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Unique Job - Salary Range Advice

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Joshua KlinkenbergerUnique Job - Salary Range Advice
by on Aug 5, 2010 at 9:40:48 pm

I’ve been working at this job since graduating – I took the first job I could get out of college so I was able to pay the bills. Actually it’s a little more complicated, but for the sake of time I’ll spare the details.

I’ve been working as an In-House motion graphics editor for a large corporation for four years. I am now undergoing a complete ‘job-position and salary re-negotiation’ since I feel I’m extremely underpaid. Unfortunately my position, since starting here, has changed A LOT and is quite unique. This happened because I am the only ‘creative’ at the company. After about a year, I was starting to receive graphic-design project requests; as in no animation or video associated. During that year (my second), the number of graphic-design projects sky-rocketed. I was reading books on graphic design, watching tutorials, and much more. I’ve mastered Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign and am currently studying for ACE CS5 tests (Adobe Certified Expert).

Towards the end of the second year I was assigned a project dealing with web-design and flash animation. To complete the project, I bought more books on Dreamweaver, Flash, and the works. I tried to not get too involved since I wanted to try to gear myself back to the videos, which I still do in-between the design and web work. I’m now currently learning Catalyst (Love it!). But to say the least, I’ve learned Dreamweaver and a ton of web-design (front-end and back) to complete multiple projects for the company.

During all of these first three years, I slowly took more and more photographs for uses in the videos, brochures, flyers, etc that I was making. Photography was already a hobby of mine (being very interested in cinematography) so it wasn’t a huge learning experience for me. However now, I take on tons of photography requests at work as well. This year I’ve began filming things and making training videos, promotional videos for trade-shows, and other things.

To try to keep from typing tons more, I’ll list out my duties:
Graphic Design
  • Create Brochures, Sell Sheets, Flyers, Shirts and other Print Media
  • Create Graphics for use in animations, flash, and videos.
  • Generate logos and titles for various products and programs.

  • Write, plan, and prepare all elements for video creation (Scriptwriting, Blocking, Scheduling, etc)
  • Produce Production Elements – Various Roles (Cameraman, Director, EFP Audio, cinematography, etc)
  • Produce final videos (Motion Graphics and Special Effects Editor, Film Editor, Color Correction, Audio Engineer, DVD Author, etc)
  • Animate designs and create Motion Graphics for promotional videos
  • Narrate videos (Yes, apparently I’m a voice actor now)
  • Prepare videos for various outputs through the use of compression and encoding

  • Photograph products, people, and events for use in various media
  • Enhance and correct photographs

Drawing and Illustration
  • Create technical illustrations for manuals and training video graphics.
  • Storyboard out all video scripts

  • Create layouts for User Interfaces, Websites, and other interactive media
  • Design and implement websites for product promotions.

I’ll list some other information that may affect my salary so you may take it into consideration.
  • I receive full benefits (but are not full-employer-paid)
  • I’m located in Pittsburgh, PA
  • I have about 4 years professional experience (with this same company)

I like to think that even as a motion graphics designer, I’m highly underpaid, take into account all the other things I do and have learned – I should be paid even more than what would normally be fair right? Is this kind of multifuntionality (if that’s a word) rare? Not to mention finding it from someone to perfectly fit a position would be tough. Plus the amount of money I save the company. When I first started there, they paid an agency $25,000 to produce some flash video with a narration. Once it was completed, the person in charge of it was watching one of my motion graphics ads, and wanted me to completely re-do his video from scratch so it looked better… then just exported it as a flash video and literally replaced the one they paid all that money for. Now consider the graphic design, web, and photography services I’m saving them from outsourcing… then again maybe I’m wrong and I’m a dime a dozen.

Some other things I’ve done are; created many SOPs for all our work so that I can keep up with our work-load, organize and maintain our DAM (data asset management) programs (we have over 35K photos, design documents, etc. now), set up a creative brief system to manage my projects and workflows, designed workflows and manage numerous projects at a time, and much more. I work about 50+ hours a week (while everyone else works about 40)

So I just need some help negotiation what I should be making. Please don’t take into account my current salary (which I don’t think I listed) since I don’t want it to be based off it and that’s what I told my supervisor/HR. I want to start from scratch using market research and fair market value. I just haven’t been able to find any hard information for Pittsburgh Salaries, plus my unique position makes it difficult. I’d say I spend my time; 42% video – 35% Graphic Design – 10% Web – 5% illustration/artwork – 8% Photography.

