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

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