PactSafe's office already has huge perks: a snack closet that is perpetually stocked with peanut butter pretzel nuggets, a kegerator, and a Pac-Man machine, but one of our more unique policies has recently led me to Costa Rica: the Work Someplace Awesome policy.
PactSafe's “Work Someplace Awesome” policy, which is probably my favorite PactSafe perk, reimburses employee travel expenses (up to a certain amount) once every calendar year when they work someplace awesome. Past awardees of this stipend have visited Paraguay, San Francisco, Morocco, Margaritaville in South Carolina, and elsewhere. I’ve never heard of another company offering a stipend like this.
Ever since an exchange trip to Toulouse, France, where I lived with a French family for two weeks, speaking to them exclusively in my broken French and beginning what would become a lifelong pursuit of The Perfect Crêpe, I’ve been a big fan of international travel. After traveling to the United Kingdom, France (again), Vietnam, Australia, and Indonesia during my college years, I promised myself that after graduation I would do whatever I needed to do to leave the country at least once a year. Lucky for me, I landed in a sales role at a company that enabled me to do just that.
Image of El Cocal Beach, Costa Rica
One of the biggest benefits about working at a tech company is that, of course, anywhere can be an office, as long as it has an internet connection and a three-pronged outlet for my computer charger. I worked through both the Indianapolis Airport and Tampa Airport on my travel day, emailing and calling prospects in between flights and security checks.
My "Work Someplace Awesome" stipend started paying off quickly, as I took a call with a prospect based out of Moscow from the Indianapolis Airport at 5am, shortly before boarding the first of my flights to Costa Rica. Once arriving in Costa Rica, our treehouse hotel (luckily) had strong WiFi by the pool, as well as a 2-for-1 happy hour, which lead to many Slack messages sent to coworkers while I drank margaritas and piña coladas.
After the solid 2 days of remote work I had to complete in order to be eligible for the Work Someplace Awesome stipend, I did something that I had not done since the day that I started work at PactSafe: I turned off my Slack and Gmail notifications. Like most people, I have a hard time “turning off” outside of business hours, and find it very difficult to not respond to messages/emails if I see notifications pop up, even if I’m only responding with a gif. By turning off my notifications, I removed the temptation entirely and, for the next 4 days, dove into the culture and food of Costa Rica.
Farmers Market in Puntarenas Province in Quepos
Whenever I travel internationally, I feel as though I activate a part of my brain that I tend to forget about: the part that makes me a braver, more open to new experiences, and more flexible.
While in Costa Rica, I spent my time hiking through the jungle, surfing at the most beautiful beach I’ve ever seen, ziplining through canyons, repelling down a waterfall, crossing a suspension bridge (which reminded me that I’m actually very afraid of heights). I also drank a few too many local beverages, and met some really incredible people.
Image of ziplining in Quepos
The food in Costa Rica was divine, I'm sure I ate enough rice and beans smothered in the local Salsa Lizano to last me a decade. At the end of the week, after a few delayed flights and crying while watching Wall-E on the flight back home, I returned to my apartment in Indianapolis feeling refreshed and, surprisingly, ready to go back to the office.
What I appreciate most about PactSafe after that trip is the flexibility and understanding that the leadership team holds for employees. My Costa Rican adventure wouldn’t have been possible without our flexible PTO policy, without my boss’s encouragement to fully disconnect, and, of course, without a few extra dollars from the Work Someplace Awesome stipend to cover my roundtrip flight.
As I round out my first year as a Sales Development Rep at PactSafe, I’ve been able to reflect on the things I’ve learned and understand better the pros and cons of working at a tech startup like this one. I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity that PactSafe offers its employees. Now that it’s been a few months since my return, the happy haze of travel has worn off, but planning for my next trip has already begun. Keep an eye out for another blog from me in January 2020—Belize, here I come!
Interested in working for a fast-growing tech startup in Indy? Learn more about PactSafe's open positions on our careers page and how you can join me on the sales team!