Got My Share Options

I received my share options award letter today.

We get awarded a certain number of initial shares based on pay grade and work performance. The final number of shares awarded will depend on the company meeting its KPIs. The final awarded shares are distributed over a period of 3 years.

I have been on this scheme for 3 years, so every coming year will see me redeem 3 years worth of share options for each year I stay with the company. I have been averaging 2000 shares for each year of work so far, so that makes 6000 shares in total to be awarded in each of the coming years. Pretty insignificant huh? However, our company share prices are hovering around $3 per share. You do the maths.

We have also been having fantastic business years for the last 2 to 3 years to date. The economic crisis hardly touched our industry. So the year end variable bonuses have been quite substantial. My basic pay package is around 60K a year. With bonuses and exercising of share options, my total income from the company hit 137K last year. And was about the same in 2008. And looks to repeat this year.

With this kind of compensation, it gets really hard to think about leaving the company. I don’t hate the company; my colleagues are nice, welfare benefits are reasonable. The problem is that I have been put on the management track and taken away from the engineering aspects of the work which I enjoy. I can’t tell you how much I hate managing people, schedule planning (Gantt charts, eww!), making snap decisions with little input etc etc.

There have been discussions with my bosses to let me go back to the engineering work which I enjoy. It would be a demotion of sorts but I don’t mind. Even if they bring my basic pay back down to the engineer levels and pay grades. I would still be in for a good bit of the money with the bonuses and share options. However, my bosses don’t like the idea of demoting anyone. It spoils my credibility with my peers and it spoils their credibility with their peers (since they were the ones to recommend my promotions in the first place).

So I am stuck with work that I hate unless I leave. And there are all sorts of financial consequences of making such a decision, which will make this post too long if I go into it now.

So right now, I will just celebrate the extra money. But tomorrow – no, I definitely don’t love ya.

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