Tuesday, December 4, 2007

baby, it’s cold outside

Perhaps because weather is below freezing today, I am musing on the benefits of being inside. There’s a book on my desk that I know isn’t for me, it was delivered to the woman on maternity leave, enumerating the benefits available to her: a chinese menu of insurance options: medical, dental, vision, disability, travel accidents, flexible spending accounts to reduce her taxes, dependent care accounts, commuter savings programs. An optional rider gives her and her domestic partner access to unlimited legal advice. There’s even—I can’t believe this—pet insurance. For a few extra dollars a month, her dog, cat, bird, rabbit, even her hamster can be covered for “a multitude of medical conditions ranging from minor problems such as ear infections and bee stings, to major conditions such as broken bones, diabetes and cancer.”

I just got email inviting me (her) to sign up for yoga classes in the cafeteria taught by a Jivamukti instructor (whatever that is.) Another email encourages participation in a company-wide wellness program that will promote feelings of “happiness and health when you wake up every morning.” Downstairs, a company nurse dispenses flu shots for free and if your kid gets the flu anyway, there’s an emergency daycare center upstairs. There’s a coat drive in the lobby and posters in rest rooms encouraging employees to sign up for Letters to Santa and buy a toy for a child in need.

What I’m saying is— there’s community here. It’s not just a place where people work, it’s where (for better or worse) they live, a post-millennial version of Our Town, a citizenry with its own culture and language and customs which I—as a freelancer—can never be part of.


Anonymous said...

Interesting observations about "inside" and "outside" the community. Perhaps you're more a participant than you care to think. Lovely thoughts I look forward to reading more as the coming days unfold. Thanks for sharing your life.

Alan Wolk said...

Depends on where you're at.
Some agencies treat freelancers like staff, giving them flu shots, yoga classes and (eventually) benefits.

Others, you are the outsider and it does get to be a bit sad and you feel like the stepchild or something.

Fortunately (or unfortunately, for our industry) the former situation is far more common than the latter.