Have tech perks gone too far?

Jamey Austin on December 17, 2018

It’s become cliché, a topic for an episode of Silicon Valley: what sweet perks does your tech office offer? Not just beer, but several local brew... [Read Full]
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As something that fits somewhat into a lot of the qualities you've mentioned, but is simpler in my mind:

Will I become a better developer if I take this job?

That is really a pretty fundamental question I certainly have asked myself in every context in which I've been offered a job. A form of compensation likely far greater than my literal compensation is the opportunity to level up to the point of really having a better grip on what it means to be a great software developer.

When I think in these terms, I sort of have a purpose for seeking purpose. And end-game.

This is the end game where I use the job as a chance to test myself, work hard but not burn out, and ultimately come out with more career optionality than when I started.

That's all. Nice post.

 

Or, put in less flowery terms, "will this place keep me from getting bored?" When it feels like the opportunity to continue learning has disappeared, that's when I start getting that "need to spiff the resume" itch.

I'm fairly utilitarian and spartan in my outlook. Perks never really made sense to me. Mostly, they've tended to feel more like gimmicks.

To be blunt, I'm a big fan of teleworking. If I have an "ah hah" moment, I want to be able to roll out of bed, stumble down the stairs and bang it out till I've reached a "done" point. Not much beats being able to work from my couch, dogs curled up next to me with tunes cranking at whatever volume seems best at the moment. It trumps pretty much any in-office frills a company might want to offer. If I'm gonna work in an open space, I want it to be my livingroom. =)

 

Right on, Ben. That's a great approach. Appreciate the comment.

 
 

Wait, who actually likes "open, collaborative office spaces" other than managers striving to pack as many people as possible into as small an area as possible?

 

According to a few psychological studies, "no one".

Every damned "open plan" office I've been to, it's just person after person with big, heavy headphones on - probably more tuned out than were they even in a cube.

 

You're right, this topic has several dimensions. We wrote a piece recently touching on some of them: atlassian.com/blog/inside-atlassia...

 

Give me respectful adults working together to solve problems. Everything else is irrelevant.

 

I had that for a year. Except that there was nobody that actually needed the solutions. We had no paying clients and no users. It drove me insane in the end. Thus, I couldn't agree more with point 1 of this article.

 
 
 

I think the only reason these perks exist is that employers want to attract scarce developers and creative employees. Good perks and good work culture are a relatively cheap way to attract people. If devs were treated like service workers I'm guessing there would be just as much turnover as service workers.

 

Excellent article Jamey. You points are very...on point. _^ I wonder, do the beers rotate seasonally?

I also wanted to point out that the Google 20% time thing is an urban myth; "Whilst Mayer claims that 20% time is something that doesn't exist, in a 2004 letter to potential investors, Sergey Brin and Larry Page wrote 'We encourage our employees, in addition to their regular projects, to spend 20% of their time working on what they think will most benefit Google." - Source: businessinsider.com/google-20-perc...

 

Thanks David! Yeah, I fear there's often a lotta talkin and not enough walkin when it comes to certain claims/benefits.

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