Beyond the Paycheck: Jobs With Great Perks
One of the most memorable lines from the movie "The Devil Wears Prada" is, "A million girls would kill for this job" -- the job in question of course being aspiring journalist Andy Sachs' role as an assistant to the editor-in-chief of Runway magazine (a character supposedly inspired by Vogue matriarch Anna Wintour). The rest of the movie is basically a series of scenes in which assistant Sachs runs around Manhattan with coffee, Chanel and the occasional fully grown St. Bernard, all while taking orders from her crazy boss and trying to stave off a mental breakdown.
So why on earth would a million girls kill for the chance to work tirelessly for a demanding boss and a measly $25,000 a year?
Two words: Job perks.
As a former magazine intern myself, I remember fuming in the bathroom at a work event after a tongue-lashing by an overstressed assistant. After pulling myself together, I walked out the bathroom door trying to recall why I'd wanted to work at a magazine so badly. Then I turned a corner and there, in all his tanned glory, stood Michael Kors -- and voilá -- clarity. I put up with all the drama and stress because there were times that the job was just awesome.
Workers in many industries cope with on-the-job stress, long work hours or low pay because of the perks involved -- whether it's the chance to travel, meet celebrities or be wined and dined around the world.
Here are some of the jobs famous for having great perks.
Jeff Miller is the Los Angeles editor of Thrillist, a leading digital lifestyle publication for men. Needless to say, Miller's job is one big perk.
"Essentially, I am responsible for all content running on the L.A. edition of Thrillist.com," he says. "We cover the newest, coolest bars, restaurants, clubs, events, gadgets, gear and all-around amazing stuff going on in each city. I don't want to sound like a braggart, but I have pretty much the perfect job."
So what does the perfect job entail? Miller works from home, but gets to travel often -- and he has "ins" all over L.A. "Since I'm constantly talking to chefs, entertainers, bar owners, etc., I have access to just about everywhere, no matter how popular the place is," he says. And the special treatment extends beyond the nightlife. Recently, Miller was invited to ride in a pace car at a NASCAR race.
Trade-off: "Working from home can sometimes get lonely," Miller says. "I know the details of my mailman Moe's latest vacation, since he's sometimes the only person I talk to face-to-face all day."
-- Editor Jobs
If you've ever seen "Mad Men," you know that advertising can be a glitzy industry. Although it may have tamed down a bit since its 1960s heyday, advertising still packs plenty of perks. It's no secret that a job in ad sales often comes with a corporate card and a travel and entertainment account; conducting business over dinner or at a sports game is still an industry norm.
But as nice as company-sponsored dinners may be, the real perks in ad sales often lie in the lucrative performance incentives. "I recently won the CEO's Achievement Award for being the top salesperson in our organization," says Greg Sherrill, a national account executive with AT&T's advanced ad solutions division. His prize? A trip to Arizona, which he took in March.
Sherrill, who is responsible for selling advertising to the various Fortune 500 companies that make up his client list, also spends a lot of time traveling to meet with the creative departments of large corporations -- and considers this a perk in and of itself.
"In advertising, you are almost always getting to work with extremely creative and fun people," he says.
Trade-off: Because they're in a sales role, account executives are always in the hot seat. "The pressure of having a campaign perform for your client is always there, as well as [the pressure of] being able to make a contribution to the company," Sherrill says.
Travel industry executive
Adam Capes and Philip Mekelburg are the founders of Equity Estates, a luxury residence holding company based in Atlanta. Equity Estates' "owner members" are granted access to swanky addresses around the world, through the purchase of a stake in the company's portfolio of luxury vacation homes.
"We get to travel to some of the most amazing resorts and cities on the planet and stay in homes that most people never get to see, many of which have jaw-dropping views," says Capes, who adds that the duo's work has brought them to places such as Buenos Aires; Los Cabos, Mexico; Florence, Italy; Aspen, Colo.; and the British West Indies.
Adds Mekelburg, "I love it when I tell my wife I have to go to Cabo, Belize or Anguilla next week for business."
Trade-off: Not much, they say. Although Mekelburg does say that the job involves long hours, meetings and calls at night and on weekends.
-- Travel Jobs
As the resident "wedding maven" for OneWed, a wedding-planning website and blog, Marta Segal-Block has to know the wedding industry inside and out.
"I research and write about wedding trends and ideas and write an advice column called 'Ask the Wedding Maven' for people with wedding-related etiquette and relationship issues," Segal-Block says.
The research required to answer all of her reader's questions is extensive. Segal-Block's favorite investigative methods? "I read fashion and celebrity magazines and look at pictures of weddings, wedding dresses, flowers and shoes, and I get sent free samples of things brides might like," she says. "I've gotten lip gloss, deodorant, whitening toothpaste, alcohol, books, makeup, shoe inserts -- all sorts of things. I also get discounts; a well-known dress repair company offered me a 30 percent discount to repair my wedding dress and a local photographer reduced my sitting fee for a family portrait session."
Trade-off: Segal-Block enjoys the flexibility her job provides, but says that same freedom can also be a drawback. The busy mom often finds herself working very early in the morning or late at night.