Person X should negotiate harder. Neither option is clearly a raise for them, and if they’re due a raise, they should loudly complain they’re not getting one.

As to the math, without knowing the distribution of probability over bonus amounts, this does not have a clear answer. If $30K is above average for expected bonus next year, take option B for the guarantee. If it’s below the mean, take A and hope for a bigger bonus.

There is a slight advantage to the raise, if it’s equal to the average expected bonus. You get the raise paid to you spread throughout the year, and the bonus only at the end of the year. So you can invest or earn interest on the earlier payments. Also, if you’re looking for a new job that doesn’t give fake raises, the increased salary is more durable in your expectations, in addition to being partly paid in the meantime while you search.

Person X should negotiate harder. Neither option is clearly a raise for them, and if they’re due a raise, they should loudly complain they’re not getting one.

As to the math, without knowing the distribution of probability over bonus amounts, this does not have a clear answer. If $30K is above average for expected bonus next year, take option B for the guarantee. If it’s below the mean, take A and hope for a bigger bonus.

There

isa slight advantage to the raise, if it’s equal to the average expected bonus. You get the raise paid to you spread throughout the year, and the bonus only at the end of the year. So you can invest or earn interest on the earlier payments. Also, if you’re looking for a new job that doesn’t give fake raises, the increased salary is more durable in your expectations, in addition to being partly paid in the meantime while you search.