Integrity is priceless. Most of us value ours, and choose to deal with others who also have it. This extends beyond personal relationships into business dealings as well.
This edition of the Squirreling Gone Wild series covers a time when promises were made about an upcoming bonus at work. A number of folks got excited about it! However, things didn’t go quite as planned – for the employees who were so excited. This included me.
This occurred at a job I had in the 90’s. It was at a job not long after college, where I started in an entry-level position. The company was probably not a household name, but it was fairly prominent within it’s market.
Anyway, a group of us entry level people had been working a ton of extra hours. Now, we knew that there would be a period of time where this would be expected, but we were asked to work extra days and longer hours for more time that originally communicated to us. Mandatory Saturdays made for 6 day weeks for some time, and it wasn’t fun. We were getting paid very little, but I was of course committed to working hard and getting whatever experience I could out of it.
Met some good friends there too. That tends to happen when you’re in an entry-level position with a number of peers at about your age. We got through it with a lot of joking around about the circumstances.
After this period of mandatory Saturdays and extra workload dragged on longer than we expected, there came word of a potential bonus in the works. We had worked really hard, so this was a nice incentive for a group of younger, hungry people out of college. This bonus was the proverbial carrot dangled in front of us, as an incentive to continue working hard.
So, we were happy and proceeded to get that extra boost in motivation. We were under the impression that there would be a bonus, but there was no specific date given. Just words indicating that it was being worked on, the exact timing isn’t certain yet, etc. Yet we just assumed that of course, it would happen.
As time went on, we started to wonder when the bonus would come. We had poured our energies into our work, thinking that we were going to be appreciated and rewarded for our efforts – especially since we were told so. There was a spike up in motivation that they got from the group as a result of the expectation of the bonus. Yet where was the bonus? After a while a sick feeling began to take hold that we weren’t going to get one. It seemed unfathomable.
Finally, we got an email which addressed the topic. It had been months, but we were also separately told a date: November 1st. What a magical date, that November 1st would be!
The aforementioned email had a reassuring comment that we have not been forgotten.
November 1st came and went without a bonus. At this point, it was exasperating.
Now, keep in mind that we weren’t making much money, so the bonus wasn’t going to really be all that much money anyway. But at the time, it was kind of a big deal, and even if irrational – people thought they were going to get this money.
One guy who had quit had talked about demanding receipt of his bonus. It caused some laughter among those hearing about it. Another guy, who was really nice guy but a hard luck person, kept on saying that they’ll probably give it to us. He seemed to think that these things just take time in some cases.
Wishful thinking. We never got the bonus.
Yes, it never happened! In fact, they never gave us a detailed explanation. Again, all kinds of rumors floated about the bonus ended. Whatever the case, substantiated or not, these rumors just fueled the disappointment people had.
Now, I can admit that actually did get some very good experience there, and worked with some pretty cool people. A group of us that were friends would constantly joke around about the bonus. Have to say, we handled it pretty well at the time. What else could you do, but laugh? And leave, which we all did. We could still get in touch on November 1st and crack a joke asking if they got their bonus today.
Might as well laugh about it, right?
My Questions for You:
Have you ever been misled or burned, expecting money but never receiving it?
Have you heard of situations where people didn’t get paid for a service or product?
While this example happened some years ago, how would you handle it if it happened today?