perks http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8113/all en-US Afraid of Spending Money? Here Are 5 Perks of Your Phobia http://www.wisebread.com/afraid-of-spending-money-here-are-5-perks-of-your-phobia <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/afraid-of-spending-money-here-are-5-perks-of-your-phobia" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000018386682_Large.jpg" alt="she&#039;s afraid of spending money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Several years ago at a blogger conference, I was telling a fellow freelance writer how difficult it was for me to get work done while I traveled since I didn't have a laptop. It was 2012, and I had been a professional writer for two years at the time.</p> <p>My colleague's mouth fell open. &quot;You do know that you could take a tax deduction, right?&quot; she reminded me.</p> <p>I knew. I just couldn't justify the expense of a laptop when I had a perfectly good desktop computer to work from at home. Maybe my writing career wouldn't work out, after all, and then I'd have spent the money for nothing.</p> <p>Looking back, I now realize that my irrational refusal to buy a laptop was probably a symptom of <a href="http://jessicamoorhouse.com/chrometophobia/">chrometophobia</a> &mdash; the fear of money, or the fear of spending money. I have been a chrometophobe my entire life, even as a small child. I can remember refusing to spend snack money on a field trip in elementary school, just in case I needed the money later.</p> <p>But unnecessary travel stress and rumbly tummy aside, being afraid to spend money isn't all bad. Here are five unexpected perks of feeling the irrational fear of spending money.</p> <h2>1. You're Covered in an Emergency</h2> <p>My fear of spending money really comes down to a fear of wasting money. I did not buy a laptop for myself until well after my first book was published because I was worried that purchasing a second computer would be a waste of money if my writing career didn't pan out. I didn't want to waste the cost of laptop if I didn't ultimately need it.</p> <p>That level of irrational fear does give me a robust emergency fund, however. Since I am afraid to spend money unnecessarily, the unspent money ends up in my savings account, where I can count on it in case of a real emergency. I would even argue that I get much more visceral satisfaction out of seeing the numbers in my accounts go up than I ever would get out of buying a material possession.</p> <h2>2. You Find Creative Solutions to Problems</h2> <p>Spending money is often the simplest and easiest method of problem solving &mdash; but those problems still need to be solved if you are afraid to spend that money. For instance, while I was in graduate school, the latch on my favorite purse broke, making it impossible to close. I could have bought another purse or spent money to have it fixed. Instead, I decided to MacGyver it, and come up with my own solution.</p> <p>With some hot glue and a color-coordinated hair rubber band, I managed to fashion a loop that held the latch closed and looked great, without spending a dime. It even made me love the purse more than I did before it broke.</p> <h2>3. Spring Cleaning Is MUCH Easier</h2> <p>While much of America is just now embracing the minimalist, Marie Kondo lifestyle, chrometophobes have long understood how beneficial it can be to own only what you need. If you are afraid to spend money, then your house will already be a lovely minimalist retreat, with no repeated trips to Goodwill necessary in order to get there.</p> <p>Relatively empty homes are also much easier to keep clean and organized, meaning chrometophobes who also suffer from germaphobia have a leg up on keeping their homes nice and tidy.</p> <h2>4. Receiving Bills Is Not Stressful</h2> <p>The fear of spending money is not exactly fun. I can distinctly remember the ice cream my elementary school best friend bought on the field trip when I refused to spend my snack money, since it probably tasted much better than the air in my mouth.</p> <p>However, when you feel stress about spending money, you don't <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-money-mistakes-everyone-makes-but-no-one-talks-about">feel financial stress</a> at the time most people do &mdash; when receiving a bill. There is actually something rather satisfying about receiving your credit card bill with a $0 balance, because you've either spent no money or you keep it paid off.</p> <h2>5. You Avoid Getting Burned by Fads</h2> <p>For about as long as they have been available, I have yearned for a FitBit. This is because I have the (mistaken) impression that this is <em>the gadget</em> that will finally help me achieve my goals for fitness, sleep, and organization &mdash; along with the ability to summon unicorns. Despite all of the hopes that I have pinned on the FitBit, I have not yet purchased one because that would send my chrometophobia into overdrive.</p> <p>However, not buying a FitBit (or any other must-have purchase) has proven to be a great thing. By not purchasing the latest thing as soon as it comes out, I am able to avoid the bugs that early adopters must put up with. Also, waiting allows the market plenty of time to come up with cheaper alternatives, and it means I have a wealth of reviews and information to learn from when I do finally decide to make a purchase.</p> <h2>Learning to Love Your Chrometophobia</h2> <p>It can be easy to only focus on ways that your fear of spending money can be a drag. But handled correctly, chrometophobia can actually enhance your bottom line without negatively affecting your life.</p> <p>Just learn from my biggest mistake: Don't pass up the opportunity to buy ice cream. Ever.</p> <p><em>Do you have a fear of spending money? Share your money management tips with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/afraid-of-spending-money-here-are-5-perks-of-your-phobia">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/on-choosing-temporary-freedom">On choosing temporary freedom</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-the-ebola-outbreak-could-hurt-the-economy-and-your-wallet">5 Ways the Ebola Outbreak Could Hurt the Economy — And Your Wallet</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master">12 Personal Finance Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-brilliant-tips-from-smart-mom-rich-mom">4 Brilliant Tips From &quot;Smart Mom, Rich Mom&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/meet-meg-favreau-our-senior-editor">Meet Meg Favreau, Our Senior Editor</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Frugal Living fear fear of money fears money fears money management perks phobia Spending Money Tue, 10 May 2016 10:00:09 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1706756 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Job Perks That Can Lead to a Dream Career http://www.wisebread.com/6-job-perks-that-can-lead-to-a-dream-career <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-job-perks-that-can-lead-to-a-dream-career" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000041367248_Large.jpg" alt="taking advantage of job perks that can lead to a dream career" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Work can be a necessary evil. Individuals might dream of being an award winning writer or inventor, but those dreams &mdash; without any pursuit to make them a reality &mdash; do not provide money for nourishment, shelter, and other financial obligations. Short of being independently wealthy or having a family you can lean on, the budding entrepreneur or artist might need to procure a day job as they pursue their professional goals.</p> <p>When applying for jobs, think beyond yearly salary and hourly wage. The right job perks can streamline how fast it might take to achieve your dreams.</p> <h2>1. Free Education</h2> <p>Higher education can be the key to professional success. For some, a degree is a necessity to break into a new field. For others, college can provide face-to-face mentorship time with award winning professionals in their field. Despite these benefits, the cost of college often leads students to either acquiring thousands in <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-easy-ways-to-avoid-student-loan-debt">student loan debt</a> or forgoing a college education altogether.</p> <p>There is another option. You can pursue a job at a company that has a <a href="https://collegeplus.org/blog/33-companies-that-can-save-you-from-college-debt">tuition reimbursement program</a>. Before choosing a potential company to pursue, look at the fine print.</p> <h2>2. Skill Building</h2> <p>Before you start applying for jobs, sit down to determine what skills will help you score your dream job. You can decrease the time it takes you to land that job if your day job will allow you to learn and practice new skills that will be necessary for your chosen path to success.</p> <p>If you don't have the credentials to start in a position that allows you to utilize those desired skills, make it clear to managers what types of opportunities you would be interested in pursuing. Many companies, in a bid to keep good employees happy, will offer professional opportunities to individuals as the need arises.</p> <h2>3. Making Valuable Contacts</h2> <p>One very crucial aspect of achieving success is knowing the right people. An ideal day job would place you in a position to build personal and professional relationships, both inside and outside of the organization.</p> <p>At work, be friendly with individuals from various departments. Don't just talk shop. You want to cultivate relationships, so you can (if necessary) call in a favor down the road. If you cut right to asking them to help you, it can seem a tad selfish.</p> <p>You should also keep an eye out for jobs where cultivating a social media presence is a requirement. A large personal LinkedIn or Twitter following can lead to a larger pool of people that will see posts about your future art, book, product, or company.</p> <h2>4. Telecommuting Allowed</h2> <p>Daily commutes can steal several hours from your life. On average, the daily commute is <a href="http://mbaonline.pepperdine.edu/evolution-of-the-daily-commute/">around 25 minutes</a>. Some spend even more time commuting. My average daily commute is around an hour. That's one less hour every day I can devote to pursuing my personal goals.</p> <p>Telecommuting jobs allow individuals to cut travel time out of their daily lives and dedicate that time to other professional pursuits. As an added bonus, the elimination of the commute will allow you to decrease the amount you spend on gas every month.