Category Archives: Employment

5 Work Benefits That Can Be More Beneficial Than a Raise

When we interview for a job or ask for a promotion, the number one thing most employees think about is the increase in salary. After all, everyone wants to make more money. However, cash isn’t the only benefit you should consider when evaluating a new position.

Here are five big work benefits that can dramatically improve your life. Surprisingly, none of them are related to your actual salary. 

1. An Abundance of PTO

The average number of PTO days for employees who’ve completed a year of service is only 10 days. Go on a couple of vacations and attend a wedding or two and you’re completely out of paid time off for the rest of the year. Yikes.

In Denmark, you earn an average of two days of PTO for every month you work, totalling up to about 24 days annually. That’s more than double what we Americans get on average. The country also has the happiest employees in the entire world, as well as the healthiest work-life balance. Coincidence? I think not.

For the sake of your sanity and health, value your PTO days as if they were a monetary gift. Perhaps you didn’t get that five grand raise you were asking for, but can you negotiate for some extra vacation time? That spontaneous trip to Hawaii will probably do more wonders for your psyche than a small raise ever could.

2. Work-From-Home Privileges

Did you know that more than 3.7 million employees work from home at least half the time? If you’re with a fairly flexible company, scoring a few days in which you can work remotely might not be difficult. That means less time spent waiting in traffic and less money spent on tolls and gas while commuting to the office. Don’t discount those financial benefits – they add up.

Additionally, remote workers report being happier than other workers. Ask yourself if you’d be less stressed and more content if you were able to work from home at least part-time. If the answer is yes, then you should value that benefit as much as a raise.

3. A 401K With a Good Company Match

Nearly half of all Americans have yet to begin planning for retirement. If you’re included in that number, then it’s time to get into gear and figure out how you can play catch-up on your 401K. You’ll be 65 before you know it, and you don’t want to wind up stressing about money when you should be enjoying your retirement.

Try to see if you can score a company match at your new job or with your current employer. A match is essentially free money that company contributes to your savings as long as you’re contributing, too. Think about it this way: if a company says they’ll match three percent of your salary, and you make $40K a year, then that’s an extra $1,200 going toward your savings! That might be better than the raise you could potentially snag.

4. Wellness Benefits

Can you find a job that offers a free gym membership? Weekly massages? Catered lunches? Any of these benefits could be considered a part of your “wellness” as an employee, and believe it or not, they’re worth their weight in gold.

In recent years, it’s been found that 80 percent of employees would actually choose additional benefits over a pay raise. This could be attributed to a number of reasons, but personally, I like to think it’s because younger generations are placing an emphasis on health and happiness, not just their careers. You might miss that raise, but if you can benefit personally from the job’s wellness offerings, then it might be a fair trade-off.

5. Savings and Spending Accounts

Many companies offer additional ways to pocked money, including flexible spending accounts, health savings accounts, and retirement accounts. We already talked about 401ks, so let’s touch on the other two. A flexible spending account and a health saving account can both help you pay for medical expenses.

Wondering why you need a whole different account to pay for medical expenses? Because you can invest the funds! Consider this: if you set aside $100/month for medical expenses in your HSA, then you could have a nice safety net in case you get sick or injured. Additionally, you could invest the funds while they wait to be used, so you’re actually making money on the funds you have set away. It’s a win-win situation.

In Conclusion

When you’re considering a job, don’t just look at the salary. There are many other benefits that could improve your life and financial situation. Some might be even more valuable than a one or two thousand dollar raise, so be flexible in your negotiations and get creative if you have to. Request benefits just as much as you would request money. You’ll thank yourself later.

8 Things You Should Do Before You Quit Your Job

8 Things You Should Do Before You Quit Your JobLeaving a job is seldom easy because your livelihood is tied directly to your employment. That doesn’t mean you should stay in a job you hate or that’s not letting you meet your career goals. If you’ve decided to quit your job, here are some things you should do to make the transition smoother and leave your reputation in tact.

