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Another Ethics Question

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Aaron CadieuxAnother Ethics Question
by on Apr 24, 2009 at 2:15:13 pm

Hello,

I work as a video production specialist for an ad agency. We do a lot of corporate videos and commercials. I consider myself underpaid ($35k/year to edit all of their videos, shoot a fair amount of their videos, dabble in web site design and troubleshoot computer problems), but with the current state of the economy I am not making a stink about it with them. I choose to vent to people like you guys instead :) Also, before I get the "your employers could read your post" response, at this point, I really could care less. I'm absolutely miserable here. The stress of this job is starting to affect other parts of my life. I am carrying a lot of anger and resentment.

But anyway, the company is not doing well financially. We've been insanely busy during these rough times, but their overhead is very high (even though there are only 3 of us working there, a husband and wife team, and myself). They opt to live an extravagant lifestyle having just built an $800,000 home on the water which we moved the business to within the last year. My boss also owns a small plane that he flies around in on a regular basis. Meanwhile they've been maxing out credit cards to keep the business a-float, and they've had to dip into a personal savings accounts to do the payroll. I know that their lifestyle is not really any of my business, but they also choose to flaunt their mansion, plane and new toys in my face on a regular basis.

Going into this job, they knew I ran a small freelance videography business. They never ask any questions about it, and I was never required to sign a non compete. That being said, we recently were approached by a potential client to produce a 7 - 8 minute video. My bosses came up with a quote for the guy. The potential client feels that the quote is too high, and a deal might not be reached. If this guy walks away, is it unethical for me to approach him as a freelancer with a more reasonable quote? After all, I never signed a non-compete, and as far as I'm concerned, my bosses shouldn't be turning down any work with the current state of the economy. They could have come in with a lower quote and still turned a relatively good profit. I don't feel I should be penalized by their stubborness. Thanks, and I look forward to hearing your responses. Remember, I am not working under a non-compete.

One last thing. Just out of curiousity. For this potential client, the edit of the video was going to cost $3,000.00. I do ALL of the work on the edit. With editing bills like that, shouldn't I be making more than $500/week? Just wondering what you guys think.

Best,

Aaron


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Jeremy DoyleRe: Another Ethics Question
by on Apr 24, 2009 at 3:06:53 pm

Quit already. Seriously. Try to take your employers clients. The way you bash them on here, you've already burned bridges if they ever read this, you say you could care less if they do. So why not take it all the way by quitting and try and take his clients.

You may be underpaid, you may not be underpaid. In your February post you said that you had recently received an 18% raise. THAT IS A HUGE RAISE IN TODAYS ECONOMY! You still feel underpaid and unappreciated. I say QUIT already.

If you're as good as you think you are than you shouldn't have a problem finding work on your own.

I really have no empathy for someone who complains all the time (to virtual strangers no less) and keeps trying to have his feelings of being treated badly validated. From everything I've seen you post, your employers are treating you fantastically even dipping into their own personal savings account to make sure you receive a paycheck!!

Quit. It will make you happier and give someone else the opportunity for a job that you obviously can care less about.

I was in your shoes 8 years ago, feeling underpaid, unappreciated, with a dislike for my boss. The worst part about it was the office I worked in was in his basement so I had to see how he lived his life.

You know what I did. I quit. I didn't have anything lined, I just quit. The stress went away. I found another job over a year later and racked up some debt over that time, but you know what, I was happy.

I say quit and quit bashing your employer on this forum.





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Aaron CadieuxRe: Another Ethics Question
by on Apr 24, 2009 at 2:59:51 pm

Fair enough. Consider this thread closed on my part. I'll stop wasting the time of Creative Cow.



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Ron LindeboomRe: Another Ethics Question
by on Apr 24, 2009 at 3:45:16 pm

Yes, Aaron, Jeremy is right: there is no point in you staying with them any longer. Quit already. You are what is known as a "toxic employee" who will always poison the company anyway, so why even bother to stay?

Why?

Because you need them buddy, more than they need you. They could run an ad and have a line a mile long trying to get your job in today's economy.

Quit.

Then go try to find a job.

What a whiner.

