Where did the money come from?

My last paycheck in December was slightly higher than I was expecting. I really didn’t pay that much attention mostly because, due to a variety of reasons, the last paycheck of the year can be higher or lower than the previous 23. Besides, higher is better and I wasn’t complaining.

During the first week of January I was checking to confirm that Benjamin was listed as a beneficiary for some employer-provided benefits. While poking around the HR site I noticed that I had received a base salary adjustment on December 16th and it was titled “Adjustment”. For those of you who don’t work at IBM let me say that this is unusual – most salary adjustments happen in the middle of the year and are clearly labeled with “Promotional Increase” or “Merit Increase”. This end-of-the-year adjustment was just bizzare. After doing my confused-but-happy Engineer’s Dance I made a note to ask my manager about it during our monthly one-on-one meetings and didn’t think more about it.

Fast forward to today.

At the end of the one-on-one with my manager I asked her what the adjustment was for. She said that while she’d love to take credit for it, she had nothing to do with it nor had my previous manager (I had a total of 3 managers last year) mentioned anything about it. She concluded by recommending that I call the Employee Service Center (ESC) to make sure that it wasn’t a mistake and that they wouldn’t want the money back later. At this point I was confused but not particularly worried.

I called the ESC and explained to the helpful service representative what had happened and they forwarded me onto Payroll. I explained to Payroll what had happened and they forwarded me onto HR Solutions. I explained to HR Solutions what happened and was placed on hold for several minutes. After a while the very friendly guy said that the system that would tell him the information is down and that the only thing he was able to discover was that some manager had to have put in the request for the adjustment. He said that he was unable to make outbound calls from the ESC but that he would put a note in my file so that if I wanted to call back tomorrow or later in the week the next person I contacted would know to pick up where he left off. I thanked him and decided to try a more direct approach.

I IM’d my previous manager and asked him if he knew anything about it. He said that he couldn’t take credit for it either although he did know that some of these “adjustments” were made during the December timeframe for members of his team but that “[they were] communicated to management and the adjustments were provided for good reasons”. He reassured me that he guessed it wasn’t a mistake but that “someone may have dropped the ball” in letting me know what was going on.

That brings us up to the here and now. I’m both pleased, pissed, and paranoid all at the same time. I’m pleased that there’s a possibility that the adjustment was intentional. I’m a little pissed that if it was intentional somehow I slipped through the cracks for notification of why I got it. Finally, I’m paranoid that my elation at having been financially “hugged” for my work last year was all just someone fat-fingering the wrong employee number and that not only will my nice little “hug” be taken away but that they’ll want their last two “hugs” back too!

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cpeel

I'm Casey Peel, a software validation manager with Spaceflight Industries in Seattle, WA. Space, the final frontier! I volunteer as a developer and system administrator at Distributed Proofreaders, the largest contributor of public domain ebooks to Project Gutenberg.

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