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The tricky business of bonuses


In these dismal economic times, nothing comes in handy quite like a 5-step program to reclaiming your bonus. Of course, delicacy is key.  With job cuts spreading like wild fire and the Treasury’s seemingly never-ending bailout, everyday taxpayers aren’t going to be rooting for you and your six-figure paycheque.

But as Bloomberg‘s Michael Lewis cheekily points out, all is not lost. You just need to rethink your strategy:

“If you are one of those people currently sitting inside a big Wall Street firm praying for some kind of bonus it may already have dawned on you that you need to rethink your approach. It’s no longer any use to hint darkly that they had better fork over serious sticks or you’ll bolt for Morgan Stanley. There’s no point even in thinking up clever ways to make profits for your firm: who cares how much money you bring into Goldman Sachs if the U.S. Congress doesn’t allow Goldman Sachs to pay bonuses? ”

While Lewis pokes fun at the contentious topic, bonuses have sparked some serious debate in recent weeks, even prompting some banks to consider giving their bonus structure an overhaul. But they may want to tread carefully.  Bankers could demand pro rata bonuses from their firms after they’ve been laid off, even forcing the case into litigation (though such cases usually favor the employer, law experts say.)