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Employee Stock Options?

Cliff posted more than 9 years ago | from the are-these-worth-anything-in-today's-economy dept.

The Almighty Buck 358

Evil Butters asks: "ComputerWorld has an interesting article regarding the decline of Employee Stock Options. Long gone are the days when companies would pass out stock options like toilet paper (as you were lucky if it was worth as much). Since most of us are probably in IT related fields, is anyone seeing any turn-around in compensation packages -- especially for IT folk? Everywhere I look, companies are still cutting back and finding reasons why compensation does not need to be increased (except for CEO's of course) no matter what your performance is like. But according to the article, 54% of the top S&P 250 companies are (at least) using restricted stock as performance perks, etc."

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358 comments

One DNF in hand is better than two pre-ordered (5, Interesting)

fembots (753724) | more than 9 years ago | (#10771999)

Call me old fashion, but I believe the old saying "One bird in hand is better than two in the bush".

My preferred compensation is profit-based bonus. So if a company is making profit, employees share the pie, it's like dividends to shareholders except you hold your "shares" in the form of employment/position.

My company's doing an incremental performance bonus, so if this month's profit is up compared to previous month, you get some money added in the bonus pot, and the size of bonus depends on the % increase. This is ideal for employers because it ensures growth, but employees could be working just as good for 5 years in a row, but with the last 4 years without bonus.

Re:One DNF in hand is better than two pre-ordered (5, Insightful)

mordors9 (665662) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772109)

But being able to buy a 9 year old stock option when it has more than tripled in value is pretty sweet. Plus you tend to keep it then. This leads you to accumulate wealth rather than piss it away on the latest doodad or geegaw. So it is good for you and your company. You company benefits because it does change your outlook when you own a good sized portion of your company. Of course the down side is obvious. If the stock hasn't gone up since it was issued.... well you know. That sucks then.

Re:One DNF in hand is better than two pre-ordered (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10772238)

You're essentially getting paid in risk rather than money. You're taking the risk that your bonus will be worthless, vs. the possibility that your options will have tripled in value at some time in the future.

I think for most of the people I've worked for, I'd rather have $1 now than the possibility of making either $0.01 or $3 in the future.

Re:One DNF in hand is better than two pre-ordered (1)

schmoboy (745679) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772130)

I receive BOTH stock options AND cash bonuses. Best of both worlds is better than any hand in any bush. Well, maybe not ANY bush.

Re:One DNF in hand is better than two pre-ordered (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10772192)

>One bird in hand is better than two in the bush.

You've been putting your bird in the wrong bushes.

Re:One DNF in hand is better than two pre-ordered (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10772332)

Why ask such stupid questions Cliff? God.. karma whore.

Re:One DNF in hand is better than two pre-ordered (1)

Fizzog (600837) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772371)

I though it was:

Two birds in the hand is worth one in Kate Bush!

Depends on your needs and age (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772453)

I'd say in a lot of cases, stock options are a good idea. If I was working for a small company that I believed would succede, espically if I was in a position where my work directly influenced the result, I'd probably be willing to take some options instead of cash. Not all options, I need money to live on, but if it was enough to support me comfortably, I could very well see forgoing the extra money in favour of a potential payoff.

The real question is if the company has a solid plan that looks like it will succede. If it's all pie-in-the-sky stuff that has no solid plan of how to make it happen or how to market it, insist on cash up front. If it's a a solid idea of how and what to development, and research to show it's marketable, then some options look like a good idea.

Of course it may all fail, which is why you have to know your limits. However it'd be easy to talk me in to options instead of a raise if I believe the company is going to succede and if my effort can help determine that success.

first post? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10772006)

first post?

Please.. (5, Interesting)

Uhh_Duh (125375) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772019)

So I just saw a post that says IT jobs are getting harder and harder to find .. and now this one complaining that compensation packages are going down.

Do we need to go back to Economics 101 ??

When there are more people than jobs, they don't have to pay you what you're worth, because there's someone out there, probably equally or more qualified, willing to work for a lot less.

The days of being overcompensated are over. Count your blessings if you're paid market average (which no longer includes options). Don't like it? Start your own company.

Re:Please.. (4, Insightful)

TamMan2000 (578899) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772199)

When there are more people than jobs, they don't have to pay you what you're worth, because there's someone out there, probably equally or more qualified, willing to work for a lot less.

On the contrary, they have to pay you exactly what you are worth, you are just worth a lot less than you think you are... Your worth (at least in $ terms) is defined by the market.

Re:Please.. (4, Insightful)

coreman (8656) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772488)

Well, the reason we're worth 50-60% of where we were 5 years ago is BECAUSE there are people out of work that would be willing to take a deeper cut in pay to be employed. This is certainly true in the northeast. And let's not talk about the lack of raises. The market has slumped and is very flat and a lot of good people are still unemployed or under-employed. It's gone from a seller's market in the 90s to a buyers market now, and there isn't a lot of buying going on.

Re:Please.. (3, Insightful)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772209)

Heck, no longer includes options is the least of my worries- no longer includes health insurance is becoming just as common.

Re:Please.. (1)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772255)

That's the truth for me. It wasn't even a thought until I started complaining that I couldn't afford health insurance on my salary, which was already less than market average. Buncha bastards.

Re:Please.. (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772242)

"Do we need to go back to Economics 101 ??"

Perhaps you do. When the job market gets tight employers will offer less and less because they know you cant go anyplace else.

Re:Please.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10772520)

> Count your blessings if you're paid market average

Uh...not really. Do the maths...

My company still hands them out like TP (2, Funny)

Neil Blender (555885) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772021)

And they're worth about the same.

Re:My company still hands them out like TP (2, Insightful)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772439)

Bingo. STock options were a way to pay people in the future of the company: they were used to give wildly underpaid employees, and investors, something on paper. Unfortunately, they're only valuable when the company's stock value goes up.

Now look very carefully. The only people who can sell them when the company makes its IPO are VP's. The employees are prevented by lockout periods from selling them when they are most valuable, right after the IPO or when they have some value left, right before the company tanks. VP's, however, get to sell them with the insider knowledge that they're not supposed to use, and they get nice golden parachutes when the company tanks. In a few cases, the employees can get more value than the many man-hours they invested and the pay they didn't get to take the stock options instead. And in a few cases, people win big lottery options that are worth more than all the lottery tickets they personally bought.

