My annual review is coming up next week. I believe that my immediate boss likes me and will give me a fair and honest review. That’s really all I hope to get. In the end, the raises that my company gives are based not on merit but on the “3% rule”. The rule is, everyone in the department needs to average out to a 3% merit increase. And of course, there are other factors such as market forces and the possibility of someone leaving. So if a new highly paid director is hinting that she is unhappy in any way, then she’ll receive a juicy 5% raise. At the same time, the reliable secretary who won’t quit because she has two kids and can’t afford to be out of work, she will receive a paltry 1% raise of her already below average pittance. I’ve achieved a perfect level of disillusionment and disinterest in this process. I try not to talk to anyone about raises this time of year because I get so pissed off that I just want to quit on the spot. It’s the most unfair b.s. And what can you do? It’s Chinatown.
So today, my boss called me to schedule my review. I informed her that my job description had changed in the past year because shockingly I’ve reached the max allotment for my current job description. This was quite confusing to me when every source I could find reinforced that I was making in the lower 15% of the national average for professional photographers. The head of my department said he was going to update my job description for me in order to get me more money, even though he doesn’t know half of what I do. But he never updated it, or he never told me about it. So today I wrote to him and to the H.R. person and to my supervisor asking for the updated job description so I can begin the bullshit process of evaluating myself. Of course, no response. Nothing.
Before I left today, my supervisor asked me to send her some ideas for a photo of the CEO and the head director of the organization that will go into the Annual Report. They will then give my ideas to an outside photographer. I don’t shoot the Annual Report. I shoot almost every photo in our high profile magazine which comes out six times a year, but I don’t shoot the Annual Report. Chinatown. So they just want my ideas. I wrote down three locations to shoot in including lighting info and things to be careful of. At the end of the email, I had a fourth great idea. This idea is terrific. I am excited about it and want to do the shoot myself so some outside shooter won’t bugger it up. The idea is a bit crazy, so they might not go for it, but it’s still solid so I wrote it down. But before I hit “send” on the email, I thought to myself: “Photographers, all things being equal, are idea people. They get paid for hammering their imagination into reality. And now I’m being asked to give my ideas to some other photographer so that he can hammer out a version of my imagination. Doesn’t this outside fucker have his own ideas to bring to the table?” It just seems so messed up. If I have a killer idea for a photo, why should I ever give it away? I know I am getting paid either way, but I feel like I’m being taken advantage of. I don’t have the Producer’s title and I certainly don’t have the Producer’s salary to start delegating specific shoot ideas to outside artists. It’s just messed up. Again, Chinatown.
I hit send.