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Old 01-13-2014, 05:32 PM   #1
Ronald
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Default What Are My Artistic Skills Worth, and What Should I Accept?

My employer is notorious for his stinginess, telling new employees that they will get a $1 raise for every month for the first three months of productive employment, which they inevitably are disappointed to find is untrue; many have quit as a result. One time I was told I would receive a $4,000 bonus, and I waited a year to ask about this, to which he prolongingly gazed around then responded that this was undocumented and that he didn't recall it. He said I would get $2,000 after a client paid. When I found out they paid, I brought it up and he shouted in frustration at me, before apologizing for the "startling." I got the 2k soon after.

I work of a small, multimillion-dollar company that employs about thirty people, mostly immigrants, in the Midwestern United States. I started as an illustrator in late 2011 at $11/hr and now, as "Director of Creative Art," I'm paid $15/hr. I'm the company's lead illustrator and animator and currently manage the other two artists whom I taught to draw and animate in our chosen software. I work very hard trying to provide quality graphics and animations while accomplishing managerial tasks and keeping work flowing through. I'm also currently researching 3D graphics and teaching myself new software, as well as directing and storyboarding a video project. The quality standards I've set since my promotion are leaps and bounds ahead of what used to be acceptable, but the CEO has been so busy he hasn't seen my work. He's constantly taking trips to the Middle East where most of our business comes from.

In November I overheard the company's vice president talking on the speaker phone and saying "We have cheap people" in regards to the employees. He always leaves his door wide open and started speaking quieter as he made this comment, probably realizing it was foolish. But he was right.

Regardless, of my current wages, I want to be paid what someone with my skill set is worth, which I believe to be more along the lines of $20/hr. I know that my position demands skills that most others in the company do not, and the same goes for my two fellow artists. I plan to show the CEO our new animations and convince him that my fellow artists and I deserve more than a $1 raise.

Any advice on how to approach this, or as to what someone with my skill set is worth under these circumstances, would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-15-2014, 08:50 AM   #2
don Arnoldy
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Ronald-

To a very great extent, your skills are worth what someone is willing to pay for them. Are there other companies in your area that employ people with your skills? Are they hiring? What do they pay? You work in an industry where commonly people have to change employers to get a big salary increase (its been that way since I started in the '70s).

If you were in San Francisco, Los Angeles, or New York; your skills would be worth substantially more—but there would be more competition for the available jobs, and it would cost more to live.

From reading your posts over the years, I can tell that you are dis-satisfied at your current employer and feel unappreciated. I don't know if that will ever change, even if you get another $1 or so an hour from them. You really should be planning your next career move.

   
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Old 01-15-2014, 01:14 PM   #3
terrie
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don: You really should be planning your next career move.
I agree. If nothing else, doing some research on what is available within your geographic area will give you info on the going payrate and what openings might be available. You may also want to think about how your skills might be used in a non-graphics environment--company(ies) whose major endeavor is something other than graphics work but which might have positions where you could use those skills?

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Old 01-18-2014, 06:10 PM   #4
Kayza
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Start looking for another job.
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