I may also start providing them with my personal equipment to use, since they’re so stingy on getting professional video equipment. My computer and software are the only things I’ve been able to have no hold-limits on. But what should I ask for (extra salary/signing bonus/benefits) if I bring in my gear? (About 15K worth of gear – and rising)

Ok so finally - Any idea where I should set my salary range?

(Just account for a regular 40hr work week – with no equipment being provided by me to keep it simple at first)

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walter biscardiRe: Unique Job - Salary Range Advice
by on Aug 5, 2010 at 9:54:47 pm

All I'll say is in-house corporate never pays the same as working in a production facility. Or at least it rarely does.

When you work in corporate, it's a given that you will wear many hats and perform all sorts of duties which go beyond what you were originally hired for and what your job title is. When I worked in corporate, my title was usually Editor, but I did Animation, graphic design, writing, camera, directing, producing, DVD authoring, show running, you name it I did it. All for the same salary.

Yes, companies pay a lot when they go outside to agencies and production companies, that's just the way it works. But that money does not come from the same pool as your salary so they are two completely different things. So you "saving them money" over an agency does not automatically mean you get a $25,000 raise if you saved them that much over the agency.

These days 4 to 6% raises are the norm, or even higher than the norm. One thing you have done, and one of the reasons I encourage a lot of newbies to go into corporate production, is you have developed a tremendous skill set over if you had just taken a motion graphics job somewhere. Sure you'd be a better motion graphics guy, but you wouldn't have all those other skills that are useful to small companies like mine.

I have no idea what the going rate is in Pittsburgh so I can't help you with the salary. But definitely don't get into the "well I'm saving you all this money" argument because that money is allocated from another part of the company budget and it will fall on deaf ears. If you can get a 10% raise that will be doing very well. If you think that will still leave you underpaid, float your resume around to local production houses, see if anyone is interested and what type of salary they think you're worth.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"Foul Water, Fiery Serpent" featuring Sigourney Weaver coming soon.

Blog Twitter Facebook

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Zane BarkerRe: Unique Job - Salary Range Advice
by on Aug 5, 2010 at 11:09:22 pm

I know its sad but sometimes the only way company will understand what a in house production person is worth is when they discover that they cannot find a replacement because they wont pay enough n

As for using your own personel equipment. DON't!!! Not even if they pay you more. They ether provide the equipment or they pay to rent it each time it is needed. If you don't follow that and use your own personel equipment then one of two things will happen. 1 they will assume that they are providing all the equipment needed to produce the level of production that you are giving them. They will assume this because they may not know you are using your own personel equipment. 2 they will continue to "use" you. If they know you are using personel equipment why should they pay you more for it or privide any for you, and why should they you provide it for free. And if your providing that for free then they will always be looking for other things you can do for them without any additional compensation. For example the books you are buying yourself so you can learn to do the work they are assigning you. If they assign you work you don't know how to do, THEY need to be paying for any training materials needed.

**Hindsight is always 1080p**

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Bill DavisRe: Unique Job - Salary Range Advice
by on Aug 6, 2010 at 12:03:01 am

Another way to look at it.

Congratulations. You've managed to get a company to pay you a reasonable liveable wage while you accumulated an incredible range of personal skills and competencies.

Most other people would have had to spend THOUSANDS of dollars in schooling and training to assemble a similar skill set - but you've managed to do it on SOMEONE ELSES DIME!


Now all you have to do is decide whether you want to continue to learn and progress within the conditions they're willing to PAY YOU to do - or whether you think that you're capable of taking this knowledge and going out in the free marketplace and see if that marketplace values the skills similarly (or even MORE than you do.)

Nobody can answer that question for you.

The only note I'll make is this. It's a VERY difficult market out here even for the MOST talented and accomplished people. If you're not willing to LOSE your current position. Walk softly. Make sure you've secured an alternate position before you put your foot down regards demands on this one.

