There's a stark divide between good and bad employers in America today, and you don't want to be on the wrong side of it. In a New York Times excerpt from his new book, Steven Greenhouse compares FedEx and Patagonia. FedEx forces workers who deliver packages to be "independent contractors"—to avoid paying benefits—and to buy and insure their own trucks, but fires them if they request time off to be treated for cancer.
Meanwhile, Greenhouse writes in The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American Worker, Patagonia is so serious about flextime that 2-hour surfing lunches are the norm, and the company closes if waves are high enough. Patagonia provides childcare, pays 100% of health insurance costs, sponsors civil-disobedience training, and allows employees to take 2-month internships with environmental groups.