mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Why people not getting bonuses shouldn't make you feel THAT good..

this article, about a guy who is "only" getting a $25k bonus in addition to his $135k salary, has gotten quite a bit of cat-calls from across the web, such as this fwf thread where I first saw it.

While my numbers are nowhere near as high as his, I can relate. I was informed this week that overtime where I work would now require approval in advance. I'm honestly not sure how much effect this will have on me. Last year, I worked a ton of overtime - I made about 25% of my base salary as OT, putting in over 600 hours. Obviously, I'm not going to make anywhere near that this year, although because there is always a need to fill odd schedules, as well as because I'm involved in a major project where I have a somewhat important function, I probably will get at least some.

As my boss is fond of reminding me, OT is never promised or guaranteed - it's something extra. But if you get it in almost every paycheck long enough, you get used to it. Now, not having it won't completely destroy me financially - it's not like I've taken on monthly obligations that I can't meet. I'll still be able to pay my bills.

What I won't be able to do, however, is buy as many extras. In the past few months, I've made a number of splurges, ranging from parts to build a new PC to a Denali jacket to a new DSLR camera and a Wii Fit. Without OT - or even with it and the knowledge that there probably won't be much more of it - I will be thinking more carefully before making those kinds of purchases - and probably also before making smaller splurge purchases, like the occasional take-out dinner or piece of clothing that I don't really need. It also means I probably won't be able to put much away in savings - which means putting off long-term purchases like home renovations or a new car.

The reason that I think stuff like this should concern more than just me is that I'm guessing there are a lot of people in my situation - people losing OT, bonuses, not getting raises, getting hours cut, ect. These are the kinds of things that a lot of organizations are doing - I'm in higher ed, which isn't exactly a cyclical industry - industries that are are probably getting hit way harder. These also are the kinds of things that don't show up in unemployment numbers, but impact consumer spending and the economy.

Because, like me the people going through those things will cut out spending on the extras. And those extras are what drives numbers like retail sales figures up. People make spending cuts at the margin - nobody stops buying food or toilet paper because they lost their jobs or had their bonus cut, but they do stop or put off buying things like tv's and cars and vacations and dinner out. And that makes me think that lots of people are going to be cutting back on those things, and that the economy is going to be doing worse than I thought it would be.


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