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5 Job Benefits That Sound Better Than They Really Are

Alison Green
Before we jump into the best and not-best of the week in TV, you should probably deal with the pile of Halloween candy that's sitting in the middle of your living room by deciding which pieces to keep for yourself and which ones to "generously" pawn off on your kids/younger siblings/enemies. Let us help! Just follow our special FTW vs. WTF candy guidelines: FTW (keepers!) SweeTarts, Milky Way, Three Musketeers, Hershey's Dark chocolate bars, Nestle Crunch, 100 Grand, Nerds, Spree, Jolly Ranchers, Snickers, Peanut Butter Snickers, Twix, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Rolos, anything with caramel, money, teriyaki beef skewers, Junior Mints, Senior Mints, pizza, puppies, hugs. WTF (get rid of these!) Kale salad, thumbtacks, pickled herring, Entourage DVD sets, candy wrappers, E.T. the Atari 2600 video game, Mario Lopez's skin flakes, senile grandparents, used condoms, feral cats, an old key to who knows what, candy corn, circus peanuts, toothpicks, Smarties. That's it! That is every single piece of Halloween candy you possibly could've received. Now that we've got that out of the way, dunk your face into a pile sugary heaven and let's talk about what we liked and didn't like about the last seven days in television! SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't finished watching this week's new episodes (of The 100, Boardwalk Empire , The Walking Dead, How to Get Away With Murder, etc.), we suggest that you hold off on reading this story until you do. FTW: The Walking Dead speeds thing up with an unexpected kill We were expecting Gareth the cannibal to stick around and hunt Rick and his gang for most of Season 5, but The Walking Dead decided otherwise. Even though actor Andrew J. West was recently promoted to series regular, his character was surprisingly killed off in Episode 3 when Rick hacked him to pieces with his red-handled machete. Well, there goes that storyline! That's exactly the kind of moment that will help keep The Walking Dead fresh. Now if we only knew what happens to people who eat infected flesh! Oh well, we'll have to wait until the next round of cannibals comes along. FTW: Mulaney airs its best episode yet thanks to ghosts, masturbation, and a song John Mulaney still acts as if he's a programmable SitcomBot3000, but "Halloween" finally brought some badly needed irreverence to the improved-but-still-needs-work freshman comedy. The storyline about a dead resident of John's building who maybe haunted his neighbors was much more entertaining than the ones about John's fear of proctology and doulas from the show's first two episodes, and it turned into a gag about Motif masturbating on his own ghost-surveillance cameras for all to see. But the best part was Jane's Disney-princess musical solo about the benefits of taking over an old dead guy's apartment. See, Mulaney? You can be decent when you want to be! FTW: Janel Parrish brings back Pretty Little Liars' Mona for Dancing With the Stars For those who were disappointed by PLL's clip-show Halloween special, there was a little taste of Mona on DWTS this week. The judges didn't like her arm movements and Len didn't even think it was a Viennese waltz but Janel Parrish and her partner incorporated some popular Rosewood-isms into their number: Val being a creepy dude, Janel playing with dolls, and, of course, MURDER. She even donned a fancy little hood at the end. It was performed under the supervision of Marlene King (a hoodie even prowled around the set) and the music was the opening theme of Pretty Little Liars, "Secret" by The Pierces. Which I'm 65 percent sure I've never heard more than the first twenty seconds of before. FTW: The 100 is still the best show you're not watching When it comes to The 100, there's no time to just hang out and chillax. In "Inclement Weather," the show continued to rush through storylines, proving that when you underestimate Clarke, you're bound to come out on the losing end. Once she tells all her friends about the Grounders being drained of blood and being kept in cages in a secret room, things are bound to get a little messy. And it's going to be awesome . FTW: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. finally broke Ward out of his cage Watching Ward do his best Hannibal Lecter was fun for an episode or two, but it's well established by now that he's far more interesting when he's breaking bones and punching people, which is why we were ecstatic when he escaped his handcuffs in "A Fractured House." We don't know what his plan is (or Coulson's plan for that matter, because he totally knew Ward would