By Robert Levering and Milton Moskowitz | Fortune – 8 hours ago
1. Southern Ohio Medical Center (医院/医生）
Average total pay: $490,647
Best companies rank: 36
How did a regional hospital network in the heart of Appalachian Ohio find its way to the top of our list of best paying companies? By offering strong pay to draw talented doctors, with an average salary of close to half a million dollars.
Southern Ohio sweetens the pot by matching employees' 401(k) contributions 100% up to 2% of salary and by offering perks such as its SOMC Adventures, which include New York shopping sprees, Caribbean cruises, visits to Amish country, and dinner trips.
The company also pays generously for professional development as part of a grow-your-own philosophy: Southern Ohio reimburses tuition not only for employees, but also for their family members. Internal candidates always get first dibs on open positions for which they are qualified. The proof is in the personnel: 31 of the hospital's 32 directors rose up from hourly staff positions.
2. Bingham McCutchen （律师）
Average total pay: $228,851
Best companies rank: 30
Bring your friends to Bingham McCutchen. If landing a job with top pay isn't enough, the law firm's employees can collect up to $25,000 for helping colleagues get jobs there too.
Bingham's bonus bonanza rolls on. Early last year, the firm gave its associate attorneys merit pay between $7,500 and $35,000. A few months later, the firm handed out a special Spring Bonus of between $2,500 and $20,000. In 2010, Bingham paid out $9 million in associate bonuses alone.
For retirement, Bingham will contribute up to 12.5% of employees' compensation into a money-purchase pension plan. Its employees give plenty back, too. The firm's lawyers performed more than 57,000 hours of pro bono work in 2010. For animal-loving employees and partners, Bingham offers voluntary pet insurance at a group discounted rate.
3. Alston & Bird （律师）
Average total pay: $201,233
Best companies rank: 24
For employees of Alston & Bird who aren't sure how to manage all that money they're making, the law firm offers quarterly investment seminars. Everyone is eligible for a year-end merit bonus and profit-sharing of up to 7% of salary.
Paralegals and staff are specially feted each year during a week-long celebration with door prizes including roundtrip airline tickets, TVs, and cash. All employees are also eligible to receive a gift from Tiffany & Co. after every five years of service.
A&B also gives out spot bonuses of up to $2,000 for things like a service contribution that significantly impacts the firm. A&B offers 90 days of maternity leave, as well as three weeks off for new dads -- and it reimburses up to $7,000 of adoption costs. Employees looking to give a little back can get 15 hours a year of paid time off for community service.
4. Perkins Coie （律师）
Average total pay: $189,409
Best companies rank: 58
Health insurance is on the house at Perkins Coie. The law firm pays 100% of medical and dental premiums to full-time employees who work at least 25 hours a week.
The firm regularly provides free breakfast and lunch at a number of its offices. In the off-hours, it sponsors book and softball clubs. Other extras include pet insurance and long-term care insurance for employees' parents and grandparents.
Perkins is also looking out for its employees for the long haul, kicking 7.3% of team members' salaries into a retirement fund and matching 401(k) contributions up to fifty cents on the dollar up to 6% of salary. Staff employees are eligible to receive up to two months' paid sabbatical leave to do anything they want, except work for pay.
5. EOG Resources （工程师）
Average total pay: $188,663
Best companies rank: 72
Talk about pay-dirt. Through its BCFe Awards (that's Billion Cubic Feet Equivalent for the uninitiated), employee divisions of EOG reap big bonuses when they hit key milestones. Pools range from $200,000 to $500,000, up to a possible cumulative payout of $2,450,000 over the productive life of a project at the independent energy exploration and production company.
EOG offers a shockproof retirement plan, matching 401(k) contributions buck-for-buck up to 6% of annual compensation. It also offers a company-funded retirement contribution of up to 9% of annual compensation. All new hires receive stock appreciation rights (SARs), and all employees are eligible for annual SARs grants as part of their compensation packages.
6. Devon Energy （工程师）
Average total pay: $178,305
Best companies rank: 28
With reserves of 2.9 billion barrels of oil -- and more than $6 billion spent on exploration and development in 2011 -- it's unlikely that Devon Energy will be running on empty any time soon.
One of the nation's leading independent oil and natural gas producers, Devon paid its people median bonuses of more than $9,000 in 2010. Through a Super 401(k) program, the company contributes up to 22% of cash compensation (salary plus bonus), depending on the employee's own contribution and tenure.
About half of Devon's employees receive long-term incentives, including restricted stock. Clearly it keeps them happy: Full-time turnover is below 5%. On the charitable side, the company matches 100% of its team members' United Way contributions.
7. Ultimate Software （系统咨询师）
Average total pay: $166,000
For: System Consultant*
Best companies rank: 25
Salespeople aren't the only employees at Ultimate Software to reap immediate rewards for the company's success. Everyone at the human resources and payroll software maker gets to take at least one company-subsidized trip every two years -- and take their family members, too.
All new hires receive restricted stock shares, and Ultimate offers a long list of benefits, including long-term disability, vision, dental, tuition reimbursement up to $5,250 per year, and an employee assistance program that extends to employees' family members.
Paying well is paying off. The company hit its 2010 goal of almost $228 million in revenues with plans to hit the $400 million mark by 2013.
8. Hitachi Data Systems （系统咨询师）
Average total pay: $163,694
For: Sales Support Function/Solutions Consultant*
Best companies rank: 86
Hitachi Data Systems says its company ethos of Hitachi Spirit is "more than a poster on a wall." Its values of fairness, honesty, and integrity include taking care of nearly 2,000 U.S.-based employees as well. In addition to generous pay packages, Hitachi's 401(k) match is up to 6% of salary. The information technology arm of Hitachi Ltd. offers a Global Incentive Plan that pays out bonuses four times per year -- and everyone in the company is eligible.
