DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have been at my new job 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 like, "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, I 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 why I'm not getting them. But primarily, I want my bonuses.
GENTLE READER: 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.