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Steve MartinRe: Unique Job - Salary Range Advice
by on Aug 6, 2010 at 12:48:00 am


Pretty's as if we were both reading the same script!


Production is fun - but lets not forget: Nobody ever died on the video table!

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Bill DavisRe: Unique Job - Salary Range Advice
by on Aug 6, 2010 at 1:21:35 am

I'm fond of the phrase "get your mind out of the gutter so mine can float by"
at least this time you and I are paddling in the clearer stream!

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Joshua KlinkenbergerRe: Unique Job - Salary Range Advice
by on Aug 6, 2010 at 2:15:26 pm

You’re defiantly right, I’ve tried to subsidize my missing salary (that I think I deserve – I’d never say this to anyone at work!) by getting as much training and learning resources I can. Like I mentioned to Walter, I’ve been preparing my new site/portfolio/demo reel so that I can see what happens when I jump back into the market. All these new skill have already come in handy on a personal stance; building a nice flash site, demo-reel, lots of portfolio pieces to use, DVDs and much more. I just hope there are other positions out there that need someone like me.

Thanks Bill

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Joshua KlinkenbergerRe: Unique Job - Salary Range Advice
by on Aug 6, 2010 at 2:14:56 pm

I’ve been thinking about the personal equipment thing more and more, and I have to say I agree now. If they want to do something more complicated than they can with what they’ve provided, I’ll offer them to rent my equipment at decent rates compared to local rentals. There may be a ‘conflict of interest’ to rent my equipment, but if my rates are the best, then it should be ok – I’ll deal with that when I get to it tho. I have used my own camera when I first started, and one day I didn’t have it, someone wanted a picture taken and they got bent out of shape when I said I couldn’t. “Sorry I didn’t bring MY camera to work today!” ha I didn’t really say that, but your right, that’s how it goes. Now they’ve bought some stuff, but if I brought my video stuff in, it would probably become annoying/they’d take advantage of me more.

Ah, and actually when I said I bought all those book, I just meant I bought them at work. My company paid for all my books, training, certifications, software, etc. I bought a couple of books, but ones less relevant to my job.

Not plugging anyone or anything, but Andy Epstein’s book The Corporate Creative is phenomenal! It’s really changed the way I look at everything at work now. It’s really motivating while also showing some of the ugly truths. It was wrote for graphic designers, but as a corporate creative… it’s worth reading anyway. Also, it’s a 2-3 nights read.

Thanks Zane

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Steve MartinRe: Unique Job - Salary Range Advice
by on Aug 6, 2010 at 12:06:06 am

Hi Joshua,

Here's a different way of looking at it. You can look at the situation that you are in as a paid post-graduate degree that you got paid to attend instead of paying for it out of your pocket.

If you feel that you have "graduated" perhaps it's time for a "promotion" to a new position. If it's a large organization, that's often the only method by which people can get a significant raise - by getting a different job title.

Of course that presupposes that your boss has the same opinion of your skills that you do. And that they have the budget to give you the promotion you believe that you deserve.

If you like the job, the people and the company, it might be worth gentle persuation to convince them that yo're worth it. If you're doing the kind of things you say you are and you're likable and work well with others, have an open and honest conversation about how much you like being there but would like to earn more.

If you don't really like the job, consider polishing your resume and demo reel. But tread carefully. Don't allow yourself to develop a bad attitude and "check out" mentally.

Remember, it's a tough job market out there so recognize that all of us are replaceable - especially in this economy.

Good Luck

Production is fun - but lets not forget: Nobody ever died on the video table!

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Joshua KlinkenbergerRe: Unique Job - Salary Range Advice
by on Aug 6, 2010 at 2:15:49 pm

That’s defiantly a good way of looking at it, and makes me feel better, especially since I’m only 23. I do like what I do here, and I defiantly like the people I work with – but it does get hard not ever working with peers or having mentors present at work (that’s why the internet is so great).

Thankfully my supervisor supports me a lot and has done a lot to help push this whole situation as well. The goal is to actually change my job title to not only make it much more accurate, but also change pay-grades. Again, this is all a hope right now.

