If you’re thinking you’re pretty darn lucky to have a job, you’re right. Considering your abilities, it is definitely a miracle that anyone hired you. Your employment proves that you are one lucky cat. Or it proves that the only person in the universe who is worse at their job than you is the person who made the decision to hire you in the first place.
And the reason I bring up this nasty bit of reality? Because I want you to share my outrage over a group of people who are not satisfied with getting a paycheck; they also expect to get free beer, free massages, free housecleaning services, free laundry, free food, and — oh, yes — free access to on-site “napping stations.”
Who are these people, you ask. Mostly, they are those annoying young people, and mostly, they work for those annoying Internet companies. According to a recent article in The San Francisco Chronicle by Kathleen Pender, “Tech, social media employers offer perks aplenty,” tech companies in the Bay Area are falling over themselves to offer their employees a bottomless cornucopia of perks. So many perks that it is amazing that these young whippersnappers have any time left in the day to do any work at all.
Consider, for example, the above-mentioned perk of the napping station. According to Pender, Social Print Studio of San Francisco offers its employees wood boxes into which they can crawl with their pillows, stuffed animals and blankies, before closing the lid and settling in for a peaceful workplace nap.
All I can say is — what is wrong with young people today? You and I take our naps at our desks, not under them. And we have to do our napping while looking like we’re actually working. This is not a skill that comes easily. The ability to doze away the day without anyone noticing is the kind of accomplishment that makes workers like us prime examples of the American workforce at its best!
When the newbies are not napping, chances are, they are eating. As Pender points out, “Benefits consultant Towers Watson surveyed 20 large tech companies about their perks this year and found that the most popular, and most valued by employees, was free or subsidized meals.”
How typical and how sad. Could there be a better example of the decline of the American worker than the universal expectation of a free lunch. It’s a tragedy that these misguided tech companies don’t encourage their workers to take a page from your book. When you want a free lunch, you accomplish your goal in the traditional way — you steal someone else’s lunch from the break room refrigerator.
It would be a difficult cultural change to implement, I will allow, but imagine how much better our economy would be if instead of a workforce that rushes to the company cafeteria for their lunchtime handout, we had a rabid pack of predators busily plotting and planning to steal each other’s lunch and gobble it down before they were caught and throttled. Think of what the blood lust over a blood sausage on rye would do for our global competitiveness.
Of course, the culprit behind this transition from our natural instincts as hunter-gathers into Chardonnay sipping, sushi-slurping softies is the tech giant, Google. As Pender writes, “flush with cash and needing hordes of people, it offered an enviable line of benefits that now includes gourmet food, 22 weeks of paid maternity leave, plus $500 in “baby bonding bucks” for new parents.”
(Note to Google: As someone who has raised three children, I must inform you that $500 bucks is not enough to pay a baby to stop screaming and let you bond. Why not give every new baby a pony? Google can certainly afford it, and after the kid grows up, the parents can ride it to work.)
Of all the panoply of perks available today, Social Print Studios has my favorite — a wall of exotic taxidermy animals for employees to enjoy whenever they crawl out of their napping stations. “Employees are encouraged, but not required,” Pender writes, “to choose one that best represents their spirit.”
I’m sure the perk-laden punks who work here are totally inspired and motivated choosing from the stuffed moose, elk and water buffalo heads hanging on the wall, but it would never work for me or thee. In their entire display of dead animal heads with whom we might identify, I didn’t see one scared rabbit.
Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company, but he finally wised up and opened Bob Goldman Financial Planning in Sausalito, California. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at firstname.lastname@example.org.