Are job perks underrated?

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dot_com_vet
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Re: Are job perks underrated?

Post by dot_com_vet »

JohnnyH wrote:I had an internship that paid $300/mo... BUT, following perks: health insurance, car + gas card + insurance, cell phone, PC, internet, project budget, rent in $1m house + all utilities. I had to buy food and beer, that was basically it.

Gave all that up to make a wage that wouldn't have covered half of all that, and pay taxes for the privilege!... Swimmin' upstream, ftw!

The gas card was especially weird for me, I drove all over several states... Once I took the job, instant austerity; no cell, no driving, no heat... Girl I was dating went into shock, and left ;)
!
That's always surprised me - companies treat interns really well (they should). But the perm employees, not so much.

Chad
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Re: Are job perks underrated?

Post by Chad »

JohnnyH wrote:I had an internship that paid $300/mo... BUT, following perks: health insurance, car + gas card + insurance, cell phone, PC, internet, project budget, rent in $1m house + all utilities. I had to buy food and beer, that was basically it.

Gave all that up to make a wage that wouldn't have covered half of all that, and pay taxes for the privilege!... Swimmin' upstream, ftw!

The gas card was especially weird for me, I drove all over several states... Once I took the job, instant austerity; no cell, no driving, no heat... Girl I was dating went into shock, and left ;)

Intern job was very low pressure as well. There was an unspoken agreement, "You're an intern and make no monies, so I don't expect much."

... Pretty sweet gig, almost like a perfect retirement... Might need to go back!
I had a similar experience when I was coaching in college. You start out as a "grad assistant", so you get a small stipend, but you get free cafeteria food, free room, and free classes. Technically, I was making more than the full time coaches.

EdithKeeler
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Re: Are job perks underrated?

Post by EdithKeeler »

My job really has no significant perks. Free coffee. The option to work at home one day a week, but there were so many requirements and issues attached to working at home I decided it just isn't worth it. Um... we have a candy jar at the office with free chocolate. Lunch a couple of times a year. Our bonuses are generally pretty small, thought we do have a small pension plan, and the pay is pretty decent. Benefits are decent.

Perks don't mean that much to me. A good thing, huh?

apocryphal
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Re: Are job perks underrated?

Post by apocryphal »

The best perk I have is working from home. It's worth at least a 50% raise to me. I see the kids constantly, it's almost like being a stay at home parent except I need to type abit and answer the laptop when it 'bings'. It also gives my wife freedom to do things knowing that someone is going to be at home with the kids, even if I'm not paying full attention to them, (it's ok, they are old enough not to injure themselves ;) ).

Occasionally I hear noises from managers about making me work in the office more, I gently remind them how much money I make the company (I'm a consultant) and they change the subject back to their pretty graphs. I think I would quit if they told me to come to the office everyday.... it's amazing how much better life is without the office hassles.

EdithKeeler
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Re: Are job perks underrated?

Post by EdithKeeler »

I am curious why so many feel like working at home is such a great perk. In my job, I think working at home is a big pain. I'd have to buy a new desktop computer and a second screen, and put up with this weird phone situation that makes everyone sound like Timmy in the Well, on a 3 second delay. People who work from home at my company are closely monitored to ensure they are actually working during the "core customer hours," so you can't effectively take your lunch at 2 in the afternoon and get your hair done or something.

Most importantly, I really like to partition home and work. Home is where I go to escape work.

I worked from home for 4 years with another company, full time. I missed the camaraderie of the office.

jacob
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Re: Are job perks underrated?

Post by jacob »

@cimorene12 - I thought real programmers didn't eat quiche! :-D

http://www.bernstein-plus-sons.com/RPDEQ.html (<- for those who didn't catch the reference)

workathome
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Re: Are job perks underrated?

Post by workathome »

EdithKeeler wrote:I am curious why so many feel like working at home is such a great perk.
In my case, computer equipment is deductible. Any costs are quickly paid for by not driving to work.

apocryphal
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Re: Are job perks underrated?

