Man about town

Staff anxiety over bonus persists in lean times

Staff anxiety over bonus persists in lean times. PHOTO | BD GRAPHIC
Staff anxiety over bonus persists in lean times. PHOTO | BD GRAPHIC 

Things are getting hectic as we approach year-end. It is clear that we will not hit the ambitious targets we set for ourselves, mainly because the economy has been sluggish.

What I find interesting are the silly questions my colleagues ask me. Just the other day one came up to me and said, “Jose, will we have a bonus this year?”

My response: “How would I know?” The guy stammered on; “Well... you work in finance, you are the CEO’s right hand man... of course you must know.”

To stop him prying further I said; “Right now I know nothing but I will find out in due course.”

Every time I look at our numbers I realise that short of a miracle, we will not have a bonus this year. Just to be on the safe side I decided to ask the CEO about the issue during our next meeting.

I long realised that the weekly catch-ups are never really about me; they are about the CEO and what is going on in the business.

During this week’s catch up, for instance, he spent a lot of time moaning about board members.

According to him most of them are, “deadwood who deliver minimal value for the business. All they do is sit around and wait for us to pay them allowances.” I could not help but wonder what might have triggered this kind of emotion, but I dared not ask any question.

Soon the boss spilled the beans. ‘‘These guys join the board by promising us that they can open all government doors but none of them comes through when we need them most.”

He went on to say that he had been trying to reach the country tax boss to try and sort out some contentious tax claim.

“The board chairman and some members promised to secure a meeting three months ago but we have made no headway,” he lamented.

I have realised that the best thing to do when the boss is in such a mood is to shut up, listen and occasionally nod in empathy.

So I stayed mute even as he looked through the numbers and let out nasty curse words.

Then the words I dreaded: “We will not have a bonus this year unless we get this tax issue sorted.” I was quite shocked by his sentiments. I got worried since I had pegged buying a car on receiving some bonus.

As I walked out of the meeting I received a text message from my cousin who had been recently elected as an MCA. He was inviting me for a thanksgiving lunch in the village on his appointment.

I would have ignored the invite but I noticed that he had provided a list of other esteemed guests who had confirmed to attend the event; including the country tax boss.

I decided to attend the event to ensure that I link up with the tax boss. I made sure I was at the event early. I was getting a bit jaded when he turned up as the function was ending.

After the function we proceeded to have some drinks and as fate would have it, I ended up sitting next to the tax boss.

After a few drinks I decided to inform him that we were keen on meeting him.

“Why should you struggle about such things? We are village mates! Come see me on Tuesday at 9am,” he said.

And just like that I have an opportunity to please my boss and maybe profit the company and open the purse strings of bonus for staff.