Searching for Perks


You can't open a newspaper or magazine these days without reading a glowing profile of Google. Fortune says it's not a bad place to work. And I think The New York Times has embedded reporters inside Google's offices.

Here are some of the perks enjoyed by Google employees:

  • Five free WiFi-enabled buses to transport employees to the Googleplex in Mountain View, California
  • Free car washes and oil changes for those who drive
  • $5,000 towards the purchase of a hybrid car
  • Free use of on-site laundry rooms
  • Free detergent
  • Free food, from quail to M&M's
  • Reimbursements of up to $500 in takeout expenses after you have a child

But like I said, these facts and figures are being reported everywhere. So let's use generous Google as a jumping off point to discuss the other end of the perk spectrum. What's the most half-assed, uninspiring perk you've ever been offered?

For me, it was permission to see the dentist. A few jobs ago, a co-worker broke a tooth at lunch. He emailed our department to say he was going to the dentist. Another co-worker replied to all, saying we couldn't just pick up and leave in the middle of the day -- "that's what nights and weekends are for." And if we wanted to "run errands," we had to dip into our vacation time. This person worked nowhere near human resources.

A third email, from HR, said if one of us were to crack a tooth, we could, in fact, leave to get it fixed. We all felt pretty great about our place of work that day.

Can you top that?