</p> <h2>5. Flexible Schedule</h2> <p>Some jobs not only allow you to determine where you work, but they also allow you to dictate when you work. The ability to work when you want will allow you more freedom to work towards your ultimate goals.</p> <p>If you know you have a meeting with a potential investor or publisher on a Monday, you won't need to figure out how to convince your boss to give you a few hours off of work. Instead you simply let them know you'll work the hours later in the day on Monday or over the weekend. This can be useful if you don't particularly want the higher-ups at your company to know how close you might be to quitting your day job.</p> <h2>6. Condensed Work Week</h2> <p>The 9-to-5 is the traditional time frame in which corporate America works. While it can be far better than the rotating schedule dished out in many retail and food service jobs, individuals can be more productive if they try to find a job where they work four, 10-hour shifts.</p> <p>The benefit of working 10-hour shifts is the ability to dedicate three full days to your money making side projects. You no longer need to fight with yourself to muster up the motivation to dedicate a few hours to your side-hustle every night after work. That can be hard due to lingering work stress, physical exhaustion (depending on how much physical labor is involved), and the desire to spend time with family. You now have one work-free day to diligently work on completing your other projects.</p> <p><em>What other work perks can make you more money? Share with us! </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/samantha-stauf">Samantha Stauf</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-job-perks-that-can-lead-to-a-dream-career">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-a-side-hustle-can-further-your-career">5 Ways a Side Hustle Can Further Your Career</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-you-should-demand-a-raise">5 Times You Should Demand a Raise</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-youre-being-a-terrible-employee">12 Ways You&#039;re Being a Terrible Employee</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-important-signs-that-your-job-sucks">10 Important Signs That Your Job Sucks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-moves-to-make-after-a-promotion">10 Money Moves to Make After a Promotion</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building Extra Income career career path job perks perks professional goals side hustle work Mon, 09 May 2016 09:30:29 +0000 Samantha Stauf 1705098 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Tricks to Making the Most of Your Reward Miles http://www.wisebread.com/6-tricks-to-making-the-most-of-your-reward-miles <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-tricks-to-making-the-most-of-your-reward-miles" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000062837326_Large.jpg" alt="making the most of travel rewards miles" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>After using <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">travel rewards credit cards</a> for a while, you might find that you've got tons of miles to redeem. But making sure you're getting the most out of those rewards takes considerable planning and organization. Here are some tips on getting the most value out of your rewards miles and points. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-biggest-mistakes-you-can-make-when-redeeming-credit-card-rewards?ref=seealso">The Biggest Mistakes When Redeeming Credit Card Rewards</a>)</p> <h2>1. Extend or Add a Vacation with Stopovers and Open Jaws</h2> <p>Stopovers and open jaws are big money savers for organized travelers.</p> <p><strong>Open Jaws:</strong> An open jaw ticket is one where you fly from point A to point B, then back to point A from point C. There is an open gap in the middle of the itinerary &mdash; which is perfect for a road trip. If you were to pay for this with cash instead of rewards, it would cost a lot of extra money, but it will cost you the same amount of reward points as a regular return flight.</p> <p>For example:</p> <p>Return Flight New York to London = 60,000 points</p> <p>Open Jaw Flight New York to London + Barcelona to New York = 60,000 points</p> <p><strong>Stopovers: </strong>A stopover is any stop in a flight itinerary that lasts more than 24 hours. Not to be confused with a layover. A layover is that boring period of time that you dread, waiting at the airport for your next flight.</p> <p>A stopover gives you time to exit the airport and explore. In fact, a stopover can be a week, a month, or even a year. Let's say you plan a holiday in Rome, but you've always wanted to see Barcelona. You can add a one-week stopover in Barcelona into your rewards itinerary and it won't cost you any extra points.</p> <p>The best trick with stopovers is actually calling your home airport a stopover. Let's say you book the trip above and the airline you fly with allows for two stopovers &mdash; and many do, including Lufthansa and Air Canada.</p> <p>You can enjoy your first stopover in Barcelona, then fly to Rome to complete your holiday as planned. But on your return journey home, you call your home airport a &quot;stopover&quot; for one year. This means that, up to a year later, you can complete your journey with a free, one-way flight to your next holiday destination, like Las Vegas, perhaps.</p> <p>If you are organized enough to plan more than one holiday at once, you can get a lot of free flights using this hack. Now you'll just have to book a cheap one-way ticket from Las Vegas back home.</p> <h2>2. Redeem Rewards for Higher Value Flights</h2> <p>There are many people who save up a great number of rewards miles and then squander them by redeeming them for the wrong purchases. Typically, one of the biggest mistakes that rewards travelers make is redeeming their rewards for short-distance domestic flights.</p> <p>Often, a 10-hour international flight will cost the same, or just slightly more, in points and miles as a long-distance domestic journey. Whereas the cash value for an international flight is often more than double a domestic one. You get much more <em>value</em> for the same amount of rewards points for an international flight. Sometimes it's best to just pay cash for the short-distance flights, and save your rewards for the next time you're leaving the country.</p> <p>Redeeming wisely may sound like a pretty straightforward idea, but with seemingly endless rewards restrictions like expiration dates, blackout dates, eligibility restrictions and limited rewards seating, it can be a confusing matter.</p> <p>If you're not willing to do a lot of research and spend time planning the perfect rewards trip, you may want to consider using a service like <a href="http://www.awardadvocate.com/">Award Advocate</a> or <a href="http://www.awardbookingservice.com/">Award Booking Service</a> to help you with your rewards booking.</p> <p>For a fee of $100+, they can find the best reward seats for you, book the flight with the airline, and ensure that you're using the least amount of miles possible for your journey.</p> <h2>3. Put Purchases on the Right Cards</h2> <p>A wallet full of credit cards is like a rewards hackers Swiss Army knife. Each card is its own tool and using them appropriately will allow you to get the most rewards for your purchases. For example, use a card that offers <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">bonus rewards at supermarkets</a> for your grocery purchases. Get the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-gas-rewards-credit-cards">best credit card for gas</a> to maximize rewards for that monthly expense. Keep track of the rotating categories on your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chase-freedom-a-more-rewarding-way-to-shop">Chase Freedom</a> or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-discover-it-card-attractive-cash-back-awards-for-shoppers">Discover It</a> card to get your 5% cash back.</p> <p>Depending on your recurring expenses, there are cards that offer bonus rewards for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-dining-out">dining</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-for-entertainment-purchases">entertainment</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-for-travel-purchases">travel</a>, and even <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-for-office-supply-purchases">office supply purchases</a>. Finally, you should have a card that offers extra rewards for all other purchases, such as the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/unlimited-cash-back-the-quicksilver-cash-rewards-credit-card">Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card</a> that offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases with no annual fee, or the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amex-everyday-preferred-card-review">Amex Everyday Preferred Card</a> that gives you 50% bonus points for making at least 30 purchases per billing cycle.</p> <h2>4. Try a Sign-Up Bonus Spree</h2> <p>Don't have a wallet full of cards yet? You're actually in luck! You can start a sign-up bonus spree to fill your wallet with the cards that you need, and maybe get a free vacation out of the sign-up bonuses, too! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-steps-to-getting-a-free-or-close-to-free-vacation-in-9-months-or-less-with-credit-cards?ref=seealso">5 Steps to Getting a Free Vacation in 9 Months or Less with Credit Cards</a>)</p> <p>Many credit cards offer a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards">bonus for signing up</a> and many of these bonuses are worth $500 or more in travel.</p> <h2>5. Pair Cards for Extra Rewards</h2> <p>Sometimes when you put two cards in your wallet, sparks fly and they become the perfect couple. One particular &quot;dream couple&quot; is the Chase Freedom and the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chase-sapphire-preferred-review">Chase Sapphire Preferred card</a>. Points on the Freedom are only worth about one cent each, but on the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, they're worth 1.25 cents each (a whole 25% more).</p> <p>Coupling these cards is easy. All you have to do is use the Freedom card for the 5% cash back on bonus categories each quarter, and then transfer those points to your Preferred card to get 25% more rewards.