How far would you go to get a raise?

I think just about every workplace grapples with employee dissatisfaction over pay. Someone always feels underpaid and Human Resource deals with complaints and appraisal or review requests all the time. In an ideal work environment, we would have a uniform salary structure consistent with the job or position or even better, employers would let staff set their salaries as happens for some lucky people. But for most of us, you get what your boss thinks you should get, which explains why even with commission-based jobs, some employers somehow flout the terms and pay you less even when you meet and exceed the target.

In other cases, new recruits earn much less than the person they replaced. Because of the ever soaring unemployment rates almost everywhere, you suck it up and take a side job or two just to make ends meet. Trouble usually starts when you learn what your colleagues earn, especially if it’s more for pretty much the same work.

This is why I don’t go out of my way to snoop on my colleagues’ salaries because it can rile you up and too many times, I’ve watched friends go from fairly satisfied with their pay to angry and bitter in no time. Feuds are then started with those they feel are overpaid. Some then threaten to quit unless they’re paid as much as so and so.

I’m not sure what fit or stunt I’d pull to get more money but I know I wouldn’t take it as far as Empire Actor Jussie Smollett, who weeks ago was accused of staging a racist and homophobic attack to raise his profile and earn more on the show! Opinion is split, with some fans standing by him but others are convinced he made the whole thing up. He insists he never lied about the attack and no offence to Nigerians but the second I heard that not one but two Nigerians were involved, I smelt a publicity stunt.

All charges against him have since been dropped but in the court of public opinion, but the damage is done. Smollett has been a regular on the show, now in its fifth season. He was reportedly initially paid $20,000 per episode but that changed to $65,000 as the show became more popular. Still, it wasn’t anywhere close to the $125,000-$175,000 his co-stars Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson, who ironically play his parents, reportedly earned.

I guess he was disgruntled and not to take anything away from Smollett, sometimes you need to know what you bring to the table or Set in this case. Empire made Smollett and prior to that, nobody in showbiz or the entertainment industry really knew him. It’s a different story for Terrence and Taraji who had established their careers long before the show and were they to leave today, that would be the beginning of the end of Empire. Smollett’s character has already been written out of the show and I could be wrong but I think it’s going to be hard for him to find work in this line of business. So was it worth it?



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