What! No Bonus!

In 1997 I moved to Colorado to work as a research engineer. We lived in a small town in the mountains. That’s when I learned that my company had given bonuses in past years but they stopped them because the local merchants were always badgering the company about the bonuses that didn’t come and the smaller- than-usual bonuses.

I didn’t learn this from the company; I learned it from the guy at the hardware store.

When your company cut your bonus and said, “We had to do it because the local merchants complained to us,” they may not be kidding.

Then again, it is reasonable to dump a bonus plan that has gotten out of hand and too expensive.

Our company solved the program by giving a quarterly productivity pay increase that could be raised or lowered according to productivity. We all liked that. One engineer was fired however because the company didn’t think he was worth the increased pay he was getting through the increased productivity of the factory workers.

From what I learned down at the local hardware store, the factory folks would drop in, pick up a washing machine or refrigerator, and tell the owner that they would pay for it as soon as they got their bonuses. Then they would get no bonuses or a too-small bonuses.

The storeowner would say, OUCH!”

That’s when he would call the factory: “You guys have got to pay a decent bonus over there so that your employees can pay for the stuff they are dragging out of my store.”

So the company stopped the bonuses.

I was reading somewhere the other day that that is still happening.

One company I worked for cancelled our bonuses saying that our pay would be raised to compensate for the past bonuses. They said that they had to stop the bonuses because of the merchant situations described above.


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