But they're not a good investment idea for most of us who do the real work. In most cases, they're a place to hide money to pay off the highest level staff, in a way that the company doesn't have to show on their books and will never have to redeem except for those high level staff who can sell them when they have value.

The new compensation package of the 21th century.. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10772028)

...is not getting the job outsourced to India.

Re:The new compensation package of the 21th centur (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10772275)

Funniest thing I heard all day.

I had my job outsourced almost 2 years ago and just now am I working again. Had I not gotten this job, I probably would have cried instead of laughed.

My company still gives them out (1)

kevin_conaway (585204) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772039)

I work for one of the 'big five' consulting firms and I was award options when I started in June.

Re:My company still gives them out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10772097)

So does the company I work for. I will never take stock options as compensation again for as long as I live. I work for a major tech company that is more than 20 years old and the $2.5m worth of options I received the first year was worth negative $500,000 the second. The company lost 94% of its value that quickly.

Re:My company still gives them out (1)

antiMStroll (664213) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772117)

I work for one of the samll five and it always feels like I'm in stocks.

When I was in industry... (1)

TamMan2000 (578899) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772284)

The company I worked for gave 100 shares (~$8000) to anyone who completed a degree through the employee degree program. The offer was good for all full time employees (shop, clerical, engineering), for any acredited degree (some peeple when to the culinary institute 45 minutes away). That program was the best reqruiting tool they had, Everyone I knew who was under 30 and working there, signed on because of the employee scholar program. They have cut back some in the last two years, but the program is still pretty good

The company was a Dow componant tech company.

Re:When I was in industry... (0, Offtopic)

humblecoder (472099) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772444)

Usually I hate it when people flame other people's spelling, but the irony of your post makes it just... so... tempting....

But I will be a good net-citizen and resist...

I guess you didn't get your "employee scholar" degree in English.

Oh I am so sorry. The temptation with just too great for me to bear! Please accept my most humble apologies...

You didn't have to expense tiolet paper (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10772045)

Now that you have to expense the options, they actually cost the company bottom line.

By accepting stock options you undermine everyone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10772060)

You undermine the people who count, you and your fellow employees. Suddenly you know care about the companies profitability but the fact is that you make way more as an employee. By accepting stock you are whipping yourself.

It is in your stock's best interest and you as a share holder than all the employees get treated like shit and that cause and effect managment takes place.. Why? Because it makes the obvious changes to the value of the stock.

Re:By accepting stock options you undermine everyo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10772400)

This assumes that the productivity of happy employees vs the productivity of employees treated like shit is less than the difference in costs. Remember, the bottom line can be boosted by increasing revenue or by decreasing expenses.

Taxes... (4, Insightful)

Duncan3 (10537) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772076)

This is all about the taxes, and accounting. Options were great because they were paid for by investors, not the company. That's changing soon.

Now they need ways to pay non-salary money, that comes from nowhere - print more stock!. And they may as well do things that keep you around longer as they do it. Luckily, printing more stock still doesn't cost the company any money, it's from the current investors that get diluted.

It's getting really hard to pay your workers with other peoples money!

Re:Taxes... (4, Insightful)

hazem (472289) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772126)

Now they need ways to pay non-salary money, that comes from nowhere - print more stock!. And they may as well do things that keep you around longer as they do it. Luckily, printing more stock still doesn't cost the company any money, it's from the current investors that get diluted.

It doesn't cost them much today. But tomorrow, when they need to raise more capital, the market will not value their stock as highly because potential investors will be afraid of being dilluted again. If you can't get enough capital, you have to go for loans/bonds.

It's easy to cheat in a one-turn game. But it eventually catches up to you when you have to keep playing.

Freelance (4, Insightful)

conner_bw (120497) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772078)

I went freelance and am doing better than I ever did at the companies and corporations I worked for in the past.

Stock options are like a carrot on a stick as an incentive to win the the equivalent of the super bowl. I don't know how great you think you or your team are but there are as many adequate players on every other team out there. It's rare you can win, but it's an easy way to screw you out of your full pay check.

Why would you want "gambling" as an incentive?

Cash, baby - that's where it is at. (4, Insightful)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772485)

I too am doing well as an independent contractor.

I am a three-time loser in the stock-option arena; 1) early 80's "100,000 shares - at $10/share that's a million". Worthless. 2) Mid-late 80s - "hey you have 5% of the company stock!". Worthless. 3) "Recent" dot-bomb. 'nuff said. Worthless.

You are far better off negotiaing a fair wage, fully funding your IRA, 401K, SEP IRA, what-have-you. Hey, take a flyer once-in-a-while, if you can afford it, but remeber, it's like playing the lottery - "you can't lose if you don't play".

Paying quarterly taxes is a bitch, getting big fat gross checks is what everyone should get to realize how much we pay in taxes, if you pay your taxes without withholding. If you make even a little bit [I pay over 50K USD year in taxes and don't feel "rich", don't drive a BMW, don't vacation in exotic places...] you see how much "the rich" pay in taxes.

Re:Freelance (2, Insightful)

LuxFX (220822) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772501)

I went freelance and am doing better than I ever did at the companies and corporations I worked for in the past.

Ditto that. I kept losing every job I got because of incompetent management leading to the company going under. I finally started my own company, and make about twice what I did before, and I get to work from home where my wife and brand new baby boy are. Plus, I've kept at it about three times as long as my longest stint at employment.

I don't see why my success should depend so much on other people's abilities and decisions. That's the problem with stock options. Sure, they're nice if you work for M$ or Google or Amazon before their IPO, but 99.9% of the time taking stock options is like placing a bet on the competence of your management.

Think about it. Can you even wrap your brain around the concepts of "competence" and "management" at the same time? I didn't think so. Forget about stock options. Find a company with better incentives.

Rent deposits for Bay Area landlords... (3, Interesting)

mikael (484) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772085)

... Four years ago I remember reading in TechWeek that landlords were demanding security deposits in dot com share options, rather than cash.

I wonder if they are still making such demands?

companies were offering... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10772313)

And landlords were accepting. I dunno about landlords demanding.