</p> <p>When the Chase Freedom bonus category isn't offering 5% for travel and dining, use the Chase Preferred which gets two points per dollar on these purchases. For all other purchases, you can use either card but make sure that you transfer the points to the Sapphire Preferred when it comes time to redeem.</p> <h2>6. Know Your Limits</h2> <p>Whether you're starting a credit card spree or just trying to earn as many points as possible, you must know your limits.</p> <p>Earning 5% cash back is completely useless if you end up paying interest (15% average in the U.S.) on your credit card each month. You have to be sure that you can pay off all of your cards <em>before</em> they start to accrue interest.</p> <p>Savvy travel hackers never pay a dime in interest and earn thousands of points each year. You can do the same, but you must first start slowly and know your limits with each and every card that you carry.</p> <p>If you can stay organized, watch your spending, and know your limitations and those that apply to the cards that you use, you can earn a lot of free travel from your cards in a very short period of time. Good luck!</p> <p><em>How do you stretch your reward miles? Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tricks-to-making-the-most-of-your-reward-miles">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-that-transfer-points-to-airline-miles">5 Best Credit Cards that Transfer Points to Airline Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-perks-you-didnt-know-your-credit-card-had">12 Travel Perks You Didn&#039;t Know Your Credit Card Had</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-for-travel-purchases">5 Best Credit Cards for Travel Purchases</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-exactly-does-travel-accident-insurance-cover-on-credit-cards">What Exactly Does Travel Accident Insurance Cover on Credit Cards?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-might-be-the-best-travel-rewards-program-no-matter-what-airline-you-fly">This Might Be the Best Travel Rewards Program (No Matter What Airline You Fly)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Travel credit card perks perks reward miles travel travel miles Mon, 14 Mar 2016 10:01:04 +0000 Nick Wharton 1671108 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Companies With the Best Employee Discounts http://www.wisebread.com/8-companies-with-the-best-employee-discounts <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-companies-with-the-best-employee-discounts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_shopping_bags_000084069437.jpg" alt="Woman working at company with best employee benefits" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Only 29% of U.S. workers are <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/on-leadership/wp/2013/10/10/only-13-percent-of-people-worldwide-actually-like-going-to-work/">engaged and emotionally invested</a> in their work and focused on helping their organizations improve. Given that most employers are only planning to raise wages by an <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2015/08/26/pf/best-cities-for-pay-raise/">average 3% in 2016</a>, consider companies that provide other ways to make your dollars go further.</p> <p>Here are eight companies with some of the best employee discounts.</p> <h2>1. American Apparel</h2> <p>If your friends look to you for advice on the latest fashion trends, and choosing your wardrobe is one of the most important parts of your day, consider looking for a job at American Apparel. Its store managers even pay attention to what applicants wear during interviews.</p> <p>Buzzfeed reported that employees working at American Apparel receive a cool <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/summeranne/which-retail-chains-have-the-best-employee-discoun#.ycwYEN6ezd">50% off on all store items</a>, no exceptions. Since it's company policy that you wear only American Apparel clothes to work, you also receive a $200 stipend to buy their clothes when you first start.</p> <h2>2. Apple Store</h2> <p>Receiving a discount at an Apple store is really hard. The only two common ways to get a discount are either through the <a href="http://www.apple.com/shop/browse/campaigns/education_pricing">Apple Education Pricing</a> program &mdash; which allows students, parents of students, and teachers to save up to $200 on a new Mac, and up to $20 on a new iPad &mdash; and the Black Friday sales event.</p> <p>On the other hand, Apple Store employees are eligible for a 25% discount on the iMac, Mac mini, Mac Pro, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro on their first day of employment. Additionally, you can receive a 25% discount on each purchase of one item from the iPod, iPad, Airport base station, and Apple Display models, provide your friends and relatives a 15% discount on up to three products, save 50% on software and 10% on third-party accessories, and receive an additional $250 off an iPad or $500 off any Mac computer every three years.</p> <h2>3. Bed Bath &amp; Beyond</h2> <p>The 20% off coupon from Bed Bath &amp; Beyond is so legendary that even actress <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/zooey-deschanel-never-pays-late-fees-and-5-other-smart-money-lessons-from-celebrities">Kristen Bell is a fan</a> of it. Imagine if there was a way to get that discount every day without having to wait to find a coupon in a magazine or an email &mdash; there is! Bed Bath &amp; Beyond associates receive a straightforward 20% discount on all purchases and a 30% discount once a year during Christmas. Associates can also choose from a monthly list of random items that are priced at cost.</p> <h2>4. Best Buy</h2> <p>After a three-month period, employee are eligible to buy a wide selection of items sold at Best Buy stores at wholesale cost, plus a 5% to 10% markup, depending on item. Former Best Buy employees report on Reddit that you can make substantial savings on batteries and tech accessories. For example, the black housing for a GoPro H4 camera retails for $50 and an employee was able to <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/gopro/comments/3fmhnb/best_buy_employees_what_do_the_accessories/ctpxvcn">purchase it for $15 to $20</a>.</p> <h2>5. Brooks Brothers</h2> <p>Clothing retailer Brooks Brothers offers a great 60% employee discount on all merchandise with no cap on items of dollar amount, according to a reddit poster. At Brooks Brothers you can shop clothes for kids, men, and women so you won't have a hard time finding gifts for friends and family. This employee discount is perfect for those looking to start building or completely revamping their entire wardrobe.</p> <h2>6. J. Crew</h2> <p>Just like at American Apparel, employees at J. Crew stores receive an employee discount on items for their work wardrobe. Every month you can receive a 50% employee discount on five items that you plan to wear at work, so outerwear isn't eligible for this discount. However, you can receive a storewide 30% employee discount on all full-priced merchandise. J. Crew also provides a list of slow-selling or overstock items each week that employees can get 60% off the retail price on.</p> <h2>7. Whole Foods</h2> <p>All Whole Foods employees are eligible for a default <a href="http://fortune.com/2011/05/18/5-reasons-why-its-great-to-work-at-whole-foods/">20% discount</a> on all store purchases. By meeting certain ranges for blood pressure, BMI, and total cholesterol, and not using nicotine products, Whole Foods employees are able to pump up their employee discount from 20% up to 30% through the <a href="http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/careers/about-our-benefits">Team Member Healthy Discount Incentive Program</a>. Spouses and eligible domestic partners of Whole Foods employees are also eligible for the employee discount. Given that there are some foods that are actually <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-foods-that-are-actually-cheaper-at-whole-foods">cheaper at Whole Foods</a>, employees are able to save on organic and socially responsible food items even more.</p> <h2>8. Zappos</h2> <p>Known as one of the companies with the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-companies-with-the-best-customer-service">best customer service</a>, Zappos aims to please its employees as well. Among the many employee benefits that the company offers, Zappos provides a <a href="http://about.zappos.com/jobs/why-work-zappos/our-benefits">40% employee discount</a> on the Zappos.com website and several discounts with local businesses. Another employee perk worth mentioning is that Zappos covers 100% of an <a href="http://fortune.com/2015/03/11/companies-offer-all-healthcare-coverage/">employee's health care premiums</a> and 71% of his or her dependents' health care premiums.</p> <p><em>What are other companies that offer excellent employee discounts?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-companies-with-the-best-employee-discounts">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/part-time-jobs-that-can-get-you-serious-discounts">Part-Time Jobs That Can Get You Serious Discounts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-convince-a-store-clerk-to-give-you-a-deal">6 Ways to Convince a Store Clerk to Give You a Deal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-secrets-of-amazons-pricing-strategy-will-help-you-find-the-best-buys">These Secrets of Amazon&#039;s Pricing Strategy Will Help You Find the Best Buys</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-power-banks">The 5 Best Power Banks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-buy-one-get-one-free-is-usually-a-bad-deal">Why &quot;Buy One Get One Free&quot; Is Usually A Bad Deal</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Job Hunting Shopping benefits electronics employee discounts perks retail savings Thu, 11 Feb 2016 16:00:07 +0000 Damian Davila 1653343 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Airline Perks From Yesteryear That Seem Unbelievable Today http://www.wisebread.com/10-airline-perks-from-yesteryear-that-seem-unbelievable-today <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-airline-perks-from-yesteryear-that-seem-unbelievable-today" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/first_class_000028836248.jpg" alt="Young couple taking advantage of airine perks" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you've taken a flight recently, you've probably noticed just how much service has declined. In most cases, meals are no longer free. Checked bags cost money. You have to pay for a movie or TV show, and sometimes the headphones too. Beer, wine, and spirits are extra. Plus, if you're flying coach, you're squished together like sardines. And let's not forget about the horrendous waiting times to get through security checkpoints. