02 July 2008

Seems like a fair price to me!

How much would you pay for the luxury to not give a crap about something?

Yesterday, at work, we were given the numbers for the bonuses we will be getting at the end of the week. We recently switched to a Performance Based Compensation plan that involves all kinds of ratings and algorithms and numbers. It's kind of cool, actually, since I tend to prefer numbers (because I went to MIT or why I went to MIT...the eternal question).

Yesterday, one of my coworkers came over and asked (aggressively? Am I projecting?) whether they had messed up one of my numbers, because they seemed to have messed with hers. In the previous round of bonuses, they had screwed up some input or another and instead of fixing it then, they promised it would be fixed in the future.

She stood over my shoulder and watched as I opened my spreadsheet (I had not checked it before she came over - the reality is that I forgot that this spreadsheet is downloaded as a one page PDF, and our bonuses are right there in a bright yellow box, which the eye is immediately drawn to on our great big 19" monitors). She saw my bonus, then pulled a printed copy of her own out of her pocket, opened it a sliver, and said, "Nope, they didn't screw yours up, just mine," and walked away.

Fortunately, paper is not opaque when it's lit from behind, or I wouldn't know that she made a whopping $300 more than me - the cost of not passing the LEED exam. She did not get paid more than me based on merit, or because she's more awesome or pretty or better than me in any other way than she studied her ass off, gave up her life for a while, and passed an exam. We've already been through how I felt about not passing, and how I spent all of seven hours studying, and I knew that my bonus would be the consequence. Were she actually a friend, she would have at the very least looked away when I opened that file, but because she doesn't care about other people, it's completely beyond her comprehension not to be an asshole (otherwise in an ideal world, she would have shown me hers, too, because I honestly don't mind sharing these things with friends (I should have seen the whole thing coming, since it was barreling at me like an freight train)). I've known this about her for a while; It's not her fault I'm so damn gullible.

So, against my will, I started justifying the whole thing in my head last night; not because I need anything to change, but because I needed to feel better about the fact that she is a jerk. I know for a fact that when I started, I was paid more than another one of our co-workers, presumably because I graduated from MIT and, even though it is from an accredited university and they have worked here for three years (one year longer than me), their degree is from a less prestigious school. More people may have heard of her school, but it's still not MIT - and she has one year less work experience. I wouldn't normally think about these things so much, because I'm perfectly content with what I make relative to the market these days, but she annoyed me yesterday, and so I started rationalizing that she should go ahead and be happy with that $300, because I'm 89% certain it's absorbed into my slightly higher paycheck. Plus, I can always pass the exam at the end of the summer, if I decide I want to waste two weeks of my free time. I know she only feels she has to make other people feel badly about themselves so she can soothe her non-existent self esteem. Knowing that doesn't make me want to punch her any less.

So. I suppose that $300 is the cost of not giving a shit around these parts. Reasonable?

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