Today I've been flat out on three client projects all paying a reasonable rate. I've now been in front of the PC for nine hours, and look set to rack up another three or four before another three or four days of much keyboard whacking heading up to deadlines.
While the emails have been pinging and ponging around, I've also been asked to get involved in a communication project for a large professional services company. A new client, all good.
This afternoon, an agency also got in touch asking if I was free to do some phone interviewing and then write up the interviews for a publication. Well, if you want something done, ask a busy man. So I said that I could probably help with at least a couple of the interviews on Friday/Monday. I then enquired about what they were paying.
They said they were planning on an hourly rate of £20. i suggested they revise their thinking or look elsewhere.
In 1991 I was charging and getting £35 per hour. These days I generally work on double that and upwards, but will come down if the job or the client merits it. But £20 per hour.......
What value does that put on the work we do. It's not simply stringing together random sentences. Surely understanding a client company, their needs and what they expect from the particular communication exercise is worth more than £20? Surely asking the right questions to elicit the right responses and following that initial questioning with incisive follow-up is worth more than £20? Surely packaging the results of your research in a compelling interview that delivers on the business expectation is worth more than £20?
The only thing I'm sure of is that the client is paying the agency a lot more than £20 per hour.
But it would seem that this agency just sees the people paid to be creative with words as a low-price transactional commodity - one step up from the burger flippers.
Frankly, I wasn't impressed.