escape, right?) but a free Ward promises to add a renewed energy to a show that was already firing on all cylinders. FTW: Captain Cold heats up The Flash After a string of dull, one-note villains, The Flash stepped up its game in a big way with its introduction of Leonard Snart, a.k.a. Captain Cold. Snart was smart, ruthless, and very much a professional criminal, something Barry hasn't dealt with before. Armed with a cold gun that slowed Barry down a little bit, Snart posed a real risk to the Scarlet Speedster going forward, and we can't wait for him to return. FTW: Elementary and Sherlock return, but does Joan still want him around? The third season premiere of CBS's undervalued procedural had Joan at the top of her game, complete with a big case against a drug kingpin. Sadly, that case collapsed when the top witness was somehow murdered in an elevator. Trying to help, Sherlock returned to New York (with new protégé Kitty in tow) eager to make amends with Joan and help with her case. The show's new status quo sets Joan up as an established investigator and consultant and promises some fireworks as Sherlock was aware he did wrong. But knowing him, his ego will still get in the way. FTW: Adventure Time shows us why it's a bad idea to kill flies After swatting one the little buggers dead because it took some of his soup, Jake unleashed a terrorizing ghost fly on the treehouse that he, Finn, and BMO were at a loss to stop in "Ghost Fly." While the hijinks of an angry insect spirit—complete with ghost sheet and sickle—resulted in the trio experiencing some hilarious anxieties, the episode's creepy nods to horror films, including The Exorcist and, duh, The Fly, made it the perfect Halloween treat. FTW: The Goldbergs' Barry gets his date with Lainey in typical Big Tasty fashion Barry's hackneyed courtship of Erica's friend Lainey has been a great runner for The Goldbergs' second season and it paid off in hilarious fashion in this week's Halloween-ish episode. After a brand new rap from Big Tasty (with a sick beat from the JTP) didn't do the trick in charming Lainey, Barry got his first date wish by eating far too much candy and washing it down with a lot of Pepto, leading to an emergency room trip. So suave, Big Tasty. FTW: The Birthday Boys hit hard in the sensitive area Season 2 of IFC's sketch comedy show The Birthday Boys has been killing it, with more of an emphasis on Mr. Show-esque meta tie-ins that link every sketch into one mind-blowing end-of-episode crescendo. And this week's episode successfully went for a sophomoric low blow when cast member Tim kept hurting his wiener in one of the series' best sketches to date. (It might help to be high for this one.) FTW: Gotham says "Never mind the Batman, here's the Bullock." "Spirit of the Goat," one of the series' best episodes to date, wisely focused on Harvey Bullock for a great examination of how he became the way he is today. If Gotham is going to reach the level of greatness Batman fans hoped with its announcement, it will need more character-building episodes like this one instead of villains who tie people to balloons. And it's also important to note that "Spirit of the Goat" was good with the total absence of Fish Mooney. Coincidence? Nope. FTW: The Vampire Diaries shines a light on its bromance It's probably not a coincidence that since The Vampire Diaries decided to take a step back from Elena's emotional trauma this season that it's also experienced a resurgence in quality. The real heart of the show is the relationship between Damon and Stefan and it was more than perfect that the first person Damon saw upon his return to the present in "The World Has Turned and Left Me Here" was his brother. Plus, by focusing less on Elena's hangups, the show has more time for other character bonds, like Damon and Bonnie (new BFFs?) and Liv and Tyler (new more-than-BFFs?). Welcome back, show. FTW: Laurie Metcalf kills it on Tim & Eric's Bedtime Stories The list of respectable actors involved with the comedic genius of Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim has so far most notably included John C. Reilly, Jeff Goldblum, and Jason Schwartzman. But in Thursday's finale of what's largely been an A+ series, Metcalf joined the short list of the comedians' best "serious" collaborators in a scene-stealing performance that has to be seen to be appreciated! FTW: The Big Bang Theory welcomes Billy Bob Thornton for a surprise guest appearance Talk about leaving Lorne Malvo behind—we almost didn't recognize Thornton when he first showed up to woo Penny in "The Misinterpretation Agitation." Naturally, his performance as frisky super-geek Dr. Oliver Lorvis was excellent; and the Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series goes to... FTWTF: Boardwalk Empire finishes with a poetic—albeit continuity-bending— ending for Nucky Thompson Does it make sense that Jimmy's young son Tommy would be as old as he seemed in the show's final season? No. Does it make sense that Tommy would have retained that much information about Nucky's mistreatment of his family? Probably not. But did Tommy exacting "revenge" on Nucky for three generations' worth of Darmodys hit us directly in the stomach? Absolutely. Sometimes, that's all that matters. FTWTF: Homeland turns into the skid of Carrie's horrible decisions, with okay results There's something to be said for Homeland's willingness to almost immediately admit that Carrie's seduction of the much younger Aayan for "reasons" was a terrible one, but spending much of "About a Boy" on Carrie following the first bad decision with further problematic choices didn't make for the most enjoyable episode of a show that can't really afford bad or middling episodes. FTWTF: The Blacklist reveals Lizzie's "secret," and it's exactly what you thought it was Who would've guessed that Lizzie had Tom, her murderous, secret-agent husband, behind that dingy door? Oh, everybody? Okay. At least we're going to find out what's been going on soon... hopefully. WTF: Sons of Anarchy's Jax Teller has finally become the one person he never wanted to be In "A Separation of Crows," Jax put a bullet in Jury's face because he didn't like all the knowledge bombs Jury was dropping about JT. On the one hand, Jury had to die by Jax's hand in order to complete his transition into Clay, a.k.a. the SAMCRO leader who could murder his own brothers without thinking twice, a.k.a. the one person Jax never wanted to be. On the other hand: WHAT THE ACTUAL F, MAN? If Opie and Tara could see you now... WTF: The Good Wife stumbles in a tonally messy episode Most not-so-great episodes of The Good Wife are still better than most things on TV, but "Old Spice" was a very weird, not-so-entertaining flop. Yes, Elsbeth and Josh Perotti's bizarre relationship elicited a few laughs and delighted us with its unique use of "Call Me Maybe." But since the hour also involved Cary almost having his bail revoked in a very contrived way (we're still not sure how he accidentally crossed into Indiana on his way home), Alicia kicking off her State's Attorney campaign by walking back her atheism, and Diane getting her old offices back, it was ultimately all over the place. Plus there was that sucker punch of Alicia taking Will's office as her own. TOO MANY DIFFERENT EMOTIONS, SHOW. WTF: On Survivor, the Hunaphu will never get their comeuppance This week in extremely maddening Survivor developments, the dominant-yet-incompetent Hunaphu tribe was forced to give up nearly everything they'd won—tarps, blankets, a pot, etc.—in exchange for a second bag of rice and a healthy talkin'-to from Disappointed Dad Jeff Probst. But then, just when we thought they'd end up down and out (they did lose their shelter, after all), they managed to destroy the hapless Coyopa tribe in both the reward and immunity challenges, gaining a massive barbecue feast and three more days of safety. So much for those just deserts. WTF: How to Get Away with Murder disappoints with a surprisingly boring Douchface-centric episode Say what you will about the show's reliance on silly flash-forwards or the poorly developed members of Team Annalise, but at least it's been consistently entertaining... until this week. Unfortunately, the mostly procedural "Freakin' Whack-a-Mole" was surprisingly boring, a misstep that was only made worse by a strained attempt to make us care about bro-dude Asher and Annalise's sudden interest in morality and "right" and "wrong." No thanks. WTF: TNT's On the Menu leaves a bad taste, should be sent back The conceit of TNT's young cooking competition is pretty good: No-name aspiring chefs compete to have their dishes featured on the menu of a big chain restaurant the day after an episode airs, allowing viewers can taste what they've just seen prepared. But the show's first few episodes have been frustrating to watch, thanks to corporate restaurant execs who offer no insight, silly "technique" contests that serve as elimination challenges, and the creation of mediocre fare that will sit next to Chili's jalapeño poppers. Why bother choking it down when Food Network and Cooking Channel are serving much tastier stuff? What's on YOUR list of TV loves and hates this week? The series premieres of USA's Benched and CBS's The McCarthys? The death of Twisty the Clown on American Horror Story: Freak Show? NBC's cancellation of A to Z and Bad Judge? Share your own FTWs and WTFs in the comments!


