Windfalls & Confusion

By | Friday, May 13, 2011 Leave a Comment
There are a variety of reward programs here at my day job. Beyond the normal compensation package and whatnot, there are ways that you can earn a bit more by going "above and beyond." And that goes all the way through the organization, so people on the more operations side of things get recognized about as often as those in more strategic roles. (Though there are considerably fewer in strategic roles, so the same names tend to come up a little more often.) All in all, it's a reasonably meritocratic system.

One of the reward set-ups -- the one I tend to find myself a recipient of most often -- is an award of points. The number of points depends on the importance of the work and/or the quality of what you did, but they tend to range between 25 and 100. A person can redeem those points in the company online store, mostly for gift cards to a variety of businesses with each point being worth about a dollar. So if I get two awards of 25 points each, I can "purchase" a $50 gift card for Hat World, for example.

Now, despite there being a pretty diverse and wide-ranging selection of stores, the only one that has anything I'd really consider worth buying is Amazon. Which is totally cool, of course, since Amazon has such a wide selection. So my points generally get translated directly to Amazon gift cards.

But what happens is that these points get awarded based on when I happen to get something especially good done. And someone chooses to recognize me for that. And their boss approves the reward. And the electronic paperwork gets filed. I'm always told exactly what I'm getting any given reward for, so there's rarely a disconnect in that regard, but the timing is a bit unpredictable. I can never really say, "Well, I did great on Project A so that means I'll get X number of points by Date B which I can turn around to spend on Book Y."

That's not a complaint, by any means. It's just stating that I can use the system to plan any book purchases I make. (Amazon, of course, has much more than books, but that's what I tend be most interested in.)

So here's my problem. When these rewards come up, I've either gotten the books that I really wanted already (that's usually a pretty short list since I started reading webcomics) or I don't even know where to start. Additionally, it means my book buying tends to come in bulks. So when I get books, I get a fair number of them at once and it takes a while to read through them all.

And you know, that is NOT a bad problem to have!
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