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-perks-you-didnt-know-your-credit-card-had?ref=seealso">12 Travel Perks You Didn't Know Your Credit Card Had</a>)</p> <p>But it wasn't always this way. Here are 10 airline perks from yesteryear that'll have you wishing we were back in the 20th century.</p> <h2>1. Lobster Was on the Menu</h2> <p>Ahh, the first class menu, right? Nope. Full meals, with lobster as an option, were served to everyone. This was done during the highly competitive days of the late 1960s and early 1970s, when flights were routinely taking off at less than half of capacity. In an effort to win customers, airlines started offering more luxurious perks for free. Lobster was one such perk, and although it may not have been five-star quality, it was way better than the free bag of pretzels you get today.</p> <h2>2. Everyone Had More Legroom</h2> <p>In an effort to squeeze more money out of each flight, airlines have started making the seats closer together. But back in the 1950s, people in economy class (or coach) had three to six inches of additional legroom. And it wasn't something you paid extra for, like you do today.</p> <h2>3. You Could Drink for Free</h2> <p>Alcohol is still free for those traveling in first class. But back in the day, everyone was served free drinks for the duration of the flight. If you want to get tipsy on board these days, you'll have to prepare your wallet for take-off, too.</p> <h2>4. You Could Buy a Lifetime First-Class Pass</h2> <p>Well, let's be realistic. Few of us could ever afford to drop the $250,000 needed for a lifetime of free flights in first class. But for those who had the money, it became a nightmare for the airline. The <a href="http://business.time.com/2012/05/08/the-250000-airline-pass-that-was-worth-every-penny/">AAirpass, from American Airlines</a>, was offered in the 1980s. It was one of those &quot;all-you-can-fly&quot; offers that seemed like a killer deal for the airlines. However, they soon realized that some people do an awful lot of flying. And worse still, some travelers were racking up over $125,000 in flights in less than one month. American Airlines abandoned this perk, for obvious reasons. Those who have one can still use it, and whenever they book, they get an amazing flight for absolutely nothing.</p> <h2>5. New York to London Took 2 Hours and 53 Minutes</h2> <p>Some people say the greatest perk you can ever get is a fast flight. And no flights were faster than those on the British Airways Concorde. It could travel at twice the speed of sound, or around 1350 mph, which is more than double the speed of the typical subsonic aircraft. Of course, this perk came at a cost &mdash; somewhere between $12,000 and $20,000 per ticket. For those used to shelling out a lot of money to travel first class, it was a justifiable expense in order to get there very quickly. Sadly, due to an accident in 2000, and increasing overhead costs, the fleet of Concordes was retired from service. Will we ever see the perk of supersonic travel again? You can count on it&hellip;but don't hold your breath for anytime soon.</p> <h2>6. Smoking Was Allowed on Board</h2> <p>This is a perk to some, and an utter nightmare to others (including myself). As a non-smoker, I'm very happy that smoking is not allowed on airlines any more. But, during the golden age, you could smoke cigarettes, pipes, and cigars at any time other than take off and landing. After a while, the cabins became dedicated to smoking, or non-smoking&hellip;which is why this <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tR4jBtdROE&amp;t=74">joke from &quot;Airplane!</a>&quot; worked so well in its day.</p> <h2>7. Getting to the Plane Was a Breeze</h2> <p>Forget long security lines. Forget fishing around for ID. Back in the day, you could saunter up to the airport 30 minutes before takeoff, and get to your seat without any worries of missing the plane. In fact, back then you didn't even need a ticket to get to the departure gate. You could sit around with friends and family, and they could hug you goodbye just minutes before the doors were closed. Airline security concerns have made those benefits a thing of the past.</p> <h2>8. There Were No Charges for Extra Luggage</h2> <p>We all know about charges for carry-ons and checked luggage. Back in the day, that was unheard of. In fact, you could bring whatever you wanted onto the plane, and you could also bring as much as you wanted. Some people had four or five carry-ons, and three or four large suitcases. As the flights often weren't booked to capacity, there was always plenty of room.</p> <h2>9. Headache? There Was a Pill for That</h2> <p>If you've ever had a headache on a flight, you know there's absolutely no point in asking the flight attendant for medicine. Back in the late 1980s, airline lawyers made sure no medicines could be handed out by the flight crew. But before then, it was perfectly acceptable to get your headache pills and allergy meds from your steward or stewardess. They all carried little packets of Tylenol and Advil for those times when the screaming kids made life hell.</p> <h2>10. You Could Lay Across a Row of Seats</h2> <p>Today, if you're very lucky, you might get a seat with no-one sitting next to you. That is rare. Often, flights are overbooked, and occasionally people are even asked to give up their tickets and take a later flight. But in those heady days of flying &mdash; heck, even just 15 years ago &mdash; some flights were less than half full. It was not uncommon to have an entire row of four or five seats to yourself on international flights, and you could relax across them all, using the free blankets and pillow provided.</p> <p><em>Now&hellip;do you remember an awesome flying perk from yesteryear? Tell us about it. </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-airline-perks-from-yesteryear-that-seem-unbelievable-today">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-smart-travel-hacks-only-frequent-flyers-know">5 Smart Travel Hacks Only Frequent Flyers Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-card-perks-beyond-points-and-miles">The Best Credit Card Perks Beyond Points and Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-get-more-legroom-on-your-next-flight-for-free">5 Ways to Get More Legroom on Your Next Flight — for Free</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/23-airport-hacks-to-remember-before-your-next-flight">23 Airport Hacks to Remember Before Your Next Flight</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-airline-travel-sucks-and-what-you-can-do-to-make-it-better">5 Ways Airline Travel Sucks — and What You Can Do to Make It Better</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel airlines airports first class flying perks Mon, 30 Mar 2015 15:00:12 +0000 Paul Michael 1359564 at http://www.wisebread.com The 15 Coolest Silicon Valley Job Perks You Wish You Had http://www.wisebread.com/the-15-coolest-silicon-valley-job-perks-you-wish-you-had <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-15-coolest-silicon-valley-job-perks-you-wish-you-had" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000052955122_Large.jpg" alt="coworker friends coffee" title="coworker friends coffee" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>So your job offers the full slate of benefits &mdash; dental, vision, 401(k)? Unimpressive.</p> <p>Skilled tech workers are in such high demand in Silicon Valley that the typical employee benefit package is just the beginning for many firms. As they compete for workers &mdash; and for media attention &mdash; companies have reached beyond once-novel perks such as on-site gourmet meals and dry cleaning. Nowadays, it's a race to see whose office is the most like a playspace, who soothes employees' work/life struggles the most handily, and sometimes, whose perks are the most outlandish.</p> <p>Here's a rundown of the coolest job perks you might enjoy if you get hired by a technology company in or around Silicon Valley.</p> <h2>1. Here Today, Gauntlet Tomorrow</h2> <p>Having a few working vintage video game cabinets around is nothing new for Silicon Valley, but a company called All You Can Arcade has enabled some companies to up the ante. All You Can Arcade <a href="http://www.sfgate.com/technology/article/Old-arcade-games-getting-a-2nd-life-4718864.php">rents out classic games</a> by the month, and will switch out Millipede for Donkey Kong as soon as employees get bored.</p> <h2>2. A Room of One's Ohm</h2> <p>Impact Hub Oakland, a co-working space, offers members a meditation room as well as desks and conference rooms. At Eventbrite, the Zen Room can be used for getting a massage or napping as well as meditating.</p> <h2>3. Trike Time</h2> <p>When introducing the concept of &quot;funnovation&quot; to its staff, Ask.com bought some <a href="http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Ask-com-is-using-funnovation-to-stay-relevant-4362093.php">adult-sized Big Wheel bikes</a> for hallway drag races. Yes, there have been accidents, but no major carnage was reported.</p> <h2>4. Janitors Who Make House Calls</h2> <p>Redwood City's Evernote provides a <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/08/business/phil-libin-of-evernote-on-its-unusual-corporate-culture.html?pagewanted=2&amp;_r=3&amp;smid=fb-share">twice-monthly cleaner</a> to all full time employees to help them make the most of their off hours.</p> <h2>5. Eggs on Ice</h2> <p>Many Silicon Valley companies offer fertility treatments as part of their health benefit plans, but Apple recently upped the ante by paying for female employees to <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/perk-facebook-apple-now-pay-women-freeze-eggs-n225011">freeze their eggs</a> to ensure future fertility. Facebook added egg freezing to its benefits coverage, too.</p> <h2>6. Free Food 2.0</h2> <p>Free meals at work is so 1999. Facebook and Genentech are among the companies that also provide employees with <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/20/us/in-silicon-valley-perks-now-begin-at-home.html?pagewanted=all">dinners to take home</a> to the family. And when you do eat at work, expect to eat in a restaurant with a name, like Facebook's Epic Cafe, headed by a chef <a href="http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/tech/news/story/2012-07-04/silicon-valley-perks/56021130/1">lured away from a nice restaurant</a>. And a specialty butcher. And a free candy shop.