More and more often, companies are getting creative with what kind of benefits they offer to attract and retain employees, offering perks like free lunches and dinner, gym memberships and even unlimited vacation time. But while most of these sound great in theory, some of them don't quite deliver when you look at how they play out in practice.

Here are five benefits that might sound fantastic but don't always deliver in the way you might expect.

1. Unlimited vacation time. You might have read about companies like Netflix offering employees unlimited vacation time. The idea is that instead of getting a set number of paid days off each year, you're allowed to take as much time off as you want, as long as your work gets done. Sounds great, right? It often can be.

However, in some cases, it can result in employees taking less vacation time than they took under more traditional policies. That's because without guidelines, some people become unsure about how much time off is really OK to take. When you don't want your manager and co-workers to think you're a slacker, and you don't have any hard and fast rules about how much time away is appropriate and how much might be frowned upon, it can get a lot harder to feel comfortable using this benefit. Of course, these policies can be managed well, but it takes commitment on the part of the company and its managers to ensure that people really understand what's expected of them.

Another drawback of unlimited vacation time is that it means you won't formally accrue paid leave, which means there's nothing for your employer to pay out to you when you leave your job. With more traditional vacation policies, you might receive a cash payout if you leave your job with accrued vacation time remaining. Some states require such payouts.

2. Combined sick and vacation leave into one overall paid-time-off bucket. This often sounds great at first -- after all, if you don't get sick, you can use that time for vacation instead. But what often happens in reality is that it creates an incentive for people to come to work when they're sick so that they can keep their PTO for vacations. That means you might end up with lots of sick and contagious co-workers spreading their germs around your office.

3. Egg freezing . Apple and Facebook made headlines recently when they announced they'd offer coverage for female employees to freeze their eggs. But it's not hard to imagine that the companies' desire to keep women at the office (and not out on leave) played a role in the decision, particularly when the tech industry is known for demanding hours and work cultures that aren't always family-friendly.

Egg-freezing can certainly make sense for some women, but the offer raises questions for women about how their employers might be subtly nudging them to put off parenthood in favor of work.

4. Four-day work weeks or other part-time arrangements. When carefully negotiated and managed well, these arrangements can often work out to everyone's benefit. But all too often, workers take a salary cut in exchange for a part-time schedule and then find themselves working on their days off anyway, in order to get their work done and seem responsive to colleagues. If you're considering one of these arrangements, it's crucial to hash out ahead of time what your hours will really look like, how you'll handle it when last-minute work comes up and whether you'll be expected to respond to email on your days away. Get all this in writing in case there are questions later about what was agreed upon.

5. Tuition reimbursement. Tuition reimbursement can be a great benefit, but it's important to read all the fine print before signing up for classes. Many companies that offer this have clauses that require you to stay with the company for a certain amount of time afterward (often several years), or else you'll have to pay back the tuition money. That means your earning potential could be significantly stymied or that you may find yourself locked into a job or company that you no longer want to be at, long after you've earned that degree.

Alison Green writes the popular Ask a Manager blog, where she dispenses advice on career, job search and management issues. She's the author of "How to Get a Job: Secrets of a Hiring Manager," co-author of "Managing to Change the World: The Nonprofit Manager's Guide to Getting Results" and the former chief of staff of a successful nonprofit organization, where she oversaw day-to-day staff management.