Originally Posted by reynold
The cost of living in big cities, expensive health insurance, cost of raising family, etc, applies to everyone, no matter which field they are working, and probably, many get paid less than cg, more overtime, worse working condition, and they complain less than people in the cg/vfx(again, probably).
Hmmm.... I'm not sure how to answer this.
On the one hand, you're absolutely right. Many people do more with a lot less. I don't deny that we should pay our educators more. It sucks that waitresses have to sometimes work double shifts just to barely survive. There's no reason why some newbie police officers should have to also collect public assistance because their base salaries are so low. In that respect, it does seem insane that somebody making 5x the minimum wage should moan and groan. Your point, at least in that sense, is fair.
However, let's not simply label these complaints as whining. Let's also not ignore some of inexorable and unfortunate truths.
You say that long hours are common in other industries and you're right. I won't deny that. However, this being a CG board, we have to restrict the discussion to this context. Is it wrong to complain about salary when the risks can outweigh the gains? That being said, the topics of burnout or CG related health problems have been covered here endlessly. I've leave that up to you to dig through those old posts
More over, if you're a cop, teacher, or waitress, you can get a job just about anywhere. You may only have an earning potential of $26k a year, but that money could be worth a lot more somewhere other than a big city. You might not live la dolce vita, but you could survive just fine. Somehow, people actually do live on minimum wage.
However, if you're a CG artist, you have to go where the work is. You can't just say, "Yeah. I think I'm moving to Juno Alaska. I think I'll get a VFX job there." No. It really doesn't work that way. Unfortunately, the various CG related industries can very easily restrict your options where you can work or live. As has already been stated, the work is in some very pricey locales.
Yeah. You can live outside of those expensive cities and squeeze more value out of your paycheck. Nobody's forcing you to move to the heart of Manhattan or Los Angeles. We all know that, to get the most bang for the buck, you'll often have to move a bit further out. Do you really want to commute 90 minutes each morning? Probably not. That's fine. So, you move a little closer to where you work. That's fine too. Consequently, you're getting a bit less for a bit more though. And the closer you go.... Well, we've covered this already. It's a juggling act.
Nobody's saying that you can't survive on what you make as a CG artist. You can. I don't see any CG artists hanging out in alleyways with signs that read: "Will texture for food."
Still, given the circumstances, it's not a question of if you can live on what you're paid. It's how well. The police chief earning $70k in the middle of Nebraska will certainly live far more comfortably than the CG artist living and working in LA for the same $70k. There's a serious disparity there when it comes to standard of living.
To drive my point home, I went to CNN's Cost of Living Calculator
Let's say you are earning $70k and live/work in Manhattan, New York. Suppose that you're moving out to Hastings, Nebraska. How much would you have to make to live the same lifestyle? Answer: $30k. That's it. Housing costs 79% less. Transportation costs 27% less. Food, utilities, and health care all cost in the neighborhood of 30% less too. Moving from NYC to Nebraska, you can take a 56% cut in salary and still live the same.
Flip the equation. Suppose that you're already earning $70k in Hastings, Nebraska. You decide that you want to move to Manhattan. How much money are you going to have to make then? Shocker..... $161k
. Housing alone in Manhattan is going to cost you 369% more
. That means, if you're paying $800 rent over in Nebraska, you'd have to pay about $3,750 in Manhattan for the same living conditions.
The world isn't always so fair though is it? If you were earning $70k at your job in Nebraska, it's VERY unlikely that your next employer is going to pay you $161k to do the same job here in NYC. They'll more than likely offer you a comparable package because that's what they feel that you're worth. Again, consequently, your standard of living is going to shift. In this case, earning the same in an environment that requires more, you're going to be living a bit worse off.
Tell me something. If you're getting paid the same, but have effectively taken a 56% cut in your buying power, how likely are you to actually have any savings tucked away? Not likely, at least imo. That $70k you used to live high off of in Nebraska won't allow you to live quite as comfortably here in NYC. If what it costs for you to live in NY is more than what it cost for you to live in Nebraska, how easy will it be for you to pay your preexisting bills like student loans? If you used to support a family of 5 on that money in Nebraska, they'll have to live on a lot less here in NYC.
Just for one second, pretend you're a guy who just relocated your family out to NYC from Nebraska. Now, pretend that the studio shut down the same week you got there. You're in a predicament for the obvious reason, that being that you're now unemployed. However, you're also in a bind because you're now in a city that demands that you earn more just to exist. It's not a great situation to be in really.
Again.... Location. Location. Location. Where you live and work can GREATLY affect your quality of life, relative to your salary. When you're a CG artist of some sort, your playground isn't exactly the entire world. Just parts of it. It's not like you're a Walmart checkout clerk.
I read somewhere someone comparing vfx artist like slave or workers in 3rd world countries, really?? Well definitely those people know nothing about real world.
Maybe comparing it to slave labor is a little extreme, but.... well.... Read the threads on this forum. Crunch schedules that effectively widow the employees' families. Health issues resulting from the long hours, demands, and working conditions. A pay rate to work week ratio that's sometimes so far off balance that you might as well be working in McDonalds, as you'd effectively be earning the same pay. Workers that get chewed up and spat out because they no longer have it in them to work in that specific field.
The stories are very real. I'm not making them up. I'm not saying that they're representative of the norm, but you really can't hide your head in the sand and pretend that they don't exist. The thing is, nobody wants to be "that guy". The moment you complain about what everybody else takes for granted, out of necessity,you're no longer a team player. You're a liability. So, as a matter of self-preservation, you swallow it. Just like the guy to your right. Just like the guy to your left. Again, not representative of the norm, but you no doubt know guys in this situation. Maybe some of you ARE guys in this situation.
Not slave labor, but CG/VFX guys aren't exactly playing golf for a living either.