</p> <h2>7. Clothes That Don't Stink</h2> <p>Facebook offers free wash-and-fold service.</p> <h2>8. Haircuts</h2> <p>Facebook again. Remind me to send them my resume.</p> <h2>9. Unlimited Vacation</h2> <p>Netflix <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304203304576446303194747300">stopped tracking workers' vacation</a> days back in 2004, and since then unlimited vacation has become trendy with tech companies. But critics point out that having no set number on vacation days may lead employees to take less time away.</p> <h2>10. Vacation Cash</h2> <p>Evernote encourages employees to use that unlimited vacation time by giving employees $1,000 to spend on the road, with the caveat that it has to be &quot;a real vacation.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;You can't visit the in-laws; you have to go somewhere,&quot; CEO Phil Libin told the New York Times. Airbnb also lists an &quot;annual travel credit&quot; as a perk.</p> <h2>11. Field Trip</h2> <p>In an unusual twist on the working vacation, Expensify takes its entire staff on a <a href="http://we.are.expensify.com/offshoring/">working vacation</a> for a month each year. So far they've temporarily relocated to Croatia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Turkey, India, and Mexico.</p> <h2>12. Baby Cash</h2> <p>Google offers new parents $500 &quot;baby bonding bucks,&quot; but that's nothing compared to Facebook's $4,000.</p> <h2>13. Parental Leave</h2> <p>That might not seem like a cool perk, until you realize that most U.S. companies provide new parents with <em>no paid leave at all</em>. But at Facebook and Reddit, you can get four months of <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/05/silicon-valley-maternity-leave-paternity-leave">maternity or paternity leave</a>.</p> <h2>14. Secret Room</h2> <p>San Francisco's Weebly's headquarters has a history linked to Prohibition, leaving it with a <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2013/03/05/tc-cribs-a-look-inside-weebly-the-land-of-prohibition-era-tunnels-and-shh-secret-rooms/">secret meeting room</a> behind a bookshelf and a network of tunnels employees can explore.</p> <h2>15. Jam Room</h2> <p>Weebly advertises a &quot;fully equipped jam room&quot; for employees with musical proclivities. At Social Print Studios, the jam room allows for recording songs or videos.</p> <p><em>So when are we moving to Silicon Valley?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-15-coolest-silicon-valley-job-perks-you-wish-you-had">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/will-companies-ever-woo-again">Will Companies Ever Woo Again?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-perks-you-should-be-demanding-from-your-employer">6 Perks You Should Be Demanding From Your Employer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-your-boss-wishes-you-knew">10 Things Your Boss Wishes You Knew</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-62-ways-introverts-tend-to-win-at-life">Flashback Friday: 62 Ways Introverts Tend to Win at Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-depressing-jobs-that-arent-worth-the-money">10 Depressing Jobs That Aren&#039;t Worth the Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income benefits jobs perks Silicon Valley tech jobs Mon, 16 Feb 2015 10:00:14 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1289631 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Perks You Should Be Demanding From Your Employer http://www.wisebread.com/6-perks-you-should-be-demanding-from-your-employer <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-perks-you-should-be-demanding-from-your-employer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/friends-bowling-163145115-small.jpg" alt="friends bowling" title="friends bowling" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It isn't just Silicon Valley that's offering employees fantastic benefits like gratis gourmet meals and scuba diving lessons. The &quot;perks arms race&quot; that's given rise to Facebook's latest offering of <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/perk-facebook-apple-now-pay-women-freeze-eggs-n225011">$20,000 reimbursement checks to female employees who want to freeze their eggs</a> is trickling down to other industries and pockets of the country. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-29-companies-with-the-best-maternity-benefits?ref=seealso">The 29 Companies With the Best Maternity Benefits</a>)</p> <p>And while the perks for blue collar workers aren't exactly sensational compared to Google's on-site bowling alley and massage parlors, they're certainly a whole lot jazzier than dental coverage and a 401(k).</p> <p>Read on for our roundup of some of the bonus perks enjoyed by workers of all stripes across the country. And if you're currently on the outside looking in on the fancy fringe benefits craze, maybe it's time you started demanding some extra gravy. After all, if the part-time grocery clerk is getting her tuition bill footed by her employer, why shouldn't you?</p> <h2>1. Beer Cart Fridays</h2> <p>It's Friday afternoon and there are just two hours and a small stack of paperwork standing between you and the weekend. But when you're on hour 38 of the work week, a couple more hours of paperwork can seem never-ending. Lucky for employees of Advanced Medical, a small healthcare staffing company in Port Orange, Florida, there's such a thing as &quot;Beer Cart Fridays&quot; to help them through.</p> <p>Jennifer Fuicelli, the company's chief executive, told a local news reporter that while she knows alcohol in the workplace is taboo, she wanted to create an &quot;unorthodox corporate culture&quot; where employees are rewarded for their hard work at the end of the week by having the option to <a href="http://www.news-journalonline.com/article/20130307/BUSINESS/303079996/1040?Title=Local-employer-offers-staff-unusual-perk-free-beer">crack open a cold one</a> on the company's tab during work hours. &quot;We put our corporate culture before profits, and when you do that, profits will follow,&quot; she says, adding, &quot;We have a very low turnover, and a very high retention rate.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Acupuncture, Estate Planning&hellip; and Texas Hold 'Em</h2> <p>Employees of DPR Construction get chiropractic and acupuncture insurance along with their medical, dental, and vision coverage. They also get a legal benefit plan, which can be used for estate and life planning, consumer protection, and family law. Now for the fun stuff: Employees can also drink wine in all 16 of the California-based company's offices &mdash; except for its Austin, Texas location, which has a saloon and hosts <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/capitalbusiness/2012/06/28/gJQAzzfjGW_story.html">Texas Hold 'Em tournaments</a>.</p> <h2>3. Gift Baskets and Bowling Nights</h2> <p>J. M. Smucker, the Ohio-based company that makes fruit jams and jellies, sends a gift basket to the home doorstep of all new hires. How's that for a warm welcome? The company, which has a roster of 4,500 employees, also organizes <a href="http://archive.fortune.com/magazines/fortune/bestcompanies/2010/snapshots/47.html">regular bowling nights</a> in an effort to foster fun and socialization among coworkers.</p> <h2>4. Adoption Assistance and Educational Scholarships</h2> <p>Wegmans workers receive <a href="http://www.wegmans.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CategoryDisplay?langId=-1&amp;storeId=10052&amp;catalogId=10002&amp;categoryId=284278">free adoption assistance</a> as one of the perks of employment with the Rochester, New York based grocery store chain. The company also has a thriving scholarship program, with 26,500 full and part-time employees having been awarded $85 million in funding for higher education programs since 1984. &quot;We believe we can achieve our goals only if we fulfill the needs of our people,&quot; says the company's site.</p> <h2>5. Free Coffee and Foreign Language Clubs</h2> <p>Starbucks baristas benefit from a free pound of coffee to brew at home each week as well as access to more than 50 programs geared at helping employees <a href="http://media.starbucks.com.edgesuite.net/dotcom/media/pdf/Partner_Connections_Club_Descriptions.pdf">strike the perfect work-life balance</a>. Foreign language clubs, recreational sports leagues, groups that provide resources for people interested in sustainable living are just the tip of the iceberg of offerings.</p> <h2>6. A Full-Service Concierge</h2> <p>The company that manufactures Glade, Ziploc, and Windex offers its employees a <a href="http://www.scjohnson.com/en/Careers/culture/benefits.aspx?ref=seealso">full-service concierge</a> that'll shop around for the best auto insurance quote, pick up the groceries, and stand in line for concert tickets. It's like having a willing and able assistant to complete all of life's tiresome errands and chores in your stead. The goal, company officials say, is to provide employees with a healthy work-life balance.</p> <p><em>Does your employer offer any unexpected perks? What should we be demanding?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-perks-you-should-be-demanding-from-your-employer">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-15-coolest-silicon-valley-job-perks-you-wish-you-had">The 15 Coolest Silicon Valley Job Perks You Wish You Had</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-29-companies-with-the-best-maternity-benefits">The 29 Companies With the Best Maternity Benefits</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-companies-with-the-best-employee-discounts">8 Companies With the Best Employee Discounts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-hidden-costs-of-a-new-job">12 Hidden Costs of a New Job</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-secret-to-time-management-and-work-life-balance">The Secret to Time Management and Work-Life Balance</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income benefits perks total compensation work-life balance Tue, 02 Dec 2014 11:00:12 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1260489 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Unexpected Jobs With Insane Travel http://www.wisebread.com/10-unexpected-jobs-with-insane-travel <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-unexpected-jobs-with-insane-travel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/businessman-travel-121200843-small.jpg" alt="businessman travel" title="businessman travel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For most of us, travel is something we do when we're going on vacation or visiting friends and relatives. But other people, they get to travel all the time; once a month, or maybe even once or twice a week. Not only that, but it's all paid for. These are the people who have chosen careers that require travel as part of the job. