Sometimes there are little things that an employer can do to make life generally better for its employees.

Up until last June, I worked for a mega wealthy family in their private office. The facility was gorgeous and had been featured in design magazines. Priceless paintings hung on the walls, including one in the ladies room that probably cost as much as my car. Our lunches were prepared by a private chef who trained a couple of Food Network stars. We had access to pretty much anything – box seats for concerts, best seats in the house for sporting events, tables at unbookable restaurants. When I decided to leave, people thought I was insane because I walked away from so many ‘prestigious’ opportunities.

So why would I leave? All the glitter in the world won’t make you happy or fulfilled. And as you may have guessed, the uber rich are very different from you and I in every way.

I chose to leave and work in a lower level position at a company that has the reputation for a great corporate culture. Sixteen months in and I’m still marvelling over the ‘little things’ this caring culture provides, and how my life is positively impacted.

  1. I walk to work. Sure, it might take me a whole 22 minutes to stroll that 1.2 miles when I could drive in 7, but I get some exercise, walk into the sunrise in the morning, and towards the sunset in the evening. I destress and solve problems as I talk to myself (not the crazy lady mumbling, I just have great conversations in my head). 
    Hi, suckers! šŸ˜€
     
  2. Super gym with every machine, free classes, towel service at the bottom of my elevator bank. For about what I was spending on gas when I drove to work, I pay for personal training twice a week. Better still, I’m able to use the gym because I’m not working overtime every day.
  3. There’s a culture of kindness. Although there are about 5,000 people just in this particular complex, it’s rare to find someone who is unpleasant or rude. The culture doesn’t allow it. Nasty people are weeded out.
  4. The subsidized restaurant. Today G and I both had prime rib, au jus, mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables – for about $7.50 each. And it’s healthy. Fresh fish, made to order steaks, veggies of every form and variety. Of course there are hamburgers and fries, too, but given the choice I’ll choose a grilled chicken breast and veggies any day.
  5. The paid time off … I went from 10 days to 24 days overnight. That does a lot of good for a marriage when your spouse has 30 days.
  6. Finally, the environment is so peaceful. Tonight as I walked home I took a picture of the asters in bloom in the garden. What would you rather see on your commute home, flowers, or bumpers?  

Nothing is perfect, but I’d take a company that wants me to be a fulfilled, happy employee over one that gets me World Series tickets any day.

Happy Friday šŸ™‚

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6 thoughts on “Little things

  1. I really dig this! I feel so lucky for my work, just like this. I work for a small business now, but my original training was in finance. It was an excellent leg-up, and good experience, but it was such an unhealthy, aggressive environment. Compared to now, where my boss is interested in nurturing my creativity, I get to eat my lunch in a home-kitchen, and I have a glorious walk through english countryside to and from the office, I don’t think I could ever go back! šŸ˜Š

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  2. Lovely. I’d make the same choice! I left legal practice for academia for some of the reasons you hint at. Academia has its problems but I’d still rather be there than working for a corporate law firm!

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  3. I’ve got a similar commute (half an hour walk up a farm track and thru a nature reserve) and was recently looking at new jobs. In my head I had decided i needed at least a Ā£5-10k payrise to justify a move as it keeps me mentally balanced having such a nice beginning and ending to my day.

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  4. Beautiful post – I can just see how so many people would not understand your huge step towards changing your job. I say: well done! It sounds much better and it seems to make you much happier as well. Life is too short to spend time doing things one dislikes^^. Thank you for sharing ā¤

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  5. As you started I was wondering myself why you left. Then I got it. I used to be married to someone with a job with top perks. Loved the boxes for sports or concerts. Company helicopter to take us places but what I didn’t love was the lack of time for us to spend together (yep, that took it’s toll) and the fact that when I was enjoying those perks I had to entertain people I didn’t know. My life wasn’t my own. Your new company sounds fabulous and I would have changed too.

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