The magical land of bonus

Being somewhat new to the world of corporate, I have only recently become acquainted with the magical land of bonus, also known to some as the land of take what you want.

Penelope Whitson blog IdealogOnce upon a time I worked in publishing where bonuses were free bits of paper called books. In the land of corporate, however, bonuses are free bits of paper called money. FREE MONEY. If this isn’t a reason to leap about shouting ‘Yippee ki-yay’ and pashing up attractive strangers in jubilation, then what is?

In theory, the bonus scheme seems simple enough – you work hard and the company does well so you get rewarded and the further up the ladder you climb, the more you enjoy the golden shower of loot. Of course, there’s more to it for most companies, including how well the company has done and what score you achieved on the employee rating matrix minus the number of times you’ve been caught using Facebook multiplied by how often you got the CEO a coffee.

I don’t quite understand the finer details in all honesty – what I do understand is that if it’s been a good year for the company then it’s free cashy cashy for the workers. And I am a big fan of free dosh. It tastes even more delicious than the normal stuff and also contains no calories. But – it’s not always free dollars for the workers because if the company has done less than awesome then the bonus scheme suffers also. Which seems logical, no? Except not everyone’s bonus suffers.

And this is where the point of the bonus scheme – ie that it is a bonus, extra, not guaranteed – seems to be lost on many. There is a sense of entitlement that we deserve a bonus. Really? We hopefully earned our salary, but do we deserve more on top of that?

And if you deserve a bonus, surely a lot of other people do too. Like your children’s teachers. And those people caring for your parents in an old folk’s home. I know it’s not that simple and bonuses rely a lot on what industry you work in – but when you start taking a bonus for granted, thinking you deserve it purely for doing your job, but refuse to apply this logic to those around you, I think something’s gone ever so skew-whiff with your thinking. Especially if you’re the type of person who complains that this year’s bonus is smaller than last year’s. It’s not actually your salary, you know.

Having said all that, of course I didn’t refuse my bonus. The first item I gleefully snatched up with the complimentary cash was a light bulb. At $8 I think it’s the most expensive light bulb I have ever purchased and I bathe in the glow of its shiny energy-saving output every night with gusto. Free money well spent.

Idealog has been covering the most interesting people, businesses and issues from the fields of innovation, design, technology and urban development for over 12 years. And we're asking for your support so we can keep telling those stories, inspire more entrepreneurs to start their own businesses and keep pushing New Zealand forward. Give over $5 a month and you will not only be supporting New Zealand innovation, but you’ll also receive a print subscription and a copy of the new book by David Downs and Dr. Michelle Dickinson, No. 8 Recharged (while stocks last).