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Old 01-03-2014, 09:06 AM   #21
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How will you feel if you stay around only to find there is no 401k contribution? I think I would casually ask about the bonus, but regardless of that outcome, verify the 401k contribution (amount and timing). And I would get it in writing. I certainly wouldn't assume you are getting the 401k contribution.
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Old 01-03-2014, 09:54 AM   #22
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It sounds like the $s are relatively trivial, so why agonize over asking or outright leaving? I would simply ask yourself do you want to keep working or not. The answer to that should tell you whether to ask or hang in another 3 months.
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Old 01-03-2014, 10:17 AM   #23
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If it were me, and the company allowed me to work on my own terms (from home, minimal hours), when everyone else in the company is expected to go into the office every day, I don't think I would get all that worked up about a bonus. I mean really - you work from home 8 hours on average per week. How much can you expect?

If you don't enjoy the work or find it a distraction to enjoying your retirement, then it's just time to move on. But I wouldn't expect a bonus working for a company in such a minimal capacity.
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Old 01-03-2014, 02:52 PM   #24
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I would ask HR or the 401k plan administrator to get specifics on your 401k question.

As far as the bonus- I would question why you didn't get one just to satisfy your curiosity. Even if you decide to quit now, it would be good to know why you didn't get a bonus because not knowing why may bother you for a while. I understand your situation- it's not about the $ - you just want to know the reason. I suspect that the reason is that the partners agreed to not give bonuses to part time employees.

Good luck!
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Old 01-03-2014, 06:00 PM   #25
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Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate it. I'm probably leaning right now to asking about the bonus, but haven't decided timing on doing that or on anything else. A few comments:

Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelB View Post
You say the 401(k) contribution is discretionary, so I wouldn't take it for granted. There are two aspects of variable compensation working against you. Retention is always a factor, and there is a fixed total $$ amount available for the team. The amount not given to you is probably available to give to someone else. It might be because you work from home, but a more likely reason is because you are leaving. The bonus to you is of no benefit to them, neither do they see any downside by reallocating it.
Whether they make a contribution to anyone at all for 2012 is discretionary as is the amount. It is not discretionary as to who gets the contribution. Anyone eligible under the plan for it gets it in proportion to salary. So, I have concern that they will single me out. Under the 2010 plan description, I was eligible and I did receive it every year including last year. The thing is that they plan could have theoretically been changed last year so that I'm not eligible (regardless of whether I stay). I doubt that it has, but is possible. It is also possible that they might be able to find not fund it all (they always have but anything is possible.

I don't think that the reason I didn't get a bonus is because I am "leaving." I had no plans to leave. Nothing changed during 2013 except I started working from home instead of commuting. In my own mind, I was continuing as long as I felt like doing it (albeit I have very little tolerance for BS at this point).

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This is an important point. I would be inclined to say nothing about the bonus right now (no point becoming enraged and/or harming a long-term relationship). However, I would probably calmly mention it as a deciding factor at the time I turned in my resignation.
If I don't end up asking, I think I will do that. If I do end up asking, but stay for awhile I will probably do that when I do resign.

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Originally Posted by pb4uski View Post
I was in a very similar situation - a highly compensated employee in (a larger) partnership and received a bonus and worked almost exclusively from home other than travel to client sites. I would just ask since it is bothering you. Probably a longshot that there were no bonuses paid. If you were excluded, I would then tell them that your "deal" was to be treated as an employee proportionally based on your chargeable hours and that includes participation in the bonus plan and if they want to treat you as a contractor then you would need to renegotiate the rate you are paid to include all forms of compensation, benefit costs, overhead and profit. See what they say. If you can clear the air and want to stay then do so. Otherwise give them a month's notice once the 401k contribution is made and if part of the reason is the lack of a bonus be clear about it.

The reality is for every hour you work for them they are collecting from clients 2-4 times what they are paying you so every hour you work for them is easy money to them.
This really seems to be on the money. I did think about trying to renegotiate the deal. But, at this point, my desire to stay is fairly minimal so I would probably be more likely to give the notice and move on. (Of course, that is what I said last year and ended up being talked into staying).

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Originally Posted by GT1 Doug View Post
Question 1. Ask HR or the plan administrator. Anything else is a guess.
Question 2. Ask your employer. Anything else is a guess.
This is a small firm. There is no HR, just an office administrator. Basically asking the question would be tantamount to saying I'm resigning.

