Monday, December 5, 2016

It's good to be the King

Last week Business Insider magazine printed their 2016 list of the 16 Richest White Jowly Men in Advertising. If that's not grist for the RoundSeventeen mill nothing else is.

I've spent quite a few years in this business and have had the opportunity to work with people who are generally regarded as icons of their time: Lee Clow, Steve Hayden and David Lubars, to name a few. Not one of these gents is on the list.

In fact, if you were to scour the list you wouldn't find one poor schlub who has ever written a headline, comped a layout or dragged an unwieldy Gator Board thru the Cincinatti airport at 2 in the morning to catch a redeye connection for a 7 AM pitch the following morning.

But alas, so much digital ink has already been expended on these richy rich douchebags, I'm going to go in the opposite direction.

You see last week I spotted a posting on LinkedIn. It happened to be from a headhunter friend of mine but I don't fault her for listing the job but I do have some issues with the people trying to fill the job.

Take a look.

Good night nurse, let's cut right to the chase and whip out the calculator.

This self-described killer creative shop is looking for an award winning team with lots of TV experience and they're willing to pay 120K! Wowie, zowie, how incredibly generous is that?

If you're a senior creative who has won lots of awards for TV work, chances are you're in your thirties. Because frankly kids in their twenties, the ones raised on banner ads and Snapchat fuckamajigs, can barely write a TV spot, much less an award winning one.

So you're in your 30's and you're gonna live in NYC. Oh the agency will pay the relocation fee. But that $3000 a month rent for your 600 square foot Chelsea studio with the bathtub that doubles as a kitchen sink, that's all on you.

Now let's start tapping some keys. Because in a normal industry 120K is not a bad salary for someone putting in a standard 40 hour work week. For 2000 hours of annual labor it works out to be about $60/hour.

But advertising is not normal. Nor standard. Let's not forget, we're changing the world. And that can't be done in 40 hours a week. Fuck no. Between briefs that are rewritten, sometimes twice a day, client dysfunction, and rampant committee-think, you'll be lucky to clock 60 hours a week. But this is a "killer shop", which means they've been cursed with ambition, so it's gonna be more like 80 hours a week.

Not to mention weekends.
And Holidays.

Yom Kippur?

"You need to fast? We're not asking you not to eat. We're asking you to work. Actually, we're not asking." 

In all, new relocated senior team with a portfolio chock full of awards sitting at seats #21 and #22 at the "idea assembly line", you'll log so much time at the agency you'll develop an aura of perma-body odor.

Your true hourly rate will be less that the building's night watchman. And the Puerto Rican janitor, Fernando, who gets paid for his overtime and also makes more money than you, will joke...

"Oh you spend so much time here, Mr./Ms. (your last name here), when are they going to put your name on the door?"

And they never will.

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