Be sure quitting is your job is the right choice. Sometimes leaving a job is a no-brainer and sometimes it will feel like the toughest decision you’ve ever made. Before you put a plan to resign in motion, i.e. tell your employer you’re leaving, think through your decision to leave and be sure it’s the best thing for you right now.

Update your resume to include the most recent information about your role and duties. If you’re planning to hunt for a new job, an updated resume is essential.

Line up a new job. Ideally, you’ll have another job – or some source of income – before you resign from your first one to eliminate a gap in income or lapse in health coverage. Avoid job searching on company time or using company resources (like your work laptop) if you don’t want to tip off your employer to your job search. Also, be careful what you put on social media about your job search just in case your employer is monitoring your social media pages.

Stash some money away. As you contemplate leaving your job, it’s smart to cut back your spending and start putting extra money into savings. This is especially true if you don’t have another job lined up or if there will be a gap in your employment.

Apply for any loans before you leave your job. Once you quit your job, you may find it harder to get approved for a loan, even if you’ve started a new job already. Because lenders look at the length of time you’ve had in a particular job to predict your financial stability, a recent job change could make it harder to get approved. So, apply before you quit your job to improve your chances of being approved.

Remove your personal items, transfer personal files and contacts from your computer and smartphone. Don’t take confidential or proprietary company information with you or else you could be sued. Try not to make it obvious that you’re clearing out your personal items, e.g. carrying a big box of your things out the door, unless you’ve already announced your resignation.

Give proper notice. The required time period may vary depending on your employer, but two weeks’ notice is generally standard. Regardless of why you’re quitting, be pleasant in your resignation letter and thank your employer for your time at the company. Leave on a positive notice because you never know if you’ll cross paths with your employer or if you’ll end up coming back to the company in the future.

Talk to HR about your benefits. You may be entitled to some company benefits – like unused sick or vacation days – when you leave. At the very least, get an understanding of what happens to your retirement plans. And, if you’re not starting a new job right away and don’t have other health coverage, ask about continuing your health insurance through COBRA.

The more preparation you put into your resignation, the easier it will be to quit your job. Start preparing once you’ve made the decision to quit.

Salary vs Commission: Which Do You Prefer?

Salary vs Commission: Which Do You Prefer?Everyone’s job situation is different. Some people are paid hourly, others a flat rate for the year, and others on commission. There are advantages and disadvantages to each payment system, and it definitely takes some getting used to when changing from one system to another.

Here are the pros and cons for the 3 most popular compensation structures:

Hourly

Pros: It’s very easy to see that the more you work, the more you earn. If you are a hard worker, you have the potential to earn even more money for working overtime, which is often at a rate of 1.5 times the normal rate.

Cons: There is very little stability. Also, if you are sick or need a vacation day, you may feel guilty and go to work when you shouldn’t.

Salary

Pros: There is more stability here and it’s easy to know exactly how much you’ll make every pay period. You are likely entitled to benefits, which can help you take off work without having to worry about making less money.

Cons: There is not much ability to increase earnings since performance reviews are often once a year. Also, you may have to work more than 40 hours a week without being compensated for it.

Commission

Pros: The better you are at your job, the more you will get paid. There is no limit to how much you can earn.

Cons: You can never be sure how much money you will make in a given month, which makes planning difficult. Sometimes, factors outside of your control will determine if you have a good or bad month.

Throughout high school, I worked summer jobs, all of which paid me hourly. The more I worked, the more I got paid. So when I wanted to leave my job picking fruits and vegetables on a local farm at noon, it meant that I wouldn’t be making money during the afternoon.

After college, my first job was a set salary for the year. There was definitely a sense of security which I appreciated.

Now, my compensation consists of a base salary in addition to commission based on a percentage of sales. There’s no limit to how much I can make, which I like. I am able to motivate myself because I know that the harder I work, the better I will do, and the more I will earn.

What payment structure do you have? Do you like it? Which is your favorite?

Updated August 23, 2015 and originally published March 26, 2012.