Don't get me wrong, I didn't expect much. I don't live in a bubble, and am clearly aware of what has been going on at my firm and in the industry at large. I was also involved in agreeing the bonus allocation for my own small team (in operations), so I was fully aware of how little there was to go around. And I half-expected a doughnut (a zero bonus) anyway, but what I hadn't counted on was the 'sensitive' manner in which my own boss passed on the news.
I was ushered into my boss's office by his 'executive assistant' a few days after Christmas. He was on his mobile phone (as usual), but neither acknowledged my presence, nor indicated for me to take a seat. It soon became clear that he was off on some big holiday vacation, and that something had gone wrong - his chalet was apparently not close enough to the ski-slopes, and this was clearly an unmitigated disaster for him. Anyway, after a few minutes of this nonsense, my obviously distracted boss turned his (two minute) attentions to me.
'Look', he said without apology or skipping a beat, 'Can't stop long. Got a few of these chats to get through today, and I want to get off early to start the old hols'. I remained silent, which clearly put him off his stride, as he expected me to at least say something.
'Your bonus', he almost shouted, quickly retrieving the spreadsheet from his desk and looking at the number against my name. 'Ah', he said, his voice trailing off. '.......You haven't actually got one.....Yeah, I'd forgotten about that'. Again I said nothing.
'Things are tight', he said, trying to recover, 'As you know, there's not much in the bonus pot this year, and November and December ended up a lot worse than we all thought. Sorry. Maybe next year...........'. He made to move me off out of the door (I never was offered a seat).
'Aren't you at least going to thank me for the work I've done this year ?', I finally said.
'Eh ?', he replied, clearly caught off-guard.
'Shouldn't there be something said about how you appreciate all the work I've done for you this year. Shouldn't you at least acknowledge how I got you out of a mess on more than one occasion ? Shouldn't there be some appreciation for hard-working folks like me, who dug deep and delivered so that knobs like you could get paid out this year-end ?'
'Now, Tim, I know that you are upset about not getting a bonus.....'
'No', James, 'It's not the zero bonus that has upset me. It's you. The way that you have conducted this meeting is symptomatic of how you do your job - you are poorly prepared, completely unaware of how your behaviour impacts others, and have other priorities outside of work which stop you from putting in an even half-decent performance'.
'You'd better stop there, Tim, before you take this too far........'
'James, you're a jerk, and a disgrace to this firm....'
'That's it, Tim, you're gonna get in trouble for this now....'
'No, James, I'm not going to get into trouble for that, but I might for this.....'. I walked over and belted him as hard as I could in the face.
My boss went on holiday later that day as planned (complete with black eye). Although I was expecting to be hauled in to see HR, nothing happened. James returned to the office on Monday, to find my resignation letter on his desk. He has predictably ignored me all week.
I'll be glad to be out of this place now and, although I didn't get a bonus for my efforts last year, I got a lot of pleasure from throwing that punch. One in the eye for the big guys!'.
(Note - the names have been changed to protect the innocent - and the guilty).
1. 'Thousands of 'little people' just like you had a pleasant vicarious experience, step by step, as you finally got the attention of that clueless subhuman. My best to you - from one 'worker bee' to another.
2. 'Your boss may have been a jerk but you, sir, should be thankful that you were not charged with assault!'.
3. 'There's one thing standing up for yourself, but its another when you jeopardise your job and future'.
4. 'This guy was going well - it's good to confront sloppy and poorly prepared, frankly flippant, management. But, resorting to violence ? No, sorry. There's no excuse'.
5. 'Good for you. The creep obviously has no clue. How do folks like this ever make it to the top ?'.