Options are cheap for companies to give out. Cheaper than cash. Which is why they give them to employees and why they would like to pay for their buildings in options too.

A few cities even got stuck with worthless options as many (Fremont) were getting into building campuses (alleged incubators) for tech companies right near the time of the crash. Actually, past the end. Many weren't yet completed when the crash happened.

Re:Rent deposits for Bay Area landlords... (1)

egomaniac (105476) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772341)

... Four years ago I remember reading in TechWeek that landlords were demanding security deposits in dot com share options, rather than cash.

I spent the past five years in the Bay Area. I work for one of the biggest internet companies in existence and 70% of my income is in stock options, so I'm well aware of both stock option and real estate insanity.

I have never, ever heard mention of the practice you describe. Certainly not when I was renting (and I checked out virtually every apartment complex in San Jose) nor from any of the hundreds of other San Jose/San Francisco residents that I talk to (and real estate complaints are a very common conversation topic there).

If this ever actually happened, it certainly wasn't a widespread, or even widely known, practice.

Re:Rent deposits for Bay Area landlords... (1)

mikael (484) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772466)

I did a keyword search - looks like it was targeted at companies, not individuals...

From Guidelines for Landlords [akingump.com]

The issuance of stock options and/or warrants to the landlord by the tenant became a new means of paying security deposits and/or paying rent. The issuance of the stock options to the landlord in exchange for a security deposit or a reduction in rent means that the landlord, or its lender, has the opportunity to acquire, at a fixed price, an ownership position in the company. This ownership position may be worth far more than the amount of the security deposit or the amount by which the rent is reduced. This equity trade-off occurs when a landlord is particularly impressed with the prospects of a start-up company, usually one having an IPO on the horizon. Obviously, a landlord who is considering a mix of cash and equity must convince its lender or investors to allow such arrangement.

and Toughest Battle for Office Space in 40 years [ifmaboston.org]

I think he means (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772475)

Bussiness landlords. I could see that. Landlord sees all the .bomb stocks skyrocketing and gets greedy. So when one wants to move in, wants payment in stock, figuring he'll make out like a bandit... Which he would if he cashed out at the right time.

Stock _awards_ (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10772087)

Mature companies like Microsoft have switched from options (who really thinks their stock will increase enough to make the options valueable?). Instead, they favor giving stock awards; basically like a bonus.

Large public companies mostly still have employee stock purchase plans, allowing employees to buy company stock for ~10% discount.

Re:Stock _awards_ (1)

Neil Blender (555885) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772220)

Instead, they favor giving stock awards; basically like a bonus.

Stock awards have a serious downside - you have to pay taxes on them. My company would happily give me stock in place of options because they can write it off as an expense.

VMware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10772094)

When they gave me stock options at VMware 4 years ago I equated them in value about on par with photocopy paper.

Since we got bought by EMC and they were converted to actual $$$$, I couldn't be happier.

If the company has a product or a business model, jump on the gravy train!

A job is not a lottery (3, Insightful)

JanneM (7445) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772098)

I don't really see the great charm of stock options, specifically as part of your employment renumeration. Options are a crap shoot even at the best of times - a lottery if you wish. Since you're depending on it for stuff like food and housing, work compensation should be as predictable as you can make it. You want to reward me at an IPO - set me up for a hefty end-of-year bonus instead.

You want excitement - use a bit of your own salary to buy a lottery ticket (or some small-business shares). Or start a business of your own, and get all the pre-IPO excitement you can handle.

Re:A job is not a lottery (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10772166)

reMUNeration

Re:A job is not a lottery (1)

darnok (650458) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772295)

> I don't really see the great charm of stock
> options, specifically as part of your employment
> renumeration.

Actually, there is one case where I can see the big advantage of holding options - when you're actually running the show and therefore hold a high degree of control over when things happen.

If you're the person who can:
- hire true experts,
- fire the losers quickly
- are deeply involved in when things happen
- know when significant slabs of money are likely to become available,
then you're in a good place to decide when and how much of your total income to take as options.

Re:A job is not a lottery (1)

subsentio (735377) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772331)

Since you're depending on [options] for stuff like food and housing

You're depending on options for food and housing? Even I was not dumb enough to do that. :) My salary pays for food and housing. I consider my options a bonus.

Re:A job is not a lottery (1)

JanneM (7445) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772494)

You're depending on options for food and housing? Even I was not dumb enough to do that.

Nope. Never took a job where dangling options was part of the hiring process. I would much prefer taking a job with either higher salary (if the company is small, new and unproven), or with greater job security (ie. a larger, older, well established place that is unlikely to dissappear from one day to the next).

Of, course, right now I'm in academia, which means bad salary, no job security and no options... On the other hand, I work on whatever project interests me and I can come and go pretty much as I want to, so there are compensations as well.

My company's method (2, Insightful)

Wizarth (785742) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772102)

I like how we do it here. When income goes up, so do the wages. Could make it interesting if/when profit goes down again though.

My company does it (2, Interesting)

jaymzter (452402) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772105)

Over 600 shares for attaining RHCE or a similar certification. The trouble is that they drag out the time when you can actually sell the shares. I hope they're still in business then... ;-)

Personally I'd rather just get a straight bonus than something of dubious value like stock. To me an RHCE isn't so much a marketable item than a validation of a person's skill set (flame suit on!)

Offered to me a few weeks ago (4, Interesting)

darnok (650458) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772110)

I was called up for the umpteenth time by one particular startup. One of my ex-workmates is running R&D there, and he must've given them an amazingly glowing reference for me - he rang me out of the blue for a chat one day, invited me to lunch and I found myself at a sort of "reverse job interview" where various execs sat around the lunch table telling me what a great place it was to work, what incredible things they would be doing in the future, etc. and wanting to know how I could possibly refuse to work there.

Anyway, they've rung me up several times since - I suspect as new rounds of funding come through - and their last offer to me included good old stock options as an incentive. They're planning to go public in the next year or so, and wanted me to sign on now for the promise of wealth beyond my wildest dreams at some unspecified future date.

It was like being in a time warp, and gave me a bit of a chuckle; unfortunately these days I'm not really interested in working for a small salary while having the promise of a huge payday dangled over my head at some vague date that's somewhat out of my control.

