Unsatisfied with the pay associated with a life as a mid-level actor on a fledgling TV show, “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett knew it was time to ask for a raise. So he did what most people would do: he paid a couple of his buddies to pretend to assault him as an act of bigotry-fueled violence.
One can only assume that the staged attack was designed to make Jussie the poster child for horrific, racist, homophobic violence in a troubled world and he would become an enormous, bankable star as a result.
It didn’t quite work out that way. The pesky Chicago Police investigated the supposed assault instead of simply taking his word for it. Because Smollett and his friends appear to be the dumbest criminals of all time, they were found out nearly immediately (he paid his attackers with a personal check, for starters). Subsequently, Jussie did not receive that raise he so desperately wanted. In fact, he was dismissed from the final two episodes of “Empire.”
While he awaits trial for a Class 4 felony charge for filing a false police report, perhaps he could take this unemployed opportunity to think of better ways to procure a raise in the future. There are some bold, creative choices with a much stronger chance of working than faking a hate crime. So, for everyone thinking of asking for a raise and wondering what would be better than faking an assault, here are some thoughts.
1. Become an Indispensable Employee
Certainly, this is less exciting than hatching a plan to make you the most sympathetic face in America, but this old, boring method seems to work for some reason. Show up early, stay late, ask for extra tasks when yours are complete, and be a model employee for everyone else.
It involves actually working hard and possibly making personal sacrifices, so if that’s not for you, try some of these other ideas.
2. Bring Your Boss a Basket of Mini Muffins
Mini muffins are delicious, especially chocolate chip. No self-respecting employer would dare turn down a salary increase when faced with tiny, speckled pastries. If that “working hard” tactic doesn’t pan out, this one is nearly a sure thing.
3. Ask Your Parents to Tell Your Employer How Special You Are
No one has a better, more positive opinion of your unique qualities and potential than your own parents. They’re basically your built-in public relations team, and it’s high time to put them to use. When you’re ready to get that big raise, bring mom and dad in to meet the boss and make sure they get plenty of alone time to talk up just how incredible you are. Make sure mom preps her phone with plenty of pictures of you achieving things.
4. Repeatedly and Loudly Discuss How You Can’t Afford the Guacamole Upcharge
Sometimes the best way to get the point across about tight purse strings is to put it all out there. Times are tough for you, and it’s important for those writing your checks to know that you are making real, daily sacrifices that should not be taken lightly.
5. Hatch a Plan to Make Yourself Look Like a Hero
Perhaps, instead of planning to put a noose around your neck like Jussie apparently did, stage a daring cat rescue, or plant yourself in places where you might be seen as a person doing some good. Think volunteering or helping elderly people cross the street safely. While you’re “pretending” to do those good deeds, your boss might just hear about it. Also, some people might actually benefit from your fake help.
If you truly feel that the only way to get your employer’s attention and get that money you deserve is to concoct a hate crime against yourself, I have but one suggestion: Don’t write a check to your fake attackers. Pay cash.