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GUEST COMMENT: 10 legitimate methods of inflating your bonus

Overall, this year’s bonuses will probably be significantly down on 2009. Peter Stringfellow may be holding his permed head in despair, but that doesn’t mean that you have to too.

If you can get real and begin to consider your so-called colleagues as mere competitors for the diminished bonus pool (as they are surely viewing you) then maybe you can turn this thing around.

Maximising your earnings in investment banking isn’t just about doing your job well. It’s also about office politics. During my 12 year City career I estimate I earned 30-40% more than many ‘colleagues’ who were more able, diligent and productive than me.

Here are the top ten tricks that helped me earn far more than was possibly justified by my paltry contribution to the bottom line.

1) Blow your own trumpet

The City is no place for wilting flowers. If you achieve anything remotely impressive make sure everyone knows about it.

2) Steal your colleagues’ thunder

Let’s face it; any achievement by one of your colleagues is probably a result of your work really. If you can’t sell that idea to senior colleagues then you’re in the wrong job, my friend


3) Kiss the boss’s bottom (figuratively)

Sounds obvious but I saw socially inept dingbats fail to do this year in year out. Subtle sycophancy towards the head honcho who’s ultimately deciding your bonus at the right time of year could add 10-20K to your final figure.

4) Take out senior but still only mid-ranking colleagues who could influence your bonus

Many juniors forget that the big cheese is a busy man who’ll be taking soundings from people lower down the pecking order when slicing up the bonus cake. These people are particularly susceptible to flattery (see point 3).

5) Get a job offer elsewhere

Six out of my twelve bonuses were guaranteed, which is a particularly pleasing state of affairs during troubled times. I achieved this by either moving, or threatening to.

6) Be ‘accidently’ overheard talking to headhunters/competitors

Firms will only ever pay you as little as they can get away with. If they think you’re sought after and they need your services then they WILL pay up.

7) Express disgust at your previous bonus

If you foolishly indicated that you were satisfied with the paltry sum you got last time, it will have been duly noted and you’ll receive something similar this year. Every year, on hearing the bonus amount from your boss, no matter how outrageously generous, immediately do an impression of a bull dog licking urine off a nettle. Practice this in front of a mirror before the all-important meeting.

8) Work like a maniac during ‘the critical month’

If you have a big research note to publish or a major marketing schedule to organise, for God’s sake make sure it coincides with the month when bonuses are decided (usually November). You could also ask friendly clients to email your boss positive comments.

9) Blackmail

Desperate times call for desperate measures. A ‘friend’ once sat at his boss’ desk discussing the highly controversial time that his superior had gone into the back room of ‘The Crazy Horse’ strip club in Vegas with two delightful ladies called Simone and Ebony. He recanted this sordid tale whilst staring the photo of the boss’s wonderful family that was prominently positioned on his vast mahogany desk. Unsurprisingly, he was paid generously.

10) Do your job well

If you can make yourself vital to the organisation or genuinely deliver profits it will obviously play a role in your remuneration. However, make sure you discover what the primary influences on your bonus are. For example, as the leader of a team of analysts I knew that it was the Extel / Institutional Investor external rankings that played the biggest role in my pay and hence they became my chief goal (even more so than commission.)

If you’ve managed to get a decent job in the City then you’ve probably got a reasonable brain in your head. For God’s sake don’t just use it to do your job well, use it to maximize your earnings potential! After all, you haven’t entered the Square Mile to cure cancer or fulfil your artistic ambitions; you’ve done so to make as much cash as you possibly can. If you don’t get the office politics bit right, your ‘colleagues’ will!

‘Geraint Anderson is the author of Cityboy – Beer and Loathing in the Square Mile.’ You can visit his website here and you can buy his book here.

Comments (21)

  1. hmm good advice and nice picture

  2. Nice one mate. A checklist to be used if you eventually want to get kicked out of your team.

  3. I earn 90k total at age 26, is this alot?

  4. @theking – it rather depends what you do. if you are a hooker then I suspect thats in line. if you are a dustman then its you are top quintile.

  5. where on earth is Mr Provinvial Town and his friend Charlie these days? Seems like someone found out who AliDesai was and disposed of the vile creature..

    AliDesai_Hunter Reply
  6. SILENCE, theking! Several of my ugliest chimps takes home more than that in a month. Anyone earning less than 1 million money pounds per annum ought to be fast tracked to remedial burger flipping classes for ex-cons. Then their children should be banned from the gene pool to avoid diluting the next generation of Major Global Players with their fourth rate genetics. YUCK!

  7. Not used to read so long articles… reckon points 1,2 & 3 would take anybody quite far though…

    no need to read further.

  8. all tried and tested by Charlie who used to work for Goldman and now lives in my small provincial town. Charlie pointed out to me that Geraint must be running low on cash as he is churning out the same old rubbish and perhaps he should move to our small provincial town where a small gaff does not cost an arm and a leg.

  9. I suspect theking’s real name is Wayne…

  10. @MAJORGLOBALPLAYER: you seem to be an even bigger … (it’s for you to imagine what) than the author of this article. thank goodness not everyone is like this!

  11. @MAJORGLOBALPLAYER: you seem to be an even bigger … (it’s for you to imagine what) than the author of this article. thank goodness not everyone is like this!

  12. Perhaps you misunderstood me the first time around. I command a total renumeration package in excess of 90,000 per annum at the tender age of 26. I buy champagne in Abacus on a Thursday night and I am a massive player.

  13. Geraint,
    It’s people like you who have turned this once respectable job and industry into a casino full of greedy backstabbers!

  14. this is actually good advice and if you observe your colleagues you will see that most of them have started doing exactly this. tis the season of bonus management….

  15. @ theking. Same age and earning approx. the same, seems standard, I’ve heard others are on mega bucks, i.e good 200-300k at the same age so nothing special…

  16. This article is an absolute shocker for an MD who, quite by chance, happened to glance at the screen. Not a cancer specialist but just a run of the mill MD R&D guy, who just so happens to be doing somehting useful for the community. Compensation levels are indecent, arrogance is outrageous and frankly the City and its counterparts all deserve is the sack and a jolt back to real life . It is really pathetic to see an ex conman bragging about his 12 yrs in this exclusive world and let’s hope that poor old young guy will come up with somehting more useful than this type of article

  17. @Theking
    ” I buy champagne in Abacus on a Thursday”

    Your mum must be so proud…

  18. @ theking. Oh, right. Fair enough then.

  19. This guy needs the ability to come up with some new material if he thinks he’s new career move from IB into journalism is going work over the long term. I’m sure I’ve read basically the same stuff from him before.

  20. the expression “one trick pony” springs to mind, can’t imagine why

  21. Nice to know someone thinks blackmail is legit…….

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