Normally, we try not to focus too much on the lives of journalists. But since we kind of made the "poverty of journalists" part of the bonus story with our quote in AM New York, we'll stretch our editorial scope a bit further in that direction in order to provide a bit of evidence to back up our claims.
Also, because his email is the "Email of the Day" (but, see our policy on these "of the day" features.)
To give you any idea of how totally crappy most journalists' Christmas bonuses are, if they even get one:
I was the business desk (editor, reporter, page designer) at a small chain-owned 30K daily. Christmas comes around and the company gives us certificates for $25 turkeys at the local grocery store. WTF am I going to do with $10/turkey, much less $25/turkey, I'm a single guy and if I turned the oven on in my bungalow it might blow up, I've never used it. And what really grinds me is that I know it’s a trade-out, meaning it cost management nothing. (For those who don't know: publications often "trade-out" ad space for services and crappy employee gifts.)
So, I before I go out drinking heavily with the copy desk when they get off at midnight, I slide on by the grocery store, because I know all the really ace cashiers work the night shift. Making up some story about how I'm allergic to turkey or something, I convince the cashier to let me swap out the turkey for $25 worth of wine. She noddingly agrees. After all, the certificate says $25, who cares what the $25 is, I can see her reasoning. I encourage this reasoning. I go to the wine section and get three bottles of their best stuff (it was a small community in the South, drinking wine was for Jews, Italians, and Communists), slip her my coupon and meet the night desk at Archie's. I don't share the wine and I don't share the secret (I was already in enough trouble with the powers that be for being at the top of salary scale ($28K, circa 1997) and still bitching about my paycheck.
There: arbitraged a useless piece of paper into 3 bottles of very average wine.
Maybe I should have gone to business school.
Two more notes:
1. Bess may be right that you are probably a douchebag. Bess is wrong on the bonus issue. This year they're up, next year they're Brian Hunter. In any year, we're the happier men. (and women, to include Bess.)
2. With the IM dialogues reprinted, I have now developed a huge crush on Bess. Pass it on
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