Monday, May 12, 2008

Mailbag: Comp days, the world's best victimless crime

Hey Grape,

What is the real deal with comp days? At the last station I worked, the ND gave them out like Halloween candy. My new boss says they're illegal. Is he kidding?

-Comp Day Lover

Dear Comp,

Well, it depends on where you live and the laws of that state, your point of view, whether your boss is willing to look the other way, and a number of factors. Will the "Comp Day Police" come after you if you get a comp day?

Legally, you're supposed to be paid for all your overtime, but if you'd rather have a day off instead of cash I never really saw how the comp day system hurt anyone. It helps an ND keep the budget down, and gives you more vacation time.

I've worked at many stations that used comp days. I personally loved stockpiling days off.

Dear Grape -

6 months into my 2 year one-man-band contract I told myself I would be outta here the day my contract expired, but with no job prospects in sight... I signed on for another year. I have a good tape with lots of live shots and interactive stand ups and am considered one of the strongest one-man-bands in the shop (and we're ALL OMB's.) But with only one man band reporting experience on my resume, am I considered weaker in comparison to others with equal amount of experience, but are working with photog's on a daily basis?

-OMB Hater

Dear OMB Hater,

OMB experience is certainly not going to hurt you. Managers will know you're not a prima donna and are used to hard work, and they will understand why you don't have any things like walking standups on your resume tape while other reporters do. They'll also understand you don't wanna do the one man band thing anymore. (You need to make it clear in your cover letter that you shoot your own video and want to work for a station that uses photogs.)

Remember, you get hired by your ability to put a story together, writing skills, and on-camera presence. NDs make allowances for those who have to work alone.

Dear Grapevine,

Do many companies pay moving expenses? I'm looking for my first job and just wondering.

-The Rookie

Dear Rook,

For entry level jobs, it is rare that a station will pay moving expenses these days. Though some may throw you a few hundred bucks to rent a U-Haul, or for your gas expense incurred in moving.

For other jobs, it just depends on how badly they want you and how badly you want to negotiate for it. Anchors generally get moving expenses, reporters not so much.

Bottom line though, always ask. The worst they can say is no.


Just curious. What J-School did you attend?


Dear Jake,

I didn't. Majored in English. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

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