Finances & Money

And it keeps getting better [Money]

You all know I got a new job, even in this down economy. Well, part of the decision process for taking the job included what would happen if my current employer (at the time) demanded the tuition money back from this semester. They have a policy that if you leave within a year of the reimbursement, you owe that money back. In my case, if I didn’t stay until January 2010, I would owe about $5,000.

During negotiations with my new employer, I mentioned this concern and they decided to offer to reimburse the expense if I did have to pay it back. I really wasn’t expecting that generous of an offer, especially without any argument, and it sealed the deal on the decision.

So last Friday was the day of reckoning. Either my old company would pay out my last week’s pay and my vacation days (over 3 weeks saved up) or I wouldn’t see a dime, and maybe even owe some after taxes.

My old company paid out the PTO and my last week’s paycheck! Now I can go get my flat screen TV and new recliner! Actually, I just paid my $2800 tuition for my summer class with it (tuition went up too). I have a chunk of money left over, but I have other plans for it than material goods.

But it gets better

When my new company gave me the verbal offer, which they do before the written offer, they forget to mention the $5000 reimbursement. I reminded them. Then HR called to verify the written offer before they sent it out. The guy didn’t have a clue what I was talking about and had to call me back. I stuck to my guns to make sure the verbiage made it into the official offer though.

I waited days for that offer letter, because it turned out that the university couldn’t figure out wording that would make their accounting department happy. In the end, they just said “would make $x salary and a sign-on bonus in the amount of $5,000”.  I noticed there was no contingency in the offer, but I wasn’t going to push it seeing that I’m already getting an awesome job with a pay raise to boot.

So on last Friday, when I got the paychecks from my last job, I told my new boss that it looked like they wouldn’t have to reimburse me. But just an hour or so later, he called me into his office and told me to shut the door. I thought he was going to yell at me for standing in the hall eating a doughnut (the secretary made me do it!), but he had other plans.

He told me that HR decided that regardless of whether I owed the money back or not, they would pay out the $5,000 as a sign-on bonus. And he promptly handed me the check (minus taxes). Wow. Just WOW.

As my friend said, “A university paying out a sign-on bonus in THIS economy???”. I couldn’t believe it either. My boss was all jovial as it wasn’t coming out of his budget, but I thanked him many times anyway and literally said “this just keeps getting better”.

What have I done to be so blessed? Honestly, I don’t feel very worthy of such good fortune when I’ve been such a bad friend, husband, brother, etc. recently (mostly due to stress from school, but partly my own bad attitude). Now I’m afraid this is all building up to a catastrophic ending, but should I feel that way? I’m finding it hard to just feel happy about my good fortune because I still don’t feel like I’ve earned it. I haven’t had to fight for any of it.

As for all this windfall, the plan is either to pay down our second mortgage or pay off my truck. You might notice I owe over $12k on the truck, so I would take out money from our savings to do so. I’m still contemplating my options, but I will say that splurging on something for myself isn’t an option right now. I’ll let you all know what I decide.

About the author

Clever Dude


  • Good deal for you but this is but another example of how higher education is irresponsible with money, causing tuition increases that exceed the rate of inflation and sending students out into the world with massive student loan debt. When it comes to managing money and budgets, universities are the worst of the worst.

  • Wow! Lucky you! I am extremely jealous.

    I do agree with Mr. ToughMoneyLove though, universities are definitely not good at managing money. Although, I don’t know if problems like this are necessarily responsible for the tuition increases- I think even with sign on bonuses and the like, Universities are still making a handsome profit and are raising tuition because they can, since college is now almost a requirement for everyone.

  • Oh, please, do not feel you don’t feel like that! I’m so pleased that you are being rewarded for the inspiration you’ve given me and thousands of others. Infinite Source always knows what It is doing! Now that stressors are gone you can turn your attention to relationships and make up for any shortcomings you perceive. Enjoy your good fortune to the max!

  • Congratulations on the new job. If you feel like you haven’t earned it yet, don’t worry. Being the new guy, I’m sure that you’ll be working harder than you know it in no time.

  • Congratulations on your new job and your pulling in a nice singing bonus as well.

    Best of luck to you in your new endeavor.

  • I think you’ll earn that money many times over before all is said and done, so don’t feel like you don’t deserve it. Take it, be thankful, and do what you need to do. I think it’s good that you’re going to be wise in spending the money; however, I think treating your wife to a nice dinner isn’t unheard of either – especially if you feel like you’ve been a bad husband (your words, not mine! 😉 )

  • WOW! Well done! I think you earned some of the good luck/windfall by good negotiating. You could have never mentioned the tuition reimbursement at all to your new employer and gotten nothing.


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