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-packing-secrets-from-a-professional-traveler?ref=seealso">15 Packing Secrets From a Professional Traveler</a>)</p> <p>And some of these are jobs you wouldn't expect to come with great travel benefits. If you're thinking of switching careers, here are the top 10 jobs you should look into if you want to see more of the world.</p> <h2>1. Auditor</h2> <p>You would not think a job in the financial sector would involve so much traveling, but auditors are out there as much as international jet setters and professional athletes.</p> <p>An auditor's job is to make sure than any given organization is utilizing its resources efficiently, whilst complying with all financial laws and rules. Every public company must, by law, undergo an annual audit. And these public companies are everywhere. As an auditor, you will travel to these companies, spending several weeks combing through the files and procedures. That's several weeks at a time that you get to spend in a city or town that is not where you call home (though beware, they're not always exactly glamorous locations).</p> <h2>2. English Teacher</h2> <p>The people most in need of help with English skills are those not living in English-speaking cities and countries. So an English teacher, or ESL (English as a Second Language) instructor, must be prepared to travel all over the world helping people to speak the language. Many ESL teachers not only get free travel benefits, but free accommodation and even free meals. There are even opportunities to work on military bases, if that's something that interests you. When you're not teaching English, you're taking in the local sights and sounds on someone else's dime.</p> <h2>3. Au Pair</h2> <p>Au pairs are usually hired by wealthy couples that both work full time, and require help with their children. The job can take you all over the world, working in France one year, and Australia the next. Room and board is usually given to you as part of the job, along with a salary and other benefits. The downside is that most of your time will be taken up by caring for another family, but if you're young and single and want to see the world at little cost to you, this is a great place to start.</p> <h2>4. Unit Photographer</h2> <p>If you are very good with a camera, the world is your oyster. Sure, the world's best photographers are in demand everywhere, but you don't have to be Annie Leibovitz or David Bailey to travel the world in style. One of the best areas to go into is entertainment photography. Movies and TV shows are filmed on location all over the world, and as a unit photographer you will be required to take still shots of the action as it's being filmed. The benefits, other than free travel and accommodation, are obvious. You get to be on the sets of some of the biggest shows and films in production, seeing them long before they come out in theaters. Your food will be supplied on set every day. You'll also get to hang with the cast and crew. This is a great job that most people don't even know exists.</p> <h2>5. Hotel Inspector</h2> <p>Wherever there are hotels, there are hotel inspectors. And there are hotels all over the world. Hotel inspectors are required to stay in places that run from Five Stars all the way down to Zero Stars (the ones that look more at home in horror movies than travel brochures). However, for the most part the hotel inspector will spend most of his or her days on the road, going from hotel to hotel, and rating the food, accommodations, customer service, and cleanliness of each hotel. This will involve flying to some parts of the country, and everything on the trip is paid for.</p> <p>You also have to be a master of disguise. As one hotel inspector noted, &quot;A hotel can scramble to clean up its act in seconds if it knows an inspector is checking in, and it's always a battle to make sure no one is on to me. That's why we disguise ourselves. I used to grow a beard every other year. One inspector I know dyes her hair. Another uses fake glasses. To keep my cover, I'll pay with credit cards that I've taken out in made-up names&hellip;&quot;</p> <h2>6. Writer</h2> <p>Obviously travel writers get the most gigs, but you can find a variety of writing jobs that come with a heavy dose of free travel. If you're a food writer, you'll have to go to the many different places around the world that serve the latest foods (which you will also be reimbursed for). If you follow sports teams, you will be on the road as they go to their various engagements. If you cover entertainment, you'll be in New York one day, and Hollywood the next. Yes, it's not an easy career to break into, but once you get a gig at a major publication, you can expect a lot of your time to be away from the office. Writers have to experience life, not read about it on the Internet.</p> <h2>7. Advertising and PR Executive</h2> <p>Advertising and PR may not be what is was in the eighties, but it's still a glamorous profession in many ways. As an account executive or PR employee, you will often have to travel around the country, or the world, to meet with clients and liaise with local press outlets and print shops. Once again, any travel you go on will be covered in full by the company, and that includes food, hotel bills, and anything else you need to live your life while on location.</p> <h2>8. Athletic Scout</h2> <p>As a scout in the sports industry, you need to find the best talent all around the country. Whether it's baseball, basketball, football, hockey, or soccer, you must be out there all the time making sure you get to the best talent before anyone else does. Some scouts work exclusively for one team, others freelance for several. As you go from college to college, and city to city, all of your travel and accommodation is paid for by the professional teams you're scouting for; and these teams are not exactly hurting for money. True, you'll have to sit through a lot of games, but if you do this for a living you'll love the sport anyway. Getting paid to travel the country watching sports? That sounds good to most people.</p> <h2>9. Roadie</h2> <p>Every music gig you've ever been was made possible by the crew of roadies working tirelessly behind the scenes. The roadie, or technical support staff, is responsible for helping the bands set up for a gig, and tear down after it. It's by no means an easy job. There is a lot of lifting and carrying involved, and there is often a need for musical ability or knowledge, especially if you're going to be tuning instruments for the band members. But the perks&hellip; oh, the perks.</p> <p>For a start, you're going to be traveling with some big names in rock, pop, metal, and every other genre that does nationwide (and even worldwide) tours. You will be on the road constantly, traveling from town to town, city to city, and country to country. You get to eat and drink well, and rub shoulders with the rich and famous. And you don't even need formal qualifications or training.</p> <h2>10. Field Service Technician</h2> <p>Due to the nature of the job, the FST has to go to the equipment, not the other way around. It could be elevator repair, heavy-duty equipment maintenance, or even train engine repairs and rebuilds. As a FST, you go where the work is, and you get paid to travel, stay in hotels, and get your per diem for meals and other expenses. Many companies offer on-the-job training too, so you can become qualified as you travel.</p> <p><em>Have you held any of these or other jobs with a lot of travel? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-unexpected-jobs-with-insane-travel">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-go-on-vacation-without-getting-behind-on-work">How to Go on Vacation Without Getting Behind on Work</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tricks-to-making-the-most-of-your-reward-miles">6 Tricks to Making the Most of Your Reward Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-useful-items-hotels-usually-provide-for-free">14 Useful Items Hotels Usually Provide for Free</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-free-or-almost-free-airline-tickets">10 Ways to Get Free (or Almost Free) Airline Tickets</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-that-transfer-points-to-airline-miles">5 Best Credit Cards that Transfer Points to Airline Miles</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income Travel career perks travel wanderlust Wed, 19 Nov 2014 10:00:11 +0000 Paul Michael 1255271 at http://www.wisebread.com The Best Credit Card Perks Beyond Points and Miles http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-card-perks-beyond-points-and-miles <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-best-credit-card-perks-beyond-points-and-miles" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3531706.jpg" alt="Woman with credit card" title="Woman with credit card" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In the battle to win over new credit card applicants, banks have consistently escalated their offers of points and miles. In 2011, we saw multiple issuers that gave away <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards">50,000, 75,000, and even 100,000 miles</a>, just for a receiving a new card and meeting the minimum spending requirements. Ultimately, spoiled credit card users have become jaded with these ever-increasing offers and have started looking for perks instead of points. At the same time, loyalty programs are requiring customers to spend more miles to redeem many awards. Here are some of the top non-mileage travel reward benefits that you should be looking for, and examples of cards that will grant them.</p> <h2>Discounts on Awards</h2> <p>Ok, so you&rsquo;ve come to grips with the fact that your mileage doesn&rsquo;t go as far as it used to. Nevertheless, there are some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-co-branded-airline-credit-cards">airline-affiliated credit cards</a> that offer their cardmembers award tickets at reduced mileage levels. Being a loyal customer to one brand can save you big.