1. I've been self-employed for five years now. I'll celebrate the 5th anniversary of my business on September 6.
    I love it overall, but damn, it's easy to take for granted all the great perks that come with working for someone else while you're working there. Now that I pay for all these things myself (or just don't do them at all), I really understand what a sweet deal I had.
  2. Paid Vacation
    Entire weeks of it, just ripe for the plucking. One summer I decided I'd make every weekend a 3-day weekend and take Friday off. It was glorious. Want to take the entire time between Christmas & New Year's off, because your job just isn't that important? Go for it! Now I get paid the same (very conservative) amount every week no matter what. Unless I'm really screwed, and I don't pay myself at all.
  3. Paid Sick Time
    Came in real handy when I had a family medical emergency 3000 miles away.
  4. Health Insurance & Wellness
    I paid about $100/month out-of-pocket for my share of excellent health insurance (inc. vision & dental). Now I pay $311/month (with an impending 26% raise for 2017) for significantly less coverage (and no vision or dental). Also: free counseling through the employee assistance program (helpful in dealing with the aforementioned family medical emergency). Also: cheap-ass membership to a brand-new fitness center, complete with pool and sauna, group classes and $45 massages.
  5. Super Duper 401K Match
    The match was crazy generous. I contributed 4%, they "matched" it with 10%. I've since cashed out the entire thing to put into my business, but hey, free money.
  6. Professional Development & Travel
    I traveled to D.C., NYC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and assorted New England locations for work meetings/conferences or just for any well-argued instance of professional development. Now if I go to a trade show, I not only pay for everything, but I have to pay for someone to work for me while I'm gone.
  7. More 5th Anniversary Lists!
    I'll be doing a series of them, because 5 years in business is really significant to me and I'm going to toot my horn 🎷 a bit.
  8. Requests?
    I'd consider any related list requests you might come up with!