When you picture your perfect company, what kinds of things come to mind? Do you value 401-K matching, extra vacation, or something more?
I graduated from college during the dot com bust. But, when the boom was still in full swing, companies raved about their amazing employee perks.
Things have changed a lot since then, but many companies are still providing extra benefits in order to lure in the best and the brightest. Many times, they’re targeting millennials — workers who crave more than just money.
This trend is especially true in the world of technology. And, Google may be the king of offering extras. Just look at this list of some of the things Googlers are provided at work:
- Free haircuts
- Free gym, and swimming pool
- Ping pong, billards, and foosball tables
- Laundry and dry cleaning services
- On-site medical staff
- Subsidized massages
- Special projects program
- Free food
- Shuttle service
- Guest speakers
At first glance, these perks seem amazing. And, many are. For example, who wouldn’t want free food at work?
But, reflecting back to my college graduation, I remember evaluating many companies with these benefits. In all honestly, I ran in the other direction the moment I’d see a list of perks like this.
“Why?” you might wonder. Well, it always seemed to me that these perks were designed to get you to stay at work longer. At some point, having so many social activities at your job can begin to blur the line between your time and your company’s time.
It made me wonder what my personal life would be like, or if there would be any left to speak of. Working in the world of the internet, this is a big concern. When you work on a website, especially if it’s consumer facing (and even more so if it generates revenue), you’re expected to be available 24 x 7.
You heard that right. The internet must always always work. It has to. No excuses. It’s like Las Vegas, a hotel, or a gas station. It’s one of those places you can spend money any time of day you like. In the case of the internet, you can also do it from anywhere in the world. And, as an employee for a website company, you’ve got to be sure everything works, all the time – no matter what.
As much as I’ve avoided these all encompassing work environments, my own career in the internet world — and in management have taught me a few valuable lessons.
I recently spoke about my personal experience with Sue Shellenbarger from the Wall Street Journal. I shared how after work activities strained a personal relationship with an ex-boyfriend. This experience was a lesson that’s helped me to advise others who struggle to find work life balance.
Sue writes– “She advises clients in her current work as a career coach to pay attention to the impact of job-related socializing on spouses and partners, and to consider turning down events that risk damaging those bonds. Ms. Copeland also advises clients to manage their off-work time based on their long-term personal priorities and life goals, rather than the day-to-day pressures of work.”
To read Sue’s entire piece and to learn more about how these issues personally impacted me, check out the Wall Street Journal here.
In the end, the most important thing is this. Take the time to evaluate what’s really important to you. Don’t trade in your personal life for something silly like free haircuts or free lunch. After all, lunch is never really free, right?
Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts and Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.