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it’s your Friday good news
by Alison Green on August 14, 2020
It’s your Friday good news, with more accounts of success even in this weird time.
1. I‘ve been working retail for years, despite the fact that I hate it and am not very good at it. I can fake it well enough that I’ve kept jobs and got raises/promotions, but it’s not healthy for me. I’ve also been doing freelance video work, mostly for artists and musicians, which has given me a nice, freaky portfolio that I love.
Then COVID happened, and as I’m lucky enough to be married (even though COVID also took the wedding we had planned away from us, we got married in a friend’s garden and it was perfect anyway) to someone who makes decent money and wants me not to be a nervous wreck (I was working at a grocery store, which was chill enough until…you know), I was able to take a leave of absence to look for something else.
Well, I was busy during lockdown! I temporarily de-freaked my portfolio (though I left the non-raunchy artistic stuff), I took online job searching courses offered by a local nonprofit, I reached out to my connections, I volunteered to do social media stuff for my martial arts gym, I worked on my motion graphics skills — and one of my connections reached back with a tip about a job! He recommended me highly, I interviewed with six people. and I found out yesterday that I got it!! I’m supposed to get the official offer today! Goodbye, retail!
I was a little worried because I had dyed my hair blue literally the day before I got the tip about the job (lockdown experiment, I’ve been dying my hair red since I was 15 and I’m almost 35 now) — I think one of the things that has held me back in the past with professional jobs is that, with the spotty background and freaky work, I seem maybe a bit too eccentric? — but it doesn’t seem to have held me back. Gotta love Silicon Valley! And the icing on the cake is that every single person I interviewed with wanted to chat about the weirder and more artsy stuff in my portfolio, which made me feel like I didn’t have to hide what I am actually good at.
2. First a big thank you – your calm way of looking at things and practical scripts have been invaluable in navigating my way through some tricky situations in our small business.
But the good news I wanted to share is not about our business, but my family. And for that I want to say a truly huge thank you to the AAM community.
Back when the Covid lockdown first started, there was a thread about maintaining focus when working from home. Someone commented on the problems they were having because they had the inattentive type of ADHD. “Hey!” I thought, “those struggles sound so much like my teenage son. But what’s the inattentive type of ADHD?”
A few Googles later, I sat with tears streaming down my face. The description of signs and symptoms, and the personal stories from many people, were finally an answer to what he had been going through. His counsellors had not been able to spot it, but once we knew what we were looking for, it was so clear.
The AAM community helped even further with the question and comments recently about ADHD in the workplace. It’s been an emotional time as we try to figure this stuff out, and we are still in the early days of finding the right support, but the AAM discussion really shifted our thinking from “How do we beat this?” to “How can we work with this?”
So I just wanted to share the wider impact AAM can have, and again to thank all of you thoughtful commenters (with and without ADHD!). You’ve changed our lives.
3. For the past two years I’ve been in a job that I otherwise love, but was incredibly underpaid relative to both our salary band and the market. I had been asking for an increase almost since the beginning (I was hired from a contractorship so never had the chance to negotiate despite knowing what others were paid). For at least the past year and a half I have performed awesomely and got a stellar performance review, but only a small raise in July. My manager left, and using his backfill we finally had some budget for a raise for me. They gave me a very significant bump that starts in October, which puts me a lot closer to market rate. I also got a shout-out today from the CEO in my 8,000-person company’s All Hands, for implementing the ability to display pronouns in our company’s directory. Enough people went to add their pronouns that they temporarily crashed the site!
Thank you so much for writing this column; I would not have been able to negotiate or be an awesome employee were it not for your sound advice.