Careful what you ask for... (3, Informative)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772115)

Careful what you ask for... you just might get it.

No, not the options themselves. But the whole fight about expensing options.

Options never needed to be expensed; any dilution from option grants shows up on the bottom line and any analyst with two brain cells to rub together can tell the difference between "earnings" and "fully diluted earnings"

But folks (including many people here) cried out in favor of expensing them, and in doing so, ensured that Mahogany Row (i.e. senior management and executives) is now the only part of the company has a realistic chance of getting an option-based lottery ticket, let alone winning with it.

If you're Warren Buffett or Bill Gates, that's just fine: less folks getting rich means more room at the top. If you're the government, that's also just fine: less chance of Joe Sixpack retiring early on a long-term capital gain (or effectively tax-free via an IRS section 83(b) election) means more tax dollars as restricted stock grants are taxed just like wages. If you're Joe Sixpack (or the Fred Winecase hiring them) and either of you are in the business of busting your balls to build something and motivate yourself and/or your employees, however, you're outa luck.

So be careful what you ask for -- because given half a chance, FASB will give it to you, and they'll give it to you good and hard.

I think the problem is... (3, Insightful)

Audacious (611811) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772119)

I believe that the problem is that there are a lot of other areas which need to be addressed first before stock options are even considered. First (and foremost in my mind) is health insurance, dental insurance, vision, and so forth. My wife and I are having a hard time trying to decide on what kind of insurance to get. This is because of the $1,400.00 she is bringing home, almost $400.00 of that is presently going towards insurance.

After looking up insurance, sure you can get $200.00 med insurance, but then it has a $10,000.00 deductible on it! Since we pay out maybe $2,000.00 a year max for medical costs this doesn't make sense.

Coupled with the rising cost of gas, electricity, and food in general - the average joe is thinking more along the lines of "Am I going to have enough money to even eat?" let alone think about stock options which, in some cases, are better used as toliet paper.

Speaking of taxes (as per the election where everyone kept saying that they were not going to raise taxes to pay for everything) - think of this: Every time the feds print more money it is an invisible tax upon you. Because the more money there is in circulation - the less that money in your pocket/bank/whatever is worth. So Mr. Bush doesn't have to raise taxes - he can just print up some more money and ta-da! You have just been taxed! And ya know what? They don't even have to ask Congress for permission to do so.

Re:I think the problem is... (1)

sfjoe (470510) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772316)

So Mr. Bush doesn't have to raise taxes ...

Plus the fact that deficits are taxes levied against future taxpayers. Some of us will be dead so we can skate. Others (such as our children) won't be quite so lucky.

Re:I think the problem is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10772370)

I thought that med. ins. was paid BEFORE tax. Your wife and you are paying it AFTER tax?!

Re:I think the problem is... (1)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772525)

> of the $1,400.00 she is bringing home, almost $400.00 of that is presently going towards insurance.
>
> After looking up insurance, sure you can get $200.00 med insurance, but then it has a $10,000.00 deductible on it! Since we pay out maybe $2,000.00 a year max for medical costs this doesn't make sense.

It doesn't?

$200/m * 12 = $2400/y. Plus $2000/y medical cost. = $4400/y.
Versus:
$400/m * 12 = $4800/y. Plus your current (I'll be generous and assume zero) deductible.

You're already pretty close to the breakeven point, and we're ignoring Door Number Three: If the insurance company is charging you more than $2000/y, and you expect to incur $2000/y for benefits... fuck the insurance company! Buy your own medical services for $2000/y, and pocket the change in case of something catastrophic. Over the course of a lifetime, odds are in your favor that you'll come out ahead. (This is, after all, how the insurance companies make their money!)

But even in the short term, you come out ahead to the tune of $2800/y, and as a bonus, your doctor probably thinks of you as his best customer -- because you pay for his services upfront, and he doesn't have to spend $25 worth of his office workers' time filling out the forms that would ordinarily be associated with a $100 checkup! You win. Doc wins. Insurance company loses.

Being self-insured may or may not be the right thing for you -- but your post is a good reminder that there's a segment of the population that's uninsured... and they're uninsured by choice.

Re:I think the problem is... (0, Flamebait)

g0hare (565322) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772573)

Buy all your food on credit cards. Cancel your insurance. Have a good time. Take trips. Work on your house. If anything happens really bad like cancer, sign all the forms promising to pay, they'll fix you up. Then you declare bankruptcy (don't ever pay your home off, if you do then they can take that from you). You are now scott free, with all the equity in your home, no credit card debt, and the world is great. I Am Not A Lawyer

Just got a raise - sort of (1)

CrazyTalk (662055) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772122)

We all just had our annual reviews and got very modest raises - 1%-3%. But, the same week they announced our new health insurance plans and rates for 2005. Our costs per paycheck have DOUBLED (for not nearly as good a plan, I might add) and I quickly calculated that my take home pay will be LESS once the raise takes effect due to increased health insurance rates. To this, all I can say as a USA citizen is...Oh Canada! At this rate I'll be moving there soon.

Re:Just got a raise - sort of (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10772198)

Not another geek threatening to move to Canada. Go ahead. Be gone with you!

Re:Just got a raise - sort of (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10772223)

And... your company is probably paying more for the insurance, to boot. For my company, health insurance rates have doubled or tripled over the past four years. We're seeing again & again people going on strike, protesting their employer trying to pass along health insurance costs to the employees. This was one of the reasons for the Safeway strike, and the current San Francisco hotel workers strike. Companies are in a position where revenues are going down, but certain fixed cost (per employee) like health insurance are going way up. So, an employer can keep an employee's salary the same, and pay thousands more per year to employ that person, due to healthcare costs. And, the employee isn't happy, because they aren't getting anything more than they were before. So - there's a real problem here. I haven't heard a satisfactory explanation as to why health insurance has gotten so expensive. People keep on saying "litigation", but people have been litigating for years. Why double or triple in the past four years?

Re:Just got a raise - sort of (1)

CrazyTalk (662055) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772306)

Actually, we were told that the rate of increase to the company was entirely passed on to the employees, so the company is paying the same as last year.

