Dear Crabby, Should we expect a year-end bonus?

Dear Crabby,

Last year my husband received a year-end bonus, and we were wondering if we should expect that again this year. We are trying to calculate how much we can spend on Christmas shopping and that bonus could make or break some of the purchases. What do you think?

Sincerely, Penny Counts

Dear Penny Counts,

This is always and interesting dilemma I think. The whole concept of a bonus is that it is something unexpected or over and above what is earned. Therefore, no one should really come to expect it or count it as something you have earned – correct? I worked for the same company for 35 years and I only asked one time about the year-end bonus. The boss was quick to tell me that my year-end DearCrabbybonus would be if I got to keep my job for the next year. I got the message loud and clear and I never asked again. There were years when I did get a bonus and then there were years when I did not. My family learned not to count on it and that way it was truly an extra little blessing and not a devastation if we did not get it. I should have learned this lesson in my youth with my experience with my grandfather, but I guess it did not sink in all the way. I was the youngest grandchild and every year we would all get together for a Christmas lunch with my estranged grandfather to catch-up and talk about life. At the end of the lunch he would give each of us a crisp new $20 bill. One year I wanted to buy something before Christmas and my father asked if I had the money. I replied, “No, but when I get the $20 from Grandpa I can reimburse you!” My father sat me down and said that I can never expect that gift, but that I can only be glad when I receive something. Sure enough, that same year, when it came time to each get our gifts everyone except me received an envelope. As we were all saying goodbye and thanking Grandpa for his gift, I simply said, “Merry Christmas Grandpa, it was good to visit with you.” He asked if I was thankful for my gift. I told him that I did not receive a gift from him. He acted shocked and asked if I was sure. I replied yes and told him that it was all right, I had learned my lesson. He did not know what I was talking about, but he went a got a crisp $20 bill and gave it to me. So from then on I have known to not expect anything, but instead only be glad when I get something. Hope this helps and good luck.

Sincerely, Dear Crabby

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