasn’t in love with my job and also that life was too short to stay if I couldn’t make big changes.
In the fall of 2020, my mentor announced that she was retiring – the organization she works for offered everyone a huge retirement incentive, and she and many others took up her offer. My mentor has strongly encouraged me to apply to be her replacement. She officially retired in December. The job advertisement finally appeared in the spring. I had an interview in June 2021 and received an offer shortly before the Independence Day holiday weekend.
The offer was roughly the same as the salary I’m doing in my current job. Your grade assignment (in terms of education and work experience) was X – two grades lower than I am on my current employer’s pay scale. So I decided I had nothing to lose and it was time to use the negotiating tactics I learned on the Ask a Manager site.
“Hello!” I said, “Thank you very much. I am very excited about the opportunity to join this team. Do you have leeway in assigning steps? With my current one [similar] Employer, I was gradually drafted [X+2] 3 years ago. You gave me credit for [specific relevant experiences gained during graduate school]”. I look forward to hearing from you soon. “
And then I waited. The wait was horrific, but at the same time I was excited. If the answer was a resounding “no,” you would have just said that outright, right?
The next day at 4 p.m. I received a follow-up email from my HR contact person. “Hello [Name]: We have re-evaluated the offer and agreed to consider yours [graduate school] Experience. Hence the new salary would be: $ XX, XXX annually, step [X+4] Level. It’s a pleasure to have you here [organization]. “
Alison, there was more than $ 10,000 difference between the two offers, and that’s a 15% increase for me. My first successful job offer negotiation! I accepted immediately and will start my new position in August.