|Welcome to the Monastery|
In the 22 years that I have been employed in one fashion or another in the IT field I have seen a lot of changes. The most disturbing change that I have seen over the last 20 years is the gradual erosion of any sense of loyalty between employers and employees. In my not-so-humble opinion this is a two way street.
I realize that it can very well be argued that the erosion I talk about actually started much earlier than I am citing but my exeriences are limited to the time window that I can see through and that being from the time I left the US Military and entered the civilian job market in 1981 until today in 2003.
With what I just said in mind my favorite job ever was with a company in the telecom industry where ownership of your "product", the company itself and both our internal and external customers was part of the corporate culture and there was a sense of loyalty to the company by the employees as well as a sense of loyalty to the employees from management.
However: that all came to a crashing stop when the company was sold to (a major telecom company that will go unamed for obvious reasons) and the corporate culture of mediocrity pervasive in that company started to set in.
So: to answer the questions. The things that will keep me around are in no real order:
Under the heading of you won't see this anymore, one company I worked for right out of the military had an annual picnic that was held at a campground that the company owned. There were cottages to rent at the campground so you could make a weekend (and it was encouraged) out of the company picnic. If you went to the picnic you realized that the picnic was actually geared towards the enjoyment of the employee's children as much as the employee themselves. (clowns, pony rides, games, that sort of thing) I thought that was a wonderful strategy to make the spouses (or is the plural of spouse "spice?") feel some form of "reward" for not seeing the employee while they worked long hours.
Anyway... I say all that to say this. Keeping me happy on the job is more about the intangibles that it is about the tangible. Pay, bonuses and benefits are icing on the cake, but the real cake is more about being happy in what you are doing and feeling that what you are doing matters and makes a difference in my not so humble opinion.