Every year at this time I start to think about asking my boss for a pay rise.
Unfortunately, at the same time I am reminded of some unfortunate instances over the years where that has proven to be a less than sensible idea. This year has been no different.
Let me explain.
I started in the Royal and Ancient career of journalism some 40 years ago in the backblocks of the South Island.
Naturally, having just left school and the $4 a week I earned from a few hours at my local dairy, I was happy (read: ecstatic) with the $81.55 I found stuffed into a little brown pay packet each week.
But youthful exuberance being what it is I discovered beer and bought a car very early on in my employment. As a result my pay, massively boosted though it was, simply wasn't enough. Thus I decided to ask for a pay rise.
I was running through my approach to the boss, a crusty veteran of decades in the hot seat by the time I had arrived on the scene, and drove into the carpark at the back of the building with my words well-rehearsed and fixed firmly in my mind.
Unfortunately my driving skills weren't fixed as firmly in my brain and as I swept into a parking spot I clipped the car next to me.
Aghast I went in search of the owner but after 20 minutes of asking around I gave up, left a note under the windshield and hurried into work intent on getting the pay rise I knew would now be spent on repairing someone else's car.
Luckily the great man was in residence and listened intently as I began my preamble.
I didn't get much further beyond that when his distraught wife swept into the office.
"Somebody has just crashed into my brand new car," she sobbed.
I won't bother you with the remainder of that particular part of this tale. Suffice to say I didn't bother asking for the pay rise.
I felt much more confident decades later in another newspaper office where a boss new to town would be the subject of that year's approach for a pay rise.
To, er, "help" my cause I offered to take her husband out for a bike ride.
In all honesty the pay request was a side issue. He didn't know anybody and was a keen mountain biker, as was I at the time. So I offered to take him out. But i won't fib. I knew it could help my chances.
Off we go and we're having a great deal of fun.
"Follow me," I yelled as we plunged into one particular trail I felt confident he could handle.
Big mistake. The huge crash and yell I heard behind me as I sped ahead was a bit of a giveaway.
I dismounted and sprinted back up the track to see him separated from his mangled bike, sitting forlornly on a tree stump, white as a sheet with a broken arm which put him off work for weeks.
I had to ring the boss, after calling the ambulance, to tell her I'd "broken" her husband. That was not the discussion I had been planning to have.
And so to this year.
I needed to go to head office and the boss and her husband very kindly put me up during my stay.
The day I decided to make my pay rise approach I'd been running late and had grabbed my wallet and phone from their kitchen table and dashed out the door.
We had been head down in a work project for the morning when the office phone rang.
It was the boss' husband. He'd lost his mobile. Had I seen it? He'd searched the house from top to bottom to no avail and now his entire work programme for the day had gone out the window.
I'm sure you know where this is going.
I had my phone sitting on the desk in front of me but while he waited I searched my bag just in case and, sure enough, there it was, right at the bottom.
Which is kind of ironic when you think about it. Because that's exactly the same spot on my Must Do list I have now put my latest pay rise request.
• Kevin Page is a teller of tall tales with a firm belief too much serious news gives you frown lines. Feel free to share stories to firstname.lastname@example.org .