To push for the whole salary/job-title renegotiation I’ve been preparing a booklet about me, my work at Valspar, my future work, and lots and lots of other things relating to this renegotiation. Well this booklet is now almost 40 pages. It’s been revised about 5 times and is just about ready to go to the people that matter. I’ve already been warned that most of them will just read the summary (that’s why we wrote one) and just acknowledge I did all the other work and research throughout the book.

Thanks Steve

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Joshua KlinkenbergerRe: Unique Job - Salary Range Advice
by on Aug 6, 2010 at 2:14:23 pm

I’ve heard the same thing about the many hats thing, so it’s really starting to settle in now. And you are defiantly right about saving the company money vs getting a raise. Money flow is so strange in a corporation. Departments charge each other and I’ve even seen one group charge another rent for using their space! Crazy system – so I’ll try some of my other means for my proposed salary raise.

It’s actually not so much a raise as it is a completely new starting salary. At least I hope if goes that way because like you said, raises are usually percent based and even at 10%, I’m going to have to leave. Everyone gets yearly raises of about 1-5% (pending on company performance) but since my starting salary was so low, those raises have been miniscule.

I am very thankful for the skills I’ve learned, and I’ve actually been dedicating about 80% of all my outside time on my new portfolio/website. I’ll begin a new demo reel soon and I can jump back into the market and see what happens.

Thanks Walter.

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John DavidsonRe: Unique Job - Salary Range Advice
by on Aug 6, 2010 at 7:16:58 am

Your best bet for more money is to negotiate an exit and establish yourself as a vendor for the same company.

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Joshua KlinkenbergerRe: Unique Job - Salary Range Advice
by on Aug 6, 2010 at 2:19:39 pm

Ha! That’s actually not a bad thing to consider. If in the future, once my new site and reel are rolled out, I obtain a different position in Pittsburgh, I actually could do some freelance stuff for them. They did bring in freelance photographers before I started.

Problem is, when I start looking for a job, I’m not going to limit myself to any location. If there’s a great job in the USA – I’ll go there. I’d actually love to try living in a new city. Not a bad thought at all tho John


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Mark SuszkoRe: Unique Job - Salary Range Advice
by on Aug 6, 2010 at 2:46:40 pm

Bill really said it well already. Others did too; you got paid while learning. I got winded, just reading all the stuff you do! You sound like you are doing the equivalent of two full-timers at least. Definitely ask for more money. Have your demo reel and portfolio already made. Send the resume out, try to get a meeting with some of the local places you'd be interested in. Get your self in the right frame of mind, and also strike a little terror into the office, by taking home a little piece of all your personal effects every day, until your office area starts to look bare. This sends a subtle signal to HR that you are really thinking about going, and in fact already have a new place waiting, and those around you can begin to imagine the void you will leave if you go.

As far as salary, rule one is, first guy to name a figure, loses. Do not be afraid to sit there saying nothing; let the weight of the silence fall on them until they break and say something. Old interrogator trick, the very pregnant pause reaction.

Rule two is, they have to believe that you are willing to walk away if you can't come to an agreement. It helps if you believe it yourself, and to that end, if you get an offer elsewhere, you could ask the current place to match it or let you go. This is the strongest position, and you'd be surprised how often it works, because while everyone is replaceable in time, you represent an investment of training time and experience that means significant time and work to replace as well, while the void left is hurting the office's productivity the whole while. And a lot of places are too lazy or cheap to want to go thru all the hassles of replacing a good staff person, and will cave to a reasonable raise, just to avoid that hassle. And as has been said, many get complacent and lose sight of just how much work you do and how vital to the smooth running of the place you are, unless they get an occasional scare thrown into them. That's how it is with personal relationships as well, you know: when suddenly faced with the momentary possibility of losing someone in a relationship, you react with a re-evaluation and reappraisal of them, and a renewed commitment. While we're on psychology, some management types won't really respect a worker who hasn't challenged them with the raise-or-I-walk thing. If you survive the negotiations successfully, expect to get treated better in the long run as well, because they now realize you are your own man and can only be pushed so far.

