Reykjavik: Fruit Truck

Posted on June 2, 2006


125004-321271-thumbnail.jpg by jared bibler 

Icelandic companies take pretty good care of their people, at least compared to some of the sweatshops I labored in in the good ole USA. In lieu of health insurance, which gets picked up by the Republic, companies provide a whole range of cool stuff here á klakanum:

24 days of vacation: the minimum by law, for full-time work. That’s a day shy of 5 weeks, boys. And if the employer won’t pay you for the time, they have to at least let you take it without pay. Things pretty well shut down in Iceland in July while the whole nation takes a bunch of contiguous weeks off.

Photo credit: Hlynur

subsidized lunch: many companies have a cook, and provide homemade lunch every day. I kick in about $75 a month, and the company picks up the rest. And our cook is stellar. He makes the best fish I’ve ever had, week in week out, and today was a kind of mouthwatering East-meets-Lamb over brown rice.

coffee: I ain’t talkin’ about no paper cup of coffee. I’m talking about a mug of coffee. Ground from whole beans and brewed fresh, at the push of a button, from a towering Selecta machine that pumps out cappuccino, hot cocoa, and lattes as well. And the coffee machine becomes a daylong gathering spot for kitchen shop-talk.

árshátíð: in a way, untranslatable, but loosely, an annual party. In addition to the Christmas party, this is an excuse for the company to pull out all the stops entertaining its people with live bands, trips to remote spa hotels, and lots of food and drink. Our old company hadn’t done one in a few years, so they picked up and flew us to Warsaw last year for a long weekend.

the fruit truck: seems like perhaps the coolest bennie right now, as I chomp on a crunchy fresh apple flown in from a far-off land. Every week a truck comes to our office bearing a load of fresh fruit. It goes into a basket in the kitchen, and then disappears quickly.

Icelanders, when I tell you that you don’t know how good you have it here in the Land, this is some of what I mean.