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Topic: OT: Advice needed please ....

  1. #1

    OT: Advice needed please ....

    Hi, i'm in a bit of a situation arising at the production house where i work ...

    I work at a production house (approx 17 employees), im a salaried employee, etc. No, im not making the tall coin, a modest middle class life. My main job description is Audio Engineer/Composer ... so i write music for and mix radio spots, tv spots, corporate videos, learning aids, documentary films, etc. Not to mention, by default, i'm the web designer, web marketing coordinator, IT guy (i work/build/upkeep all the video suites and general office computers), i do field audio when needed, i produce, i edit video, i build graphics and 3d elements, author DVDs, etc, etc ... so i wear alot of hats ... ok ...

    The situation arose today, producer from NBC needs a 4 man crew THIS weekend (like they didnt know about this shoot until today? ~~~~~~~s!) ... and i was asked to go do field audio, ok ... it is Father's Day weekend, i have a 4 yr old son who has talked about 'daddy day' for the last 2 months and have made plans for the entire weekend. So, i graciously asked to be excused and find a freelancer ($250 day rate for this guy). Well, i was given the third degree, and my job may be in jeapordy, or be repremanded ... who knows ... the situation is not good.

    So i ask, when to draw the line? Is this a world i have been immune to for many years as a freelancer? This is the real world? You are salaried, you are a slave? I dont understand. I have worked MANY 60-80 weeks, i've taken one and many for the team ..... and recieve the same pay, regardless.

    Us 'mouse jockeys' at work have come under alot of fire lately for not being ambitous about field production .... HELLO - that is not us! We have very specialized skills, those were the skills that brought us to where we are .. so yeah, it seems insulting to get this far and have to carry camera cases.

    Also, i was recruited to this facility 2 yrs ago ... i moved my family and my whole life here because they wanted my skill set .... i doubt they went through all that work to hire a high priced grip.

    Please, anyone with advice, am i being an artistic prude? Am i wrong? Should i be looking at my other options? I apologize, i know this is odd and this inst the Dr, Phil forum ... but im feeling pressure from there and at home, and need perspective!!
    Thanks guys!

  2. #2

    Re: OT: Advice needed please ....

    Hi SWL,

    Maybe it adds perspective to know that this is the life in so many professions these days and I don't think another employer, or even field of work is a definitive answer. Lack of thought to employee decorum is rampant everywhere. It seems to get worse every year.

    Bill Gates and Nokia cell phones are to blame for some of this. Technology has business moving so fast - people, however still need more than a nanosecond to operate comfortably.

    I was packed for long term planned travel to malaysia for a software implementation - my mother was ill, so I had to arrange home care with my departure. I received a call 6 hours before flight time by management that trip was cancelled - clearly they had known things had changed way before and didn't even bother to clue me in. I work for a global consulting firm that spends lots of money and time trying to accomodate "lifestyle" issues. I can only imagine the type of challenges when working for a smaller, arts orieniented enterprise.

    The only advice I can offer - which you're already doing- is to continue to build your marketable skills so that you feel you have options and don't feel dependent.

    Happy Father's Day,

  3. #3

    Red face Re: OT: Advice needed please ....

    Dude - that totally, utterly sucks. They just made a bad management decision worse by putting you on the spot like that. I can't imagine what goes on in people's heads when that kind of stuff gets bandied about. As Joanne says, it happens A LOT in the tech sector. A VP at my first job here in L.A. told my boss (the QA manager) that 50-60 hours per week was the *expected* norm for salaried employees. So, if you're pouring in 10 hours per day, you were "just barely meeting expectations" - talk about dysfunctional.

    Anyway, if they knew that this kind of late-breaking gig was a possibility, then they should have someone in "their hip pocket" to call up and hand the gig off to - and if they didn't know the gig was coming, they *still* should have a few names of production sound people to call. I don't work full-time in the industry, and I've got a few that I can call any time (as well as a score recordist, and an orchestrator and copyist, etc). The Rolodex is the Swiss Army knife of the film business, and the fact that these guys over-promised on a gig like this without having more than one backup plan is unconscienable.

