Today I am wearing my ‘I AM AWESOME’ t-shirt so I think that should help, and I’ve actually bothered to put lipstick on just to add to the overall armour I need, for today I am going into battle against my boss. Yes, today I ask for a pay rise! And no I am not joking about the t-shirt. It does say ‘I AM AWESOME’ mainly so I don’t have to say it out loud during the mano-a-mano I’m about to have. I figure if the situation gets desperate I can simply point to it hoping Gulli doesn’t think I’m pointing to my boobs as some sort of awful Mad-Men-sex-trade-off-for-more-money move.
My fellow commercials editor Gareth will never have this problem because he shouts ‘I AM AWESOME’ from the proverbial rooftops whereas I prefer a more subtle approach – a whisper on the wind and let my work speak for itself. I have finally realised that this approach is bollocks wielding no positive results because I’m still on the same wage I was when I joined this fledgling commercials company two years ago. I also live with the everyday paranoia that Gareth is on more money than me.
It doesn’t help that we don’t like each other, or rather I can’t stand him and he calls it sexual chemistry like a walking talking seventies chauvinist cliché. Gareth isn’t just a douche bag he is a douche sack and yes I am also clearly hugely jealous of his friendship with Gulli my tweeny boss. It’s a strange brotherly thing they have – Gareth is in his early thirties like moi and the wee munchkin Gulli (who can’t be older than twenty five) looks up to him socially while Gareth brown noses Gulli professionally for free alcohol and the use of his Shoreditch House membership.
I’m getting a little pre-mano pep talk from my bud Willa, the office manager, in the kitchen area when Gareth walks in. Incidentally I say kitchen area but Gulli prefers us to call it the lounge bar. I always thought those were two separate areas but I guess ‘lounge area with a bar in it’ isn’t as catchy, and kitchens are just, well lame now. Yes you heard it here first – kitchens are bollocks, lounge bars are brilliant. This particular lounge bar is even better because Gulli has decorated it with modern artwork comprising of text acronyms with lots of punctuation that doesn’t always make sense.
Anyway, Gareth walks in heralding us with a ‘What’s up skanks’ to which Willa replies by telling him to cock off, and I say ‘You’re such a fcarrrh-’ rounding it off with sticking my tongue behind my bottom lip like an eight year old. You just stuck your tongue behind your mouth to figure out what I meant didn’t you? Haha one nil to Scarlett! Anyway, I’m forever one of those people who can only think of an amazing retort three days later. I often think when I see someone spontaneously burst into giggles in public that they’re probably laughing at a late comeback like I do. I like to s smile supportively at these people from across the street even if they don’t like it, even if they walk on quickly pretending not to have seen me. Anyway, this inability to form words in a quick fire situation is why I have printed a checklist for the meeting so I don’t become flustered in the battle of wits that is about to commence. So here it is:
The do’s and don’ts of asking for a pay rise as per the wise and all powerful internet:
1) Be prepared. Research how much other people in your role at other companies are getting.
2) Choose a time when you’ve just shown how awesome you are and invaluable etc. etc.
3) Emphasise commitment to the company.
4) Make sure it’s face to face – don’t email or post on your facebook status in the vain hope your boss will read it.
1) Wait for your annual review to come up before asking for a raise.
2) Get overly emotional or use threats because they will probably call your bluff and if they don’t the trust between you is likely to be permanently damaged.
3) Give up. If you don’t get a pay rise this time ask again after another professional triumph.
4) Ask for more cash if the company is laying people off.
I stuff the checklist into my pocket as Gareth peers into my cup of tea and looks up at me whilst pointing to it. “What’s that?” “You know what it is.” “No I don’t, what is it?” I role my eyes and sigh, “It’s redbush tea Gareth.” He starts laughing, “What is that for? For when you’re on the blob or something?” I say “No” as weirdly as I can while Willa tells him to go put his dick in a blender. I love Willa. “Like a really heavy period!” He continues to laugh at his own joke for way too long then as if out of nowhere wishes me luck in the meeting, “Fingers crossed you don’t ask for too much Scarlett. Editors two a penny out there.” “How do you know about-“ I begin to say, but I’m completely thrown off, not because of him wishing me anything but herpes but because he knows what I’m angling for and he wants me to know that he knows and I want to know how he knows. Before I can ask he’s already sauntered off to his edit suite. Does it matter anyway? Yes it bloody does! If Gulli is in Gareth’s pocket so much so that he tells him about these very private work conversations I’m screwed. They were blatantly at some strip club – Gulli probably got I.D’d hehe – chatting away through a pervy lapdance laughing about how Gulli isn’t going to give me any more money. Oh my God is Gareth actually the puppet master?! He’s had his hand up Gulli’s arsehole all this time! There it is Ol’ Paranoia come to play again and now I’ve got a horrible image of Gulli getting fisted by Gareth ARGH. Oh shit and it’s also time to go in and face Gulli, of Gulli and Gareth. Grrr.
