it’s your Friday good news — Ask a Manager Jobearn

It’s your Friday good news!

1.  “I am an ‘older’ worker, and had gotten to a comfortable position in a government agency (let’s say llama inspector) that, while not the best, I thought I could ride to retirement. It had its frustrations, but the autonomy that I was given made me think that was worth it.

This past summer, after I had inspected a llama facility, I received a call from the VP of llamas, asking when they would receive their llama approval certificate. While on the phone, he mentioned that they were looking for a director of llamas, and in my position I might know some people who would be well qualified — could he send me the job description to forward to anyone I might know? I replied that I would be happy to.

After reading the job description, and knowing some about the company and its goals in improving llamas lives, I realized this position could be a good fit for me. I called the VP of llamas back, and told him that I might be interested, and could he tell me more! He was surprised, but excited to tell me all about the company and their plans for llamas.

Long story short, after interviews with the VP, the president, head of HR, and director of llama care (using many tips from your site, of course), I was more than excited about the prospect of this position.

I have now been in this position for over a month, and it has been so wonderful. I am appreciated. I am heard. I am respected! I am working for a company that is passionate about improving the lives of llamas. And, I am making more than double my previous salary! All because the government agency that I worked for took too long in generating a certificate.

Sometimes the good things happen when you are not looking, or least expect it!”

2.  “I was laid off from Globally Known Computer Company in 2017. I took a break for a while then ramped up my job search. Through connections I picked up a contract gig that I was assured would become permanent, but which ended January 2020. (That was a blow because all my previous temp or contract gigs had turned into permanent employment. I’m now within 10 years of possible retirement, so I was concerned about ageism and being perceived as too senior or too expensive.)

I took a long-planned vacation in Europe, getting home just before the panini closed the world down. Refreshed, I dove into the job search once again. I felt a lot of pressure because my partner had taken early retirement when I’d gotten that last contract gig. Having been a devoted AAM reader for years, I knew how to customize my resume and tailor cover letters for each application. I did not despair when I didn’t get responses or interviews; I just forged ahead. My partner was nervous, but I was confident I’d get something — eventually.

In September 2020 I landed an interview. Within two weeks I had the job, completely and permanently remote at the salary I asked for. They are great at showing appreciation for employees without any gross or cringey stuff. In my first year, I was told many times how grateful they are to have me. There’s a lot of mutual respect, collaboration, and autonomy, so it’s a great cultural fit. I’m a heads-down, do the work, no-drama type of employee, so this spring I was delighted to get a sizable raise and a great bonus without asking. I plan for this to be the last job I’ll ever need!

I’ve enjoyed Ask a Manager for many years. Every day, Alison and her community make job searchers more confident and help readers be better employees and managers. I often share this website with other people. It’s one of the best parts of the internet. Thank you!”

3.  “My career path has been pretty bumpy since getting my bachelors. First, I ended up not going into the field my degree was in. However, I was able to leverage some club experience into a project management/event management role. I had a wonderful boss and I loved my work. Unfortunately, I was let go from that role in a mass layoff after only a year. That was a gut punch. I think it hurt more because it wasn’t a reflection of my work, I was just the newest employee. With only a year’s experience, I wasn’t having much luck finding a new project management role and ended up moving back to my hometown. I decided to pivot and try to find a job in IT as I had worked at an IT help desk all through out college. With that experience, I was able to find a job fairly quickly in a local small business, but after a few months it turned very toxic. My manager had no managerial experience and frankly had no business being a manager. There was a lot of turnover there and I quickly became the most senior person besides the manager. The manager dumped his responsibilities on me, but none of his authority. I would let him know about issues so he could address them, but then get yelled at for not fixing them a few days later. After getting a highly unprofessional email full of insults and way too many exclamation marks (while I was out sick no less), I told the owner either he needed to figure out a plan to move me away from this manager and get him managerial training or I was going to leave. It became clear that they were not willing to find a solution so we agreed to a “layoff” so I could still get unemployment. I had only been there 11 months. I was relieved to get out, but also depressed that I had to start over again.

I decided to stick with IT and took a temp role at another local business. This new place was so much better than the previous one. I had supportive managers who had our backs and my coworkers were kind and helpful. I happily accepted when they offered me a full-time version of the same role. I thrived there, getting excellent performance reviews, high metric ratings, and I was promoted after only a year. After 3 years there, I was working with my manager to figure out my next career move. I decided to send out a couple of applications, with the plan that if I got an offer, we could leverage that to get this new role created. I really didn’t take it seriously because I didn’t want to leave my current company. Until a consulting company asked me do a phone screen, then an interview with one manager, then an interview with a different manager, and then an interview with the department director! Each interview went better than the last and I found I was actually interested in the possibility of moving into IT consulting. When they asked for my salary range, I did some research and gave them a range that was 25% – 30% more than what I was making, but was on-par for the role they had been describing. They ended up giving me an offer higher than the top of my range, almost 50% of my current salary!! They said they were impressed with my work and I would be bringing experience that the team desperately needed. After a lot of thought, I took the plunge and accepted the offer. It’s now been a month since I started in my new role and I really enjoying it. My new manager has been great at providing support for me as a new consultant, while also trusting me as a subject matter expert in my field. I’m looking forward to learning more about consulting and expanding my skills so I can provide the best solutions for our clients.

I want to thank you for providing so many wonderful resources. I used some of your salary negotiation tips when I gave them my salary range. It was so nerve wracking asking for more than what I was currently making, but I had my research to back me up and gave the range very matter-of-factly. I about fell out of my chair when the offer came in above the top of my range. It is great knowing that they value my skills so highly that they are willing to invest so much in me. I don’t have imposter syndrome per se, but I do tend to undervalue my skills or downplay how advanced they are. This change has definitely boosted my confidence. Thanks again for all your great advice!”

4.  “I was burnt out in my field (education) but had no idea how to break out of the teacher mold. I was able to get a very entry, contract position w the federal government (working 10 hour days, 6 days a week!) but was desperate for a change.

Enter your blog: I devoured all of your resume, cover letter, and interview tips and tricks. Reworked both my resume and cover letter, sent them out to a company I was dying to work for — and within a couple of days landed the pre screen interview!

Two weeks and five rounds of interviews later (tech is no joke!) I have a new job!!! This job is a 50% raise and my first 9-5. I am over the moon excited and truly would not be here without your advice or the advice from your readers.”

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