Your salary is miniscule. Raises are few and far between. Promotions are out of the question. But as miserable as your cash compensation was, is, and is likely to remain, all is not lost.
You do have your benefits.
Benefits are what an employer gives you in addition to — or, in your case, instead of — salary. Benefits can be very expensive for your employer, so it should come as no surprise that your malevolent overlords have assembled a large, extremely well-paid group of lovable robots to make getting benefits so difficult, you don’t even try.
And now you know the mission statement of the human resources department.
Because there can never be enough HR professionals to stifle every employee, the company issues every new hire a giant book of company benefits. According to Dawn Papandrea, the author of “How to Understand That Massive Benefits Book You Just Got Handed at Your New Job,” on themuse.com, the acquisition of this volume will instantly drain all the joy of landing a new job and instantly take you from that “enthusiastic new hire to having to wade through dozens of pages of fine print to understand the benefits that will ultimate affect your paycheck, your financial future, and your wellness.”
Start by considering your health care options. You will be asked to choose between plans with high monthly payments and low out-of-pocket minimums, or plans with low monthly payments, and super-high out-of-pocket maximums. Choose correctly and you could reach the health care nirvana — a low initial monthly payment in month No. 1 followed up in month No. 2 with super-expensive transplant surgery in which all your internal organs are replaced with stylish new components directly from the Prada body parts collection.
(The surgery will be risky and painful, but don’t complain. You’ll be getting it at 10 percent off the hospital’s list price.)
You may also be offered vision and dental insurance, both of which I recommend declining. Considering the food in the company cafeteria, you really have no need for teeth, and as for super-sharp vision that will allow you to clearly focus on everything that is happening in your department, you’re better off without it.
Remember: A fuzzy boss is almost as good as no boss at all.
Another critical decision you must make is whether to enroll in the company’s retirement plan. Many companies have 401(k) plans, but I recommend that you utilize the tried and true savings plan in which, every night, you empty your spare change into a coffee can, which you keep under your bed. With diligence you should be able to save as much as $100 dollars when you retire in 2038, by which time, if everything we’ve learned from “Star Wars” is true, you will have enough to afford a very nice retirement home on Tatooine.
The benefits book is also designed to answer many of your questions about vacation time. Unfortunately, the answers are so complicated that you will find it much easier to keep working. Even companies that offer the holy grail of benefits, “unlimited vacation time,” will have complicated rules that you must follow if you are stay employed. For example, you may be surprised to learn that under the “unlimited” benefit plan, work days are considered vacation days, since you are, in fact, on vacation from your miserable home life.
Some employers also offer PTO, or paid time off. To take advantage of this benefit you have to consistently screw up so many assignments that the company will pay you not to come to work. Achieving this level of incompetence requires a lot of effort, but if anyone can do it, it’s you.
Beyond making an excellent footrest or a low-cost replacement for your kettlebell, your benefit book may reveal perks programs that offer employees discounts on “certain retailers and vendors.”
Check to see if there are psychiatrists on that vendor list, because after being on the job for a week, you’re going to need one.
You may also be eligible for “tax-free public transit and parking allowances.” A discount on bus tickets may not seem like a big benefit, but when you decide work is so bad you’re going to move to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, you’re going to have to take a lot of buses.
Fortunately, parking in Mongolia is very reasonable. Unfortunately, the country has a “mutton-centric diet.” I don’t know about you, but considering your robot-centric workplace, it sounds like a reasonable trade-off.
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 now works out of Bellingham, Washington. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at email@example.com.