If they don't believe you would walk, they own you, and will dictate terms. This is why you strip your office of years' worth of personal effects, and suddenly dress more formally for the weeks upcoming to the negotiation. Take random personal time hours off in mid-day, requested just a few days in advance. Come in/come back from the time off dressed like you've been to an interview; if quizzed, say nothing, if pressed, demure and say your normal stuff is at the cleaners, you had to go to a funeral, a date, church, the bank, whatever, and let them come to their own false conclusions that you're interviewing elsewhere on your lunch hours. It's psiwar.

Begin the negotiation dance by beating around the topic, describing the industry standards you found. Don't name a figure, but have one in mind, and leave room to be talked down. Also, the money alone is not all there is to negotiations: getting better medical and insurance and dental and retirement contributions, other subsidies like paying for training, travel to trade shows, Entry fees for awards competitions, magazine subscriptions, transportation, etc. as well as vacation or overall hours, all of that can be a major part of the deal, and the company may be in a better position financially to give you some of the "frills" as deductible tax-write-offs for themselves, so to them it's free money, but to you, a major lifestyle upgrade, letting you do more stuff with the salary you get. So when there doesn't seem to be any more motion on the salary level, switch the topic to the benefits.

This is never an easy time, what you're going thru. You're like an arthopod who must pop out of the old shell so it can grow, or it will die.
All you can do to feel better is to prepare yourself as best as you can, cover all the eventualities, have researched facts at your command, be ready to back up your argument, your sales pitch, with facts. If you are spiritual, go do some contemplative prayer. if you have friends or family, go be with them and cheer yourself up.

Go home and make up some ads about yourself and your talents; only you will ever see them, but it is a useful exercise in self-evalutation and motivation. People think asking for raises is somehow egotistic. Ego is not always a bad thing. Ego is what we have to drive us onwards when we're out of juice and nobody else believes in us, BUT us. It is what keeps you hammering at impossible barriers until they crumble, trying new things you never tried before. That little bit of illogical and undeserved impertinence is the fragile tissue of a shield that keeps us all from cowering like gibbering monkeys before the infinite vastness of a hostile and uncaring universe. You are worth your wage, the bible says. You are asking for what's rightfully yours, for what you have earned, no more, and certainly, no less. This is the social contract, and you are here to collect your due. Believe in the miracle that is yourself. BELIEVE!

Hang in there, baby! :-)

(I am available for locker room halftime speeches at reasonable rates)

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Joshua KlinkenbergerRe: Unique Job - Salary Range Advice
by on Aug 6, 2010 at 5:23:13 pm

@Mark Suszko

I’m really trying hard to finish my reel and website. I’ve ready TONS of articles about salary negotiations and stuff like that and they all say the same thing about having another offer on the table to use during the negotiations. Use it as your muscle but be prepared to take it, which is what you’re saying. I defiantly need to find something fast to do this. I do think it will help. Again, about saying the salary first – I would think that makes sense too – I don’t want to say a number first. I want to see what they say (to see if they actually did any market research). If the number is still low, I would like to negotiate and get it higher, but I need failsafe option (another job) to do that. What if they say some low number that makes me laugh, and then they don’t negotiate higher and I don’t have another job lined up; I’d feel like an idiot because I would just be like “Ok” and go sit back at my desk.

Wow- A lot of good things said there! I do think they underestimate me when it comes to being pushy or aggressive (in a good way) so this is a good opportunity to change that as well. Also – Like I said, I was the first ‘creative’ ever hired here so my starting salary was based off some completely arbitrary job title. Now I’m not even asking for a large salary (compared to industry standards) but I just want to be paid fair! Maybe I even deserve more, but I’m just asking for fair right now. The problem is, my pay now is SO low, that when I ask for a more appropriate salary, it’s going to look like a huge increase, especially if they look at it from a percent point of view. I guess there is no getting around that though.

I love the strategy of letting them think I’m interviewing. They’re very lenient about taking off a few hours during the day and making them up and stuff like that, but they’ll defiantly notice – not to mention dress code is very casual, so dressing nice will certainly stand out.