Re:Just got a raise - sort of (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10772399)

Med. Ins. has doubled and the plan worse? No shit. 4 more years, 4 more years! Long live the king! Canada is no cure, just look at the taxes they have to pay...

Re:Just got a raise - sort of (1)

subsentio (735377) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772426)

Uh, you do know that Canada's tax rates are higher and you'll be taking home even less than in the U.S., right? (Precisely because the government does stuff like pay for you health insurance, ironically.)

Re:Just got a raise - sort of (1)

CrazyTalk (662055) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772533)

Hmmm OK, what percentage of your income DO you take home? And is it possible that higher taxes are offset by higher salaries? (Probably not in the 90s, but salaries here have dropped dramatically in the past several years). By way of comparison, my take home pay is currently 66% of my gross income. That doesnt include property taxes or sales tax. I get two weeks paid vacation per year, 6 paid holidays (no plant closings between Christmas and New Years, or anything like that), and no overtime. And of course, even with health insurance I still have hefty deductibles, copays, etc. I'm genuinely curious, how does Canada stack up to that?

Foreign Compensation? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10772125)

"Everywhere I look, companies are still cutting back and finding reasons why compensation does not need to be increased (except for CEO's of course) no matter what your performance is like."

Are any of these companies Indian?

Makes sense from the company's perspective (4, Interesting)

FunWithHeadlines (644929) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772127)

In the dot-com boom, stock options were thrown around like crazy. I had 3000 of them myself, once upon a career, and on that job I was just a peon. Didn't wind up being worth anything because they kept delaying and delaying until the bust took over and made it a moot point. Then the company went under, making the point even mooter. (Mootest?)

Just as companies had to give in on a lot of employee demands back when you could flip jobs as easily as a hamburger, once the boom was over they had control again. And if there's one thing you can count on in life, a company with control will use it:

"Many of these companies, looking for ways to reward service or pay executives their just perks, are favoring restricted stock, according to a study released last month. Restricted stock comes in a number of forms and with different names, but all versions require continued service by the employee. Stocks or cash tied to business performance are gaining prominence."

Yup, it's the old 'performance' game. "Sorry, Smithers, you did good work, but the market hit us hard this year so your bonus will consist of this Burger King coupon and a pack of Doritos. Good job, son." When companies can tie things to performance, it's good for the company. No random stock giveways so that even the slackers cash out while the company isn't making a dime. Now if the company does well, you can do well, unless you're poor Smithers.

"A U.S. accounting standard that requires companies to book stock options as an expense is expected to be made final before the end of the year by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB). "

Aha! The other reason! Yeppers, one other immutable law of nature: A company will never do anything that costs them money. Everything they do, even the seemingly nice things, is designed to make them money. So stock options are costing them more? Buh-bye stock options.

Cutting still going on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10772143)

Where I work, in the boom times they gave out stock options like crazy. All those options are still worthless.

Now days, if you are still employed at all you are lucky. Some people who were laid off in the past and have gotten back with the company were hired back at much lower salaries. Layoffs are still going on now and then though - you'd like to think that the low performers are the first to go, but sometimes it seems these are based on salary instead. Nobody feels safe because good job performance won't necessarily save you from the seemingly random act of layoffs. Its sad, because there is still some dead weight (after all this time) that they could trim.

No end in sight as far as I can see. I think the attitude of management is to take advantage of the situation as much as possible - I think if the high tech economy turns around locally people will leave in droves.

Yes. My company just started (1)

aardwolf204 (630780) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772149)

Ok Slashdotters, now is your chance to chime in and help me. I know how selfish, shoulda sent it to askslashdot. Anyway,

My company just recently (this monday) announced that it will begin offering a Employee Stock Ownership Plan soon. I'm a young sysadmin who's parents recently passed away and I'm not experienced enough with this stuff to fully understand it and dont really have anyone to asks about specifics.

Does this mean my company will become publicly traded? I'm told my percentage of the company is estimated to be valued at $x M after 7 years. The business plan document had a lot of PHB speak in it. What I understand is that by doing this it will give the company a lot of money in capitol to grow because they will save a lot on taxes, which was in the 30-50% range (had no idea). I believe its a plan to buy the company from the founders/owners and keep them as stake/stock holders.

What are ERISA, and trustees? I dont want to get burned, I'm pouring all I can into 401K and if this can help me become a happy retired geek way into the future then I'm all about it, but I'm nervous because I've seen one of my favoriate companies go from private to public (GOOG) and I'm not sure how that will affect me.

Thanks guys. and download firefox today.

Re:Yes. My company just started (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10772180)

Sorry to reply to myself, just read some other comments and I'd like to add: We just got a new CEO and CFO in the past few months. We already get yearly bonuses up to 13% of our salary or something like that.

Re:Yes. My company just started (2, Informative)

Subgenius (95662) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772279)

"Does this mean my company will become publicly traded?"

Perhaps. They might be issuing non-registered securities as part of a private placement and providing a way for the employees to 'get in early.' Be VERY careful with this. (and good luck trying to sell any of it if your company does NOT go public. Talk to a lawyer to find out why).

If this is anything like my company, you are being issued 'common shares' while the real investors (and executives) are being issued 'preferred shares.' The differences can be HUGE (voting rights, dividends/lack of, etc...)

Obviously don't rely on /. Talk to an accountant before you sign ANYTHING.

Re:Yes. My company just started (2, Informative)

darnok (650458) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772384)

Talk to your accountant and solicitor. If you don't have them, hire some and talk to them. Oh, and don't use the same accountant/solicitor that your company or its key shareholders use; they should tell you if that's the case, but check yourself to be sure.

Business plans typically are full of best case scenarios - I've written a few of them myself, and have occasionally been told to "gild the lily" a bit in order to get the people putting up the money (in my case, banks; in your case, it's you!) excited and wanting to jump on board.

If you're keen on staying at the company for a long time, have a lot of belief in the people running it, your company has some competitive advantage that sets it apart (no, that doesn't include "the quality of our people" since all your competitors will say the same thing about themselves) and the market for what you produce seems to be set for long term growth, by all means think seriously about investing some of your loot.

If, as may be the case, you don't think you're in a position to judge these things, try to find someone who can.