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Originally Posted by DFW_M5 View Post
It sounds like the $s are relatively trivial, so why agonize over asking or outright leaving? I would simply ask yourself do you want to keep working or not. The answer to that should tell you whether to ask or hang in another 3 months.
That's a good question. I guess it is partly inertia - I've been used to working there and it isn't that onerous so in some ways it is just easier to carry on. The other part is that working part-time has been more of a security blanket than anything else. DH and I have kids in college so having part-time income (it is very well paid part-time income) helped smooth the large spending during this period (it will go down a lot in 3 years when kids are out of the house). While not necessary according to Firecalc and the Fidelity planner, it was still a nice cushion. And, there was always I guess the security blanket aspect that I could always return to full-time work (I've been told that I could). Realistically, I think that ship has really sailed, but I mentally I think I saw it as a comforting worst case scenario possibility. Once I resign entirely, then I don't have that security blanket (although, truthfully, I think it is really very tattered and wouldn't keep me warm in a blizzard).

The other practical reason is that if I stay a few more months it is a little more money that I don't have now and more money is good. On the other hand, I do realize that is a rationale under which I could justify never quitting entirely.

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Originally Posted by Ready View Post
If it were me, and the company allowed me to work on my own terms (from home, minimal hours), when everyone else in the company is expected to go into the office every day, I don't think I would get all that worked up about a bonus. I mean really - you work from home 8 hours on average per week. How much can you expect?

If you don't enjoy the work or find it a distraction to enjoying your retirement, then it's just time to move on. But I wouldn't expect a bonus working for a company in such a minimal capacity.
I expect it because it was the deal we made. When I was negotiating the deal in 2010 I gave them 2 hourly rates, one was $10 an hour higher than the other. The lower rate would be with bonuses and raises and the higher amount was without. They chose the lower amount and lived up to it (giving me bonuses and raise) over the past 3 years until this last year. That is what irks me.

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Originally Posted by Ronstar View Post
I suspect that the reason is that the partners agreed to not give bonuses to part time employees.
That is possible, I guess. But, again, that is contrary to our deal so I would have expected the person I work for to have called me and told me. He knows that was my deal, knows I've received it every year I've been part-time, so I would have expected him as someone who has had a very close, over 30 years relationship with me, to call me and tell me. I think the fact he didn't if that is what happened would upset me much more than the amount of money I didn't get.
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Old 01-03-2014, 06:18 PM   #26
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I think it is in the best interests of both you and your boss to ask about both the bonus AND the retirement contribution. His failure to communicate clearly about these issues has affected your relationship with him and your attitude toward the company. If he wants to retain good people, he needs to communicate more clearly so that there are not misunderstandings, which lead to resentment and, in cases like yours, incentive to leave rather than stay.

You are in a great position because you can go any time. I'm in a similar but much more awkward position -- was expecting a large bonus this year to account for the fact that I agreed to take on a much higher level of responsibility at work, but only got a minimal bonus that was much less than even the lowest levels suggested by management in the context of performance review/salary increases this year. But since I am waiting to see what happens with my position long-term, DH and I decided it was best not to question or challenge it because we don't want to jeopardize my chances at the possible permanent promotion to the higher level position I am filling on for. The whole thing has definitely affected my morale, however, and my perception of both my immediate boss and the whole organization. And moved me some distance down the road toward FIREing. In limbo for now while I wait to see what happens long-term. But if this eventually leads to me deciding to leave, I will be very forthright with my boss (who I like and respect) in my exit interview about how his/HR's bungling of this situation led to my decision to leave.
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Old 01-03-2014, 06:41 PM   #27
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Definitely ask and given that they chose the lower hourly rate, to include bonus and such, I can easily understand while as matter of principal this irks you and as you say more money is great.

It sounds like you have a long and generally cordial relationship with the guy who uses your services. So I think it is worth explaining your frustration just to help him out in the future.

It sounds like your BS bucket is the size of coffee cup and they just dumped a coffee put on you. From the prospective of your employer they probably think they are doing you a favor. She only wanted to work a couple days a week, we meet her wage demands, and we let her work for home. What the hell more does she want?

