First, let me start by saying I’ve debated a lot about posting this but I don’t know how else to say that I quit without telling the whole story of why so here we go.
If you would’ve told me when I started at Scholastic in Nov. 2019 that I would be leaving this way I wouldn’t have believed you, but here we are. When I was brought into the Scholastic Trade team I was hired as a Social Media Manager, who was going to support a Senior Digital Marketing Manager who hadn’t been hired yet.
I was excited to be starting a new position with a team that was just starting to be built. While I waited for my boss to be hired I reported to the Creative Director, who was great but didn’t know anything about digital marketing. In sum, I was on my own but that was fine because eventually I would have a new boss. Except that day never came. The Senior Digital Marketing Manager position was never filled and once COVID hit the job posting was eventually taken down.
With everything going on in the world, I accepted that this was unfortunately another casualty of the crazy times. However, along with the pandemic came a lot more work for me. Suddenly everything had to be online. I was tasked with uploading coloring and activity sheets kids could do at home and read aloud videos from our authors. My workload tripled overnight and on top of that Scholastic employees were then told we were being furloughed. Twice.
Eventually, things calmed down as people settled into our new normal and I was even given a bonus for all the work I had to take on, but not a raise.
As we continued to live through the pandemic, I asked my boss if I could get an assistant since they were no longer hiring a Senior Digital Marketing Manager. While my boss and her boss were receptive to the idea, it simply wasn’t in the budget and I had to continue to handle my work on my own.
Now, let me explain what that work was because it is a bit confusing. The Scholastic Trade accounts include Graphix Books, for graphic novels, I read YA, for YA novels, Facebook pages for Clifford, Goosebumps, The Magic School Bus, and The Baby-sitters Club, and sharing the Scholastic Corporate accounts with other business units. Unlike other places, the Scholastic Corporate account is not separate from Trade. Everything that isn’t Graphix or I read YA, i.e. picture books, middle grade, licensing, etc. lives on the corporate channels. In fact, 85% of the content that goes on the corporate accounts comes from Trade.
I was managing all of this social, except for I read YA, which is managed by the marketing manager, and that is a whole other conversation. Still, while I didn’t manage the accounts I did work on them and helped launch the I read YA TikTok so it was still part of my job.
On top of all of this, I also was responsible for doing the social for our School and Library team and every overarching social campaign we did like Reading Gives You Superpowers Week, Share Black Stories, the Power of Story campaign, our AAPI Heritage Month promotions, etc. It was my job to make sure all of our other business units and international partners got the social assets and copy for these campaigns and if there were any questions I was the point of contact.
In sum, it was a lot of work for one person and while I certainly had help from our corporate social team as well as the marketing managers I was struggling. So, in the summer of 2021 I started looking for another job. I ended up getting a job offer, which I brought to Scholastic and they countered, which I accepted. As part of the counter offer, a Marketing Director who was getting an assistant would share their assistant with me, I would be promoted to Senior Manager of Social Media with a raise, and I would report directly to our Senior VP of Marketing. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted but it was enough.
Until last week. During a regular conversation with the Corporate Social Media Manager, I learned that she was making $11K more than I was. To say I was shocked was an understatement. While I appreciate what she does, her title is lower than mine and when I came in at her level I was making almost $30K less than she’s making now. Additionally, I have a direct report, and to be frank my workload is heavier. I have to post on the corporate accounts, as well as the other trade channels, on top of the other things that I do.
The only reasoning for this discrepancy was that she worked under Corporate and I worked under Trade and apparently that meant I would inherently make less. If the Corporate and Trade channels were separate entities I could’ve maybe understood the discrepancy but that’s not the case here. I was posting on the same channels she was and then some. So what was the difference?
I was determined to find out and brought this to my boss, who thankfully was also shocked and supported me 100 percent. She was more than willing to fight for my salary to be raised, which I greatly appreciated. However, after thinking about it all weekend I realized the damage was done. Even if my salary was raised to meet my co-worker’s or even go higher, it wouldn’t change the fact that I had been severely underpaid. Nothing was going to rectify that for me.
So, I quit.
This was the hardest decision I think I’ve ever had to make but I know it is the right one. I want to thank my friends who helped me figure this out and my mom who when I told her about this whole situation simply said, “Do what you gotta do.” I could not make this decision without having her financial support behind me. To my colleagues at Scholastic and all the incredible creators I’ve had the opportunity to work with for over the past two years, I am sorry things are ending this way and I wish you all the best. We all deserve better. ♥️
6 thoughts on “Leaving Scholastic”
Thank you for sharing this experience and I’m proud of you for standing your grand and choosing yourself.
You must stand for something or you will fall for anything. I am so proud to see you standing firm on what you believe in. There will be many great opportunities out in the world for you…Much Love!!
Thanks Auntie! Love you 💕
Thank you for sharing this! Your transparency will help loads of other people trying to navigate in the publishing world.
What a queen you are. Your self-worth is so much more important! Good for you for standing your ground and doing what’s best for you. Keep in touch hun!
Zakiya, please let me know if I can be of any help networking, etc. Also interested to hear that you are a writer! LQ is INTERESTED!