Friday, November 11, 2011

Don't lie about your salary the way I did. It cost me.

       Only once in my life have I lied about my salary. And it worked.

        I was in Detroit and dying to get back to Chicago. I decided I was a city boy at heart and Detroit was more like Los Angeles, suburbs that are suburbs of other suburbs. A headhunter told me there was a good job in Chicago at Foote Cone and Belding, and I lied about my salary. I knew the budget for the job would put me out of the ballpark, so I told them I was making many thousands less than I really was.

        I got the job and you can predict what happened. I was perceived as being thousands of dollars less valuable, put in a little office, kept out of decision-making, and given easy assignments. It was rougher on my ego and sense of ethics than on my bank account. The sheen of Chicago wore off quickly and I was pinched --- figuratively, financially, and emotionally.

       Fortunately, at the end of the year they found me out and I got a big raise and a bonus, restoring my salary, plus.  If there's a moral there, please call me.

      Working at FCB was fun. I was on production in L.A. a lot, once for 14 weeks straight. I had a lanai room poolside at the Sheraton Universal, and got to go back to Chicago 6 times on weekends. I left the agency a few years later to help a friend of mine start an agency in Ohio, but FCB wanted me back. Instead of asking me forthrightly, they sent a University of Chicago professor to Ohio in a blizzard to"interview" me, and used the information to persuade me to return. I wasn't angry; I was flattered, and came back as Vice President  to head up creative on Sears, Kimberly Clark, part of S.C. Johnson and Hallmark.

       All in all, I got a great education at Foote Cone and Belding. Even though that first year's tuition was pretty steep.



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