</p> <h2>Business Lounge Access</h2> <p>When delays occur, or you just have long layover, the only thing nicer than relaxing in a business lounge is doing so without having to pay extra. When there is a problem with my trip, I enjoy utilizing the shorter lines and more highly trained staff at the business lounges rather waiting in long lines to speak with the standard customer service representatives in the rest of the airport. One of the key features of these lounges is their workstations with Wi-Fi access, which allow me to pass the time during a delay while getting some work done.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-delta-skymiles-credit-card-has-the-best-value">Delta</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-united-mileageplus-credit-card-should-you-get">United</a>, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-american-airlines-us-airways-credit-card-should-you-get">American</a> each offer premium credit cards that come with free admission into their lounges. Besides branded airline cards, there are premium credit cards that also offer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-with-free-airport-lounge-access">discounted or free access to airplort lounges</a>.</p> <h2>Priority Services</h2> <p>Some of the most popular credit card perks now include the special access privileges once reserved just for elite frequent fliers. Holders of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/priority-treatment-gold-delta-skymiles-credit-card-from-american-express">Delta SkyMiles Gold</a>&nbsp;enjoy early boarding and one free checked bag. American Airlines fliers with a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/be-an-elitist-with-the-citi-aadvantage-executive-world-elite-mastercard">Citi Executive AAdvantage card</a> receive priority service at check-in and security screening as well.&nbsp;</p> <p>With right card in my wallet, I no longer have to arrive at the airport as early to avoid potential backups at security. This is invaluable when you're traveling with young children who might get cranky in long airport lines.</p> <h2>Upgrade Priority</h2> <p>The better your card, the more priority you have in free upgrades. This nice perk can save a load of money if you frequently fly on non-peak flights with plenty of First Class seats available.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Companion Travel Certificates</h2> <p>People on a tighter budget should consider cards that offer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-with-airline-companion-tickets-and-3-bad-ones">free or discounted companion passes</a>. For example, earn enough <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-domestic-frequent-flyer-program-southwest-airlines-rapid-rewards-premier-credit-card">Southwest Rapid Rewards</a> points and you'll get a free companion pass for an entire year.</p> <p>On the other hand, beware of other offers for companion tickets that are not affiliated with a particular airline. Many of these companion passes are worthless, as they only allow the certificate to be redeemed at a particular travel agent that imposes restrictions and charges twice the current fare.</p> <h2>Statement Credits</h2> <p>The only reward better than <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards">cash</a> is a statement credit that allows you to save some. The <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/expedia-users-rejoice-expedia-voyager-card-from-citi-offers-big-rewards-and-perks">Expedia+ Voyager Card </a>from our partner Citi offers a $100 annual statement credit for airline incidentals, such as checked bags, in-flight entertainment or refreshments, and in-flight Wi-Fi carriers.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Hotel Perks</h2> <p>Although <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-for-hotel-deals-and-rewards">hotel-affiliated credit cards</a> still lavish their applicants with points, some try to tempt you with perks as well. Customers of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-rewards-card-the-starwood-preferred-guest-credit-card-from-american-express">Starwood Preferred Guest Card from American Express</a> can reach the Gold level when they spend $30,000 in a calendar year. With this status, they will enjoy room upgrades and late checkouts. Using my Starwood hotels status gained solely though use of this credit card, my family of three was upgraded from a nice, but small room at the Sheraton in Milan to a spacious two bedroom suite. Similar Elite Status is granted to holders of the Hilton HHonors&trade; Surpass&reg; Card from American Express. In addition to those perks, some cards offer free or discounted wifi as well as a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-with-sign-up-bonuses-for-hotel-stays">sign up bonus worth free nights</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p>Banks are constantly fishing for new credit card customers. To catch them, they pay airlines and hotels millions for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">miles and points</a> to use as bait. While I am a sucker for a great sign up bonus, I've also learned to look beyond this kind of candy for other perks that my cards can provide. If you are the kind of person who will grab these points and perks, but use the cards to incur debt, do not be tempted to bite these worms. However, if you are the kind of cool customer who can use your cards responsibly, it may be time to look past the points, and see what else your cards can do for you.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-card-guide"><strong>To the Credit Card Guide</strong></a></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-card-perks-beyond-points-and-miles">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards">5 Best Sign-up Bonuses for Airline Miles Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-with-free-airport-lounge-access">5 Best Credit Cards with Free Airport Lounge Access</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-for-hotel-deals-and-rewards">The Best Credit Cards for Hotel Deals and Rewards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-co-branded-airline-credit-cards">5 Best Co-Branded Airline Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Travel airlines airport lounge credit card rewards perks Wed, 11 Jan 2012 10:48:27 +0000 Jason Steele 861141 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Myths About Employee Incentive Programs http://www.wisebread.com/10-myths-about-employee-incentive-programs <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/10-myths-about-employee-incentive-programs-lynn-truong" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/10-myths-about-employee-i...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-myths-about-employee-incentive-programs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000006627709XSmall.jpg" alt="Corporate Race" title="Corporate Race" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Employee incentive programs are popular, if only because they are prolific. They range from industry standard sales commissions and other <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/pay-by-performance-vs-full-salary-jobs-shira-levine">pay by performance jobs</a> to more individual-specific benchmarks, but companies use them freely and generously. Though conventional wisdom tells us otherwise, many will argue that these programs are not just ineffective, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/incentive-plans-always-go-awry">they are detrimental</a>. Before deciding to implement an incentive program for your small business, let's look at the top 10 myths about them.</p> <h2>1. It boosts morale.</h2> <p>One of the biggest reasons companies use employee incentive programs is to boost morale (and hoping that the boosted morale would in turn boost productivity). This is a shortcut, and one that doesn't solve the underlying problem. Morale usually not low due to a lack of incentives. Typically, morale is low for reasons like bad management. Offering gifts or cash in exchange for extra work doesn't address this.</p> <p>Companies often relate morale with compensation. The adage that more money means more happiness is pervasive in corporate culture. These programs are often thought of as &quot;throwing a bone&quot; to their workers so that they'll be happy and productive. It might create a short burst of increased productivity, but because the actual cause of bad morale is never addressed, the problem creeps up again and again. Over time, the company might blame the workers for being greedy and unreasonable when they're using the wrong remedy in the first place.</p> <h2>2. It shows the company is generous.</h2> <p>You aren't fooling anyone. You're not doing this <em>for</em> your employees. You're doing this for <em>yourself</em>. It is a purely selfish deed. You are offering your employees something in return for something else. This isn't a gimme, a gift, or an act of kindness.</p> <p>Management sometimes get confused when workers aren't more enthused or appreciative of the program. From the company's point of view, they're offering something extra, a bonus, an opportunity for more cash. From the workers' point of view, they're being asked to do more and work harder. The incentive is usually viewed as additional compensation for additional work. There's nothing generous about it.</p> <h2>3. It boosts productivity.</h2> <p>If your problem is productivity, consider whether you've provided all the tools and resources available for the productivity standards you are looking for. If you are too cheap to buy your workers new computers, but are frustrated that they're siting around idly while your tech guy has to diagnosis yet another problem on their computer, offering incentives to be more productive will simply cause more frustration. Your workers will see your demands as unreasonable since you haven't provided them with the tools to be productive in the first place.</p> <p>A problem with productivity is usually caused by a flawed system. Inefficiencies often build up and cause bottlenecks in the workflow. Ask your workers if they have suggestions -- they're on the ground floor, experiencing it every day. They might know better than you.</p> <h2>4. It provides motivation.</h2> <p>If motivation is the goal, then an incentive program will provide it -- it will provide motivation to get the reward. But usually, that's not the kind of motivation companies are looking for.</p> <p>The difference is that incentive programs provide <em>extrinsic</em> motivation where you were hoping for <em>intrinsic</em> motivation. Extrinsic motivation, offering rewards for action, provides an empty pursuit for the reward itself. Intrinsic motivation is what pushes people to do <em>better</em>. Morale, leadership, and vision contribute to intrinsic motivation. No incentive program can provide intrinsic motivation. The best you can hope for is extrinsic.