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Thread: Office Perks, Bennies & Letdowns

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    Senior Member Spartan26's Avatar
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    Office Perks, Bennies & Letdowns

    What are the added things that are cool about where you work? How do they stack up to other businesses in your field? What are some things that you hate about your job or where you work? Does the good outweigh the bad?

    (These questions can be applied to past or current positions, thx!)

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    Pull the strings! Architect's Avatar
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    I work in what's basically a many acre private park, they have to hire sheep to keep the grass down. It's got 8'x8' raised bed employee garden plots, bocce and shuffleboard courts, two baseball/soccer fields (and a really nice basketball court), showers (for when you bike in or whatever) and many quiet outside garden spots you can go when you need some private quiet time. What else, a par course and hiking trails, but you should watch for ticks, solar panels and rows of car chargers if you ride electric. Tech companies like perks but haven't seen any like this, I nearly laughed when visiting Google and they showed me the puny little window boxes they call employee gardens.

    My company creates scientific instrumentation, I like that my work is being used to develop Quantum Computing, at the LHC and has been in space. Also keeps all the planes in the air, and your cell phone calls going through. We get top professors consulting and coming in for colloquia, and I work with a lot of really smart people. Downside is it doesn't move fast and things change slowly. The good outweighs the bad.

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    tsuj a notelpmis QuickTwist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Architect View Post
    I work in what's basically a many acre private park, they have to hire sheep to keep the grass down. It's got 8'x8' raised bed employee garden plots, bocce and shuffleboard courts, two baseball/soccer fields (and a really nice basketball court), showers (for when you bike in or whatever) and many quiet outside garden spots you can go when you need some private quiet time. What else, a par course and hiking trails, but you should watch for ticks, solar panels and rows of car chargers if you ride electric. Tech companies like perks but haven't seen any like this, I nearly laughed when visiting Google and they showed me the puny little window boxes they call employee gardens.

    My company creates scientific instrumentation, I like that my work is being used to develop Quantum Computing, at the LHC and has been in space. Also keeps all the planes in the air, and your cell phone calls going through. We get top professors consulting and coming in for colloquia, and I work with a lot of really smart people. Downside is it doesn't move fast and things change slowly. The good outweighs the bad.
    TBH... I wouldn't even know what to do with all that luxury.

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    Sysop Ptah's Avatar
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    Generally, I don't much care about (like or dislike) my workplaces in terms of perks of benefits. Nor for the industry in which I work (I've worked in everything from video game journalism to the investment industry), nor for the particular upshots of the projects I'm on. I'm a problem solver. I get paid to solve problems. If that's a mutually beneficial arrangement, then great. I don't care what problem is being solved, for the most part. What matters more to me is the freedom I'm given (or can make for myself).

    I suppose the only "perk" I've grown fond of over my last few jobs has been a liberal work-from-home option. Generally speaking, I'm 2 to 3 times more productive when working from home. No commute, no logistical noise involved in getting to or dealing with an office space, co-workers, etc. I wake up, review what remains of whatever problem, and get to solving it for the day. I can also avail myself of homemade meals that are difficult or simply impractical to drag around in a backpack for consumption from the office, etc. Have more time for my fitness routine. And so on. Conference calls, while odious, are still better than being stuck in a physical meeting room where you have to at least pretend to be paying attention. Like that.

    I've had jobs -- or stretches in an otherwise work-for-home-friendly job -- that require daily in-office. In that circumstance, since I'm not fond of all the logistical noise of having to physically attend, by the time I'm in the office I am not interested in anything other than getting my job done. Little if any unnecessary communication. No parties, happy hours or other non-work b.s. I'm there to do a job, not make friends, or even be friendly. I dress in a manner minimally conforming to the office dress code. I show up for what minimal hours I can get away with. I laser-focus on getting work done for the hours I leave, eat at my desk or out by myself, do more work, and then go home. When I'm not actually doing work, (for instance taking a break) I slack off a bit to poke at personal hobbies that can be confused for working to the untrained eye.

    That's something that's nice about software development. From the perspective of someone walking by, a screen full of code is a screen full of code. They don't know if I'm working on their code or mine. Not that I'm a slacker; I'm getting their code done on or ahead of time. I just pull a "scotty factor" and let them think it takes longer than it really does.

