The Third Third

I Want A Bonus, Too!

I want a bonus. I used to think I deserved a tip every now and then. But tipping is so. . . yesterday. Think about it: on any given day, a Mom’s retention bonus would be very smart. Even a wife’s. I can see bonuses for patience. For understanding. I think the only bonus I ever got, though, was from my first employer. As a teenager, I worked summers in a resort town donut shop. Over the Fourth of July weekend, if the weather was good, we would sell dozens and dozens and dozens of donuts. And that Sunday, as he peeled off the cash to pay us, the owner would slip in an extra $5, sometimes $10 – which, as a percentage of a $35 a week salary, was really quite something. It was also clearly extra pay for extra work, a thank you for the longer hours. The point is, today’s “outrageous” bonus business is silly. And, frankly, I don’t get it. I remember waking up on a Monday or Tuesday morning the first year of my first job in my given profession, TV Journalism, and actually feeling grateful that someone was paying me to do what I loved doing! Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to work? What’s with making more money for making more money? Or, sadly, for not making more money? Where did all those honest dollars for an honest’ day’s work go? I can actually think of people I *would* bonus, though: fireman who save people in fires; teachers who care enough to succeed in reaching the kids in their classrooms; contractors whose work is done as specified, on time and under budget; the folks who find a cure for cancer; the broker of a true Middle East peace; the priest who feeds your spirit by simply being there for you, whatever the hour. Yet my guess is that these are people who love their work, too, and that there’s no bonus big enough to lure them away from it. If you have a horrible job, money may be its only reward. Bonuses for extra time, or extra effort make sense then. But these money grubbers grabbing the bailouts, they *chose* their jobs, trained and networked to get and keep them, and fought like dogs for every last cent, make that every last million, to measure their singular successes. Pay off the greedy bullies with bonuses? I don’t think so. But let’s think more positively. Let’s add to that list of people who may actually deserve a bonus. Let’s change the culture of success. Let’s do good. And if anyone does well in the process, so be it. To whom would you give a bonus? And why?
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