    I was asked one time to break a commitment with one company so that I could take a gig with another, and I told them no - with the explanation that they could rest assured that when I was free and clear that they would have my full undivided attention with no risk of interference from other groups. When it comes to family, that's a total no-brainer. I don't know if this is of any consolation to you, but you've done the right thing - and I encourage you to remain consistent with it.

    Good luck and do your best to enjoy the weekend. You're the one person in this fiasco with their priorities in order.
    Houston Haynes - Titan Line Music

  4. #4

    Re: OT: Advice needed please ....


    Given the degree of loyalty and consideration being shown you I think it is only prudent to develop alternatives. You might want to look at Carol Lloyd's How to Create a Life Worth Living which is focused on career design for creative people. There are pluses and minuses to all alternatives and I've found her book to be helpful. In any case you have my sympathy. I've always thought that the world would be a better place if people even just refrained from being mean to each other over trivia. Anyway...

    Best wishes


  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Santa Cruz California

    Re: OT: Advice needed please ....

    Here's a perspective from someone whos job is that other than composer, Jingle man... Take the work, and do your best... Then make time for your kid when you have the day.... Fathers day, is every day... If they're gonna be pricks, and your job is on the line, still do it, and the day you can say KISS MY ~~~!!! you won't feel bad... Remember, this is a rookie giving you this advice, but I'm also a realist... I think your kid will uinderstand and appreciate your hard work, your wife probably will also... But what the hell do I know, I study and work 7 days a week, have 2 kids, and a wife..... I feel inadequate at times, it's natural, your bread and butter is what your family relies on... Good luck, I hope you do whats right for you....

  6. #6

    Re: OT: Advice needed please ....

    I don't know if this is of any consolation to you, but you've done the right thing
    You're the one person in this fiasco with their priorities in order.
    That's the truth. This isn't just a problem in the media or tech fields. It plagues all business sectors and it seems that the problem is growing rapidly. In my "day job", management has contacted people already on out of town on vacation to come back immediately because of "unexpected" business dealings. Why not wait those 3 days until they are scheduled to return ar find another person to service them? Even though the client is being "served" it is still a poor business decision and companies pay for it in the long run through lost talent and low morale levels. It is unfortunate that todays hyper-speed business trend is to make a buck over all else. There are so many other factors that make a healthy business than what shows on business reports.

    As a salaried employee you are expected to put in extra hours regularly - that's why you aren't paid hourly + overtime. Reasonable and considerate expectations need to be accounted for by businesses. We are real people with real lives and real families that occasionally can't be "scheduled around." If a reprimand or employer hostility occurs you may want to make your point of view heard - politely and reasonably. Especially since this seems to be an exception and not your norm. Continue to do the best job that you can and hopefully it will all blow over shortly.


  7. #7
    Senior Member newmewzikboy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    San Francisco Bay Area

    Re: OT: Advice needed please ....


    I blead when I read this. I know what you are going through. This dysfunctionality is a reality, and not just in the technical sector. What's a surprise to me is that even what we term "educated" managers (ones with good MBA's, and good educations) still make personel mistakes in thinking they can treat their employees as reified objects. And that their employees are going to stick around. I've been in the industry for 24 years, and I have been in a managers role for well over half that time. I have put in sometimes up to 112 hours a week for months on projects for a exempt salary. I have so many horrid stories I would have to create a seperate forum section for all of them so I will refrain.

    What do I believe?
    • That rampant exposure to technology, and the division of wealth, has de-sensitized people to the world and society around them.
    • That the federal government, which is put in place as a check to protect general society interests (such as preserving our natural resources, and labour interests) has failed, or is overwhelmed, or has never worked well toward that ideology.
    • That unionization does serve a useful and important purpose, and is needed in IT.
    But none of this is new or unique to our time. It happen throughout history. It happened in the industrial revolution. It happened when Europe was overpopulated in the middle ages just before the Great Plague of the 14th century. I emplore you to read it, and learn from it, and value what a good liberal education can give you in interpreting todays events. You're not going to get that from the media, or from modern culture.

