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Raise, Bonus, and Weekend Reading

This article was written by in Career and Work. 18 comments.

Along with tracking my finances on Consumerism Commentary, I also mention when the situation at my day job changes. For example, two years ago I successfully posted for a higher-level vacancy in my department (as expected). Last year I mentioned when I received a lower annual bonus and raise than I would have liked.

I’ve known the amount of this year’s raise and bonus for a few weeks, and I received the bonus this past Friday. Of course, I am thankful to have a job with good benefits during this period of near 10% unemployment, but I am still disappointed in the low level of compensation. I’m not letting this bother me; knowing that I have more control of my finance regardless of what happens in the office helps me not worry about what happens there.

Are your employers still keeping raises and bonuses low, knowing that employees don’t have many options in this economic environment?

In my photography class today, we worked on panoramas. Thanks to Adobe Photoshop for making the stitching so easy. This isn’t one of mine, but here’s a good example from Flickr.

Here are some articles I’ve enjoyed recently and a reminder about the Plutus Awards.

How U.S. Olympians pay the rent. Not every Olympic athlete, even gold medalists, get multimillion dollar sponsorships. The cost of training, competing, and traveling is tremendous, and not every athlete comes from a wealthy family.

How to get your super-motivated boyfriend to marry you. Interesting article in which Sam, the author, describes five observations of men focused on careers or other goals and how the women who love them might need to adjust their expectations. Let me know what you think of this article. I think there’s an assumption here that the woman must adapt to the man, but in a perfect world the best course would involve some compromise.

Do you have to give up convenience in order to save money? I believe there are several stages to becoming financially secure or independent. There may be a time where it makes sense to save every cent possible. I went through a phase like that several years ago. I had to survive without a car (relying on friends and public transportation), eliminate cable television, and share an apartment with three roommates. Now that I’m earning more than what I need for basic expenses and long-term saving and investing, I don’t have to be as tight. I willingly give up some income in order to buy myself more convenience.

Vote for the 2009 Plutus Awards. Consumerism Commentary is up for a few Pluties. Be sure to vote for your favorite finance products (savings account, brokerage, etc.) and blogs before the ballot closes on March 16.

Photo: Richard0

Updated December 22, 2011 and originally published February 27, 2010.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar 1 Anonymous

Hi Flexo, glad to hear you got a bonus, and sorry to hear it was below expectations a little bit. I guess in times like this, it’s a blessing to sometimes get a bonus. My wife worked her tail off last year, and the usual 10-25% of base salary bonus was a big fat ZERO. Very disappointing. She did get a slight raise, but it doesn’t make up for it.

In your commentary of my article, adaptation is a means to an end. The woman doesn’t have to adapt at all if she is happy to stay unmarried. It is only if she finds herself in the situation where she really would like to get married despite all his peculiarities, then perhaps change is necessary on her end because he isn’t asking.

The article just serves to let women understand WHY their boyfriend of 5, 6, 7 years isn’t proposing. The strains society places on men need to be voiced.

Thanks for including!

Best, Sam

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avatar 2 Anonymous

I didn’t get any raise last year although I got a pretty good year-end bonus.

The reality is that a lot of companies pay just enough money to keep most of their employees. That’s just the way it is. You’re still there and I’m still here so their strategy can’t be too bad (assuming we are both decent employees). :)

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avatar 3 Luke Landes

Yes, I do get the impression they’re paying just enough to string me along for a while. For a while there seemed to be some advancement opportunities available, but now that seems to be up in the air… all the more reason to speed up my exit.

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avatar 4 Anonymous

Flexo, how long were you a “non-exempt” employee? Give this is your first full year bonus as an “exempt” employee, maybe it just takes time? We’re just coming out of the crisis, and according to many publications, compensation is still 20-35% below 2007 levels.

The smartest managers in the world are those who pay their employees JUST enough to not have them make a move to leave.

If you are still making upward progress every year, then that’s pretty good no?

Best, Sam

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avatar 5 Luke Landes

I started with this company as a temp in 2002 after leaving an arts-related career. I’m glad progress has been forward each year, but I might be hitting a wall in my current department. Plus, I’ve been focusing on this website and other projects more rather than focusing on building my career at the company, so I understand that I may be limiting myself. Regardless, I’m woefully underemployed, and if I ever return to working for a corporation like this, I’m going to ensure the company makes better use of my skills.

