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IHAVEANIDEA.ORG > ask jancy >  I deserve a raise. My partner, not so much

I deserve a raise. My partner, not so much

I’m a junior art director who’s approaching the one year mark at a massive hot shop in New York. My partner and I previously had won a few global student awards and have already produced a few great campaigns over the last year. Everyone likes us and we always seem to get the good assignments. But, it’s New York City and we’re not getting paid much for all the hard work. The student loans have kicked in and it seems like I’ve been living paycheck to paycheck.
How do we go about asking for a raise? Do we go to our manager or CD? How much do we ask for? Should we go in separately or as a team?
I ask this question because I feel like I deserve much more than my partner. I always seem to work harder and pick up my partners slack.

intro I deserve a raise. My partner, not so muchMost of us would rather have root canal than ask for a raise. Sounds like you and your partner are due, at the one year mark. But you send some troubling signals. You are a hot team from your description, yet you “deserve much more” than your partner. It happens—probably more often than not, one pulls a bit more weight than the other. Or, one feels that’s the case. Whatever the reality, it sounds like you resent your partner and trouble is brewing. You may want to consider other possible partners; as a junior there’s no reason to get married, unless it’s a truly great match (which is usually obvious to both). You could ask your CD for a review, which can include a request for a raise if it’s not forthcoming without your pressure (sadly most companies give raises as demanded, not as deserved). You could also register that ideally you’d like to have the chance to work with other partners for a more diverse experience. The big caution is, you may be in for a bad surprise if you try to torpedo your partner.

Your CD’s view may be quite different from yours—even if your partner doesn’t work as hard, a CD who sees him/her as really talented may be prepared for less than model behavior. Or you may put your CD in the uncomfortable position of knowing he has an incompatible team with no options to “fix”. This could lead to both of you leaving if the CD is now concerned you can’t work together and has no partner solutions. Your request to have the good experience of working with others gives your CD a big clue there’s something to look into and falls short of the dangerous ultimatum to be given a new partner (never a good idea coming from a junior, frankly). One step is a no-brainer: talk to your partner about your unhappiness with him/her. You may be pleasantly surprised to see a real effort to change (it’s not unusual for people to need a reality check). You’re doing good work in a city that’s seen hundreds lose jobs recently. Try to work it out. If you’re still really unhappy in 6 months, after your attempts have failed, then get your book out there. Meanwhile we hope you’re looking hard at yourself and can objectively say you’re the true reason for the great work. You may be underestimating your partner’s contribution, and overestimating your own. Look for feedback from seniors you work with on how they think you’re doing. And yes, your CD too, at that review.

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About Jancy

'Jancy' is Janet Kestin and Nancy Vonk, Co-Founders of Swim, a unique “creative leadership training lab for advertising creatives and marketers.” Prior to Swim, Jancy was globally renowned as the Co-Chief Creative Officers of Ogilvy & Mather Toronto, a position they held for thirteen of the twenty years they were a creative duo at the agency. Over the years they've racked up Cannes Lions, Clios, One Show pencils and CA credits, and have lead their shop to two Cannes Lions Grand Prix and a Grand Clio. They've judged CA, Cannes, D&AD, the One Show, the Clios and other prestigious award shows. Creativity named them two of the top 50 creative people of 2008. Known for their outspoken, no-bullshit style and a passion for mentoring juniors, they're ready to give you advice if you're ready to take it.

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