Monday, June 16, 2008


I work in a clerical position. I make copies and fax stuff for guests, I run reports, do some filing, sort mail, order supplies... you get the idea. While the average clerical assistant in the US makes between $28,899 and $41,504, I make less than that. My job is not hard though, so while I wouldn't mind making more, I'm okay with that.

Here's the deal though... they know that I know Photoshop. My boss, who is in charge of marketing here, has been using this fact to her advantage. I've designed numerous items for a big corporate event we had here a few weeks ago (name tags, signage, posters, invitations, etc.), as well as marketing flyers. I do good work. I am versed in design basics. I know how to pick colors and fonts. I know the appropriate way to make my files the best for printing or to be web ready for emailing.

I'm not a professional, but I know more than anyone else here about these things.

Further adding to my frustration, in the past week I've also been told to "come up with" text/copy for these items on my own because I'm "good at that" and/or our marketing person is too busy. I've been told to work on ideas for these things at home too! I'm not a marketing person. I don't get paid to be a marketing person. I don't sell things and I don't know how to sell things, and I'm not PAID to sell things. I'm really frustrated here because I feel like my employer is taking advantage of me, and I know if I complain that I'll be told I'm lucky to even HAVE a job, as most other departments here have experienced lay offs or hour cutting.

Does that make it any more fair?

Here is my issue: While I like doing this work, and I feel it's good practice for me and a great way to establish a portfolio, I can't help but feel like my skills are being taken advantage of. I've done the research, and I know that to get a flyer made by a professional would cost, on average, about $120, and I'm being paid a teeny fraction of that for my time. Also, a professional designer would not be required to come up with the copy for these items, as it would be the client's responsibility to do so.

When people request a product from another, it is because it has worth. The reason they are coming to me for this work is because they want a product that is better than they are able to create using techniques that they are not able to do. I know that someone else could slap together flyers, the way it was done before I did them. All they have to do is choose a theme, add photos and text in Publisher, and then download and print. In just three easy steps they would have a flyer designed.

The problem is, the other folks here know next to nothing about how to design. Fonts, colors, image placement — it all matters more than someone who doesn't know anything about design would imagine. That's why my work looks so good, if I do say so myself!

If you aren’t trained in construction, would you try to build a house from the ground up? If you don’t have mechanical training, would you try to tear down and rebuild a carburetor? No matter what a person is selling, they didn’t just decide one day to start selling it and become an overnight expert. It took time and training to learn all of the details.

All I'm asking, is that as an artist, and a hard worker, give me my due.

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Blogger Devon said...

that sucks!! It sounds like they are taking advantage of you. Do you have a review coming up? If you do I would defenitely bring it up then, that you go above and beyond what your job requirments are.
I hope things get better for you, being taken advantage of is hard. You are an extremly talented artist!!

9:16 PM  
Blogger Zee said...

OK, I completely agree with you and believe it needs to be addressed. Take what you have said here and right down your points. Predict what they will say, various responses, and write down how you will respond. Try and be prepared as much as possible so that a "you're lucky to have a job" comment can be responded to accordingly. Ask what they pay marketers for a job like this. Stand your ground but be respectful.

My guess is that they know they are getting away with something here and taking advantage. Just be honest and state that you are feeling this way. Do you have a job description, is this work in it?

My guess is that they are reasonable employers and will work with you to come to a fair agreement. Even offer a compromise. I know you need the job right now, but if they are unreasonable, you will only coninue to get angry and who would want to work for them if that's the case.

But again, just my 2 cents...haha

10:42 AM  
Blogger mademoisellechitchat said...

Girl, get yourself a hustle going on the side. Post an ad and let this be your "side business." Get yourself some business cards printed up, and when folks commend you for your work, give them a card.

6:29 PM  

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