Low bonus or expected bonus?  It may be time to think about what’s next in your career because how much you get paid is the only tool your employer has for showing you respect and appreciation. Anything else that comes with the bonus — excuses, a title bump — is all fluff.

There is still time to watch our wildly popular video “How to Prepare for Layoffs”

In this video, we explain why the following are poor substitutes for money

  • Excuses like another part of the firm did better than yours
  • A title bump that satisfies your ego but can’t pay the bills
  • Promises to make it up to you next year

Book a Call with Mike

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Hi, this is Mike Mittleman, your personal career coach. I help people get top jobs in financial services.

Today’s top is “Your Employer Only Shows Respect Through Your Bonus”

My Bonus History

I had 6 supervisors across my 15 years on the Street who gave me my bonus number around this time of the year. The conversations were identical. They gave me my number and proceeded to talk.

I stopped listening after the number. I had my expectation, and therefore was looking for any deviation from what was in my mind. Nothing else in the conversation mattered. I couldn’t eat their words, pay for my kids’ private school education with them, or take my wife on vacation with them.

Nothing else mattered but the number. The sole value Merrill Lynch and Credit Suisse placed on my work product was the money. Good, bad or indifferent, that’s how it works.

Bonus Money Is The Only Commercial Currency for Respect

Please keep in mind that you have a commercial relationship with your employer. You may have personal relationships with people, but you do not have a personal relationship with an entity called an employer.

Your employer is playing a very simple role in our economy: Paying you the least amount of money to extract the greatest amount of your utility.

Some famous quotes from Adam Smith, the Father of Modern Economics:

  •  Man is an animal that makes bargains, no other animal does this…
    •    Labor was the first price, the original price – money that was paid for all things
    •    A merchant . . . is not necessarily the citizen of any particular country

Don’t Let Them Fool You With Bonus Excuses For Last Year

I’ve heard them all. We couldn’t get a better number since:

  •  We needed to pay junior folks more this year
    •    That blowup on the other side of the firm hurt everyone
    •    London killed it more than the US
    •    You didn’t do the biggest deal of our group

Maybe you can pay your mortgage with excuses, but I couldn’t. Excuses are air, nothing more, nothing less.

Don’t Let Them Fool You With Just a Title Bump

Oldest trick in the book. They can’t pay you so they bump your title. Your ego is really happy, but you can’t pay your mortgage with pride.

Also, a title bump could make it more difficult for you to be hired if you get laid off. Higher titles carry higher compensation. Rarely does someone hire down in title. If you just made Director or MD, your next role will most likely be the same. The higher role will cost the new company more.

You can’t eat your title

Don’t Let Them Fool You With Promises For Next Year’s Bonus

I have heard them all. We can’t pay you this year, but if you bring in 10% more revenue, we can pay you next year. If the industry you cover takes off, we will get you more staff so your bonus can increase. If Don takes over all of fixed income, we will be able to move you to this new area and all will be grand.

Next year, next year, next year. Next year is a lifetime away in financial services. You can’t eat next year.

Don’t You Want To Be Respected As a Person?

We all want to be respected for the job we do. In our family, friendships, volunteer work, and job. Is respect too much to ask for? Clearly, Aretha Franklin does not think so.

After working for a full year, sacrificing vacations, time with family, late nights of putting together pitchbooks, and busting your hump, at the end of the day, don’t you want to be respected?

The Only Way To Get Paid Fairly Is To Leave Your job!

There is an adage in financial services that until you mark yourself to market, you will never be paid fair value. In other words, the only way to get paid fairly is to leave your job. Someone will value you more than your existing employer if you have a great skill set.

You can get a bid away and take it back to your employer. You will make up some of the differences between where you are now and where the other employer will pay you, but you will never get full value unless you leave.

Bonus Summary

Of course, there are risks to leaving a job in which you are comfortable. If you want more money, you take more risks.

I hope you found Part I of this video “Your Employer Only Shows Respect Through Your Bonus

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