Company benefits – use them


Most companies provide benefits beyond your salary. This is why asking for the salary is wrong in an interview.

From my experience working for Exxonmobil, Imperial Oil Ltd. (Esso) and Marriott, benefits are 30-50% of your stated salary.

I did work for the 2 universities I attended but academia is a different ball game.

As soon as you get hired, sign that document to have money deducted from your pay for:

  1. Accident insurance or disability or both
  2. Health insurance
  3. Stock options
  4. Savings group plan
  5. Education.

Thank me later.

In case of an accident or debilitating illiness, the insurance will kick in to pay you a portion of your salary till you get back on your knees. Usually 55 -95% of your salary.

Health insurance pays your prescription medication up to 85% of the cost. It also pays for when you travel out of your jurisdiction. Your own province will only pay what it would cost to treat you at home. So it is not their problem that you fell sick in USA. Your health insurance takes care of all that.

When I crashed in Toronto, health insurance got an ambulance and moved me to MacMaster University hospital which had a bed for plasma exchange (1.5hrs drive). When I got better, company insurance airlifted me back home. Ground ambulance to Pearson International airport (Toronto), air ambulance to Saint John New Brunswick, ground ambulance to Saint John Regional Hospital. Total cost $50,000. Cost my family zero. Cost the company zero. Except the insurance premiums from the company and myself likely $1,200 per year.

Insurance works by pulling people together and the insurance company buys the risk. A company with 70,000+ employees paying $1,200 per employee works out to $84,000,000 per year.

The insurance company likely spends a maximum of $5,000,000 per year by taking on risk. After all, it is not every day that they pay $50,000 on one employee.

STOCK OPTIONS are usually to help you save and have a vested interest in the company you work with. Most companies will contribute one for one of what you buy in their stock. It is always capped. For example my cap is 7.5% of my salary. I just do 10% and the company adds 7.5%. This 7.5% is like a none negotiated pay increase. Always contribute to your company stock option account.

I go further. All dividends on my shares are auto invested in more shares. One day the girls will thank me for I do not sell any of my shares and they are the beneficiaries.


Many companies encourage saving by employees for emergency or education of kids or retirement. Marriott did not have a stock option thing when I last worked for them but had the group saving plan.

Such plans also tend to be matched by the company. I think Marriott used to put 5% if you put in 5%. If you put in 1%, they put in 1%. Not sure what their cap is now.


Many employers employees to continue learning. They will pay for training while on the job. They will subsidize your own education. They will pay tuition for your kids’ college and university.

But get this. You have an engineering degree and feel you need an MBA. The employer will let you take 2yrs off work and guarantee your job when you finish your MBA.

We also have EMBA (executive mba) which is weekend courses or online or both. Your company might pay for it even. But the real deal is your company paying for the education of your kids is like hallelujah!

VACATION stops mattering when you are a telecommuter or you get 10+ weeks paid leave.

Martha Leah Nangalama

Information you might not like but could use. I have a solid background in IT and business.

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