Alternately, you can treat it like betting on the lottery - invest some small amount from each pay cheque and hope like hell.

Even if you're convinced your company is gonna make it big, talk to solicitor / accountant anyway. You don't want to make $5m in one big payday in 10 years' time, then have it all chewed up in taxes...

Good luck.

Left a job over compesation (3, Interesting)

Sylver Dragon (445237) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772154)

At my previous job we would work 10 hours days regularly, deal with customers yelling as us because a product was broken. Which we really couldn't disagree with becuase we had told the company it was broken before it shipped, but it had to be out by that date because some salesman asshat decided to promise it to the customer on that date without consulting engineering and/or integration; and, of course, the company would never miss a ship date and make the salesman look like the idiot he was.
This all got worse as the company did worse and worse, and its stock slipped under a buck. Not only did the company not offer stock options, no one would have touched them anyway. The real kicker was that we had not seen a raise in three years, but we had seen several CEO's (6, I think) get hired, serve for a short bit and then be let go with a generous severance package. In the end, the company did a re-organization and tried to get the Customer Support and Integration departments to move to San Antonio, Texas (I live in Southern California), with the exception of the least trained tech, everyone told them, "hell, no". As for myself, they offered me a somewhat ambigious position in the Engineering department, which was to stay in So. Cal. I was to do software testing and development (at a very basic level), support the local network, and whatever else they threw my way. Oh, and I would have to field support calls that the utterly untrained staff in San Antonio couldn't handle (a.k.a. all of them). I was told that I would get some sort of raise out of this, but for 4 months running, and right down to the last month before the re-organization was finalized, no one could give me any sort of number. So, I found a job elsewhere. I started at a higher pay, by a pretty good jump, the stress is way, way, way lower, and I actually enjoy what I am doing. Plus, the prospect of regular raises are much higher.
In all, the IT sector is still alive and kicking, you just have to keep trying; and don't be afraid to tell your current company to go fuck itself.

crappy paper! (1)

lemonboy (456438) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772158)

yup one company I worked for issued toilet paper at least 4 times while I was with them...Not once were they worth more than used toilet paper.

Now the company I work for, which has been around for abou 19 years issued me stock options that have never been worth what the stock is selling on the market. If I were to exercise these options I would owe money!

Stock Options Can be a Good Thing (4, Interesting)

Rathian (187923) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772160)

Once upon a time I had several thousand shares of stock options with my old company. I shudder to think how much money I could've made had I blown the wad at the right time... Easily 10's of thousands.

Could've.

Back in late 2000 it ran all the way up to 40-something, rung the bell, and then cratered. The whole time I made the mistake of holding onto them out of some odd form of loyalty.

My biggest tip to those that have them, DO NOT hesitate to excercise them when the stock runs up. A sunnier day might come, it might not.

As it stood, when I was laid off my options were underwater and not worth the paper they were printed on. I've since lost them, but last I checked they were still underwater.

Easy come, easy go. I would not take them instead of a hard raise.

Re:Stock Options Can be a Good Thing (1)

jafac (1449) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772489)

My old company awarded stock options all the way down to the lowly shipping clerk.

Through varous mergers and splits, I was literally a millionaire. On paper. Of course, doing a same day sale meant getting assraped by the IRS. So I looked at it as potentially paying for my kids' college.

Some of our best engineers hung on until they were half-vested, and RETIRED. In their 30's.

Due to timing, etc. I wasn't positioned to retire. (people who were in one of the bought companies got a really sweet deal through splits).

Then I got nervous, and converted it to real-estate. (down payment for a house).
I was very lucky, and overall, probably got about a half-million (pre-tax) out of the stock market before the collapse. Dotcom boom high = $240/shr. Post-Boom Low circa 2001 = $16/shr. Current price (after delisting/relisting due to accounting fraud problems) = $20-ish/shr.

Now, I'm struggling to make the payments on that house. But I'm glad I had that opportunity at the American Dream, that I'm pretty sure I'll never have again in my lifetime. But at least I have a house now. Maybe the housing bubble will take that equity away too when it pops, but at least I'll have a roof over my head, as long as I keep working.

And now, I realize just how pathetically little, a million dollars really is. I look at movies from the 1970's where the plot was someone pulling off a robbery, or murder, for like $10,000. Dude, $1 million won't change your life in a way that's measurable 5 years out. It's ongoing earning power that will change your life.

Re:Stock Options Can be a Good Thing (1)

cmowire (254489) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772505)

Well, the trick is to sell a little of all of the stock you have acquired / partially been given every time the market looks up.

The thing is, stock is preferentially taxed. So it can be useful. It's just not something that you'd want to count on.

at microsoft (0, Troll)

dioscaido (541037) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772187)

we get stock when signing with the company, and have a very generous employee stock purchase program. it's good to be the king.

Re:at microsoft (1)

praxis (19962) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772244)

Yes, we get Stock Awards, purchase price of $0, and ESPP (Employee Stock Purchase Plan) to buy at a discount up to a certain precenage of your annual salary. The awards are for signing up and then each review cycle for good performance.

Employee Stock Purchase Plan instead (4, Interesting)

j0217995 (597878) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772197)

I work for a personal bank, privately held where the employees can purchase stock in the company. Most if not all of the employees avail themselves to this option. Its funny when they brought on a new board member there was no non-employee stock for them to give to this board member. Its a great thing working for a place where the list to get stock is longer then the list of employees and anytime an employee sells any part of his or hers, its a large increaces in the price compared to the actual price/share. It will help pay for a house some day for me

Yu_o Fail It (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10772201)

Stock Options are Bullshit (2, Interesting)

drewzhrodague (606182) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772207)

Every single hundredth of a stock option that I was ever offered, has proven to be $20 out of my own pocket. Most companies who offered me these weren't even around long enough for me to vest, or the company would "outsource" the department -- conveniently, just before the vesting period.

But what to do when a company is offering stock options? Since I'm looking for work, I just not and smile, rather than give them a piece of my mind.

Then again, it has been a while since I went on an interview. BRB, gotta send out another couple thousand job applications... I track and rate the recruiters I contact [zhrodague.net] , shouldn't you?

