Rewarding Yourself for a Job Well Done

Rewarding Yourself for a Job Well Done | CorporetteWhat are some good ways to treat yourself for a job well done? Reader L wonders how best to reward herself with a fun splurge…

I just learned that I received a huge promotion at work, for which I’ve been working very hard for a very long time. I would like to do something special for myself to celebrate, and was thinking about splurging on something as a reward. Many of my male colleagues will do something like buy a very nice watch for such a promotion, but I’m not really interested in that. What other options would you suggest? For example, I thought investing in a really nice handbag might be an option, or I’m also considering going on a bucket list trip somewhere exotic. I would love to hear your suggestions and those of other readers, and while I know this is a very personal decision, I thought it could make for a great discussion.

Great question, Reader L (and congratulations)! We’ve talked about how to celebrate a win, and even the splurges I thought were worth the money, but this is always a fun topic.

Given Reader L’s particular question, though, I have to say: TAKE THE TRIP IF YOUR SCHEDULE WILL ALLOW! A lot of readers noted that I didn’t include trips on my list of “best splurges,” but my schedule back then was always way too busy to fit in a bucket list trip (ditto for my friends’ schedules at the time). Material goods like watches usually won out over experiences. (Even if you can’t go out of town, though, I suppose you can always schedule a pampering spa day at a fancier hotel in your city.)

Readers — do you reward yourselves with travel and materialistic splurges, or do you celebrate work successes by treating yourself in other ways? 

(Pictured: Bali Paradise, originally uploaded to Flickr by Sean McGrath.)


N.B. PLEASE KEEP YOUR COMMENTS ON TOPIC; threadjacks will be deleted at our sole discretion and convenience. These substantive posts are intended to be a source of community comment on a particular topic, which readers can browse through without having to sift out a lot of unrelated comments. And so, although of course I highly value all comments by my readers, I’m going ask you to please respect some boundaries on substantive posts like this one. Thank you for your understanding!


  1. I’d buy myself a nice new road bike, because I love biking. Trip sounds like a great idea too. I wouldn’t buy a really expensive purse because I don’t notice the difference between a $200 ish purse and the ones that are WAY more. I’m not really into jewelery but I could see getting a cool ring or bracelet if you like jewelry.

    • I agree with this p’ost. Personaly, I rewarded myself by takeing a week off at the Flander’s Hotel b/c Myrna had a vacation comeing so we decided to go to Ocean City. There was NO drinkeing there so we did NOT have any drunk’s slobbering over us or propositioning us to do anything we did NOT want to do so it realy was wonderful! I endorse vactioning in Ocean City!

      My dad say’s that I should always reward myself for a job well done, so that is what I finaly did. I never rewarded myself when I became a partner, even tho mom baked me a Peach Pie. Yay!

  2. Anonymous :

    If you don’t have kids but think you might someday, TAKE THE TRIP.

    — New Mom regretting all trips not taken.

    • Diana Barry :

      +1. We have not taken a trip out of the country in 10 years.

      • Diana Barry :

        Lest this sound too doom and gloom: we have prioritized spending in other areas (fixing up our house, saving for retirement, etc.) and are more lazy travelers than unable to travel. I’d rather take a driving trip close by than have 3 car seats on the airplane, for example! :)

        • Exactly. My kids would probably be fine on international trips. I’m just not up for the challenge of traveling internationally with all the necessary baby crap. My few vacations are going to actually be relaxing and easy!

    • Arthropod :


      Like Diana Barry, my kids don’t make me stay at home. But when I could have travelled, I didn’t, and if I could change one thing in my life it would be this.

      Also, IMO, the higher up the food chain you go, the harder it is to take a trip. In my next life, I am going to go into a profession where I am fungible (so when I leave, I leave and someone else takes over; somehow ERs have figured this out but law firms haven’t).

      • Laid-Off Lawyer :

        While I agree with your post, I disagree with you that lawyers aren’t fungible.

  3. Moon Moon :

    I did a trip for the same reason, but I did just a weekend at Canyon Ranch in Miami. I flew out from the east coast Friday afternoon and back early Monday so I missed basically one day of work, and it was a great recharge for me. It was also in late fall, so it was a nice warm getaway. So if you can’t take enough time off, you could just think about doing a weekend someplace more expensive that feels luxury.

