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ImNotHere's avatar

Did I just lose my commission by opening my big mouth? How can I ensure that I receive it?

Asked by ImNotHere (441 points ) July 28th, 2011

Hello Fluther Collective,

I’m a 22 year old intern at a small, but well respected PR firm in NYC. We mostly represent social media companies, advertisers, and creatives in technology. My boss (who I get along great with) told me before that I would be compensated if I brought him any new business. At the beginning of the summer, a friend/colleague of mine was looking for some PR but ended up not becoming a client yet because he doesn’t feel ready to put his company out there until he makes some improvements and gets more solid in the market. He may join our roster in the future.

Last night my friend approached me again because a friend of his is CEO of a social media analytics company and thinks he wants to hire our company as his publicist. My friend told me that he wants ME to get the credit and commission for bringing the new business and to make sure my boss knows that it’s mine. (He’s already become somewhat wealthy and wanted to help me out because I’m still a poor college kid and very new in the industry)

Anyway, I was talking about the potential new client with my boss this morning and accidentally mentioned that my friend (whom he somewhat knows) introduced me to their company. He was on his way out of the office for a meeting and was kind of rushed but said something like “Well, his commission check is in the mail.” (referring to my friend) :(

My heart just about sank when he said that because the commission is really supposed to be for me but I don’t want to sound greedy or like I’m lying. How do I bring this up to my boss tactfully? I don’t want to share private email exchanges between my friend and I but should I show him the email/chat trail anyway just to prove it? I’m really beating myself up over this right now because if I hadn’t have opened my big mouth I wouldn’t have lost the credit for this. My boss is a pretty understanding guy but I’m really unsure how to deal with this sensitive situation.

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14 Answers

blueiiznh's avatar

Maybe it’s me, but I am still unclear on which company you did the work on to get the commission for.
In the grand scope of things, how much are we talking about in commission or is this a matter of principal?

I would simply recommend having a disscusion with your boss and state clearly the facts. If it comes from the heart and is about your passion for the work, and the principal and not the $$, then the truth should come through. Be open and honest with yourself and the Boss.
If it becomes a lesson learned, then make certain you take the wisdom from it so it doesn’t happen again.

ImNotHere's avatar

Hi @blueiiznh ,

Thanks for the response. I introduced my boss to my friend’s company a few months ago. My friend decided to hold back on any PR initiatives until he feels ready to put his company out to the media and decided to wait to join our roster until then. This same friend brought this other company to my attention and I introduced them to my boss. My friend told me to make sure the commission goes to me but my boss doesn’t know that because I haven’t told him yet.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Are you sure that the supervisor wasn’t just joking with you? Commissions do not get paid, at least as far as I know, until the business is done and the client pays. And if I am reading this right, the friend does not work for the company; you do. Since the friend is a potential client, giving him the commission could be construed as a possible bribe for his future business. I doubt that the company is willing to risk that. Yup, I think that he was just pulling your leg as he was walking out the door.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

If it’s a problem, ask your friend to straighten it out. Or just tell the boss you want and deserve the commission. Be assertive.

ImNotHere's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer Of course nobody would receive anything for the business until the contract was signed and they officially joined our client roster. I’m not sure if my boss was joking or not… I mean I know he didn’t literally mean that he’s going to send his commission out today but he might be serious about giving my friend credit/monetary rewards for the new business if it comes through. like @blueiiznh said, it’s not just the money that bothers me about this, it’s also getting the credit for bringing him new business. (Which will do wonders for his revenue) I’m not sure how much money is at stake, it would depend on the contract but I really don’t want to lose out on something that was intended for me. But most importantly, I want to approach it the right way – with tact and class.

marinelife's avatar

Tell your boss firmly that you are the one who brought in the business and you expect to get the commission check.

Then be careful how you say things.

Judi's avatar

UHHHHH…... It was your connection that brought the business. It’s called networking, and that’s what business is all about. Unless your boss is a douch bag, he was just joking.

ImNotHere's avatar

He was just joking. God, I feel like an idiot…

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Does this mean that you asked him? If so, good for you.

ImNotHere's avatar

I did. And he wasn’t happy. Said it was ‘rude’. Great.

Judi's avatar

Men like to get women with that, “Isn’t that rude? Not very feminine of you to assert your rights,” crap. let it roll off and enjoy your commission.

ImNotHere's avatar

@Judi my boss is openly Gay so I don’t know if was about that necessarily but you may have a point… As for the commission, we’ll see how that goes now.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Still…good for you for going directly to the supervisor to ask for clarification, even if how it was offered made you feel. Going to anyone else would not have cleared this up. It takes time to learn how each person on the team likes to communicate.

While you may have a good relationship with this supervisor, your communication styles may be different. Some prefer regular meetings so that they can stay focused, some have an open-door policy and really mean it, and some live by e-mail communication. It might be beneficial to find out what style(s) this guy prefers and under what conditions.

blueiiznh's avatar

@BringsTheNight Glad you asked as opposed to never asking.
Accepting based on an act of commission is easier than ommission.

Feel good about that!

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