Before you approach your boss for a Bonus . . .

So your holiday bills are rolling in and you realize, dang, I need some cash, FAST! Maybe your boss will give you a bonus, right? Well probably not, if all you have to back you is your need. What have you done for your boss lately?

If you have been working diligently – making your boss’ life easier, then you have a fighting chance. However, if you’ve been goofing off or distracted, do not go ask for a raise! In most cases the, “It never hurts to ask,” mentality is good, but when it comes to getting your manager to part with a few pennies . . .

The logic is this: you have a finite number of opportunities each year to request an upgrade, i.e. a bonus. If you squander those opportunities, well, you are totally out-of-luck no matter how great you are. There is a certain seasonality to the process. February – just after the books for last year are closed and your boss knows if there’s some extra cash. July – as your boss budgets for the forthcoming year and enjoys the Northern hemisphere summer, and late-October as your boss’ College Football team is heading for a National Title (a few weeks later if NFL fans). Sure, it seems ridiculous, but there are generousity spikes at those times during the year. I studied and put that very information to use myself while running a not-for-profit years back, grew our donations 5000%, seriously. . . .

But here’s the catch. You have to have been extraordinarily productive in the months just prior to the request or your opportunity is null and void. You will be much less successful (i.e. fail) if you’ve been slacking off just prior to one of these “generousity inflection points,” GIPs. To maximize your GIP potential, work your tushie off for the 2+ months prior to the GIP. For the February GIP, make sure you work extra hard December and January. Got it?

Of course what I really advocate is working your tushie off, excelling beyond comprehension ALL THE TIME, but if you’re one of those folks who has to pace himself, well, use the GIP guide.

So what do you do if a GIP is not soon enough or you know you have to wait out this GIP? First, become very aware of what your boss needs so that she looks awesome to her boss. Second, do it, or at least help her do it. Find a way to insert yourself into your boss’ career path so she can’t help but appreciate you. Avoid passive-aggressive tendencies . . . if you are helping her, do it without expectation of gratification.. You are creating the foundation from which you will be able to approach her for more: money, time, responsibility later.

Go forth and be prosperous!

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