Post by apocryphal »

@EdithKeeler - For me working at home is great because my 'work' is hard to monitor and I've defeated what feeble attempts they have made to watch me :D . But the work does get done, I just don't waste 8 hours doing it. In the office I would spend 8 hours to do 2-4 hours of work while at home I'm available for all 8 hours but I don't have to pretend to work. I can read, play catch with the kids, cook, etc. Makes working almost pleasant. Best of all no managers stopping by my desk to discuss their latest 'great idea'.

Not much camaraderie going on at my office but I do go in occasionally to hear the news/rumors.

Chad
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Re: Are job perks underrated?

Post by Chad »

EdithKeeler wrote:I am curious why so many feel like working at home is such a great perk. In my job, I think working at home is a big pain....People who work from home at my company are closely monitored...
Because, what you describe is really not working from home. All your company is doing is giving lip service to the idea and transferring the office, with all it's failing micromanagement, to your house. A real work at home program measures work done, not time spent, and allows you to fit it in to your schedule and the work schedule.

Your system punishes good workers, because of the bad workers. Not the brightest idea, but it seems to be the default management structure...unfortunately.

JohnnyH
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Re: Are job perks underrated?

Post by JohnnyH »

Work from home is huge, I just turned down a 10-15% raise because I'd lose my time from home... In my situation here is why home is superior:

*I can finish my work and NOT HAVE TO PRETEND to be working.
*people have to pick up a phone, or do something on a PC to get a hold of me. Which is hilariously too much for most people whom are trying to get me to do some aspect of their job.
*I can work on my own stuff and browse whatever I want, without fear of reprisal.
*No gossipy office busy bodies looking over my shoulder, attempting to ascertain if I'm "working".
*complete control of my own PC
*distraction free environment
*Get all the little tasks done that used to take up a Saturday
*can cook, garden, nap, eat healthy, fix stuff, clean, work out, call friends/relatives/call centers, jam out, read in a hammock
*pajamas!
*I never have to go into work more than 2 days in a row.

Working from home is the greatest thing to ever happen to working. 8-) ... At least for me, I can see how corporate control mechanisms might suck all the joy out of it.

I do miss out of some relevant info in the office. But probably 80% of office exchanges are unwanted, so it's still a benefit.

EdithKeeler
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Re: Are job perks underrated?

Post by EdithKeeler »

Because, what you describe is really not working from home. All your company is doing is giving lip service to the idea and transferring the office, with all it's failing micromanagement, to your house. A real work at home program measures work done, not time spent, and allows you to fit it in to your schedule and the work schedule.

Your system punishes good workers, because of the bad workers. Not the brightest idea, but it seems to be the default management structure...unfortunately.
Chad, you make an excellent point. I actually worked at home (for a different company), full time, for 4 years, and liked aspects of it, mostly because they left me alone. I did have some trouble disengaging from work--I'd close the door to the office, but the phone might ring, or the fax machine (yeah, it was several years ago) would turn on, and I'd find my mind turning back to work and unable to resist the compulsion to go take care of business. But I had much greater autonomy to step out for an hour here or there. (I loved mowing my yard during the week, in the early morning, and then not having to do it during the weekend. I also loved my home office "uniform" of a t-shirt and panties....). But it got lonesome, too. Being an ENTJ, I need to be around people a good bit.

At my current company, I used to manage people who worked from home 1 day a week, and the directive from "on high" involved running reports to see what people were doing during the day, how many "things" they did and touched, etc. I had to track whenever I got a call for someone, because that supposedly meant they weren't working (though of course I'd get calls for people who were in the office, too). I stepped down from that management position, but still work for the same company, and I just don't want to subject myself that kind of scrutiny. I know the first time I was on the phone with my boss and the dogs barked, it'd be over anyway.

Now, give me a four day work week--that's a perk I would move heaven and earth for. (Yeah, asked for it, got vetoed...). Maybe in a couple more years.

Standard Staples
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Re: Are job perks underrated?

Post by Standard Staples »

JohnnyH wrote:Work from home is huge, I just turned down a 10-15% raise because I'd lose my time from home... In my situation here is why home is superior:

*I can finish my work and NOT HAVE TO PRETEND to be working.
*people have to pick up a phone, or do something on a PC to get a hold of me. Which is hilariously too much for most people whom are trying to get me to do some aspect of their job.
*I can work on my own stuff and browse whatever I want, without fear of reprisal.
*No gossipy office busy bodies looking over my shoulder, attempting to ascertain if I'm "working".
*complete control of my own PC
*distraction free environment
*Get all the little tasks done that used to take up a Saturday
*can cook, garden, nap, eat healthy, fix stuff, clean, work out, call friends/relatives/call centers, jam out, read in a hammock
*pajamas!
*I never have to go into work more than 2 days in a row.