    What's my advice? I don't know what state you are in but I don't see any legal cause for you. If you have an H/R department, they will not do anything for you - they are on the side of the employer. Speaking to a superior of the offending party will only escalate resentment. You probably have to bite the bullet, do your work, and put your resume together and get the hell out of there. Staying will only breed resentment in you. If you have that kind of technical experience, you'll find a better job someplace else, and be happier for it. Remember, even with stock options, this is NOT your company, or your life project.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Dallas, Texas

    Re: OT: Advice needed please ....

    I'm sorry to hear this.

    In a respectful environment, one would expect you to be able to say, "I'm sorry, but I have made plans with my family which I cannot break."

    Unfortunately, this sounds like a case of simple greed. Your employers are already "paying" you as they see it, and your $250 per day sub is being viewed as $250 per day out of their pockets. Unreasonable? You bet. But I'm sure this is how they're seeing the situation from the sound of things. They don't want to just get the markup on the labor. They want the whole nut.

    Is this a "family business?" It rather sounds like it. Those things are sometimes the worst, as the "culture" there is whatever the owner wishes it to be. Ironic, but most of the time businesses operated by corporations tend to be much less authoritarian in their conduct.

    I don't know the outcome (since it is already the weekend), but I hope you were able to arrange for the sub, and that you are having a nice weekend with your family.

    If you ended up doing the gig, I think you might need to have a sit-down with your owner, and have a very frank discussion about this. Hopefully, after the conflict dies down, you could come to some kind of agreement about how situations like this would be handled in the future.

    Whatever the outcome, the request was not reasonable. And a fair employer would have simply hired the sub, wished you a great weekend, and lovingly marked up NBC's tab for having come at the last minute for a crew.

  9. #9

    Re: OT: Advice needed please ....

    Slavery may have been abolished but the reality is that they just changed the terms, did a PR job on it, and called it employment :-)

    With that skill set you should have your own business competing with the losers who pay your salary and expect slave labour in return. Sure, you work long hours and weekends, too, when you're your own boss. But the rewards go into YOUR pocket, and YOUR sense of self-worth, not into some a**hole senior manager's HR assessment record.

    The last time I worked for someone else I set out my own terms at the interview: I work to live, I don't live to work, you get forty hours a week, no weekends, five o'clock I'm out that door come what may, no company mobile phone, thank you, and don't phone me at home unless it's life-or-death, all holidays WILL be taken, because nothing that could possibly happen in your company will ever cause the world to end - now you've set out your terms, those are mine, if you want me to work for you on those terms then I'm all yours, if not it was nice meeting you.

    I got the job.

    Stick to your guns. Once a doormat, always a doormat. And look into working for yourself in the future. Do it now. Because you've seen what the future holds for you with this company.

    Good luck!

    Kind regards.

  10. #10

    Re: OT: Advice needed please ....

    Dear SWL,

    I sincerely hope you're out with your kid right now. Everyone always has crazy unreasonable demands with all sorts of wacky reasons as to why the absolutely need the work done or else. Ultimately what you need to keep in mind is that these people don't give a ~~~~ about you, the won't call you back when they have plenty of time and lots of money. Your boss on the other hand shows a total lack of respect for you and your family, this is evident in the fact that he doesn't even know what you really do and instead treats you like some sort of gofer. I would tell you that the warning signs have probably been around for a while now, and this is simply the final straw. There is life out there beyond being a small studio slave. Unless they are really making it worth your time (ie. you're well into the 6 figures) they obviously have unreasonable demands of their employees and if they're too cheap to spend $250 on a sub then I think you need to get away from this company.

    Keep in mind that although there is lots of competition in this field, good reliable guys are difficult to find. Chances are they won't let you go if they realize how much more expensive it is for them to look for a new guy, train him to the company specs etc. Believe me, I was running a post house for many years and I know how difficult it is to find guys like you.

    So enjoy your week-end, and try not to lose any sleep over it. At the end of the day, your kid's love is what counts more than any of this bull~~~~ going on in your studio.
    Music Composition for Feature Films, Television and Interactive Entertainment

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