Years ago I heard a joke about a new arrival in a large prison. It's lights-out and everyone is settled into their beds when a few cells away someone shouts out "117!" At this everyone laughs heartily. Moments later, someone yells "68!" and again everyone laughs. Then someone calls "32!" and laughter ensues.
The new prisoner is baffled by this behavior and asks his cellmate what's going on. His cellmate replies, we've all been here so long, to save time we've numbered our jokes.
"That's great," says the new prisoner and mustering up his courage, he yells out "55!" Not a sound. "91!" no one laughs.
The new prisoner asks his cellmate why, and his cellmate replies, "You told them wrong."
In any event, it's raise season. To save us all a lot of trouble, I numbered all the reasons you won't be getting more money this year.
1. Salaries are frozen.
2. You didn't produce a lot.
3. You produced a lot but didn't win awards.
4. You produced a lot, won awards, but not the big awards.
5. You produced a lot, won awards, including big awards, but didn't bring in new business.
6. You brought in new business but not a lot of revenue.
7. You brought in new business and a lot of revenue but the business isn't winning awards.
8. You brought in award-winning new business and a lot of revenue and that business is winning awards, but the margins aren't great.
9. The account you're in didn't grow.
10. The account you're in grew but its margin wasn't great.
11. Your account did well but your group didn't.
12. Your group did well but your department didn't.
13. Your group and department did well but the agency didn't.
14. Your group, department and agency did well, but our international offices didn't.
15. Everyone did well, but our margins were off.
16. Everyone did well, but we didn't win awards.
17. Everyone did well, but [another agency in the holding company] didn't.
18. Everyone did well, but the stock price is in the toilet.
19. Everyone did well, but the holding company is carrying a lot of debt.
20. You had a great year but the agency stumbled.
21. You had a great year but we're feeling pressure from the Ukrainian situation.
22. You've had a great year but there are other people who haven't had raises in four years.
23. You're already paid more than _______.
24. Our business model is under pressure.
25. Our business model is in great shape but we're anticipating a tough 2014.
26. We're good through 2014 but we're anticipating a tough 2015.
27. We're anticipating a tough 2016.
28. A lot of clients are cutting back.
29. Our costs are rising faster than revenue.
30. We've yet to replace losses through ____ and ______.
31. Our freelance expenditure was through the roof.
32. We're being impacted by industry consolidation.
33. Our real estate costs are sky high.
34. You had a bad 360-review.
35. You had a good 360-review but reviews don't matter.
36. You had a good 360-review except for some comments from a junior media director.
37. We're investing more in other departments.
38. We moved you to a three-year cycle.
39. The economy is soft.
40. Our holding company forecasts are soft.
41. Our agency forecast is soft.
42. We anticipate tightening client revenues.
43. The economy is soft due to the polar vortex.
44. Some planned revenue didn't materialize.