Options aplenty! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10772217)

But then, I work for a startup that can't afford to pay prevailing wage in real cash, yet. We're paid largely in options, and my retention bonus is likewise an annual option grant. As soon as we can afford to pay real cash (RSN), I expect to see the former variety disappear -- completely unsubstantiated rumor is that some prospective investors have been unhappy about how many options the peons now posess, especially from back when our (privately held) stock was uber-cheap.

Sili Valley Booming again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10772237)

I don't know what you guys are talking about. Haven't we all learned to stop believing the media? Silicon Valley is starting to boom again. My friends can't find enough qualified job applicants to hire. Some have even started using recriuters again. The posts on craigslist have jumped 5x in the last year (http://www.craigslist.org/sof/)

Google is looking ... Yahoo is looking ... EBay is looking ... Salesforce.com is looking. And you guys are crying about no opportunities?

Delusion or dilution? (2, Insightful)

clone22 (252516) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772248)

In a meeting with a potential investor in a startup I was with, he made a great point: "It's easy to sit in a room with a bunch of other folks and delude yourselves into thinking you've got a great idea".

So what if the company provides stock options? What are the realistic expectations the company is going to be successful enough for the options to ever be worth anything? Will your seemingly large position be increasingly diminished as new investor money dilutes the share pool? Would you be better protected with a restricted stock grant? Look at the total compensation package, including protection from dilution of your options, after you have thoughtfully considered the delusional aspects of signing on with a new company making grand claims.

My situation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10772263)

I have consistently received a 7% salary increase each year, along with 3% company match for my 401(k). On top of that, I am reimbursed 80% for all educational expenses (work-related or not) as long as I maintain a B average or better. I also recently received stock options exercisable at $1.25 per share, face value of $6250 but they will probably be worth about $50,000 by the time they become liquid (we are currently a privately held corporation).

I'd say I've been treated well, way above average for the industry. The reason I bother to comment is to encourage those who think there's nothing out there anymore! If you're smart and you hit the right company, there are still killer compensation packages to be had.

Posting anonymously for obvious reasons.

The company I work for... (2, Insightful)

kmmatthews (779425) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772272)

still does. It's a ... convulted calculation, but you end up getting between 2-4x your monthly salary in stock at the end of the year. So if you make 5k a month, you can end up getting between 10 and 20k in stock; which you can sell immediately if you so desire. (They also have an end of year cash bonus equal to 1/2 of one months salary.)

Here's a note to other companies: this stock bonus ploy keeps me working for them when I might otherwise seek other employment. Pay/treat your good people nicely, and they'll respond in kind. Treat your employees like crap, and they'll respond in kind.

(ok, I'm really tired.. err, that's my excuse.)

Re:The company I work for... (2, Insightful)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772482)

No. Stock options are not stock. The company does not pay dividends, you cannot sell them at whim, and they're worth exactly nothing if the company value does not go up. It actually makes it advantageous for the company to keep the stock value low, bump it high with some faked up announcement so the the VP's can sell their options at a fraudulent value quickly before the employees can blink, then step out or even quit before the fraud comes home. Why do you think it's called "pump and dump"?

Incentive Structures (5, Interesting)

debrain (29228) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772294)

Programmers are a lot like lawyers, value-wise. Like lawyers, the value of programmers is, or traditionally has been, their creativity and intellect. Better tools have reduced the value of that personal asset in programmers, but not eliminated it.

It is notably different from most engineering in that the products do not require large capital to distribute, once the creativity is complete.

In this manner, I have often wondered if programmers would work better in limited liability partnerships rather than corporations. A small group of programmers who produce on contract to corporations would be, if well organized, very valuable.

The corporate structure lends itself to growth in traditional economy, whereas a larger programming companies have, in my limited experience, not been efficient. There are exceptions, like Electronic Arts, I think.

But the hierarchical view of corporations, looking down upon employees, is flawed in the programming world because the direction of the company is often better felt by the programmers themselves, and management has often had a terrible disconnect from the technical reality, and a tendency to dictate where they should listen. Good management isn't necessarily this way, but many people cling to this management style.

In a partnership, the partners would be responsible for bringing in clients, the design, the programming, and the effective reuse of code. In a corporation, they are typically responsible only for the programming. I believe savvy programmers would be much better at selecting appropriate clients and choosing the direction of the code. I believe, when it comes to the effective reuse of code, a partnership would have better structures adopted to accommodate it.

This sort of delegation among partners has been very effective, in my opinion, in lawyer partnerships. I believe the effectiveness could translate into programmer partnerships. Mind you, moving programmers into management positions in companies may have the same effect, but I think the hierarchial structure inherently causes problems. The distinguishing feature being that in a partnership, management would also be programmers, and vise versa. There wouldn't just be a "delegation to programmers" by management, so to speak.

Just food for thought.

Why Options Work (1)

randall_burns (108052) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772298)

Historically, the startups that have done the best are those with broad based options programs. The reason is that a good option program:
1) curtails employee turnover(i.e. folks like a winer and once a company hits its employees can move more easily).

2) Organizations with extreme economic inequality are unstable. The legitimacy of leaders who are doing well when noone else does comes into question _real_ fast. When an management has no loyalty to employees, lots of nasty behaviors become commonplace--broad based options can help contain that.

Yes and no... (2, Informative)

Razzak (253908) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772322)

In the compensation field, this is the biggest topic. In the silicon valley compensation area, this is the only topic.

At the end of the day, the CEO's pay will not change. As others have alluded to, you pay the CEO enough to keep him from going to another company, as he is the most important person (generally) who has the most significant impact on earnings. If he can make you a fraction better than your competitor and your revenues are $1BN, a few million in pay is worth it. This will generally hold true for the upper executives who report to the CEO as well.

However, what about the little guy? The same holds true. They'll pay you what they think you're worth. Around the nation, it's not going to affect you that much. Pay is pay, and even if you get fewer options you should be rewarded in other ways (better stock performance due to the lower dilution, higher salaries/bonuses, etc). If you're not, there will be someone who will pay you what you were making before.

If there isn't, that means you were overpaid because the company could pay you and not expense the compensation. Sorry.

