Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Tuesday Tip No. 42 - How To Get A Pay Rise

The sad truth is that no one will ever give you a pay rise. You always have to ask.

If you've done good work, you deserve a pay rise. But often, if you're like most Creatives, you don't actually ask for one. Instead, you sit in your office, stewing, thinking that your boss is taking the piss, he must surely know how under-paid you are, it's rude, cruel and frankly almost inconceivable that he hasn't called you in to give you a pay rise.

But you know what? He never will. You have to ask.

It's a shame that we Creatives are not more demanding, and often sit there stewing. Account Men never do. Account Men are constantly scratching at the door of their Head of Account Management saying "I want more money; I want better accounts; I want a promotion; I want to be in charge of something... how about graduate recruitment? Could I be in charge of that? Or what about the Christmas party? For Christ's sake I need to feel like I'm moving forward or I'll just die!"

You don't have to be like that. But you do have to ask.

Even when Scowling A.D. and I won a Grand Prix at Cannes, our boss at the time didn't say "hey well done guys, here's a raise." We had to ask.

And you know what? He was doing exactly the right thing.

A big part of an ECD's job is making the most of his budget. That means hiring good teams cheaply. Getting rid of expensive teams who aren't good. And generally paying each team the least amount of money he can, and still keep them. (That is if he wants to keep them.)

And this is the same for any boss, in any company, in any industry. It's called capitalism. If you don't like it, move to China. Scratch that. Even China is the same now.

So, to recap, as if I haven't said it enough times already: to get a pay rise, the first thing you have to do is actually ask for one.

But what do you say?

Don't say you've been working hard. He doesn't give a shit. He doesn't care if you work 23 hours a day, or 1/2 an hour a day. He just wants good work.

Don't say there are pressing personal reasons why you need a raise. You want to buy a flat. Who cares? Your wife is pregnant. Who cares? Is she going to write some ads for him? Probably not. Especially if she's pregnant.

Don't say you've had a lot of bad luck, near misses, great ideas that 'almost' got made. It doesn't wash. The quality Napoleon most valued in a general was that he should be lucky. For creatives it's the same. Some teams have a 'knack' of getting work made. If you've been writing good work but not getting it made, you don't have that knack, or you've lost it. Either way, you won't get a pay rise.

Truth is, it's not about what you say. It's about when you say it.

There is only one time to ask for a pay rise, and that is just after you have won an award. It's a cliche, but it works. Why does it work? Because remember, he will only pay you the least he thinks he has to so you'll stay. After you win an award (preferably a big one, or perhaps do some campaign that doesn't win any awards but is famous), your market value goes up. So if he wants you to stay, he has to pay you more.

And that is the only time you can ask for a pay rise.

There is one other way to get a pay rise (not ask for one, just get one) which is to resign. And I am talking about resigning, not threatening to leave. Threatening to leave is lame. Threatening to leave means you're thinking about doing something, you're considering doing something, but you're not actually doing anything. Are you.

So don't threaten to leave. For sure, subtly let it be known to the ECD's confidantes that you are putting your book together. That sometimes works. But don't threaten anything. Just do something.

Go out and get another job. Make sure it's a job you are happy to take. Then when you go in to your ECD and resign, he may offer to match the pay/responsibilities that the new agency are offering.

He may not. That's why you have to make sure it's a job you're happy to take. Because if he won't match the offer, a.k.a. calls your bluff, then you have to go.

Either way, you end up with a pay rise - from the only source that can genuinely give you one. The market.

Tip No.41 - Be Wary Of Punding
Tip No.40 - Challenge The Brief
Tip No.39 - Tell The Truth
Tip No.38 - Playing To Lose
Tip No.37 - How To Write Headlines
Tip No.36 - How To Do Direct
Tip No.35 - How To Do Radio
Tip No.34 - How To Do Press
Tip No.33 - How To Do TV
Tip No.32 - How To Do Digital
Tip No.31 - How To Do Posters
Tip No.30 - Look At Weird Shit
Tip No.29 - Presenting To The Client
Tip No.28 - Presenting To The Team
Tip No.27 - Presenting To The Creative Director
Tip No.26 - How To Deal With Rejection
Tip No.25 - Look Creative
Tip No.24 - Don't Be Afraid To Ask
Tip No.23 - Your Idea Has To Be 120%
Tip No.22 - Read Iain's Tips
Tip No.21 - Don't Behave
Tip No.20 - How To Discuss Ideas
Tip No.19 - Read Hugh's Tips
Tip No.18 - How To Get A Job In Advertising Part IV - How To Turn A Placement Into A Job
Tip No.17 - How To Get A Job In Advertising Part III - How To Approach Agencies (re-print of Tip No. 7)
Tip No.16 - How To Get A Job In Advertising Part II - How To Put A Book Together
Tip No. 15 - How To Get A Job In Advertising Part I - FAQ
Tip No. 14 - Make Friends With Traffic
Tip No. 13 - Get Reference
Tip No. 12 - Don't Stop Too Soon
Tip No.11 - Be Very
Tip No.10 - Breaking Up
Tip No.9 - Working Well With Your Partner
Tip No.8 - Finding The Right Partner
Tip No.7 - How To Approach Agencies
Tip No.6 - Never-Seen-Before Footage
Tip No.5 - Dicketts' Finger
Tip No.4 - Two Blokes In The Pub
Tip No.3 - Play Family Fortunes
Tip No.2 - Should You Take A Bad Job?
Tip No.1 - Don't Overpolish


Anonymous said...

