I remember starting my second job in journalism – as a news editor for Fairchild Publications, publisher of Women's Wear Daily and other fashion business pubs. I started the gig on Jan. 3 because I was going in for a root canal the day before.

It wasn't until much later that HR told me I wasn't eligible for my 401(k) match that year because I hadn't started my job at the beginning of year. My new editor hadn't mentioned it to me – he probably didn't even know. One of their little rules. Except that Fairchild was owned by Cap Cities, which later was acquired by ABC in a deal that made a lot of Fairchild employees wealthy. Me not so much. Because of one of their little rules.

Cut to last week when AOL announced that only employees who are "active" on Dec. 31 will be given a matching contribution. And that total wouldn't be distributed until the following year.

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