Working from home is the greatest thing to ever happen to working. 8-) ... At least for me, I can see how corporate control mechanisms might suck all the joy out of it.

I do miss out of some relevant info in the office. But probably 80% of office exchanges are unwanted, so it's still a benefit.
I actually received a raise when I switched to a work from home position with a new company, but even for the same money as before, JohnnyH absolutely hit the nail on the head for why I didn't walk but ran for the opportunity to do so (with a new company). My company provided all my equipment up front, including computer, monitors, printer/scanner, iPad, accessories, etc. They fully reimburse my internet, cell phone and home phone every month. I don't have to drive to work, saving on gas. If I forget to make lunch at 7:00AM, it's no sweat. At my last job, I probably ate out at least once a week because I forgot or was too lazy to make something in the morning. If I had to ballpark it, I'd estimate working from home puts at least $5,000/yr back in my pocket. On top of financial perks, there is a boatload of intrinsic value in the form or general freedom, catching up on some TV at lunch, knocking out an errand or two during some down time, having lunch with my wife near her work on any given day, etc.

Work from home isn't for everyone, and I can understand how it would be a pain with the situation EdithKeeler described. Working from home would lose most of its luster if I knew I was being monitored like a hawk, and essentially not trusted. I've always had the mentality that the day I graduated college and entered a professional, non-hourly workforce was the same day the boss should trust me to get my work done, whether it takes 2 hours or 8 and whether I'm sitting in a cubicle farm or in my home office. I don't need to be babysat, and if I did, they'd be better off firing me and filling the role with someone who understands responsibility and work ethic. My current boss completely agrees with this mentality, and that's why work from home is a slam dunk for me.

(Side note, in case no on else agrees with you JohnnyH, I have to say I could not agree more with the "not having to pretend to be working" part. Some days there just isn't 8 solid hours of work to do, especially in my chosen profession. I love not having to surf the net and quickly Alt+Tab if I see someone walking around the corner to avoid the "not working" perception.)

m741
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Re: Are job perks underrated?

Post by m741 »

One thing I've noticed with all the perks is that there's very little I need to spend money on. When the holiday season is over I think my monthly expenses will be very little.

Right now, my food (5 days/week), my internet, my phone and my gym are all free. It appears enough t-shirts will be given out that I will not have to pay for those :).

I remember reading Ken Ilgunas' Walden on Wheels and being impressed by how much he could save out in the middle of nowhere in Alaska, because his room+board are covered.

Psychologically that's really appealing. I can think, "except for rent, I'm basically banking my entire income." There's definitely some utility there beyond the money I save, which is not all that much relative to my salary (total cost to the company: ~400-$500/month).

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jennypenny
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Re: Are job perks underrated?

Post by jennypenny »

@m741--Do they get extra work hours out of you because of the perks? Do you go in early or stay late (or both) for the gym and meals? Has that increased the amount of time you are at your desk? Have you calculated that cost/benefit?

The perks that some people have listed sound great. I'm wondering if they are worth it if it means extra time at work. I suppose if you like your job or get some networking points for staying it might be worth it. If you're saving $500/month by eating and working out at the company's gym, but are spending an extra 5-10 hours a week there, it sounds like the company is getting the better part of the deal.

I'm not sure I would want to spend my entire weekday life in one place. I also wouldn't want the company dictating the non-work areas of my life. For example, I would rather decide for myself what I'm eating each day instead of having that decided for me by my employer's cafeteria. To me, it sounds like a nicer version of military service if you give almost 24/7 for 5 days per week.

m741
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Re: Are job perks underrated?

Post by m741 »

@jennypenny - They don't get extra work hours because of the perks. I'd say about the same. I spend ~1 hour playing pingpong each week and I go to dinner at work, which takes 20-30 minutes or so. I usually end up staying to 7:30; I'd probably leave at 7:00 without dinner so although I spend more time at work, I don't have to prepare dinner.

