Planning for future employment

I read an article today in the Washington Post. In IT I feel there is great value in moving from one company to another every 3-4 years, if for no other reason than it exposes you to new technologies and gives you a chance to jettison the technical debt you have become attached to over your tenure in your current position.

I have changed employers a number of times recently, one by choice, and one by proxy of the company I worked for being sold and purchased by another company. The biggest stress of changing jobs for me as been the upheaval in dealing with changing benefits.

If the tech industry is going to embrace the ‘tour of duty model’ described in the article then we also need to address being able to carry benefits over from one company to another.

For Medical make the companies contribution a deposit into a medical account like an HSA that you can use to pay for your own medical plan. If a company wants to negotiate a group rate then they still can, but I should have the choice to use it or not. When I leave a company I can continue to stay enrolled in my old companies plan. My old company doesn’t have to pay for me, but the company gets the benefit of theoretically larger enrollee pool if people like your plan. This idea probably falls apart when you remember that a lot of companies self insure, so they and you are not really paying for insurance, but you are contributing to the company pool that the company hopes will cover the expenses for the year, some years they loose money other years they make money.

The same thing goes for a 401K plan, lets get rid of vesting periods, then move the 401K from a company plan to a personal plan. If the company wants to negotiate a company 401k Plan that employees use great, if not then money is electronically deposited into my personal 401K plan. If the company wants to match on the 401k then that would get sent to my personal 401K plan as well. Before you go, oh no, companies will never get rid of the vesting period, remember we are talking about a 2 or 4 year tour of duty, so most employees would ever reach fully vested anyway, so lets make it an honest match rather than the bate and switch we currently have. If employers want employees to stay then increase the match based on anniversaries.

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