First Hand — Money Talks: Why we’re sparking up a crucial conversation around creative finances
Besides all the other important questions surrounding working life, money is one of the single most important factors in your career trajectory. It can be the difference between feeling valued or exploited, staying sane or burning out, keeping going or giving up. It’s what makes the world, as we know it, go round. So why do we find it so hard to talk about? In a new series of articles we’re going to do just that.
In the time that we’ve been running LIP, it’s become clear that money is the trickiest of all career-related topics to talk about. Amid the many personal questions we’ve asked our interviewees, we’ve held back on asking, “How much do you earn?” or “What did that job pay?” because, as we all know, these questions are traditionally seen as rude. In our Parts of the Process series, one of our aims is to be as clear as possible about budgets; yet it’s incredibly rare for someone to be able to (or feel comfortable with) sharing that information.
Whether it’s down to being very British, or just cagey, fearful or strategic, we don’t like talking about how the industry works in financial terms. Countless job ads will be posted without a clear salary or fee guidance, unpaid internships are still a thing, unfair pay gaps exist between a huge range of workers, and calculating fees is one of freelancing’s most complicated mysteries.
But if we’re going to get anywhere with ensuring fair and equal pay for everyone, we feel it’s incredibly important to be more transparent about it. We have so many questions – some from readers, some stemming from our own experiences, and many relating to our Insight Reports. How do you really understand your own worth? When is pitching fees at a higher rate a good or a bad thing? What is best practice with budgeting? What can someone expect to earn in their first few years?
This series is about exploring those taboo, cash-related topics, in the hopes of lifting many a fearful lid on one of the most guarded areas of the industry. To get things started, this week we chat to illustrator Steph Coathupe, as she tells us why she chose to reveal her earnings for 2018 on Twitter. Stay tuned for a range of articles on the issue, and in Steph’s own words: “Let’s all work together to make pricing an open discussion!”
Read our article with Steph here.