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Is Pre-cation the Ultimate Job Perk?


42Floors, a San Francisco-based commercial real estate search engine, made headlines when they recently revealed their new “pre-cation” policy, allowing newly hired employees to take two weeks of paid vacation time before they start. According to the CEO Jason Freedman, the new policy ensures the new hires don’t start their jobs already close to burning out. They have two weeks to unwind, rest, and mentally prepare for the job.

Pre-cation appears to be the next step in the escalating perks contest as companies offer increasingly extravagant perks to prospective candidates. Yahoo has a sand volleyball court on their premises, and they regularly host live concerts. Groupon and Netflix offer “unlimited vacation time,” which means they don’t monitor employees’ time off.

But these perks don’t guarantee job satisfaction: instead they may sugarcoat the realities of the work. A new employee may have two weeks of time off before their first day at 42Floors, but then the CEO expects them to burn the midnight oil. Employees at Netflix and Groupon can take all the time off they want, but they are always on call for work while they’re gone.

These ambitious offers don’t address the biggest factor in loving a job: the job. When work is truly rewarding, perks like pre-cation and unlimited vacation time aren’t necessary. Look instead for companies offering stimulating work, supportive environments, and a positive company culture. These companies are offering work-life happiness, which leads to higher employee retention rates and less burnout over time.