Are Perks Ruining Your Company?

dragon-2099840_1280 (1).jpgI have a friend who —

OK, fine. It’s not a friend, It’s me. I’m not sure if I should be embarrassed or proud of the kinda-sorta juvenile workplace shenanigans I’m about to describe, but in the interest of making a larger point, here goes.

I once worked for a company that had a chair policy. If you were above a certain pay grade, your reward was a chair with armrests. Peons who didn’t earn enough risked falling off the sides of their seats.

Back then, I knew little about HR. I wasn’t yet versed in the power of phrases like “reasonable workplace accommodation” to annoy Linda from HR into granting certain requests (regardless of whether I technically needed an accommodation.)

So instead of asking for a chair with arms, I took one. I simply strolled into a nearby conference room and wheeled out a chair that allowed me to sit comfortably. Luxuriously. Like I finally made it in corporate America.

Then Chair Nazi came.  Continue reading “Are Perks Ruining Your Company?”

A Reneged Job Offer

handshake-2056023__340(1)I have a friend who’s looking for a job. For real, a friend. Not a “friend.” While I’m also currently searching for new work, this isn’t an after-school special in which we all know the real identity of the “friend.” But like the moral tales you sometimes watched when you got home from class, this story also offers a valuable lesson.

What I’m about to describe is every candidate’s worst nightmare. It’s something that lots of people wonder: Does this actually happen? It happens. Sometimes like this:

My friend Steve* (of course there’s an asterisk) was recently offered a job at America’s Most Disorganized Employer* (there it is again!). He was eager to accept it, except the offer letter lacked enough details. Beyond salary, it mentioned little else. Clearly, a red flag demonstrating a sloppy hiring process or total ignorance about what candidates value, or both.

So Steve did what every candidate should in such situations. He contacted the hiring manager for more information. That’s when he learned that America’s Most Disorganized Employer allows only 10 days for PTO, including sick days. But who cares. Is there free soda? A ping-pong table?

Nothing like companies offering stupid, meaningless perks to try to hide an unwillingness to recognize that people have lives outside the workplace, right? The best talent such firms can hope to lure are job-seekers desperate for work.

Steve was one of those people. He was planning to ultimately accept any offer, but again, he did what every candidate should. He negotiated for more money and more time off, to which the hiring manager replied, “There’s wiggle room.”

No there wasn’t.  Continue reading “A Reneged Job Offer”

Black Friday Shop-Shaming

Today’s the day to bundle up. You’re going to need all those layers of clothing to absorb the impact of getting trampled at your local Walmart. Happy Black Friday, everyone!

It’s that time of year again, when you can turn on the news at any given moment and watch hordes of people who’ve been camping outside a store finally get their chance to bum-rush the entrance, then race through aisles to grab the latest marked-down iGadget. Like staring at a car wreck, you can’t look away. Gawking at such scenes in horror and disgust, you think to yourself, What is wrong with these people?

It’s easy, isn’t it? To sneer with repugnance at this show of savagery. These animals scrambling to snatch a 50” flat-screen TV—as you watch the Hunger Games play out on your own 50” flat-screen TV. Thank goodness you’re nothing like these idiots.

But you are. You like electronics and clothes, too.

And you’re not. You have time and money to shop when and where and how you want to shop.

In other words, while you can afford to stay home this weekend, others can’t afford not to. May the odds be ever in your favor.

And so, to everyone who sanctimoniously preaches that people should ditch consumerism for what really matters in life this weekend—you know, dead turkeys, trans fat, elastic waistbands, and family arguments about our Muslim president—get over yourselves.  Continue reading “Black Friday Shop-Shaming”