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avatar 6 Anonymous

Gotcha. I think I know EXACTLY how you are feeling, but from ironically the complete OPPOSITE perspective. Due to the success of your site since 2002, you have become a big name in the PF community. The trajectory of growth between your online world and your offline world sounds a little different, although the direction is the same.

I wonder if you may be feeling inside that you want to tell your bosses “Do you guys know who I am? B/c if you did, you’d know that I would squash you like a grape in the online world!” while adding in a little evil chuckle.

Whereas from my perspective, I am slapped around left and right in the online community, and I’ve thought to myself when I’m getting pin balled, “If only you knew who I was in real life, I would first kick your butt in tennis, then demonstrate that I’m not a worthless writer, and then we could go grab beers.” :O)

Am I warm in any of my conjecture? If you were more employed, you’d spend less on your site, where you make more. So aren’t you actually very well employed since there’s only so many hours in the day?

Best, Sam

avatar 7 Luke Landes

Heh. I don’t think anyone in the office would care too much about “who I am” online. As far as your site goes, just be patient. You have an excellent community growing and I’m sure you will succeed beyond your expectations.

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avatar 8 Anonymous

I’ll give myself 7 years. If nothing happens by then, I’ll have to hit the bid!

avatar 9 Anonymous

I’d be thrilled with either a reasonable bonus or a raise (haven’t seen either of those in 2-plus years), but I think in my industry, it’s enough to still have a job. And I think my employer knows that. I don’t think we’re out of the woods yet.

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avatar 10 Anonymous

One thing (about the only thing, apart from certain social elements) about a full-time job is the steady uptick of wages and bonuses. As a freelance I have to hustle or upscale to make those happen for myself.

I think you’re right to be alert to the loss of compensation, even in this climate.

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avatar 11 Anonymous

What is the name of your course in photography? is it toward a degree program or certificate program? how much is your class, and how much are the extra fees for a part time course? does the course recommend cameras to buy, or do they lend you a camera for the course? How much money did it cost you to get Photoshop, and what version do you use? thanks.

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avatar 12 Luke Landes

Let’s see. The course is offered by a non-profit arts organization based in a major university borough down the road from me. The name is “intermediate photography.” The course is six weeks long and costs less than $300. The course doesn’t recommend cameras but the instructor and other classmates all have opinions. The course doesn’t lend cameras; I own my own, and that’s a requirement. The instructor brings in her own lighting equipment for the class to use.

Adobe Photoshop CS4 is an expensive piece of software. The full version is almost $700 on Amazon.

Photography can be an expensive hobby, but it doesn’t have to be. GIMP is a free alternative to Photoshop and it handles just about everything Photoshop does. You can find used cameras and equipment.

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avatar 13 Anonymous

Interesting article about the olympic athletes. I never heard of the Home Depot programme before. It sounds like a good one and I hope someone else steps in to provide something similar, even if it were to guarantee a position with extensive time off rather than pay full-time wages, which seems a little wrong. I’ve been looking through the little athlete biographies on and off at the official olympic site through the games, and I guess there’s a reason the vast majority of those I’ve read are students.

I got a 3% raise, some more vacation time and a lot of worthless bullshit about opportunities and appreciation this year but like you was disappointed with my bonus; which while a helluva lot more than zero didn’t reflect how hard I worked or the success of my projects and the guys I manage last year. But as Mike says, I’m still there (for the moment) and I’m well aware the package they offer me would change for the better fairly rapidly if I handed in my notice.

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avatar 14 Anonymous

Hi Flexo – Just testing your Twitter log in for you! :)

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avatar 15 Luke Landes

Looks like it works, thanks!

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avatar 16 Anonymous

I took a 3% pay cut last year (plus higher deductible/copay). They’ve told us they won’t cut our pay again — they’ll cut people instead — but we certainly won’t get a raise. And I’m not in an industry that gives bonuses, so that point is moot.

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avatar 17 Smithee

In my 12 years in the American workplace, I’ve gotten an annual bonus exactly once.

Earlier last year we all took a 10% pay cut, and our regular salaries still haven’t been restored.

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avatar 18 Anonymous

After all the doom and gloom talk, I was surprised that we got both raises and bonuses, this year and last. I was sure they’d be cut like the holiday party, office snacks, and three of our co-workers. :-/ In addition they’re supposedly increasing the employer contribution to our retirement accounts this year; that should happen this month.
Bonuses here are tied to profits, so they haven’t been red-hot, but they’re a long way from the nothing I’ve been expecting. And the owner claims this year is looking better. I hope he’s right. He was honest – and right – about last year being crappy, so I feel good about trusting him this year.

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