Benefits: I’ve included a large part of my salary re-negotiation booklet to addressing this but I didn’t even think of some of the things you’ve listed. I’d love to go to some of the [video] industry trade-shows but never thought about having Valspar send me. That’s defiantly something they would do, especially if training is involved. I already can get subscriptions to magazines, all the books and training stuff I want, travel reimbursement (even if it’s 10 miles to photograph something), and our benefits package is nice – but I don’t think it’s negotiable. Since I’m a one-man-team, I don’t think any of my work is worth of awards, but is that typical for a company to do for its creative department/employee? And what about joining industry groups like AIGA (only video ones)?

My state of mind is better than it’s ever been. I don’t know what part of my life is contributing to it the most, but I just feel so motivated for the past year. That’s actually how this all came about - including my new site and reel. I haven’t watched a movie, played a game, or read an entertaining book since probably Christmas (ok so maybe a few movies), but I just spend all my time working on video/photo/audio/design related stuff. I love it and it helps my work at my company. I’m pretty excited to get into the negotiations since as you suggested, I have a lot of research and facts.

Ego: In a couple of books I read, they say the same thing about how when selling yourself during renegotiations… don’t hold back. Be ‘about-yourself’ and brag – it’s the one time you should and deserve to, but don’t embellish or exaggerate things.

Haha got some good laughs there. Thanks a lot Mark. I may read all these posts a few more times during the next couple of weeks.

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Mike CohenRe: Unique Job - Salary Range Advice
by on Aug 6, 2010 at 2:07:19 pm

[Joshua Klinkenberger] "Unfortunately my position, since starting here, has changed A LOT and is quite unique."

Actually Josh, your position is pretty common - a company hires you for X, finds you are pretty good at Y and Z and they keep giving you more and interesting things to work on.

Generally you should wait until a performance review to suggest a salary upgrade, or risk alienating yourself, especially during economic times like we are all coping with.

Sure there is a possibility that your bosses do not appreciate your talents or what you are worth, but they no doubt appreciate the work you do. But maybe they have not considered the value of your work vs paying a la carte for it with outside services.

So rather than trying to tell them how freaking awesome you are (which you may be) - sell them on how you are doing work they would otherwise pay outside contractors for. You might poke around on the web for service providers in your area, and figure out some ballpark numbers, such as what the going rate is for the various projects you deliver.

Consider the two statements:

1. I'm awesome and you should pay be X because I do great work and I do a lot more than you hired me for.


2. Over the past year I have completed X projects, and at prevailing rates for outside services, we would have had to pay Y. Thus, for my salary, we are getting a great deal.

Assuming the difference between X and Y is more than say $50,000, then you may have some leverage, but as Walter pointed out, saving them money is not necessarily an easy sell.

Regarding statement 1, bosses do not like being told by their employees that they are doing something wrong in the eyes of the employee, and they certainly do not like demands or managing up.

It is a buyer's market for employers, so present your position in a way that benefits your bosses - their paradigm is what is important to them, and should be to you too.

Good luck and address this post haste.

Mike Cohen

PS - Google yourself

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Joshua KlinkenbergerRe: Unique Job - Salary Range Advice
by on Aug 6, 2010 at 2:34:20 pm

About doing X, Y, and Z tasks – I’m starting to find out how true that is with corporations! But it has working in my favor as far as learning.

I did actually bring up this whole salary/position renegotiating during my mid-year review. The process with HR and my managers is just SLOW – but at least it gives me time to prepare more!

I’ve actually been preparing all my ‘defenses’ towards my work/savings like you mentioned in example 2. Defiantly sounds better. I’ve had some trouble getting some local rates for video and photography services, and I didn’t want to ask for fake bids on projects we wouldn’t actually outsource – I would think that’s bad practice – So I’ve come up with some general rates/fees that I’ve found from other cities and tried to adapt them for Pittsburgh.

Some good advice, some I’ve already been taking into consideration.

Thanks Mike.

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Tom GrottingRe: Unique Job - Salary Range Advice
by on Aug 6, 2010 at 2:44:11 pm

[Mike Cohen] "PS - Google yourself"

took the thought right out of my mind!