  4. oil in houston :

    For promotions, I prefer to buy myself something that will last, like a really nice bag or diamond jewellery. For really big promotions I’ve done item for me + weekend with SO to a nice place, this way he got the reward of my hard work too (as it no doubt impacted him in the process).

  5. Take the trip! I enjoy my memories of my post-bar exam Virgin Islands trip and family Yosemite trip five years ago far more then any material goods that I own.

  6. Right-hand ring. I bought one with my first (relatively tiny) bonus (which I admittedly “earned” only by the fact of being hired in BigLaw). 8 years later (and married with a left-hand ring) it still means a lot to me.

    • Sappy anon :

      Bought myself a tiny diamond pendant in honor of my 30th birthday. At the time, I had just accepted a great job (at about twice the pay of my previous job) and was about to move across the country to accept it. I was also 100% single at the time and wanted to have a tangible reminder of what I could accomplish on my own. To this day when I wear the pendant I feel proud and independent.

    • +1 on the right hand ring. I designed and purchased one for myself when I got my promotion, and it reminds me of what I accomplished as well as gives me pride in my work.

  7. For me the answer is trip, no question. Put my passport to good use.

  8. Jewelry! I love it and to justify buying something for myself, I buy things to mark milestones or accomplishments. Some part of every bonus has meant a piece of jewelry, getting my MBA, recovering from a serious illness, also have meant jewelry. I had a sales job with monthly bonuses and prizes and I saved them all until I had enough for size able diamond studs.

  9. If your significant other or family supported or were impacted by the time you needed to spend working hard, a reward that includes them would be meaningful. It could be a weekend away or just a very nice dinner out that you know is one of their favorites.

    For a personal reward, there is always jewelry, but I also like to sometimes do something for our home–so perhaps a “nice to have” piece of furniture or art or something for entertainment.

    If you drink, a shared bottle of champagne is fun as well!

  10. Anonymous :

    Take the trip! Experiences bring people more happiness than material things.

  11. I second the trip too. Anonymous 2:48 pm is right, experiences are more satisfying in the long run than material things. And if possible take someone along with you, especially people whom you haven’t had quality time with for sometime. Congratulations on the promotion!

  12. AnonLawMom :

    Trip would also be my #1 choice if time off isn’t too hard. If that wasn’t possible, I’d go for a piece of jewelry that I could pass down to my daughter or a new investment-type piece of art for my home. Thinking big, another option is moving to a new home (or buying a first home).

  13. Little Red :

    I’d do the trip if at all possible. If not, then something for my home. I’m looking to upgrade my fifteen year old couch so that’s where my money would go if not on a trip.

  14. I’m about to get a decent work-related windfall. Most will go towards the mortgage since the payoff date is in sight, but I do plan on replacing the shutters on the house and buying a mid-range (~$2000) used piano once I find one I like.

    DH may also be getting a new laptop.

    Normally, I would agree with the trip advice, but DH’s current obsession is churning money to rack up flight and hotel points, so we can take a nice overseas trip every year without paying for it.

  15. LittleLaw :

    Go for the option that means the most to you, that you will carry (physically or mentally!) with you for a very long time. For some people, it’s a physical item that serves as a reminder that you did really, really well. For other people, it’s a life experience that you can look back on in tougher times to remind you how excited you were at this moment, something you don’t have to show other people if you’re a bit more private. Rewards carry the meaning that you want them to.

    Another consideration: if you have a lot of purses already, is one more (even a splurge!) going to mean that much? I usually use material items as a goal (“Once I’ve saved X amount, I’ll get Y!” or “Once I’ve achieved A, I’ll treat myself to B!”). For me, personally, I’d take the trip for a great promotion. Keep that elated feeling going and enjoy celebrating before you really crack down on those new responsibilities!

    Others have made some good points, RE: kids, time off from work that you should also consider. So this is kind of a comment about the sentimental side.

  16. I worked for months killing myself for a better, more secure job with benefits, and what kept me going was spending my little free time picking out a new road bike. I’m delirious every time I ride.

    That said, DH and I celebrated our 50/40 birthdays the same year, so as a total splurge, I took him on a surprise trip to London to see Eric Clapton at Royal Albert Hall. 5 days, 4 nights, I hired a college student to stay with the kids, and it was our first trip to the UK. Amazing, unforgettable, and sometimes you just have to be a little nutty!

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