Here's the real kicker: ESPP's. Many companies allowed employees to purchase stock through ESPP's (Employee stock purchase plans). You could purchase stock at a 15% discount (so buy a $10 stock at $8.50) with usually a 6month to 2 year lookback. This was a huge source of income for many working at these companies. These practices will now be expensed, and companies will begin getting rid of ESPP Plans.

So, let's say your stock has fluctuated from $10 to $15 over the last two years. It's currently at $14. You have a 2 year lookback, so you can buy at $10 with a 15% discount which equals $8.50. Think about it! You can use 15% of your salary to do this. Let's say you make $100k per year. You buy $15,000 worth of stock at $8.50 per share, or 1,765 shares. Assuming you hold these shares for 1 year and the stock price neither drops nor increases, you can then sell it at $14 per share. That's $9,700 in extra income you're losing by this plan going away.

So basically, if people cut back your options or ESPP plans, demand a higher salary, higher target bonus, or a company car. If the company is unwilling to increase your compensation, then find someone who will.

I'm not going to go into the tax implications of Rstock vs. Options and why companies do things a certain way. If you have questions, contact me. I'll put up a yahoo addy so the spam goes there. razzak()jallow(@)yahoo.com (no parenthesis)

*Note: I'm not an advocate for or against expensing options, but I do feel it allows the non-expert investor to more easily compare performance across companies that grant options and those who do not.

Simple (1)

melted (227442) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772336)

If they start handing out options like they did before they may create competition for themselves once the stock market goes up. How? Again, simple. Let's say you're hired into a large company. After years of economic downturn its stock is probably at the lowest point in years right now, probably at its global minimum. If you get stock right now, and tons of it, and your stock triples or quadruples in five years, you'll be "outta here" looking for shit to do on your own. This may as well create a threatening startup of some kind. Not good for a big co.

put yer back into it, slave! (1)

jafac (1449) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772345)

We're lucky we have Health Insurance.

I think that's just how we're meant to feel, too.

"...stock options like toilet paper..." (1)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772352)

I don't think you can own *options* in physical form, but the certificates of the shares themselves are some sort of stiff, heavy paper that would be really uncomfortable (and perhaps even dangerous) as toilet paper.

Simpsons Obligatory... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10772401)

"Here, have some stock...."

Stock options can be a gamble. (1)

BrookHarty (9119) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772404)

If I had been buying stock options over the last 6 years at my work, I'd be loosing money. The merger is buying at 15 dollars, so when our stock was over 15, 80% of the time, where is the profit?

If started buying stock the last 2 years when it was at 5-10 dollars, id be making a profit.
So, the new people made money, the long term employees have lost money.

Also, as for a yearly bonus, I have mixed feelings. The company uses bonuses as carrots, they inflate your pay, but you loose it when the company has poor performance. You work 100 hour weeks and can still loose your bonus. They use the bonus as a carrot and a stick.

As for options, hell, Id owe money if I bought them.

Interestingly enough (1)

eyegor (148503) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772429)

My stock options at AOL are basically toilet paper.

I got $72/share when I started there. When I left, I could opt to abandon them or go deeply into debt buying into a sinking ship.

My current job is employee owned and we get a grant based on a percentage of our annual salary. Much more realistic.

Discounted stocks (1)

jnguy (683993) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772464)

While I was at Morgan Stanley, I think the company discount on the stock would be 15%. There was some heavy regulation, and process that you had to go through in order to purchase it however. Another thing that was part of the companie's policy: Employees aren't allowed to touch stock of companies that Morgan is involved with, so no google stocks for employees... Just my experience. Hope I didn't accidently leak any IP.

I can't say much about Stock Options... (1)

beyond_the_blue (543461) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772467)

...But when I worked for Hewlett Packard phone support (tier one and two) through a third-party outsourcer, employee compensation was terrible. At first it was pretty much non-existant; our Christmas bonus 2 years in a row was $5 in coupons for the vending machines in the break room. And it only got worse when the outsourcers management underwent a change and they added the Pay-For-Performance system. Basically, if you completed all of your calls within a certain time metric, you would get a bonus on your paycheck. Unfortunately for the customers, the metric that was laid down made it entirely impossible to solve the most common issues in time to meet the goal.

So in the end, the support reps that don't give a damn about the customers would just find an excuse to end the call prematurely if it looked like it was going to take a while and get a nice fat bonus every paycheck. On the other hand the honest reps, like me, stuck it out for the nasty calls that would take up to 3 hours to complete and get absolutely zero bonus pay.

98.9% first-call-resolution to my credit, and no recognition. I didn't even get my yearly raise my last year there due to vast upper-rank incompetance. I'm SO glad I quit.

-

Workers really need to unite and demand more (1)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772471)

Seriously... everyone needs to demand more and stop settling for less.

Make these rich bastards pay up. CEOs make too much money.

options (1)

dirvish (574948) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772500)

The company I work for has given options as compensation in the past, but they do it very rarely and I haven't had the opportunity to receive any yet.

Beware of the 83(b) election! (4, Interesting)

PeeAitchPee (712652) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772539)

As one of many who briefly had a small fortune in stock options in the late '90s, I can tell you from experience:

  • ALWAYS take more cash before more options
  • Sell you options the nanosecond that you can, take the money, SMILE, and don't obsess on the share price
  • Immediately set aside 40% (or whatever your financial advisor tells you) of the proceeds to PAY THE TAXES due on what you just made! If you don't you are guaranteed to take it up the ass at tax time.
  • If you want to file an 83(b) election, make sure you do it at the beginning of the current year so you've got plenty of time ('til the end of the current tax year) to decide whether and when to sell some or all of them.
  • Pay the money for a decent CPA / tax advisor, who knows more about this you'll ever want to. AVOID the asshole "advisors" at the brokerages; all they want you to do is keep socking more funds into their firms and keep the commissions rolling in!

Doing ok here (1)

ClippyHater (638515) | more than 9 years ago | (#10772568)

The beginning of this year I received a fair bonus in addition stock options, so no complaints there. However, they DID just raise the price of items in our vending machines by 25%, and I'm PISSED.

Oh, and health insurance took an expensive turn for the worse. Seems like if they raise the prices of snickers and less people eat them, that health insurance would be less expensive.

Some times I just don't understand the world.
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