The Continuum’s compensation package

Posted by Leo Soto on November 30th, 2009.

The other day, talking in the phone with someone, he asked me what were the advantages of working on Continuum, the company where I am working since August. He meant it mostly in the monetary sense but I didn’t fully understood until he asked about specifics such as complementary health insurance [1].

And the answer is no: Continuum, as most small companies in Chile, doesn’t offer any monetary extra besides your salary. Unfortunately, at least on my country, the extras are a privilege that you usually only get from big corps.

However, being a small company let them offer something that big corps don’t tend to offer (or simply can’t):

  • You matter. A lot. You can change the company. No, no, not only you can change it, you do change and shape it week after week. When you realize it, you feel really good. And empowered!
  • We can use really comfortable clothes.
  • You will constantly learn. Even if your project isn’t teaching you too much, we try to do pair programming, and learning tricks from your coworkers is part of the reason why pair programming is fun. And we have “Lecture & Beer” every Friday, when you will learn what your coworkers have mastered lately. And you will lecture your coworkers from time to time. Teaching is, in my experience, the most effective way to really learn.
  • If you get drunk in the office you won’t get punished. Well, I can only confirm that this rule is valid for “Lecture & Beer”. And perhaps only if you aren’t the speaker ;-)
  • The company feels like a group of friends. The whole company.
  • You can speak your mind. No politic games here.
  • You work from 8:30 to 17:30. For Chilean standards that’s 5 hours a week less than most places. And leaving around 17:30 is great, you avoid the horrible traffic and/or the horribly crowded subway.
  • You get your birthday off.
  • You can work with cool foreign companies like Hashrocket. More importantly, you can work and have fun with cool people from other cultures, learn a lot, improve your english, etc.
  • You are encouraged to participate on conferences and related events. The company has hosted meetings for three different user groups so far! And a few months ago the whole company took the Friday off to attend to a conference outside Santiago. Sounds like a good compensation package to me!

Update: Oh, and we have four weeks of vacations, which is one more week than usual!

[1]In Chile by law at least 7% of your raw income must be spent on health insurance. However, since the regular insurance coverage ranges on the 70% — 90%, a common compensation from employers is to give complementary insurance that may cover (part of) the difference

Originally published at on November 30, 2009.