Tom Grotting
Digital Pictures

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Joshua KlinkenbergerRe: Unique Job - Salary Range Advice
by on Aug 6, 2010 at 5:26:36 pm

The PS Google thing... Are you being specific - as in there is something bad you guys found when google-ing me?!

I tried it, have several times in the past, but again today from seeing your post. This whole thread came right up... That could be bad eh?

Also - I wanted to say Thanks to everyone for first
- reading my huge original post.
and second - taking the time to respond with lots of great advice!

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Randy LeeRe: Unique Job - Salary Range Advice
by on Aug 11, 2010 at 5:33:00 pm

Just a thought - and possibly a situation that you're in since you've gotten into so many areas in the last few years, is that there might not be performance reviews, and nothing is going to happen until you bring up money / benefits issues. That's close to the situation that I've been in - 3 1/2 years with a production company, and there have been pay increases along the way along with huge changes in duties, but never an official review. You learn that if you don't stand up and say that it's time for a raise, it isn't going to happen. One filmmaker put it this way: Don't ask, don't get. That's one that can be applied just about anywhere.

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Joshua KlinkenbergerRe: Unique Job - Salary Range Advice
by on Aug 6, 2010 at 5:51:32 pm

I know it's really hard, and if I don't get any - I completely understand why - but does anyone have any idea what might be "fair" for my position? Take into account that yes, I will make less than a non-corporate peer, and also take into account that I'm located in Pittsburgh.

Would $40-$45K be way to much? I remember reading somewhere that some entry-level designers were getting about $35K average.

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Mark SuszkoRe: Unique Job - Salary Range Advice
by on Aug 6, 2010 at 8:20:06 pm

I have not seen your reel but by the description of all you do, the fact you're really doing the work of an entire art department and Art Director, I would say you are easily doing the work and carrying the responsibilities of someone in the 50 and up range. But that is only part of the formula. Cost of living and the prevailing wages for comparable work where you live have a lot to do with it. 40-45 is median income now, I think I read somewhere. You would have to ask for more if you lived in SanFrancisco, than if you lived in East Bug-Tussle, regardless of skill level. The amount you make is often a function of how effective you are at asking for it. I respect brother Grinner a lot for his devil-may-care risk-taking ability; he gambles when he swings for the fences, and sometimes he comes up a big winner, and when he connects, he deserves every dime of what he can get. Not all of us are as ballsy.

So, who are you? And do you have a lot of other people's stability riding on your judgement? That makes a difference. You can't bluff my man Grinner in a salary negotiation, because he has a history of being able and WILLING to walk away and somehow land on his feet, and he's comfortable living like that. Heck, he seems to THRIVE on it. That makes him a powerful negotiator; I wouldn't be able to bargain him down past a rate he felt was fair. We'd both know it.
(Sorry to mention you in 3rd person grinman, but I thought you were a shining example of Rule number 2.)

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grinner hesterRe: Unique Job - Salary Range Advice
by on Aug 6, 2010 at 6:44:33 pm

Set it where you want it. If they can't do that, move onward and upward. Moving on is the only way you'll ever see a five figure raise, brother. Don't wait on them. They hired a student. And don't get mad at them either. Just be ready to move to a different market with a big grin on your face.
Enjoy, man.

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Nick GriffinRe: Unique Job - Salary Range Advice
by on Aug 6, 2010 at 8:50:18 pm

Joshua -
Please send me a resume: - I MAY have some ideas for helping you get ahead and escape the slow corporate mentality.

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Mick HaenslerRe: Unique Job - Salary Range Advice
by on Aug 9, 2010 at 4:55:01 pm

Specific salary for someone of your talent based on a 40-50 hour week: $60-75K. There you have it!!

Mick Haensler
Higher Ground Media

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Bob ColeRe: Unique Job - Salary Range Advice
by on Aug 27, 2010 at 4:45:04 pm

1. You sound a little pissed-off. Get rid of that emotion before you do the sit-down.

2. The word is "definitely," not "defiantly." Unless that's a Freudian slip (see #1 above).

3. You have already noticed that anything you write here is visible to anyone who can type your name into Google. Don't assume that your bosses have read this thread, but don't assume they haven't.

