My boss & I have worked together for two different companies since 2001. She saved me from a miserable position in another department to do accounts payable in the finance department, where she served as chief financial officer for a radiology group. Due to some strong-arming by a local health network we were providing our radiology services for, we were forced to close our doors in 2003. Most of us went our separate ways. She took a job as CFO of a cardiology group, and I took my accounts payable skills to The Indianapolis Star. I knew early on it just wasn’t going to work. I really thought when I was hired there it would be one of those places where I could be there the rest of my working days. However, as much as I tried to put on a happy face, I just didn’t care for my job and loathed going to work every day. The only solice I had working there was the hour Jennifer & I would meet for lunch, as she worked just a couple of blocks away. Unfortunately those lunches were more therapy sessions than enjoying lunch. The sterile, corporate atmosphere there was something I wasn’t able to adjust to. I was used to smaller work environments, and that’s what suited me.
During the time I was there, I had kept in touch with my old boss. She was getting adjusted to her new position and served as counsel to me as well. After some series of conversations, she decided she wanted me in the fold there, somehow. So having some clout there, although she was new on the scene, she created a position, got the OK from the CEO, and asked when I could start. FREEDOM!!!! I felt the weight of the world was taken off my shoulders. I would’ve taken a cut in pay to go there, but she asked what I was making at the Star and matched it. And after 5+ years, we’re both still there plugging away.
Now that you have the background, time for the meat of my post. Ever since I’ve worked there, at this time of year, I always have co-workers ask me if we’re getting a Christmas bonus this year. I guess since I’m working for the CFO, I “must” know everything that has to do with the finances. Oh, if they only knew! Each year it gets worse and worse. The number of people asking grows every year. And the comments I’ve heard over the years just blow me away…..”Well we better get one….I’m counting on that money”…..or (my all-time favorite) “I skipped my car payment this month in anticipation of getting a bonus so I could buy my kid more presents”. Amazing. Some of these folks have been there waaaaay too long and don’t know what it’s like out there working for other companies. I remember a company I worked for for 11 years gave their employees a $12 allowance so they could go out to dinner after work. Hey, I wasn’t complaining. I was just grateful to have a job. And unfortunately too many where I work don’t show that same gratitude. The bonuses we’d get were more than generous…..as in virtually two weeks of pay generous. I recall a few years ago when the company had a loss for the year, we still got $200. That’s why it irks me to no end why some people have this attitude of a bonus entitlement.
Well, today, November 20, I got my first “So have you heard if we’re getting a bonus this year?” question. I gave my canned “I haven’t heard anything” answer, then went on to pull out the envelope my pay stub was in and said “I get a bonus 26 times a year.”, meaning, I’m just happy to have a job! I told my boss this afternoon that it was now officially the Christmas season, and she just smiled and knew exactly what I meant.