In the Christmas Classic, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”, Chevy Chase plays the infamous Clark Griswold, a character of such heartbreak and struggle, who is also eternally optimistic and always makes light of the toughest situations, that fortunately makes us realize our life is ok.
When he loses it there is a good reason. In the first “Vacation” movie, Wally World was closed. Certainly I can relate to his blow up there, especially after our crazy RV trip across the US this summer. In the third installment, this about the holiday season, Clark has not only been planning on putting in a pool, he has put down a deposit of money he doesn’t have yet, and tells his whole family. So obviously he blows his lid when he opens his Christmas bonus and it’s a one year subscription to the Jelly of the Month Club.
Rightly so. I’d be ticked too.
He then goes into a tirade worthy of some good VidAngel filtering.
And then brother-in-law Uncle Eddie takes matters into his own (bless his little heart) hands and kidnaps Clark’s boss, wrapping him as a Christmas present, and subsequently the entire city’s police force shows up at their house to further ruin the night.
This type of thing has not happened in our home. Yet. But it begs the question: What do we have in common with Clark Griswold?
Quite a bit more than we may realize.
In this instance it is his expectation of the unspoken promise of an assumed bonus for his faithful work that year.
Most companies never promise a bonus, and those that do are often a bit disappointing, as the average bonus is less than $1,000 (read article here).
Some may say anything near $1,000 would be incredible, where others have started digging the pool and are now freaking out.
Just this week Yahoo Finance reported telecom company, CenturyLink, announced there will be no bonuses this year as there have been in years past. Oh boy. Here’s the email from the boss.
However, when we change our expectation, we are often not as disappointed. I don’t mean to lessen our expectation, but to lengthen our expectation, and be grateful for what we get.
I recall one year I received a 5-figure bonus from a client who thought I had under-charged for my services. I was floored. It was totally unexpected, as bonuses rarely come our way in showbiz. Upon booking me the following year I charged what I was worth and subsequently got no bonus afterward. Oh man! Haha.
What did that teach me? Charge less and hope for a bonus? No way. It taught me to be grateful for every little thing, because after a few years of rousing success with an incredible event, now that client no longer hires me! Dang!
This holiday season, just BE GRATEFUL. That’s the secret.
Be grateful for health.
Be grateful for family.
Be grateful for a job.
And if you have none of those things, be grateful for the chance to consider your life’s legacy, the quiet stillness of peace, and the lack of stress from an angry boss.
If you receive a bonus this Christmas, show gratitude for the thought that counts. Every little bit helps, no question, even if it barely helps.
If you are the boss trying to determine what to give employees at this time of year, and have perhaps spaced it because you’ve been so busy, this is your clarion call, you have a few days left. DO SOMETHING! Anything will be appreciated especially this late in the game. Even a gift card to Amazon, iTunes, or flowers by mail.
Just be sure not to gift a membership to Jelly of the Month Clubs.
We all have a lot in common with Clark Griswold (although most of us will never fry the cat under the couch while grandma says the Pledge of Allegiance for the family dinner prayer). We all envision the surprise our families will cherish, we all have high hopes for miracles to occur on our own 34th street.
And it all comes back to simply being grateful for every little thing, and all else is a cherry on top, or at least a tasty bite of surprise cat food in the green Jello.
Jason Hewlett, CSP (Certified Speaking Professional), CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame, is a Keynote Speaker for the largest corporate events in the world. His primary message, The Promise, is essential for Leadership, Management, Sales, Marketing, Direct-Sales Companies, and is a combination of engagement and entertainment meets inspiration. Jason has even received standing ovations from IT guys. He has been acknowledged as life-changing by Conference Attendees, C-Level Executives and Hollywood Elite. jasonhewlett.com
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