So You Didn't Get That Bonus You Were Expecting—Now What?

Arianna Schioldager

Create & Cultivate is an online community and creative conference that serves up serious boss-piration (like MyDomaine’s own co-founders, Katherine Power and Hillary Kerr) to female entrepreneurs looking to revolutionise the digital landscape. So who better to tap for intel about the practices of successful women than Create & Cultivate’s editorial director, Arianna Schioldager?

Well, the weather outside is frightful—and so is the holiday gift list you’re currently compiling. After all, presents dont buy themselves. You need something for Mum and Dad, a Ruth Bader Ginsburg colouring book for your colleagues—oh, and definitely a New Year’s Eve outfit for yourself.

Youve made plans to charge your credit card with the gusto of a rogue bull in Pamplona, all because youre sure youre getting that bonus. You know, the year-end payout that your boss promised. A special thank-you for the long hours, extra steps, and goal conquering. Its as good as in the YSL bag youve got your eye on—or is it?

If you are 99% sure you’re getting a payout this holiday, take the following into account before your wide-eyed expectations ruin your 2017.

Until It's in the Bank, Don't Bank on It

Giving is better than receiving, and buying gifts for loved ones is part of the joy of the season. However, if youve started buying under the assumption that youre going to pay off those bills, bills, bills with your holiday bonus, you need to put the card down and walk away.

Unless you are 100% certain that a year-end bonus is heading your way or was already direct deposited, stay smart with your funds. You dont want to start off your New Year in crippling December debt.

Shop within your budget and save your bank account—because the only thing you should be breaking is a glass ceiling.

Find Other Ways to Boost Your Work Standing

A bonus can provide a nice little end-of-year bump as well as the psychological recognition from your employer that youre valued and doing a good job. Were primates, after all, and a little incentive in the form of cold, hard cash can go a long way. But bonuses are not always in the cards.

That doesnt mean you cant improve your position. If your boss has made it clear that no one is getting a bonus, but a bonus is deserved, you should research what other ways you can increase your net worthat your company. In the same way your overall net worth (money saved, investments, properties) is more important than your salary, you can apply that concept to your job.

Think of your job as a package—not individual parts—that propels you forward. A bonus may be nice, but its not factored into your career standing. To point: No one in a job interview will ever ask what your 2016 year-end bonus was. They will want to know your title, your salary, how you climbed through the ranks, and the incentive goals you hit.

Don't Take It Personally

Twenty-sixteen was a hard year for most companies, and we are still in the process of climbing out of an economic downturn.

So if it was a rough year for your organisation, if there is a lot of spending that needs to happen in Q1, or if (and think on this) you dont actually deserve a bonus, theres a good chance youre getting a holiday mug and a hug.

Try not to let it get you down. Unless youre the only person at your company that isnt getting a little something extra, then its time to truly assess your shortcomings and have a chat with your boss. A bonus is a reward, not a given. Be realistic about what you deserve and what you should spend, and plan to make 2017 your most financially responsible year yet!

Need more career-savvy advice? Read the seven things all successful women do when they wake up.

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