The gym is actually one near where I live; they pay for it, so I don't have to worry about that.

Thus it's basically a net benefit. I would probably have a tendency to work shorter hours that would have been tempered by the perks, if I hadn't come from finance, where I was working 2 more hours per day. Plus I want to (A) make a difference/network and (B) learn a lot, so I don't mind the hours I'm working now so much.

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Re: Are job perks underrated?

Post by jacob »

I would totally stay longer for perks at a net hourly wage loss to me. That's why I started the thread. I don't care nearly as much about what they're paying me as how I feel they're treating me.

guitarplayer
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Re: Are job perks underrated?

Post by guitarplayer »

Ha, I can marvel in this thread (even though it is very old)! It is true that in a way I have to pay for my perks (it is deducted from the gross salary) but for the, roughly, $330 / month / person I get all my life necessities covered!

* place to stay
* organic food with almost no limits
* caffeinated products included
* workshops to be accessed upon arrangement (weavery with a sewing machine, wood workshop, crafts)
* tools from the maintenance team easily accessed
* multiple pianos
* free internet
* cleaning products / basic toileteries
* laundry facilities
* central heating, water, waste, electricity
* maintenance in case things get broken
* tranquil location

The pay is low, but man all the above make it quite hard for me to leave this place :) And since it covers all I need, I can really save all the cash I get after the deductions - this is above $1500. So can DW, so we can (and do) save (most of) a total of ca. $3000 a month.

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Lemur
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Re: Are job perks underrated?

Post by Lemur »

Not all. I'd take a Government Schedule job any-day over my private contracting gig.

GS = Much Lower Pay depending on GS level but the private equivalent always pays more ... but GS gets equals 30 days of PTO a year not counting Federal Holidays. I'm pretty sure they get sick days as well. Also solid 40 hours a week and over-time is paid. Extremely hard to get fired. Almost impossible some would say....

My Contracting Gig = Higher Pay but only 15 days of PTO a year...no sick days (you've to use PTO), and work can be anywhere from 40 hours to 60 hours for no over-time. Can get fired if you cross paths with a sociopath or you don't 'move up' on the career ladder after a period of time. All sorts of 'outside' client work to do.

chicago81
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Re: Are job perks underrated?

Post by chicago81 »

Ahhhh I love a good Necro-post! :)

From an ERE perspective, a lot of perks are things that you'd likely never intentionally spend money on yourself. Catered meals, video games, etc.
They are nice, but you have to be careful, otherwise, they can start installing lifestyle-creep! If you become accustomed to catered restaurant food every day, your palate (and waistline!) may never be the same! :)

I recently started working for a new employer that has what I call "Triple A+++" perks and benefits, unlike I'd ever seen at any other employer previously. Just as a reference -- the health insurance plan has a $250 deductible -- but I don't see how one could conceivably hit that deductible, due to how low, or $0, the co-pays are for nearly all the medical services. If I were working in an office (instead of remotely due to COVID), I'd be getting catered lunches and dinners every day. They pay for a cell phone and the service plan. They sent me a brand new, top of the line $4000 MacBook Pro to use for work, which there are no onerous restrictions about using it for non-objectionable personal use too (outside of work hours.) They constantly have special events or games where they give gifts, prizes, etc. The employee stock purchase plan has a ridiculous look-back-period for picking an ultra-low buy price, and they allow you to sell immediately. They gave me an amount of RSU's that, when vested, at current valuation, would be what some people would consider enough to ERE on, alone. I could go on and on, these are just what I can list off the top of my head. I've never seen anything like this, in my working career... and TBH, even though I'm well past being able to FIRE, I continue working!

enigmaT120
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Re: Are job perks underrated?

Post by enigmaT120 »

Lemur, where do you get the 30 days of PTO for federal employees? The most vacation you can get is 26 days per year, and 13 days of sick leave (separate) but if you take over something like two days of that in a row you need a doctor's note. I had to do that when I got chickenpox. Yes I needed a doctor's note saying I had chickenpox, as if it wasn't obvious. Not something you want to catch in your 20s.

You don't get 26 days of vacation until after working for them for at least 15 years. It's much less when you first start out.

But. I retired at age 56. With a pension.

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