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20 Companies With the Best Job Perks

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For most workers, getting free office coffee and paid vacation—maybe even a few weeks of maternity leave!—is considered a job perk. But for the lucky employees of a small subset of companies, showing up to work means free meals, free classes, random days off to enjoy nature or volunteer, and even extra cash for that new baby or favorite charity cause. 

In 2014, the recruitment site Glassdoor created a feature where employees could review their company’s job perks. This week, the site made some of the coolest employee benefits public (and we almost wish they hadn't).

Here are 20 companies offering some of the most unusual, enticing perks shared with Glassdoor between August 2014 and late January 2016, as well as the companies' overall benefits rated on the site's five-star scale (asterisks refer to companies with less than 20 reviews):

1. Netflix offers one paid year of maternity and paternity leave to new parents. They also allow parents to return part-time or full-time and take time off as needed throughout the year.

2. REI encourages its employees to get outside by offering two paid days off, called “Yay Days,” a year to enjoy their favorite outside activity.

3. Salesforce employees receive six days of paid volunteer time off a year, as well as $1,000 a year to donate to a charity of their choice.

4. Spotify provides six months of paid parental leave, plus one month of flexible work options for parents returning to the office. The company also covers costs for egg freezing and fertility assistance.

5. World Wildlife Fund employees take Friday off every other week, also known as “Panda Fridays” at the nonprofit.

6. Airbnb, Glassdoor's Best Place to Work in 2016, gives its employees an annual stipend of $2,000 to travel and stay in an Airbnb listing anywhere in the world.

7. PwC offers its employees $1,200 per year for student loan debt reimbursement.

8. Pinterest provides a unique take on the parental leave policy by providing three paid months off, plus an additional month of part-time hours, as well as two counseling sessions to create a plan to re-enter the workplace.

9. Burton employees receive season ski passes and “snow days” to hit the slopes after a big snowfall.

10. Twilio offers employees a Kindle plus $30 a month to purchase books.

11. Twitter is well-known for providing perks such as three catered meals a day, but some lesser-known benefits include on-site acupuncture and improv classes.

12. Accenture covers gender reassignment for their employees as part of their commitment to LGBTQ rights and diversity.

13. Walt Disney Company wants its employees to enjoy the “Happiest Place on Earth” as much as their visitors by offering free admission to its parks for employees, plus their friends and family, as well as discounts on hotels and merchandise.

14. Facebook provides $4,000 in “Baby Cash” to employees with a newborn.

15. Evernote hosts classes through "Evernote Academy," which offers team-building courses like macaroon baking.

16. Epic Systems Corporation offers employees a paid four-week sabbatical to pursue their creative talents after 5 years at the company.

17. Adobe shuts down the entire company for one week in December and one week over the summer.

18. Asana employees have access to executive and life coaching services outside of the company.

19. Zillow pays for employees who are traveling to ship their breast milk.

20. Google provides the surviving spouse or partner of a deceased employee 50% of their salary for the next ten years.

It’s not just the Googles and Facebooks that are uncommonly generous with their employees, but alas, there still aren’t very many employers willing to take on your student loan debt. If you’re researching a new career, it may be worth taking things like travel stipends, super-flexible parental leave policies, and free egg-freezing into account along with your salary requirements. 

[h/t: Fast Company]

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Why Your Phone's Airplane Mode Isn't Just for Flying
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There are plenty of steps you can take to boost your productivity: You can design the perfect home office, buy an organizer, and pack your schedule efficiently. But none of that matters if you can’t help but check your phone every five minutes once you finally start a project. To avoid this distraction, Tim Ferriss, author of the 4-Hour Workweek, uses a surprisingly simple trick that he recently shared on his podcast.

As Business Insider reports, Ferriss has his phone on airplane mode for 80 percent of his day. That includes the hours after he's finished dinner and is winding down for bed all the way through the morning hours when he's planning the day ahead.

Cutting yourself off from all calls, texts, emails, and social media isn't always practical, especially during the work day when your coworkers might need to contact you. But if you ever set aside time to be alone, either for mindful reflection, personal projects, or general downtime, the only way to make sure you're really alone is to unplug. Leaving your phone in another room or powering down all together might be agitating if you're addicted to your phone, and even on vibrate mode phones can still be distracting. By switching it to airplane mode, you can get the mental comfort of checking your phone compulsively without the actual notifications to pull you away from your task.

For some people, breaking their addiction to technology isn't as easy as activating a setting on their phone. If you're serious about reducing your screen time, try these tips.

[h/t Business Insider]

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The Only Way to Answer ‘What Is Your Greatest Weakness?’ In a Job Interview
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Thanks in part to the influence of Silicon Valley and its focus on the psychological probing of job applicants, interview questions have been steadily getting more and more abstract. As part of the interview process, today's job seekers might be asked to describe a vending machine to someone who’s never seen one before, or plan a fantasy date with a famous historical figure.

Even if the company you’re approaching isn’t fully on board with prodding your brain, at some point you may still come up against one of the most common queries applicants face: "What is your greatest weakness?"

"Some 'experts' will tell you to try and turn a strength into a 'weakness,' to make yourself look good," writes Inc. contributor Justin Bariso. "That advice is garbage."

"Think about it," Bariso continues. "Interviewers are asking the same question to countless candidates. Just try and guess how many times they hear the answers 'being a perfectionist' or 'working too much.' (Hint: way too often.)"

While responding that you work too hard might seem like a reliable method of moving the conversation along, there’s a better way. And it involves being sincere.

"The fact is, it's not easy to identify one's own weaknesses," Bariso writes. "Doing so takes intense self-reflection, critical thinking, and the ability to accept negative feedback—qualities that have gone severely missing in a world that promotes instant gratification and demands quick (often thoughtless) replies to serious issues."

Bariso believes the question is an effective way to reveal an applicant’s self-awareness, which is why companies often use it in their vetting process. By being self-aware, people (and employees) can correct behavior that might be affecting job performance. So the key is to give this question some actual thought before it’s ever posed to you.

What is your actual greatest weakness? It could be that, in a desire to please everyone, you wind up making decisions based on the urge to avoid disappointing others. That’s a weakness that sounds authentic.

Pondering the question also has another benefit: It prompts you to think of areas in your life that could use some course-correcting. Even if you don’t land that job—or even if the question is never posed to you—you’ve still made time for self-reflection. The result could mean a more confident and capable presence for that next interview.

[h/t Inc.]

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