</p> <p>Understanding this limit of incentive programs will go a long way in crafting one with realistic expectations. While incentive programs will never provide you with things that result from intrinsic motivation, such as higher quality or creative expression, these programs can still be used to encourage very specific and quantifiable objectives.</p> <h2>5. Metrics are infallible.</h2> <p>When companies rely too much on metrics, a lot of the details get lost. Metrics are often a very small piece of the puzzle, but companies use them to translate all sorts of big picture theories. Quality gets lost in the race for quantity, because metrics are really only able to measure quantifiable things. When you use metrics as your standard, you are using a very small piece of the puzzle to define the entire picture.</p> <p>When you use metrics to reward an outcome, you often shift your workers' focus from the big picture to a small part of it. Instead of doing their work better, they do a very specific and particular part of it better. While your intention was to produce a better picture, you end up with a perfect puzzle piece. It's a very inefficient way of raising overall quality.</p> <h2>6. The reward is most important.</h2> <p>Whether the reward is cash or just recognition, studies show that the <a href="http://www.entrepreneur.com/humanresources/employeemanagementcolumnistdavidjavitch/article54952.html">type or amount of the reward makes little difference</a> -- it's the incentive structure itself that defines the effect. Basically, spend less time on the details of the reward, and more time on constructing a valuable and effective program.</p> <p>While nothing really compares to getting cold, hard cash, nonmonetary rewards offer employees some <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/tax-free-employee-benefits-nora-dunn-1">tax free benefits</a>.</p> <h2>7. A little competition is good for the workplace.</h2> <p>Incentive programs that do more harm than good are usually the ones that involve competition. When you identify winners, there will always be those that feel as if they've lost. When you incentivize individual gain, you discourage teamwork. When you offer high stakes, pursuing creative freedom becomes too risky. By making them compete for limited spots, you devalue the variety of talent.</p> <p>Friendly competition can be had if the reward is small and the task is inconsequential. Having sporting events outside of work, or offering awards for small things like &quot;cleanest office&quot; are fun and contributes to the overall work environment. But pitting them against each other on their work skills is a formula for disaster.</p> <p>Use programs that are open-ended and inclusive where any number of workers can meet the goals and no one loses because another won.</p> <h2>8. Incentive programs give employees a sense of ownership in the success of the company.</h2> <p>While it's true that recognition and compensation contributes to their sense of ownership in the company, incentive programs specifically don't do this. There's a fine line between an employee's sense of worth and value to the company when he or she receives unexpected recognition and sincere appreciation and negating that completely with incentive programs that offer compensation in exchange for work. Having management that provides solid leadership, positive feedback, and proper guidance can provide a sense of ownership that no amount of compensation can.</p> <p>Profit-sharing programs are often instituted as a way to get that sense of loyalty to the company. However, as an incentive program it's difficult to measure success and effectiveness. So many factors contributes to a company's bottom line that a profit-sharing program may focus disproportionally on some factors while ignoring others. It's the program that provides the least amount of control over specific objectives, and offers many ways for employees to make out on the hard work of others.</p> <h2>9. Our employees won't try to game the system -- we have a good relationship and we trust each other.</h2> <p>Employees don't game the system because they are spiteful or disrespectful. They're only following your lead by placing importance on particular metrics that you've asked them to improve. When too much emphasize is placed on incentive programs and the rewards that they offer, the collective focus turns to it. Employees then shift their energy into getting the reward (because that's what extrinsic motivation does). The gaming is inevitable. It might not affect the numbers directly, but it makes the employees value the numbers disproportionally.</p> <h2>10. If an incentive program isn't working, it just needs a few tweaks to make it perfect.</h2> <p>When companies rely on incentive programs for results, they are assuming that their employees simply lack the right motivation needed for them to do their job fully. When incentive programs don't work, they rarely consider that perhaps it's not incentive the workers need, but something much deeper.</p> <p>Ask yourself if the solution to the problem doesn't lie on your workers, but with your business structure. Is there one particular manager who is not able to get along with his or her team? Have you really listened to the comments and suggestions given by your employees?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lynn-truong">Lynn Truong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-myths-about-employee-incentive-programs">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-companies-with-the-best-employee-discounts">8 Companies With the Best Employee Discounts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-15-coolest-silicon-valley-job-perks-you-wish-you-had">The 15 Coolest Silicon Valley Job Perks You Wish You Had</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan">10+ Smart Ways to Get a Small Business Loan</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Small Business Resource Center benefits employee morale perks small business Mon, 28 Sep 2009 15:58:17 +0000 Lynn Truong 3612 at http://www.wisebread.com A Google employee perk we can all get free http://www.wisebread.com/a-google-employee-perk-we-can-all-get-free <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/a-google-employee-perk-we-can-all-get-free" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/129370_5955.jpg" alt="Google lecture hall" title="Google lecture hall" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="196" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <div style="float: right; margin: 1em;"> <script type="text/javascript"> digg_url = 'http://www.wisebread.com/a-google-employee-perk-we-can-all-get-free'; </script> <script src="http://digg.com/tools/diggthis.js" type="text/javascript"></script> </div><p>I recently found an amazing (and I don&#39;t use that word lightly) resource from Google that I think is completely under-used and seriously under-marketed. This resource is called <a href="http://www.youtube.com/atgoogletalks">Google Talks</a> and it contains over 170 fascinating lectures, given to the very lucky and privileged Google staff, most around 1 hour long. </p> <p>I chanced upon this archive of knowledge while researching a new article about psychics (look for it soon, it&#39;s called &quot;I see Dumb People.&quot;) Anyway, the first person I thought of was James Randi, noted magician and &quot;debunker&quot; of people who claim to have super-natural powers. The best video I found in my search came from a place on YouTube called authors@google. I watched it, spellbound, James Randi at 78 years old is a terrific, vibrant speaker with a great sense of humor. You can view his video below.</p> <p><object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,29,0" width="425" height="355"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/MTPj9VlNzQ0&amp;rel=1" /><param name="quality" value="high" /><param name="menu" value="false" /><param name="wmode" value="" /><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/MTPj9VlNzQ0&amp;rel=1" wmode="" quality="high" menu="false" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="355"></embed></object></p> <p>But then I also discovered talks from musicians@google, and women@google. So I did a little digging and found a whole repository of in-depth, wonderful lectures from some of the finest minds in writing, news, acting, politics, science, cuisine, music and more. Here&#39;s just a short list of the people who have given talks for those Google folks I envy more every day.</p> <p><a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=oa5oeHWLx4Y">Tom Brokaw</a></p> <p><a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=cwYKIsJwi2c">Hillary Clinton </a> </p> <p><a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=yCM_wQy4YVg">Ron Paul </a></p> <p><a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=7bjQy0S6Un4">Marco Pierre White </a></p> <p><a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=H9TUTf4T7cI">Dr. James D.Watson</a></p> <p><a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=EAAkVJjAMTc">Clotilde Dusoulier</a></p> <p><a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=RP1cbreDw7U">Matt Amsden &amp; David Wolfe</a></p> <p>Now, these are just a few of the people I was interested in listening to. But I urge you, when you have an hour to kill, to pop over to <a href="http://youtube.com/atgoogletalks">Google Talks at You Tube</a> and treat yourself to a perk of the job that Google employees get. You&#39;ll be glad you did. </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-google-employee-perk-we-can-all-get-free">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-companies-with-the-best-employee-discounts">8 Companies With the Best Employee Discounts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-ways-a-college-education-will-improve-your-life">10 Surprising Ways a College Education Will Improve Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-15-coolest-silicon-valley-job-perks-you-wish-you-had">The 15 Coolest Silicon Valley Job Perks You Wish You Had</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-perks-you-should-be-demanding-from-your-employer">6 Perks You Should Be Demanding From Your Employer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-listening-to-ted">Are You Listening to TED?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training Authors benefits free Google James Randi lectures perks talks Sun, 04 Nov 2007 19:14:20 +0000 Paul Michael 1350 at http://www.wisebread.com