6 Terrible Reasons Your Boss Might Love You

For anybody that works in a job where you have a boss, you want them to like you and be satisfied with you, right?  I know I always strive to be the best employee I can be, and while I know I’m not perfect, I have more often than not been considered an employee who contributes.

But, there are times when your boss might love you, for all the wrong reasons.  What does that mean?

Well, it’s simple.  You might be a sucker!

If your employer ‘loves you’ for any of the following reasons, then maybe it’s time to change your strategy a little bit

  1. You don’t take all of your time off – If you don’t take all of your time off that’s given to you in the course of a year, you’re essentially working for your employer for free for the time you leave on the table.  They calculate your salary as part of a total benefits package which includes time off.  Unless your employer pays you dollar for dollar for time that you don’t use, you’re essentially giving them back part of your compensation package.  Good for them.  Not so good for you.
  2. You work during your time off – Some people might take time off but how many people do you know still check their e-mail or call into meetings?  Even if you’re on a cruise ship, the fact that you’re still doing work makes it beneficial for your employer and not you.
  3. You don’t contribute to your 401(k) match level – I’ll admit, this one doesn’t apply to me, because we had our match cancelled and have yet to have it re-instated, but if your company offers a match, and you’re not contributing to the level, you’re leaving money right on the table.  Again, that’s all calculated as part of your total compensation, so take what is coming to you.
  4. You always say yes – If your boss is always giving you the extra tasks that pop up, you might be getting taken advantage of.  If you’re not overly busy, then by all means, say yes when asked to do something.  But, if you’re totally swamped, it’s OK to say no some times.  I say that with some stipulations.  First, make sure that you are legitimately busy with tasks that your boss is aware of.  Second, don’t say ‘no’ and just leave it.  Bosses don’t like that.  Instead, lay out (very high level) the tasks that you’re working on.  Third, present options.  Again, bosses don’t like when you simply say that you can’t do something.  If you lay it out like “I’m really tied up with this project for the rest of the week and the customer is expecting me, but how about I look at this on Monday?” you’ll end up in a situation where your boss will be given options to choose from, and if they’re any good at their job, they’ll appreciate your commitment to your current tasks.
  5. You never offer suggestions or input – Companies and bosses don’t like loudmouths, so if you’re constantly piping up about problems you have or things you would do different if you were in charge, then chances are your boss has tuned you out long ago.  But, on the opposite end, if you say nothing, you’re missing out on a great opportunity, and a good boss will appreciate your input.  In fact, one thing I’ve found is that bosses hate when employees don’t provide input about something, then leave their job, offering their ‘input’ during their resignation.  Bosses aren’t mind readers, and if it’s eating you up on the inside that you haven’t been sent to a training class in three years, then go talk to them about it before you up and jump ship.

A lot of these things depend on the style of your boss.  Some bosses want employees who don’t say anything, and if that’s the case, then these suggestions probably won’t make much difference.  Personally, though, I’ve never worked well with these types of individuals.  These suggestions tie with bosses who are leaders and who actually take the time to realize that their success and happiness is tied to that of their employees.  If you have a boss like that, make sure you’re working with them and not falling into any of the traps above.

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Raise or 401(k) Match?

A co-worker and I were talking the other day and we started discussing the pros and cons of getting a salary increase versus a 401(k) match.

Our company cut both in 2009 and there’s no shot that we’re getting both raises and reinstatement of the 401(k) match.  Frankly, I’m not convinced that we’ll get either.  We’ll probably find out in the next month or so if there is any benefit increase for 2011, though as I said, I’m not holding my breath.

I’m curious as to what the thoughts are as to which is better.  My co-worker was squarely in the corner of the 401(k) match, as the tax benefits and encouragement to save for retirement outweighed the benefit of having a larger paycheck.

I agree with him on these points, but he went so far as to say that a 1-2% 401(k) match would be more favorable than even a 3% raise.

This is where I’m not convinced.  I figure, even with the tax implications, I could get a 3% raise, dedicate 1% of that to increased contributions in the 401(k) and still end up with probably 1.5% more take home pay.

His argument (and again, it was hard to disagree with him) was that, while he and I would probably dedicate some or all of a raise to a 401(k) match, the majority of people probably wouldn’t, and would just take home the money (and spend it).

What do you think?

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