There I sit, smoothing out my t-shirt, my only ally with Gulli sitting opposite me on one of those big rubber balls that looks like a space hopper without the handles. I’m sitting on an actual space hopper, which is smaller and slightly closer to the ground, the standard boss to employee power move. God we’re such a bunch of wankers. “So, Scarlett. What would you like to talk about today?” says Gulli after the second obligatory boss/employee power move – the elongated silence. ‘When is your voice going to drop?’ Kidding. I didn’t say that. I think about my checklist and go to number one. I’ve done my research and I shall tell him so. In my eagerness to the get the ball rolling I completely forget to start with the introductory “I would like a pay rise please.” Instead I just launch straight into, “I’ve been looking at other commercials companies and-“ and he cuts me off with “You’re leaving?” Oh shit. “What? No, no I was just- research!“ “You want to leave?” “No I was looking at how much other staff editors get paid and I wanted to ask for a pay rise.” Okay, a bit arse about tit but I got it out in the end. Gulli though, still looks pretty peeved. “Oh, oh I see. Are you threatening to leave if I don’t give you one is that it?” I stifle a snigger at ‘Give you one’ I’m not a paedo! Gulli continues, “Because I’m younger you think you can bully me into-“ What the hell is happening?! I have to stop this right now. “No! I just wanted to ask for more money!” Now my voice is panicked and shrill. Definitely shrill. How the hell did I jump to Don’t number two in one move? “And I’m way better than Gareth, just look at my fucking t-shirt!” At which point I lose my balance and promptly fall off the space hopper.
Gulli waits for me to sit back down. His eyes don’t move from my face as he says, “I saw your t-shirt in the lounge bar Scarlett, and I was still in Chelsea at the time. The Landsat 7 satellite probably picked it up for fuckssake. And what the fuck does Gareth have to do with this? Do you really think this is the way to go about getting a raise?” Silence. Okay, I was not expecting my petulant inner child to make an appearance – ‘I’m way better than Gareth?’ when did I become eight? The moment I put on this t-shirt? Probably. I decide to give up and just ask him straight out “Why did you tell Gareth about this meeting?” “I didn’t tell Gareth about this meeting and I am fed up with the pair of you. Pitch your proposal for a pay rise or get out of my office.” When did Gulli suddenly become hugely sexy? Jesus Scarlett focus. “Okay, I’ve been here for over two years and the last time I got a pay rise was eighteen months ago.” “Is that it?” “Just hang on.” I quickly pull out my checklist and turn it over – we need the big guns. I may have written a speech. Trying to hide it from Gulli’s gaze, I continue, glancing at it every so often, producing this sort of effect. “Ihaveneverbeen, approached, by another company. But, ifIwas, to be I would say no because I love working here.” Alright I wrote it as I was walking to the meeting and I can’t read most of the scwiggly handwriting, forgetting that just because it was written in the past doesn’t make it wise or necessarily intelligent or intelligible for that matter. Time to freestyle. “But I believe I am a key member of this company and that deserves to be recognised by, you.” “By giving you a pay rise.” “Yes.” “Alright. I’ll think about it.” “Thank you.” I get up, not very gracefully thanks to that fucking space hopper, and walk to the door. I turn around when I get there unable to help myself, “You really didn’t tell Gareth about this meeting?” “No.” “Not even in some boozey haze whilst getting lap dance?” “Get out Scarlett.” “Right you are.”
On my way back to my room to go and die a bit in a corner, Gareth as if lying in wait pops out of his room scaring me half to death. “So?” “What?” “Did you get a pay rise?” “None of your fucking business douche sack and how did you know anyway?” “Christ you are on the blob and I know because I’m Sherlock fucking Holmes. The last time you wore that top was eighteen months ago, which was the last time you were scrounging for more money.” “How and why do you keep track of what I’m wearing?” I’ve never seen Gareth caught off guard before and he is, now, just for a millisecond and then he tells me to go fuck my ego somewhere else and shuts his door in my face. I call him a dick and walk into my edit suite with the briefest of smiles on mine.
You’ll be pleased to know that I did get a SMALL pay rise from Gulli, which I didn’t actually negotiate in the end because to be honest after that monumental disaster of a meeting I’m just glad I didn’t get the sack. Gareth is still a pain in the arse but at least he’s not the puppet master. Thanks for reading see you gorgeous people next week for classic moments in the life of me.