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Miss Manners: My boss keeps forgetting to pay my bonus

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Dear Miss Manners: I have been at my new job for nearly two years, and I sincerely enjoy what I do. When I was originally hired, the benefits made my decision to switch jobs much easier. I receive a regular hourly salary and yearly raise, and the other incentive was a quarterly bonus based on commissions.

The first two bonuses came as promised, but the third bonus was never received, even though my numbers were higher than ever. The fourth bonus, again, was not received, though my numbers were still high. Now I’m nearly due for my fifth bonus, and I’m afraid this one will not be honored, either.

The confusing part is that my employer will make remarks such as, “Oh, I need to get your bonus to you,” or, “I keep forgetting your bonus! So now, with what you’re due, it’ll be a really good one.” So he is remembering them, but does not follow through. Then again, he is not in the office daily, and I may only see him once a month.

I don’t know how to kindly ask my employer why he hasn’t given me my last two. Where I’m from, it’s considered rude to question such things, but not only are my numbers consistently high, but I also really do go above the call of duty.

I’m in a mental pickle: I don’t want to insult my employer, but I also want either my bonuses or a reason I’m not getting them. But primarily, I want my bonuses.

Although she does not know where you come from, Miss Manners doubts that, even there, it is considered rude to count your earnings — or insulting to correct a payroll error.

Notice what she just did: By characterizing this as an accounting error, she avoided questioning your boss’s motives, honesty or memory. It’s simply another transaction that the business wants — needs — to get right, making you the good employee. Tell him you really would like to check off this year’s bonuses, and ask what you can do to facilitate things.

Dear Miss Manners: I go to a weekly drop-in fitness class, which some of the students have been attending for years. I myself have attended for years, but on and off — not as religiously as some.

There is one group of about eight younger people in the class who have become good friends outside of class. I always see photos online of their get-togethers, and I sort of wish they would invite me.

Recently, when we were all sitting around after class, they started talking about a little party they had at one of their homes. This went on for at least 15 minutes, while I and another woman just kind of sat there with nothing to say.

Was that rude of them? Is there anything one can say at that point? I just left after a while.

You cannot invite yourself to someone else’s party, no matter how much seniority you have.

But as these young people are rude enough to discuss plans that do not include everyone present, Miss Manners would not have thought this was a great loss. She does suggest absenting yourself before 15 minutes have elapsed, because it will spare you the humiliation of being excluded, and it might even make them reconsider their own behavior.

New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday through Saturday on washingtonpost.com/advice. You can send questions to Miss Manners at her website, missmanners.com. You can also follow her @RealMissManners.

©2022, by Judith Martin

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