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Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Holiday bonus
Yesterday while munching a few morsels of carmel popcorn sent over by a customer, I was talking to a co-worker about the holidays, favorite holiday foods and plans for the next few weeks in terms of vacation time. Somehow the conversation got turned around to holiday gifts and I was bragging that I'd finished most of my holiday shopping when she said, "I wonder when we're going to get our holiday gifts from the company. Each year we usually get this and that."

Which that got me thinking.

See, I've never been a person who really expects a holiday bonus from any of the companies I've worked for over the years. Part of that might be that I've never really worked for any companies that had such a policy, so it's never become part of my expectation. And also, quite frankly, after spending a good part of 2004 looking for a job, I'm grateful to have a steady job in 2005 with a regular paycheck and benefits.

But it's interesting to consider the bonus. Certainly a lot of comedy gold has been mined over the years from the idea of the holiday bonus. It's a major plot point of the classic Christmas Vacation and I remember an episode of Friends where Monica ticks off everyone from the mailman to the building maintenance guy by baking cookies to give as a holiday gift instead of giving them cash. Indeed, growing up, I had a paper route and, sure, this time of year I found that people would tip a bit more generously, but it was never something I expected. (Which, interestingly enough, the paperboy put an envelope in with the paper a few weeks ago with his name and address in case we wanted to tip him extra at the holiday season).

But I have to wonder something--is a little extra this year something that should be an expectation by people? I know it's the holidays and we're all supposed to be feeling generous, but does that extend to giving an extra tip to the paperboy, giving something to the mailman or expecting a bonus of some kind from our employers? Honestly, I expected that since we had the holiday party, that was pretty much it. Maybe I have low expectations but a free meal along with door prizes (which for the first time since I've worked anywhere, my company gave a door prize to every employee who came to the holiday party, which was nice), I figured that pretty much covered it and I was more than satisfied.

Nor am I honestly expecting more. If the previous years' holiday gifts from the company come through, that's fine. If not, I'm not going to lose sleep over it. I've got a good job and the company does a good job of taking care of the employees benefits wise.

But I do know some people who expect more. I used to work with a guy who complained pretty much the whole month of December that we never got a holiday bonus. I just shrugged and went on with my life since there was nothing to be done about it by getting upset about it. At the end of the day, we had jobs and regular paychecks. What else did we expect? There is certainly no rule saying a company has to give you a holiday bonus.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 12/13/2005 08:01:00 AM | |
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