Re: Worth of Benefits

Subject: Re: Worth of Benefits
From: Michael Andrew Uhl <uhl -at- VISLAB -dot- EPA -dot- GOV>
Date: Tue, 18 Feb 1997 12:58:08 -0800

Daniel Wise is fortunate to have made it to the buyout and
pension payout stage in life. Melissa is in a tough bind: things
are OK as long as she has her job; and I dearly hope she
keeps it. I'm keeping my job for as long as I can, because I
love the benefits, modest as they are.

My message to the younger colleagues among us is, don't
*automatically* assume your benefits are worth more than what
you could earn at a higher salary and *less* in the way of
benefits.

Here's another angle, which certainly doesn't apply to
somone like Melissa, who has tremendous responsibility for
others. One reason people stay on a job they dislike or
suffer in, is because they hope if they tough it out for
just a few more years--to get fully vested--or another
ten or fifteen years to retire, the pain will all be worth it.
They forget that they're loving employer, 'we're a family here,'
will downsize them out the door in a heartbeat if they think
they can make more money or look better to the stockholders
in doing so. Heavy dependency on an employer is a scary thing,
a thing I would not wish upon anyone. For those who can, I
recommend maintaining contingency plans. Be aware of what you
can do apart from your employer. Prepare.

For those of us with benefits, we should never take them for
granted. I know many of our coleagues who'd dearly love to have
them.

I hope to see some of you in Toronto.

Cheers.

-Mike
--
Michael Andrew Uhl (919) 541-4283
Lead Technical Writer, Lockheed Martin
U.S. EPA Scientific Visualization Center &
National Environmental Supercomputing Center
Research Triangle Park, North Carolina USA




Melissa

Melissa Hunter-Kilmer wrote:
>
> On Sun, 16 Feb 1997, Daniel Wise <dewise -at- IX -dot- NETCOM -dot- COM> wrote:
>
> > In the digest for Feb. 13-14, Mike Uhl tells us to "do the atrithmetic." He
> > asks "How much are those benefits worth?"
> >
> > Mike, in my case they were worth 48% of my annual base salary, which was in
> > the middle five-figures. That is a considerable sum. Now that I have
> > accepted an early retirement package from my employer, they are still worth
> > over $400 a month just in medical insurance. And I am also collecting that
> > pension I worked 21 years to get.
>
> I have also done the math and found it unpersuasive in my case. Every year, my
> delightful company (which can read my mail any time it wants, because our e-mail
> is considered corporate property) gives me three paid personal days, ten paid
> holidays, thirteen paid sick days, four weeks of paid vacation. (In two years,
> I will get five weeks of vacation.) It also pays my health and dental insurance
> (as well as for my dependents, though that may change after the current round of
> contract bargaining) and most of the life insurance premiums on a policy that
> would pay twice my yearly salary to my beneficiary.
>
> Okay, that's pretty good, but what *really* convinces me is that I have four
> minor children and a dependent husband. Said husband suffers from severe
> depression and cannot work outside the home, at least at this time. I have
> asthma. Both of us need lots of medication to keep us relatively healthy. My
> company has a prescription plan so that we never pay more than $10 per
> prescription, and we can get a 90-day supply at a time. Folks, medicine for
> depression and asthma can be expensive, but not for us.
>
> Moreover, I'm enrolled in a 401(k) that buys only stock in our company, which is
> owned by the employees. This stock has never gone down in value, almost always
> pays a dividend, is not at all volatile, and is averaging a 13% return in the
> last few years if you re-invest the dividends.
>
> I've been here for 12 years, and I'd like to stay for at least another 16
> years, when I should be able to retire. (Yes, we get a pension, too.)
> Contracting just wouldn't pay for me, at least until my kids are grown and my
> husband has recovered. It works out beautifully for my co-worker, who is
> single and fairly healthy.
>
> It all jives with some of my basic Rules for Living:
>
> 1. Figure out what works _for you._
>
> 2. Do it.
>
> 3. Repeat forever.
>
> Melissa Hunter-Kilmer
> mhunterk -at- bna -dot- com
> (standard disclaimer)
>
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