I have unlimited PTO
So my company must really care about me.
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When all worth is measured in dollars and cents, people tend to get serious. Such is life in the sphere of big business, a habitat I have lived in for the last decade. It has been my job to interview and write about CEOs, executives, and hard-charging entrepreneurs. I continue to be perplexed at the machismo, moral grandstanding, empty platitudes, and hollowness that define much of the space. It was (and in some ways, still is) a foreign world to me.
I am not a serious man. The two things I choose to take seriously—golf and gambling on sports—are considered by most unworthy of the brow-furrowing, religious fervor I apply. Which is kind of the point. When held under the Serious microscope, nearly anything in life—be it business, golf, gambling, or any solemn sanctuary of your choosing—will crumble under the scrutiny.
I believe experiences are more enjoyable (and strangely enough, fulfilling) when engaged with as a joke. I laugh at everything I do, golf and gambling most of all—one is a game that encourages polyester polos as dress code, the other is a financial pursuit most commonly associated with degeneracy. The cliche “laughter is the best medicine” exists for a reason. Same with “life is a joke.” Same with “this is serious business.” Combine all three and we arrive at the thrilling, creaky doorstep of this project.
Welcome to Serious Business.
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At Silicon Slopes, we are serious about company culture.
New employees are welcomed with open arms and a plethora of perks. Our kitchen is packed with Mike & Ikes, La Croix, and Kirkland trail mix, just to prove demonic temptation can be withstood while intermittent fasting. We call each other family with straight faces. Fridays are so casual some employees wear no clothes at all. Best of all, we offer our most loyal workers an incredible gift: unlimited paid time off.
Now, a stunning thing occurs when employees are given free rein to bounce: they bounce. They walk right out the door and don’t look back, filling their time with pickleball, voluminous novels, and midday naps. They rave about feeling the sun on their skin. They claim to have found diets that involve eating. Their happiness clogs up Instagram feeds and Twitter threads though it could be the performative art social media is known for. How else could our brothers and sisters look so giddy outside the workplace?
Because we are steadfast in our commitment to culture, we are in a bind. I am the only working employee though all are paid. Every day from 8-5, I sit alone at my standing desk and ponder a great unanswerable truth: can a rock-solid culture be chiseled into something feeble, like a marvelous Hercules statue with too-small genitalia? We are hemorrhaging money and only have this shit writing to show for it. I’m ashamed to admit all the Mike & Ikes are gone.
I wish I had answers but like Hercules, my brain is stone and genitalia are lacking. I can’t comprehend the balancing of scales—culture on one end, a functional company on the other. I’m striving to be a committed employee and because of this, I will be taking an indefinite leave of absence. Paid, of course. I will execute this task with fierce determination. I will fight for my company with unexpected strength from such a tiny package. If I never return, know that my love for culture transformed me into an employee who truly grasped his place in life.
Until we meet again,
Serious Business podcast, episode 1: company culture, unlimited PTO, and how to turn your business into a literal family
Everyone has beliefs on the correct and incorrect ways of establishing a company culture. Some turn to snacks, others to fantasy football, and some insist there should be no culture at all. Regardless of your views on the issue, everyone yearns for deep, emotional connections with those who inhabit their life. With that in mind, what would happen if a business committed to turning their employees into a literal family?
Producer: Weston Tanner
The part about avoiding treats while intermittent fasting... hilarious! All of it - spit on.
I must say I'm on Elle's side here about company culture haha! Really enjoyed listening to you both go back and forth about it!