Searching for Perks

You can't open a newspaper or magazine these days without reading a glowing profile of Google. Fortune says it's not a bad place to work. And I think The New York Times has embedded reporters inside Google's offices.

Here are some of the perks enjoyed by Google employees:

  • Five free WiFi-enabled buses to transport employees to the Googleplex in Mountain View, California
  • Free car washes and oil changes for those who drive
  • $5,000 towards the purchase of a hybrid car
  • Free use of on-site laundry rooms
  • Free detergent
  • Free food, from quail to M&M's
  • Reimbursements of up to $500 in takeout expenses after you have a child

But like I said, these facts and figures are being reported everywhere. So let's use generous Google as a jumping off point to discuss the other end of the perk spectrum. What's the most half-assed, uninspiring perk you've ever been offered?

For me, it was permission to see the dentist. A few jobs ago, a co-worker broke a tooth at lunch. He emailed our department to say he was going to the dentist. Another co-worker replied to all, saying we couldn't just pick up and leave in the middle of the day -- "that's what nights and weekends are for." And if we wanted to "run errands," we had to dip into our vacation time. This person worked nowhere near human resources.

A third email, from HR, said if one of us were to crack a tooth, we could, in fact, leave to get it fixed. We all felt pretty great about our place of work that day.

Can you top that?

Everything You Need to Know About Food in One Book

If you find yourself mixing up nigiri and sashimi at sushi restaurants or don’t know which fruits are in season, then this is the book for you. Food & Drink Infographics, published by TASCHEN, is a colorful and comprehensive guide to all things food and drink.

The book combines tips and tricks with historical context about the ways in which different civilizations illustrated and documented the foods they ate, as well as how humans went from hunter-gatherers to modern-day epicureans. As for the infographics, there’s a helpful graphic explaining the number of servings provided by different cake sizes, a heat index of various chilies, a chart of cheeses, and a guide to Italian cold cuts, among other delectable charts.

The 480-page coffee table book, which can be purchased on Amazon for $56, is written in three languages: English, French, and German. The infographics themselves come from various sources, and the text is provided by Simone Klabin, a New York City-based writer and lecturer on film, art, culture, and children’s media.

Keep scrolling to see a few of the infographics featured in the book.

An infographic about cheese

An infographic about cakes
Courtesy of TASCHEN

An infographic about fruits in season
Courtesy of TASCHEN


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