How do you feel about your job? Hate it? Love it? Indifferent, but you need a paycheck?
If your boss came to you and said, “Here’s $5,000. You don’t have to do it, but if you want to quit you can take this $5,000 with you.”
Would you grab the check and run? Would your eyes well up as you ask, in a small voice, “Am I being fired?” Or, if it’s the right kind of workplace, would you look around and ask, “All right. Who’s pulling my chain?”
Amazon, I’m sure you’ve heard of them, has made news by saying they will give any employee, no questions asked, up to $5,000 if they want to leave. It’s payment on a sliding scale where you get $1,000 if you’ve been there at least two years and up to $5,000 if you’ve got seven years in.
When asked why they’re doing this, Amazon officials said they don’t want anybody working for them that doesn’t want to be there. Considering that Amazon is rumored to both underpay and overwork their employees, they could be handing out a lot of $1,000 to $5,000 checks.
Actually, Amazon has had the program, called “Pay to Quit,” in place for several years and claim most workers don’t take it. I’m sure they think that means they’re a great company to work for and all employees go home with smiles on their faces.
What they probably don’t realize is that it’s 2018 and $5,000 simply isn’t that much money anymore. Sure, below a certain level, where most of us live, having $5,000 all at once is a great thing. If it’s all in twenties, it can seem like a nice stack of cash. But think of everything you need to live. Think of all the bills you have to pay. Think of how much your yearly income amounts to. Then ask yourself how far $5,000 would take you.
I’ve been doing this job so long it sometimes seems like I never did anything else, but there were a couple of jobs before that I would’ve left in the dust for $5,000. Of course, this was back when the minimum wage was $3.50 an hour and you were considered rich if you made $300 a week.
Now that I’m an adult and you’re considered to be one mistake away from living on the street if you have a household income less than $24,000, $5,000 is nowhere near enough to make me walk away from my job. I’d need at least the equivalent of two years pay. One year to kick back and finally figure out how to market my novels (six of them!) and then a second year to try and find a job after everybody tells me, “We don’t care about those stupid books you wrote!”
What I’d really like is for an employer to hand out a $5,000 check while saying, “Thanks for all the years you’ve given us. No, you’re not being fired or asked to leave. We just really like you and want you to know we couldn’t do it without you.”
I know. You’re more likely to have Beyonce (or whoever your celebrity crush is; don’t deny you have one) show up at your door and say, “I saw your picture and I think you’re the one.”
Other things more likely to happen than having your boss give you a check for $5,000 just because he/she likes you: winning the lottery, playing in the Super Bowl, impressing your kids (teenage version), meeting Santa Claus, a snowstorm in June, saying “that didn’t hurt” after falling off the roof of a ten-story building, Tommy Millsaps saying Trump might have possibly, maybe did something slightly incorrect.
Not very good odds. But you can hold out hope. Some bosses are great people and realize they simply couldn’t do it without their employees. I’ll give you a moment to stifle your laughter.
After all, the only other option is they show you the door, and there isn’t a $5,000 check in your greedy little hands.