Half of my professional life I worked for government, where there is no such thing as a holiday bonus. Since then I've worked for failing old media companies, start ups and stingy family operations that can't or won't afford bonuses.
So imagine my surprise when I get back from vacation to see that I got paid a little less than half of a very substantial bonus last Friday. And it's the biggest one I've ever had, even though it's only a portion. They operate on the base percentage and multiplier system that has become popular in a lot of places, the multiplier being based on some company performance metric between 0 and 2.
I hesitate to call this "corporate America" since it's still very much a dotcom start-up, but it's nice to work for a company that rewards its employees for the company's success. I thought that was starting to become a scarce concept. There have always been three things that I didn't like about working for The Man: Lack of growth or advancement potential (skills/responsibility), disregard for financial rewards and no independence in terms of how and when you work. Admittedly that last thing I still don't really have, but the time off and flexibility for leaving early now and then makes that a little easier to deal with.
If I'm really careful, and pay myself out of the business a little, I might finally pay off all of my personal debt. That's pretty exciting since I started the year at around $15k in the hole (not counting business stuff). I give myself a lot of credit for being so disciplined and still manage to live the J-Pizzie lifestyle.
Now if I can get the biz under control in the first half of the year... life will be financially pretty cool.