With the economy still in recovery, it's not surprising that most of you didn't receive bonuses to reward your hard work in '09. While it can leave you feeling sour or let down, don't let the lack of a bonus ruin your chances at staying focused. Instead, be proactive, acknowledge your disappointment, but don't let it detract from your chances to excel in 2010. Here's how:
- Don't Take It Personally: Remember it's been a rough year for everyone. Companies across the board have suffered from the economic climate, and the best thing you can do to get back on track is to remind yourself that monetary rewards are scarce for everyone. It doesn't mean your work isn't valued, there just may not be the budget to hand out financial rewards to every employee. Instead, relish compliments from co-workers and let that motivate you to continue great work in the new year.
- Deal With It On Your Own: The worst thing you could do is become a part of an office chorus of complaints. Sure, there may be a group that feels underappreciated, and it's easy to get caught up in the gossip around the lunch room. But, don't become a part of it. Instead, handle the situation professionally. If you feel that you really deserved a bonus, set up a time to meet with your employer one-on-one to discuss how you can better position yourself to be considered for a bonus or salary increase. Your boss will admire your initiative and is more likely to take your concerns seriously, just be sure to research competitive salaries to back your positioning. Sites like Vault.com or Salary.com can help you determine what's fair.
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- Be an Asset to the Company: If your boss is taking the time to meet with you one-on-one, use the time constructively. This is not an opportunity to list your complaints or fault the company for unfairness. Instead, show what you have to offer. Express your interest in staying and growing with the company, and ask what opportunities you have to do that. Your employer is much more likely to reward an employee with a positive attitude who expresses a real enthusiasm for the work they're doing.