“Bonus Disappointing? – Here’s How to Respond”

Published on March 3rd, 2015 by Alan L. Sklover

“When you permit disappointment to fester in your soul, it often leads to discouragement.”

- Joyce Meyer

ACTUAL “CASE HISTORIES: Brandon, 42, was a Software Sales Manager for a large software firm headquartered in St. Louis. He worked from his home in Northern New Jersey, responsible for managing salespeople located in four states. His compensation consisted of a modest salary, but a significant bonus opportunity, which was based on a seemingly simple formula. Determining Brandon’s annual bonus was a simple matter of calculating the year-over-year increase in sales in his territory, and applying an agreed percentage. Or so it seemed.

In the previous year, certain unexpected events made calculating Brandon’s bonus not so simple a task. First, in February, two of Brandon’s star salespeople resigned after booking large orders. Then, in May, his territory was adjusted by taking away Connecticut and adding Vermont. In August, Brandon was asked by the CEO to manage a company-wide effort to roll out a new software product – which took a lot of his time and attention – after being assured his efforts would not result in a lower bonus. In November, a large client moved its headquarters from New York to Texas, removing it from Brandon’s territory.

In March, when Brandon was told of the amount of his annual bonus for the previous calendar year, Brandon was sorely disappointed. It was far lower than he had expected because its calculations did not include the effects of the unexpected events.

Brandon came to us for help in resigning from his job, even though he did not yet have another one. He felt fooled and foolish. Instead of helping him choose between the alternatives of underpaid or unemployed, we counseled him to seek a third path: resolving the problem, that is, to remain employed and be fairly paid. He did stay, and he did try to solve the problem. To his satisfaction, (a) he received a supplemental bonus, (b) he was granted an additional week of vacation each year, and (c) he and his manager devised a plan to ensure that he would not be short-changed in the future.

LESSON TO LEARN: Annual incentive bonuses generally come in two varieties: (a) “discretionary” (based on subjective factors), and (b) “formulaic” (based on objective metrics.) Whichever type you may get, chances are that sometimes you may be disappointed. There are better ways of redressing the problem, and over time we have come upon one way that we have found works better than others. We refer to it as “Past, Present and Future.” Read on and you’ll see what we mean.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: To address bonus disappointment, in almost all circumstances we suggest a focused, respectful and effective appeal to either the client’s manager or an executive further up the chain of authority, presented by means of an email, addressing three themes. Here are the three basic elements of the “Past, Present and Future” method we default to when helping clients who have received disappointing annual incentive bonuses:
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Sklover’s Thought for the Work Week

Published on March 2nd, 2015 by Alan L. Sklover

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“Being responsible sometimes means pissing people off.”

– Colin Powell

I have always greatly admired Colin Powell. He is learned, experienced, realistic, plain spoken and forthright. He knows that saying what is right, and doing what is right, do not always result in being popular. Indeed, he has his share of critics, and even enemies. But even his critics and his enemies know he is one of those rare people who does not focus on how popular he may be. That is his strength, his integrity, his power and his gift.

© 2015 Alan L. Sklover. All Rights Reserved

[If you would like to contribute a favored quote, saying or proverb, please submit it to us at info@SkloverWorkingWisdom.com].

Tortious Interference – Key Words & Phrases

Published on February 27th, 2015 by Alan L. Sklover

Key Words

What is the meaning of:

“tortious interference”?

“Tortious Interference” means, to use the vernacular, “sticking your nose into another person’s business (including employment relation) where your nose has no right to be.” It is a legal claim, available to both employers and employees, in the employment law context.

It is a basis for a lawsuit that requires these elements to be proven: (1) a business or employment relation, (2) that was damaged (3) by an unrelated third party, (4) without good reason and/or maliciously, (5) with intent to injure.

An example of “tortious interference” affecting an employee would be if a former employer (or any other unrelated person) wrote to a new employer something like “Did you know that your new employee was investigated for child neglect 20 years ago?” which letter got the employee fired.

An example of “tortious interference” affecting an employer would be if a competitor offered money to one of the employer’s employees to share trade secrets, such as the employer’s list of clients, customers and vendors.

Tortious Interference is what lawyers call an “Intentional Business Tort,” meaning an intentional act to hurt someone in their business relations or reputation. It can be raised where someone has a contract, or just where they have a business or employment relation without a contract.

In these hyper-competitive days, we see more of this kind of conduct, and thus more of this kind of lawsuit.

Be watchful of others with different interests than yours, and be careful of your own conduct, as well.

Not that it is any of my business . . .

P.S.: To read more on this subject, [click here.]

© 2015 Alan L. Sklover. All Rights Reserved. Commercial Use Strictly Prohibited

“If my employer pays my attorney fees, am I taxed on the amount they pay?”

Published on February 24th, 2015 by Alan L. Sklover

Question: Last year, I hired an attorney to help me negotiate my severance package. When we were finally finished, I asked for one more thing: that my employer also pay my attorney’s legal fees. They agreed to pay the first $5,000 of the legal bill.

Recently, I received a tax Form 1099 saying that I was responsible for paying income taxes on that $5,000. Is this right?

Pensacola, Florida

Answer: Dear Ashley: I am not a trained and experienced tax attorney, so I don’t offer tax advice. But, on this point of tax law, because it is related to severance, I can give you a clear answer: both you and your attorney must pay taxes on the same $5,000. Here’s why:
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Sklover’s Thought for the Work Week

Published on February 23rd, 2015 by Alan L. Sklover

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“Many times what cannot be refuted by argument can be parried by laughter.”

– Erasmus

Boy, do I ever wish I had a better sense of humor! In navigation and negotiation of workplace issues I have seen some real charmers, jokesters and merry-makers get away with so much because of their ability to make others laugh. Laughter is not only the best medicine, it is often the best leverage in many situations, as well. When the going gets tough, the tough get going, but the shrewdest among us often tell a joke, or share a funny story. Did I ever tell you the one about . . . ?

© 2015 Alan L. Sklover. All Rights Reserved

[If you would like to contribute a favored quote, saying or proverb, please submit it to us at info@SkloverWorkingWisdom.com].

Alan L. Sklover

Alan L. Sklover

Employment Attorney
and Career Strategist
for over 30 years

Job Security and Career Success now depend on knowing how to navigate and negotiate to gain the most for your skills, time and efforts. Learn the trade secrets and 'uncommon common sense' of Attorney Alan L. Sklover, the leading authority on "Negotiating for Yourself at Work™".

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