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The Benefits That Keep On Giving

October 9, 2015

Hey Rodney, can you get me a copy of Office?

Sure. Standard or Professional?

What’s the difference in price? 

Standard is $50 and Pro is $60.

Yes, they are real copies. No, I’m not pirating Microsoft software. I’m simply enjoying one of the company benefits that are so good they keep giving even after you are no longer an employee. 

After leaving I Microsoft I went to work for a large non-profit in Utah. After I had been working there for a few years I, along with 8% of the IT department was laid off. They offered a very generous severance package. I was somewhat disappointed at the timing of the layoff. I’d worked there for 4 and a half years when the layoffs were announced. Naturally, I was disappointed to be out of work, but this employer offered a pension. One and a half percent of your salary for every year you had worked. The problem was that the vesting didn’t kick in until you’d been there five years. I was going to miss the pension by six months. I brought that up during the exit interview.

I understand you don’t have any obligation to help me, but if there was anyway we arrange things so that I qualified for the pension, obviously that would be great.

Well, I can’t promise anything, but let me see what I can do.

What she could do was furlough me for six months. 

We can’t give you the severance package until you are officially laid off, but if you can survive for the next six months without it, we can leave you on the books at no pay until you hit the five year mark.

I’m still a few years away from retirement, but it’s nice to know that when I hit that age, I’ll have a few extra bucks each month because an HR rep “saw what she could do.” If I ever get a chance to go back to work for that company, I wouldn’t hesitate. There was one other benefit associated with that layoff that I didn’t recognize at first. 

They offered up to $4000 for “job search” expenses. The employee found some training or resume help services or something and filled out the paper with the service and how much it cost. 

Rodney, I noticed you didn’t fill out the Job Search Resources sheet.

Yeah, I’m not going to go to some job training class. 

Well, it’s available for other things too.

Like what?

Do you need a laptop to do your job hunt?

Oh. . .

I didn’t buy a laptop, but I did buy the nicest iPad that Apple sold. I also found some peripherals to go along with that iPad. It’s the same iPad that I’ve used to write all 680 blog entries. It’s the technology tool I use the most, even more than my phone. 

First, the company didn’t have to offer $4K as a nice parting gift and second, the HR rep didn’t have to prod me to use it. 

Some benefits are so good, they keep on giving. 

And the copies of Microsoft office? 

There’s a Microsoft Alumni association. If you’ve worked for Microsot as a W2 employee, you are eligable to join the Alumni Association. There are many benefits to membership, but the most popular one is the ability to buy $600 per year worth of Microsoft Software for employee prices. I haven’t worked for Microsoft for more than a decade. And yet, there are some benefits that just keep on giving. 

I don’t remember how much I earned at those two companies, but I remember the benefits. Your benefits package leaves a more lasting impression than your salary. 

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday at 7:00 AM Mountain Time. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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(c) 2015 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved 

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