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    I think what I like most about my job is that I'm on the floor all day, moving around. That's common in my field but not universal; there are fabs where engineers sit at a desk all day and just put work orders into a computer for other people on the floor to carry out. We're not that sophisticated. I've worked my whole career in not very sophisticated fabs. You learn a lot. I also work less hours than most engineers in my industry. Which isn't saying much.

    As for company perks, they're just meh. The 401k match is good. They pay you to volunteer sometimes if you want to. Some of the more unique things they do is bring in patients who have received our products to come in and talk about how it changed their lives. I hear that's really rewarding for people but I've yet to experience it and frankly I don't think I'd be all that moved or motivated by it. I'm kind of like Ptah in that I see myself as a problem solver, I like solving problems and I don't care so much what the problem is. They also have what amounts to a private company convention every year, where employees make posters and presentations and they have seminars so you can see what everyone else is working on. Everyone dresses up and they get it catered, it seems like a big time suck to me but I guess they think it fosters collaboration, which I can see. I assume the folks who work at headquarters get other benefits that we don't. We're just a little outpost here in AZ, we don't even book any profits on paper.

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    I can bring my dog to work.

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    Senior Member Senseye's Avatar
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    I never had much in the way of perks. Just the usual free office supplies and stuff. Benefits were OK. Reasonable amount of vacation* and a DB pension plan (phased out for new employees many years back, but I was grandfathered in).

    *I always used to say the best thing about my job was how little I had to be there. Which is why I stuck with it despite it's otherwise pedestrian appeal. I think that would hold true for any job. I never bought into the love your job kool-aid everyone tries to feed you.

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    Senior Member Spartan26's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2hype View Post
    I can bring my dog to work.
    I've been noticing this more. A couple of years ago I worked at a start up and you could bring your dog in. it was a couple of blocks from the ocean so people would walk them on a path by the beach at lunch. Working in music now and people can bring their dogs. Some do once, maybe twice a week. A few bring theirs in everyday. It's not that I mind terribly when I have to step over one but what happens when we get tangled up? What is that person going to say when I do a header into a counter or on the concrete floor? I know I'll be more pissed at the owner than the dog. It's not even every dog or owner but there's like two people who seem to think I'm working in their home livingroom, not that we're in an office and that they've gotten too lax on where their pets can lay and who's to be inconvenienced.

  9. #9
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    Benefits I like:
    -every other Friday off (I still work 80 hours a bi-week though)
    -new CTO pushed back on sales driven brainless testing (technical service requests) and gave us more freedom to explore ideas we wish to pursue even though it may not ever or immediately make us money. Though we are still expected to get our business goals finished (obviously)
    -got rid of the pension and gave us a really nice match on our 401k.
    -good pay for my area
    -an office with a window (worked in a cube prior)
    -my boss is nice/cool
    -friends with nearly everyone that works there (had no friends at my last job, was awkward)

    what I don't like:
    -our health care is terrible. it's a health savings account and it literally covers nothings. almost everything is out of pocket and you have to put money into it tax free. it gives you some freedom though on what to spend it on and they do put 1500 dollars a year in it.
    -sometimes it's just a grind. we had layoffs and we are really understaffed with labor so, I just rarely have a free moment. Though I do take breaks that I probably should not.
    -I'm probably one of the highest payed laborers in the entire company. We have 2 technicians for 4 researchers in my group so, I often just do a lot of my own labor because I am impatient and don't want to wait to do what I want to do. I'd say like 30-50% labor.
    -too many meetings that waste my time and I don't need to be a part of really
    -My industry is cyclical and our customers face heavy competition from Asia and Europe as we do as well so, you are never truly comfortable that you'll have a job in ten years. It's certainly no Google or whatever.

  10. #10
    Pull the strings! Architect's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillyBibbit View Post
    -our health care is terrible. it's a health savings account and it literally covers nothings. almost everything is out of pocket and you have to put money into it tax free.
    This is a problem? Take note of the fact that your HSA is the only money you'll both earn and spend tax free, in your lifetime. And you keep it when you leave your job, and your plan probably lets you invest as you choose. You pay out of pocket because you haven't hit your deductible yet, that's the way it works. It encourages you to optimize your health care (incentivizes taking care of yourself) and you have the post deductible if something big happens. This is the best system I've ever seen, I max my contribution out.

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