It is pretty hard for employers to really understand that A. I don't really need the money. B. I don't really want to work here, so my BS tolerance is really low.
The shoe isn't often on the other foot in a employer/employee relationship so it take some getting use on there part. Ideally you want the employer to say look we have bent over backwards to accomodate you, but we can't give part time employee bonus or whatever the excuse is. At which it will be much easier for you to say, ok I really wanted to retire for years, aloha.
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Old 01-03-2014, 08:30 PM   #28
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If you believe you have a deal with them to pay you a bonus in lieu of a higher hourly rate then you have every right to bring it up. Of course it always helps to have these deals in writing so as to avoid misunderstandings, especially over the passage of time. Nevertheless, if that's your deal, that's your deal and you should address it.

I retired from a very busy career earlier this year, and now I have a very casual part time, home based job that is very low stress and lets me do whatever I want while still making some money. I consider this my "fun" money. It makes me feel better about spending, rather than relying entirely on savings. My firecalc numbers are 100%, so I suppose I should feel just fine spending down my savings, but I just like having a little extra income coming in.

Only you can decide if you still like having this extra money, or if you're completely comfortable with your numbers and it just doesn't matter anymore. If it doesn't, then it sounds like it's just time to move on. Good luck with it.
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Old 01-04-2014, 06:17 PM   #29
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I would ask, that way you know reasons.

If the reasons do not suit you, then take the line:
"Take this job and shove it"

Yes extra money is nice, but not if you must have it. From what you describe, you mental health is worth more than the small financial security benefit.
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Old 01-08-2014, 09:50 PM   #30
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I'm just catching up on this thread. I completely understand the "security blanket" thing and letting that go is HARD. I also think you feel personally and professionally insulted about not receiving a bonus. I would feel the same way.

OTOH, you have a sweet work from home arrangement where you get paid fairly well for minimal stress so maybe you can just think of that as your bonus instead. Its all a frame of mind.

In your shoes I would probably ask about the bonus, just to get it out in the open (and because I know I wouldn't be able to NOT ask !). You could then voice your displeasure. I'd bet that discussing it openly would help you put it behind you and allow you to assess the "should I go ?" decision without emotional baggage.
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Old 01-09-2014, 08:00 AM   #31
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If I had an employee working 8 hours a week, I would NOT expend political capitol to get a raise for this person ... too small potatoes. Save it for the full timers.
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Old 01-10-2014, 09:47 PM   #32
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If I had an employee working 8 hours a week, I would NOT expend political capitol to get a raise for this person ... too small potatoes. Save it for the full timers.
It isn't the issue of a raise that is bothering me. It is not getting the bonus that I've gotten every year since I went part-time. It is that I had an explicit deal to be paid $X an hour and get bonuses and raises instead of being $more than X with no bonuses and raises.

In this case, I also don't think it is an issue of my mentor not expending political capital. We have worked together for over 30 years with me his closest right hand person. It is hard to explain just how close a relationship this is. I have no doubt that he would fight for me and has done so on a couple of occasions even after I went part-time. I think that one of two things is most likely to be true. He fought and lost. Or, he thought that when I changed to working from home that that changed things in a way that made the original deal different. I certainly didn't think that, but maybe he did.
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Old 01-11-2014, 07:37 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Katsmeow View Post
It isn't the issue of a raise that is bothering me. It is not getting the bonus that I've gotten every year since I went part-time. It is that I had an explicit deal to be paid $X an hour and get bonuses and raises instead of being $more than X with no bonuses and raises.

In this case, I also don't think it is an issue of my mentor not expending political capital. We have worked together for over 30 years with me his closest right hand person. It is hard to explain just how close a relationship this is. I have no doubt that he would fight for me and has done so on a couple of occasions even after I went part-time. I think that one of two things is most likely to be true. He fought and lost. Or, he thought that when I changed to working from home that that changed things in a way that made the original deal different. I certainly didn't think that, but maybe he did.


As many people have said, I think including me, that you should ask...

Why have you not done so
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Old 01-11-2014, 09:30 AM   #34
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As many people have said, I think including me, that you should ask...

Why have you not done so
+1 Worst case, they get mad and fire you.
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Old 01-11-2014, 08:47 PM   #35
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As many people have said, I think including me, that you should ask...

Why have you not done so
I probably will ask the next time that I talk to the person in question. He was out of town for the holidays and I haven't spoken to him since he got back.
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Old 01-11-2014, 10:51 PM   #36
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Ask him. The check may be stuck on his desk. If not, send him a bill for the $10/hr difference. That was the deal, no? Remind them that they had their choice. Since they did not live up to it, you would be within your rights to invoice the difference. All of this assumes that everything you've described is in writing.

Good luck

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