What’s the limit for benefits?

I just started my first day at my new job with Jet.com and I couldn’t be more excited! This new startup environment has me jumping on my toes because it’s SO new to me: new industry, new company, new role/position. During the first bit of training, I almost felt dumb because I didn’t know any of the common knowledge that is part of the distribution world. Fortunately, my trainers and fellow co-workers were all very welcoming, encouraging, and have faith in me that I can come in to make a positive difference.

Another great, and unusual, feature of the culture is the unlimited vacation days for management. Yes, you read right: UNLIMITED. And don’t worry, you’re not the only one to do a double-take on that. I even did an audible, “huh?!” followed by a jaw-drop and blank stare. Not the best first impression for me, I’ll admit. Once I got past the initial astonishment, I questioned how this idea was a benefit not just for the employee, but for the company as well.

Unfortunately, the benefit is not extended to hourly personnel. But, they aren’t left short-changed: upon the initial hire date, hourly personnel are given their full-year’s PTO up front. Yep. From day one, hourly are given 128 hours of PTO to spend as they wish. Granted, this PTO is suppose to last them the entire year so I will be curious to see how well some manage this paid-forward benefit over the course of the year. There are contingencies on call-ins, no-shows, and terminations with the PTO so it’s definitely not a freebie, but still a very new concept to me. Also, I thought this was a unique solution to the question I was having on whether unlimited PTO was even feasible for an industry like distribution or manufacturing where the business is based on whether operators or workers even show up to work at the sanctioned time for everyone to come to work.

Now with the managers, I’m interested to see where this will end up looking like with the amount of time worked versus the time off as compared to previous companies I’ve worked with. Unfortunately, my foresight was and is not so keen to have measured these metrics previously so no benchmark to compare to. But, I’m sure handy-dandy Google® can help me with some industry averages in ratios or percentages. Despite not having the numbers to compare to, I already see a great advantage with the lack of worry a manager has with this freedom from PTO monitoring. If a personal emergency comes up or if you need a long weekend away, just call in. This of course is with the assumption that the manager will more than make up for it through extra-long days and coming in on your off days occasionally, which is already the expectation for most companies who have the standard PTO-accrual policy.

Just to play devil’s advocate, I’ve heard from friends of mine who have been on this unlimited PTO system before that sometimes the system has a manager “feeling” that they’re obligated to stay and work the long hours no matter what, even when you could technically take off any amount of time. Since, again, this is only my first day I will be anxious to see which of the scenarios happen. But, I’m also blessed with the 4-10 schedule (work 4 days at 10 hours each), which also compensates for the drudgery of working five days out of the week. So maybe, I might end up falling into the trap of becoming a workaholic since I’ll constantly be given a 3-day weekend. Either way, I’m very much looking forward to this opportunity with the incredible, and different, benefits.

Please let me know of an opportunity where you had unique and different benefit from previous jobs. How did you like it? Would you recommend it as a universal expectation or maybe industry specific?

Photo Credit: http://www.symphony-solutions.eu/lviv-employment-center-explained-what-the-benefits-of-working-in-it-are/

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