>>>Even when Scowling A.D. and I won a Grand Prix at Cannes, our boss at the time didn't say "hey well done guys, here's a raise." We had to ask>>>

LOL. me too. f**king cheap ddb bastards.

BozzaNova said...

may i ask you what was the work of you that got a Grand Prix at Cannes?

Anonymous said...

budweiser wassup. 2000.

BozzaNova said...

after i've done some research, i think it's "Cops" for VW Polo - Small but tough.

Anonymous said...

re bozzanova @ 1.33AM

If you have any interest in Advertising you would not have asked that question.

re Bozzanova @3.23AM

If you have any interest in Advertising you would not have had to look that up.

Lunar BBDO said...

Method three: team up with a better paid partner.

Ker-CHING! (ish. Eventually.)

Cedric said...

I am tempted to say that your option two is the most efficientto get an incremental pay raise. Whilst remaining within the same agency, you might get a slight increase, but the market is definitely the best way to have a significantly larger smile from your banker. And as you said, this is true for creative and account and planners, but also certainly for every industry.

Anonymous said...

What makes you think that a pregnant wonam can't think?

Anonymous said...


Out of interest, what kind of raise in percentage terms did you get for your grand prix? Was the raise for your pencil bigger? Did Dylan and Fergal get more because they're tighter with Jez? And did your move generate the biggest cash boost?

Inquiring minds want to know, dude.

Anonymous said...

Another good tip.

I once asked for a payrise when I was a Saturday boy at a clothes shop. They said no so I nicked a load of clobber.

Scamp said...

You meant "woman", I'm assuming...

Anonymous said...

Well, as luck might have it... I'm dislexic too... But closer to the point - women and advertising? A no-go?

Anonymous said...

I know a guy who I worked with who turned down not one but two pay rises in a row, because he was insulted by the amount, then had to wait two years until a pay freeze was over. Which meant he missed out on earning an extra 30K during the pay freeze.

Lunar BBDO said...

Let's stick to money.

If you want a substandard post about ladies and their contribution to adland:

Anonymous said...

Folks, please beware. This blog was written by a Creative Director. They're all in together the b@stards.

Its just mind games!

Anonymous said...

but what about the poor bastards at the 'other' agency you have been leading up the path? bit like 'sorting out' a marriage by saying that a nice girl in accounts is willing to give you a blow job.

Anonymous said...

Using another agency to get a raise out of your current one is not a great tactic. Do it more than once and you'll soon get a bad rep

Anonymous said...

It might be how it is, but it's not how it should be. I guess it depends on whether the creatives are trying to be er..creative with their work or just trying to get the biggest bang for their agencies clients buck. For me the best results are a combination of both. But that's something agency heads SHOULD be willing to pay good money for, sadly on the whole they are not.

Unknown said...

+ responsibilities, + cash no?
i had raises when i demonstrated i could do better by working harder.
never had the balls to talk cash. i regret it sometimes. but i still think it´s all about the work.
still, no balls, no raise is right.
i agree with everything you said scamp. but i think there´s a good chance you´ll get one if you do good work and take on more responsibilities.

Alan Wolk said...

Never been able to do the old "Leave the bride at the alter" trick (e.g. accept another job and then turn it down when your current employer offers you more money to stay.)

It's probably some failing of mine, but when I'm interviewing (seriously) for another job, I've already checked out of the one I'm at and I'm looking forward to getting out of there. Any promises they make at that point just seem hollow, whereas any promises the new agency makes seem like gospel.

But then again, that's just me.

Steve H said...

Toad, completely with you. You end up with two people pissed at you. The people you stayed with - because they'll always remember you put the squeeze on them. And the people you left at the alter, they may take the news professionally - but deep down they'll always hate you.

Mr Orange said...

Surely this is all just secondary to doing bloody good work?

Steve H said...

Mr Orange. Actually it's not. because doing bloody good work is a given - price of entry. What's of vital importance after that is how to get fairly, decently or stratospherically well paid for it. This isn't a charity - someone is making a good wedge from our creative graft and we should get a slice.

Anonymous said...

leaving your current job is the only way to get a substantial raise. Better get used to it. Like scamp says holding companies will screw you. So screw them for every penny u can get.

Unknown said...

Nice Post.