Ron Lindeboom


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David Roth WeissRe: Another Ethics Question
by on Apr 24, 2009 at 4:14:32 pm

[Ron Lindeboom] "They could run an ad and have a line a mile long trying to get your job in today's economy. "

I wouldn't mind editing in a mansion on the lake.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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Nick GriffinRe: Another Ethics Question
by on Apr 24, 2009 at 7:06:15 pm

Aaron -

Not sure I understand the strong nature of a couple of the earlier posts, but I have to agree in their basic premise: quit and go after what you can get. Just don't count too heavily on being able to get much of it.

When I first started out (in the radio production business) and had to take whatever work I could get I dealt with one particularly sleazy agency guy. He could never possibly pay an invoice in under 60 days and usually wouldn't pay for the last session until he needed to book the next session. Hmmm, yet somehow he always had a new Mercedes.

Work that I would do in the hundreds of dollars he would turn around and bill to his clients in the thousands. How was that possible? One word: hutzpah. This guy was able to act like a big deal to the point where everyone of his clients was convinced he was a big deal.

He continued on his stellar arc for a few years, able to replace me when I grew tired of his BS, which I believe also happened eventually with the majority of his clients. Style can only get one so far before substance is required. Sound similar to your situation?

Do what you can to move on, just try these days to have somewhere to land before you leap. Or at least a few bucks in the bank to bridge the distance between jobs.



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Ron LindeboomRe: Another Ethics Question
by on Apr 24, 2009 at 7:49:31 pm

[Nick Griffin] "Not sure I understand the strong nature of a couple of the earlier posts..."

I am simply getting tired of reading his whining, Nick.

To be quite honest about it, his once-every-month-or-two whining sessions have gotten quite boring.

Your mileage may vary, but when it comes to Aaron's latest round of pity party, I am running on fumes, man.

Life isn't fair, I wish it was.

Ron Lindeboom


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Jeremy DoyleRe: Another Ethics Question
by on Apr 24, 2009 at 8:25:09 pm

[Ron Lindeboom] "I am simply getting tired of reading his whining, Nick.

To be quite honest about it, his once-every-month-or-two whining sessions have gotten quite boring. "


I don't think I've every posted in business and marketing forum before todya, but I've been reading it for years. Every couple of months Aaron post something negative about his employer and how unhappy he is. Maybe I'm just sour today, but honestly the only solution I see to his problem is to quit. I'm just tired of hearing about it every couple months.

As Ron said earlier, Aaron has become a "toxic" employee. He'd be much happier on his own.



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Steve WargoRe: Another Ethics Question
by on Apr 26, 2009 at 10:36:50 pm

[Jeremy Doyle] "He'd be much happier on his own."

Cry baby whiners are just that, cry baby whiners. They are never happy.

Aaron needs to find out what it's like to be responsible for everything. All he sees is the icing on the cake.

There are a lot of very talented people out there who would not survive as business owners for more than a month or so. It's not about owning a computer and raking in the bucks. Your specialty has to be owning and managing a business, not being the world's best editor. Editing does not make money. Investing, negotiating and collecting makes the money.




Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut (not quite PRO) systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck
2-Sony EX-1 HD .


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cowcowcowcowcow
Simon StuttsRe: Another Ethics Question
by on Apr 24, 2009 at 5:41:53 pm

Bitterness is a messy thing. It's doubly dangerous because it doesn't come out of nowhere - it starts off with a legitimate reason. I've been dealing with it myself. It can and more than likely will ruin EVERY good thing about your job. You will look back and say, why didn't I see all the good that I experienced there?

No matter what you choose to do, quit or stay, I URGE you: deal with your anger and bitterness first. If not, this cycle will just keep repeating itself.


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Mark SuszkoRe: Another Ethics Question
by on Apr 25, 2009 at 1:00:40 am

Aaron, this thread gave us a textbook example of what not to do. And I don't mean to say that in a hurtful or insulting way. Point by point...

1: No, it is NOT okay to poach the client from your boss as you described, and that's grounds for firing in most places, I'm frankly surprised I was the first one to say this part to you so far. If that gets out, you'll be blackballed. You may think; "so what, the client will hire me because I'm cheaper". He may. Once. Long term, he likely will not trust you, it would be like marrying somone you know is a cheater. The idea is not to just get paid once and then quit the business, the idea is to keep getting business. Your way is not going to cut it, long term.

2: A grammatical nit-pick: the phrase is actually "I could not care less". You said "I COULD care less", which suggests you still have some distance to sink further in your "non-caring" status. That's just not accurate. You're already in career kamikazee mode here, I think maybe subconsciously, you WANT them to find these threads and make your hard decisions for you, as you're afraid to either confront the boss to demand your due or quit. As Peewee Herman said, "The mind plays tricks on you; you play tricks BACK".....

