Losing hours to new crew who are friends of the new manager doing the rostering.

Lisa Lane-Collins

Sophomore
Dec 9, 2012
256
0
16
Adelaide, Australia
In brief, I got an aspiring young tech an internship at a place I work and now she’s my manager. Even in ranking to the original manager more or less (they are meant to be interchangeable) and she’s been given the rostering to do.

There used to be 3 techs and the hours were shared evenly. This month there are many more hours and she’s brought her boyfriend and uni friend in to swell the ranks of the crew. Next month’s roster is out and there are a few more hours than usual but she’s given 20 of them to her friends. Because it’s so busy, us initial 3 techs are close to the hours we would usually get but if these two new people hadn’t been added to the roster then we would have benefited from the extra hours.

Having to the share the work between 3 already kind of sucked now it’s being split between 5, 3 people with years of experience under their belt, and two manager friends who are just starting out. (And may be being given hours so they can practice….if they are that fresh they should be doing work experience surely?!)

Anyone have any advice? Is there even anything I can do or is it time to cut my losses? What I’d like is to get more hours when there are more hours going (we sure as hell lose hours when shifts get cut).

Now a wise friend did suggest ‘commit to excelling at this job and then ask for more hours’ which is great advice but I have already been committing to excelling at it for the last year because of being (unofficially) in competition with the other two original techs. And what that has yielded is now 20 hours are going to uni students (getting experienced tech pay).
 
Jan 19, 2011
999
59
28
41
Oslo, Norway, Norway
drbentsen.no
Do you have a written contract you can enforce?
If not, you're probably SOOL, these things happens frequently in places with no contracts or agreements based on a handshake.

I'd had that happen a few times, some people can be talked into a return to a better agreement and maybe a contract.
Some don't give a shit.

I'd have a chat with them and see what can be worked out. Especially if someone else "blows" a show, you get some leverage in negotiating a better deal. Don't commit to work there in competition with others unless you have a written agreement, that never works out. It's the tech version of playing for exposure IMHO.
Also, don't fall in to the trap of trying to make others look bad on their shift by "forgetting" to reset something after a gig.
I've been on the receiving end of that a few times, it's just bad for everyone.
If it doesn't work out to your satisfaction, I'd raise my rates and l look for work elsewhere in your situation.
 

Lisa Lane-Collins

Sophomore
Dec 9, 2012
256
0
16
Adelaide, Australia
You know, I think I did sign a contract to work at this place but it was all about what I could do for the business. Nothing in there about how the business would look after me.

Imagine I went in for a renegotiation gambit (knowing of course that this might lead to the end of my working there), what does a contract that looks after the sound tech as well even look like? What are reasonable things to ask for?

Theoretically we are not in competition, we’re all part of a team. But it is feeling like a competition now. How do I get out of that? (The bleeding obvious, find another job. This isn’t my main job, I don’t have a main job, instead there’s a kaleidoscope of bookings from a large variety of people but definitely this client lends some consistency to my life since I know I’ll get Something once a week).
 
Jan 19, 2011
999
59
28
41
Oslo, Norway, Norway
drbentsen.no
In my opinion, a contract should at least specify what you’re there to do, the amount of work hours for a given time period (day/week/year etc.) payment, payment terms and what you’re expected to bring with you in terms of tools(if any).

I consider headphones, talkback mic, flashlight/leatherman and a sharpie personal items, they are included.
Anything else is a line item I expect to invoice.
 

Paul Johnson

Freshman
Oct 27, 2012
58
3
8
You are close to the hours you expected to get, so she's given extra hours to people who were not up to a decent level of work? You want their extra hours and that's OK?

Realistically if an employer needs cover for illness or other reasons, they have to have a pool able to be called on, and availability of these people depends on them getting work. It's always difficult. I've lost a few people because I didn't give them enough, then when I needed them, they became unavailable or unreliable.

If you are working for yourself and not a guaranteed hours contract type of job, then you get the work till you don't?
 
It's always difficult. I've lost a few people because I didn't give them enough, then when I needed them, they became unavailable or unreliable.
Having been on the other side of this, I'll note that there is overhead associated with each company a freelancer works for, (how much varies on a case-by-case basis, and often includes things beyond just the pay amount). And it can get to a point where that overhead exceeds the value of the income to the freelancer. Sounds like that may be what happened to you.
 
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Lisa Lane-Collins

Sophomore
Dec 9, 2012
256
0
16
Adelaide, Australia
I want those hours, and I don’t know if that’s ok. A completely different manager ago I became the fill in tech for another person who worked here.

Then he lost his job and I became the only one but I’m not always available and so I recommended another two people to fill in and next thing I know the hours are being evenly split three ways.

Then I went away for 7 months, the person who hired me was fired. New manager knew I existed and had a line of communication open with me because I was also hiring them a mic pack and when I returned was magnanimous enough to throw me a few hours. If I got less than a third I couldn’t complain because the two techs I brought in kept the whole operation running.

The venue closed for renovations, it reopened, the manager committed to sharing the work evenly between us 3. We were rotating through the available shifts. Then the band on sundays asked if they could always use me and I landed on the small shifts on Thursdays and sundays. The other two techs took fri and sat respectively and it ran stable like that for a few months. But the manager doesn’t want us siloed. So he said he’d change it up. But mostly what’s happened is my shifts have been all over the shop. The Saturday tech can only work saturdays so there he stays and the Friday tech mostly just seems to end up with all his Friday’s too but now also some of the shifts I used to get (more shifts have been added so there are more hours to share out). I feel like when quiet days get canned I take the hit and lose hours but now we’re booming I’m hitting a ceiling of 40 hours month. (This roster of contention when it came out I only had 37 but there were two unassigned shifts and I grabbed them). If it’s still meant to be rotating us through and keeping the hours even i feel like that’s not happening and the only one who’s hours drop is me. (This is probably not the case but it feels that way).

Best faith, the management team absolutely feels vulnerable having only three people inducted and able to do the work here. There is a 4th back up tech who’s been added to crew but he only gets hours when everyone is unavailable. And now 5 and 6. With the money they’re paying they could have afforded people with experience who just need inducting, but new manager has chosen her boyfriend and uni friend to fill in the gaps and said something about giving them shifts so they could get the hang of working here. Best faith again, they have Thursdays because that’s a quiet day and it was just solo acoustic acts. Next month it will be original bands (I’m also jealous they’re getting to mix the fun stuff) but that is still the best, lowest stakes night to let your new crew find their feet.

Still, they could have hired people who didn’t need to learn how to mix!

So that’s a bunch more context.

For me it’s not a question of overheads (although non monetary overhead, if I’m working here then there’s a relationship with a different client on a given night with a show that I can’t nurture), the pay here is decent. It’s more of a morale thing. The original manager was able to make me feel like there’s employer loyalty which gave me a sense of job security and the new one has undermined that. Although I’m sure from her perspective she’s remained loyal by keeping me close to 40 hours a week. So here I realise I have an unvoiced expectation that when the hours boom so will my share to balance out how when hours drop mine definitely do….. is that a thing I could maybe clarify with management if that’s a fair expectation to have and if yes how do I broach it? (A freelancer? Asking for a reciprocal relationship? Whaaaat?!)

Thank you for your thoughts. Left to my own devices I already would have run in like a petulant child and shot myself in the foot.