You'll have to excuse us for putting this in the "boo-hoo" files, but when news leaked through Valleywag, a tech gossip blog, yesterday that Facebook employees were rumored to be losing their $600-per-month housing stipend from the company if they live within one mile of the office, we didn't exactly break out the violins.
Nevertheless, in the Silicon Valley region, where the free food and massage parlors of Google barely raise an eyebrow, housing subsidies were one way that Facebook could carve out a perks niche for itself.
It also painted a sympathetic picture for a company that is rumored to start customer service representatives at $15 an hour in a region where the median housing price is $626,000.
Valleywag puts the blame on COO Sheryl Sandberg, who jumped Google's ship two months ago. They point to a discrepancy between the revenues promised--Zuckerberg said they are to double between 2007 and 2008--and cost-savings measures being put into place.
But the vast majority of observers seem to have little sympathy, for the obvious reason that jobs in the "real world" rarely come with any such perks. In the rare case that they do exist, they still may not have their intended effect.