...Ahem. Back to topic, 3: What the boss charges vs. what you get paid.

This is actually none of your business. Really. If you are getting paid what you agreed to, whatever someone else is making off of you or instead of you is none of your concern. There's a bible parable about workers in the vinyard, look it up if you want.

You're mad because you got exactly what you asked for, and agreed to, but not what you really wanted. If you ever see a greasy, stained oil lamp, poking up halfway out of some sandy beach, or a mummified Monkey's Paw from India in a curio shop, please, for your own sake, just keep walking on past it...

As the guys that run their own companies and post here will tell you, heck, HAVE told you, there is a LOT to owning and running even a very small business that the employees have no knowledge of or appreciation for, and you are just generally out of line to complain on that score. Sure, they may have been making mistakes, and probably will continue to. They may or may not be fools or crooks. They may listen to your advice or ignore it. For you to carp about that here in such a deliberate and public manner though is a deep breach of trust, and even if you don't like the boss, you are breaking the Man's Code doing this. This should not be done lightly.

If you were really young, this might be overlooked as an error of callow youth lacking the guidance of a strong, experienced father figure... Most folks only survive this particular mistake once in a career. But you're repeating it and are still doing it, and that's probably one reason you're not getting a lot of bannana stickers and hugs here. What you're doing not only doesn't work, it is hurting your chances, but you keep doing it. Is that smart?

Talent doesn't excuse bad behavior. Even if you were the most talented guy ever, you are painting yourself as nothing but trouble. You had better go into business for yourself at this point anyway, because I don't think anybody else would take your passive-aggressive guff and then agree to pay you for the pleasure. Only rockstars and Hollywood megastars get away with this. And not forever.

This was not meant as personal, but you posting here is a cry for help, and sometimes that help is something that you don't like to hear. I really hope the best for you, but your future is in your hands and yours alone at this point. When you admit that to yourself, Aaron, you can take steps to make it a better one.

YOU do it.

...Or you can keep giving control of your life to others, at a discount. You are worth more than that.




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cowcowcowcowcow
Mick HaenslerRe: Another Ethics Question
by on Apr 25, 2009 at 12:35:48 pm

I was in a similar situation before I started my company last year. There were some key differences though.

1- I wasn't getting paid what I ASKED for. My request for a raise was turned down cold.
2- I wasn't working in a beautiful waterfront home 9-5, I was working in a claustraphobic noisy glorified machine room 55-70 hours a week including most weekends and holidays
3- I was bringing business to the company that would go with me if I left (and they did)
4- I didn't trash my employer in public therefore I didn't burn that bridge. My old employer is now a client because they couldn't find anyone to replace me. They account for 20% of my business now
5- I developed an exit strategy over 6 months and built up cash reserves to see me through the initial stages of a new company
6- I asked a lot of questions on The Cow instead of complaining on The Cow




Mick Haensler
Higher Ground Media


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Steve WargoRe: Another Ethics Question
by on Apr 26, 2009 at 10:14:06 pm

I think you need to quit your job before making statements like you just did. I you worked for me, I would not allow you back in the building, EVER!



Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut (not quite PRO) systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck
2-Sony EX-1 HD .


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Mick HaenslerRe: Another Ethics Question
by on Apr 27, 2009 at 3:11:33 am

[Steve Wargo] "I think you need to quit your job before making statements like you just did. I you worked for me, I would not allow you back in the building, EVER! "

Are you speaking to me or the OP Steve??





Mick Haensler
Higher Ground Media


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Steve WargoRe: Another Ethics Question
by on Apr 27, 2009 at 5:00:34 am

Sorry Mark. I was speaking to Mr. Cadieux. I forgot to quote his post, as I often do. I forget that my reply is not connected to the original post.

My apologies.

Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut (not quite PRO) systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck
2-Sony EX-1 HD .


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Mick HaenslerRe: Another Ethics Question
by on Apr 27, 2009 at 12:07:27 pm

[Steve Wargo] "Sorry Mark. I was speaking to Mr. Cadieux. I forgot to quote his post, as I often do. I forget that my reply is not connected to the original post.

My apologies."


No worries mate. I was just a little confused.



Mick Haensler
Higher Ground Media


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