It sounds as though you are preparing well for this project, and that you and your supervisor are on the same page, which is great. You are correct to look for a different definition of a job, and as it were, apply for THAT job instead of trying to get a raise for your current job.

Keep us informed, unless you really shouldn't. (See #3 above.) Good luck.

Bob C

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Joshua KlinkenbergerRe: Unique Job - Salary Range Advice
by on Sep 21, 2010 at 3:12:01 pm

Just Thought I would post a quick update, since everyone took the time to give me loads of good advice.

It's now been almost a month and a half, I turned my proposal (without any numbers of course) into my boss 11 days ago and am waiting to hear back on it. Today I will ask my supervisor if I can follow up/inquire about the progress. It's really unfortunate that this takes so long, but then again my boss is very busy and he manages a technical staff (with the exception of myself).

Ok wow, scratch everything! I just got an e-mail while writing this and it looks like I have a 'job proposal follow' up at 1pm! I'm suddenly very nervous. I should start preparing some thoughts and try to calm myself before the meeting.

Thanks again for all the help and I'll be sure to post another update.

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Mike CohenRe: Unique Job - Salary Range Advice
by on Sep 21, 2010 at 3:31:03 pm

Good luck Josh. Assume your boss has read this entire thread.

Mike Cohen

Medical Education / Multimedia Producer

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Mark SuszkoRe: Unique Job - Salary Range Advice
by on Sep 21, 2010 at 4:59:10 pm

If there's no security guard waiting by the bosses' door, with an empty cardboard box, chances are he'll be okay. Go get 'em!

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Joshua KlinkenbergerRe: Unique Job - Salary Range Advice
by on Oct 13, 2010 at 4:04:49 am

Ok - So this will probably be the last post on this thread ha. I've been browsing over CC for a long time now and will start to post around as I've been interested in many of the other topics, wanting to somewhat bury this thread, and after having received so much help from this post.

The update - without getting into details and telling a super long story, here is the conclusion: I went in for the meeting with my boss and we spoke for almost two hours. I receive what additional compensation they were able to offer me and my boss explained to me the whole process and told me a lot about how the business worked. I learned quite a lot and came out of the meeting with a really good understanding of what I need to do. He mentioned that there are other things that he is trying to do for me and while the compensation increase I received was very good, it was percent-based and resulted in a not-so-adequate raise overall (compared to fair-market value) since my base compensation is so low. I do feel it's in my best interest to stick around and see how the future plans pan that my boss talked about pan out.

I really like working here and have to hold on just a bit longer. He mentioned that there may be a lot of personnel moving-around going on soon and more recently I've heard that I may be transferred to Marketing. Currently I work in some obscure division under the Tech. Communications group. Several other co-workers have suggested that the move to marketing (more specifically working under the new head of marketing) would be a smart move. I would have a new poss so I'm afraid that I'll just be transferred over and have to start all over with the compensation negotiation. There may be a job posting put up that I would have to request transfer into in which case the new posting could have a (assuming-ly) higher pay-grade. That would be the best case scenario... unless the posting is specifically put up aimed at me and the compensation is just based (again) on what I'm making now but a bit higher. Anywho, we'll see what happens. I may or may not post another update in this thread but I do plan to contribute/post around CC.

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Bob ColeRe: Unique Job - Salary Range Advice
by on Oct 13, 2010 at 4:21:39 am

I'm a bit conflicted, Josh, because it's been fun reading your thread. But I agree that you should stop posting about it. It may not be in your best interest to discuss job negotiations in a real-name, wide-open forum.

The "real name" policy here is both good and bad. On the one hand, it keeps some people honest, but it also leads others to engage in self-promotion. See the "Oh, I'm SOOO busy" post. I believe each and every one of them.

Meanwhile - good luck to you Josh, and I hope to see your posts often, perhaps in other contexts. In fact you should post a ton so you bury this thread dep in the Google results.

Bob C

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John DavidsonRe: Unique Job - Salary Range Advice
by on Oct 13, 2010 at 4:37:16 am

Perfect example of a thread that should be anonymized or deleted. It can come back to haunt Josh for the rest of his career, which I think is contrary to the purpose of a site dedicated to teaching others how to use tools of the trade.

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