“I was so excited to accept my new job,” related computer programmer, Rick Duggins. “I’d been through a long and very competitive search, but I finally landed my dream role.
“I went down to HR to sign some paperwork a few days before I started. It was just the usual stuff… you know, like how they’re allowed to see and hear anything I ever do from now on, even stuff I post online when I’m not at work that has nothing to do with work; and how any idea I ever have from now on is theirs, even if it has nothing to do with their business; and how I need to be at my desk every day from eight to six and on call at night and on the weekends through the modern convenience of technology, even if I finished all of my assigned work; and how I can never work for anyone else ever again if I leave.
“It’s all pretty standard. I’m sure you filled out the same forms.”
We checked and we did.
“Anyway,” Duggins continued, “then I got to the part where they give me something. That’s what ‘benefits’ means, right?
“Well, sort of. When I added up the cost for my PPO, HSA, 401(k), EAP, and a couple of other peculiar letter combinations I’ve never heard of, I realized they’re not paying me enough money to cover all these benefits.
“Concerned, I nervously left my seat in the lobby and went to see the pleasant lady who’d given me the papers. She was so helpful.
“All this time, for example, I thought an STD is something bad I’d get from unprotected sex—not a benefit at all—but it turns out an STD is something that’s actually protecting me. She confirmed I do, in fact, need an STD and all this other stuff.
“The nice lady explained how easy it would be for me to pay for everything, too. They have this system called ‘payroll deduction,’ and it’s not confusing like those abbreviations. In fact, it’s just what it sounds like: they’ll deduct the money right out of my paycheck before I see it.
“I won’t even miss it, because it’ll be gone before it’s ever in my account. Shoot, payroll deduction is so simple it’ll be like I never earned that money in the first place.
“I was feeling better after this, but I still had that pesky little issue of not making enough money to pay for all this great stuff I need. No problem! Turns out I can just write them a check for $238.76 a month.
“I can’t wait to get started with my new job on Monday. I have so much to learn, and these bills are really piling up fast. I’m not worried though. Soon, I’ll have all these awesome benefits rolling in.
“I don’t even know how much a 50% of 2% match is, but I know it’s a lot. I should have my student loans paid off just in time for my own kids to go to college, which means I’ll probably be able to retire when I’m seventy-two and a half. I might even live a whole year to enjoy the fruits of my labor before I die, and I’m really going to make the most of it by staying at the best campsites money can buy.
“This new job is a dream come true — the American Dream, really!”