Recognition is also a big deal around Hitachi. Through the company website, co-workers can point out each other's achievements, and qualified employees can get prizes like flat-screen TVs. The company gave away more than $2.6 million worth of gifts in 2010. Managers can reward workers with a Night on the Town, which can mean dinner for two or tickets to a sporting event. Those who find their way into Hitachi's Circle of Excellence earn trips to places like Barcelona or the Great Barrier Reef.
9. Boston Consulting Group （管理咨询师）
Average total pay: $154,543
Best companies rank: 2
Road-warriors fly the work-friendly skies with Boston Consulting Group. Consultants with a lot to do on long flights can often upgrade to business class on the company dime. That's just one of many perks that add up to a top-notch rewards package. New consultants receive up to $184,800, and as their rapidly expanding responsibilities increase, their compensation follows suit.
BCG spends thousands of dollars to recruit new consultants. It hooks smart candidates with lures such as signing bonuses, a 5% profit sharing retirement fund contribution, no preset limits on sick-leave, three weeks' vacation to start, and a wide range of training opportunities.
The firm's health benefits are generous and require no employee contribution. As one employee noted: "My wife and I recently had our first child, and it was a complicated birth that ran up nearly $200,000 in hospital charges. We paid only $5."
10. Autodesk （系统工程师）
Average total pay: $150,500
For: Software Engineer*
Best companies rank: 52
Autodesk takes pride in its spirit of fairness. There are no executive parking spots, and CEO Carl Bass does not have a door on his office. Last year, when the maker of 3-D design, engineering and entertainment software had to reduce expenses, senior leaders took pay cuts between between 2% and 10%.
All new hires receive stock options, and managers have discretion to award restricted stock shares to anyone who deserves them. After every four years, all employees are awarded six weeks off with full pay, on top of their regular vacation time.
Autodesk also allows employees to take up to six paid days per year to volunteer in their communities. The company gave away more than $1 million in cash and about $1.5 million in software donations in 2010 -- and matched over $200,000 in employee donations.
Personality Set for Life By 1st Grade, Study Suggests
Personality Set for Life By 1st Grade, Study Suggests
Our personalities stay pretty much the same throughout our lives, from our early childhood years to after we're over the hill, according to a new study.
The results show personality traits observed in children as young as first graders are a strong predictor of adult behavior.
"We remain recognizably the same person," said study author Christopher Nave, a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Riverside. "This speaks to the importance of understanding personality because it does follow us wherever we go across time and contexts."
The study will be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.
Using data from a 1960s study of approximately 2,400 ethnically diverse schoolchildren (grades 1 - 6) in Hawaii, researchers compared teacher personality ratings of the students with videotaped interviews of 144 of those individuals 40 years later.
They examined four personality attributes - talkativeness (called verbal fluency), adaptability (cope well with new situations), impulsiveness and self-minimizing behavior (essentially being humble to the point of minimizing one's importance).
Among the findings:
Talkative youngsters tended to show interest in intellectual matters, speak fluently, try to control situations, and exhibit a high degree of intelligence as adults. Children who rated low in verbal fluency were observed as adults to seek advice, give up when faced with obstacles, and exhibit an awkward interpersonal style.
Children rated as highly adaptable tended, as middle-age adults, to behave cheerfully, speak fluently and show interest in intellectual matters. Those who rated low in adaptability as children were observed as adults to say negative things about themselves, seek advice and exhibit an awkward interpersonal style.
Students rated as impulsive were inclined to speak loudly, display a wide range of interests and be talkative as adults. Less impulsive kids tended to be fearful or timid, kept others at a distance and expressed insecurity as adults.
Children characterized as self-minimizing were likely to express guilt, seek reassurance, say negative things about themselves and express insecurity as adults. Those who were ranked low on a self-minimizing scale tended to speak loudly, show interest in intellectual matters and exhibit condescending behavior as adults.
Previous research has suggested that while our personalities can change, it's not an easy undertaking.
Personality is "a part of us, a part of our biology," Nave said. "Life events still influence our behaviors, yet we must acknowledge the power of personality in understanding future behavior as well."
Future research will "help us understand how personality is related to behavior as well as examine the extent to which we may be able to change our personality," Nave said.
By MARIA CHENG, AP Medical Writer Maria Cheng, Ap Medical Writer – 54 mins ago
BARCELONA, Spain – Up to a third of breast cancer cases in Western countries could be avoided if women ate less and exercised more, researchers at a breast cancer conference said Thursday — comments that could ignite heated discussions among victims and advocates.
While better treatments, early diagnosis and mammogram screenings have dramatically slowed the disease, experts said the focus should now shift to changing behaviors like diet and physical activity.
"What can be achieved with screening has been achieved. We can't do much more," Carlo La Vecchia, head of epidemiology at the University of Milan, told The Associated Press. "It's time to move onto other things."
La Vecchia spoke Thursday on the influence of lifestyle factors at a European breast cancer conference in Barcelona.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. In Europe, there were about 421,000 new cases and nearly 90,000 deaths in 2008, the latest available figures. The United States last year saw more than 190,000 new cases and 40,000 deaths. A woman's lifetime chance of getting breast cancer is about one in eight.
Many breast cancers are fueled by estrogen, a hormone produced in fat tissue. So experts suspect that the fatter a woman is, the more estrogen she's likely to produce, which could in turn spark breast cancer. Even in slim women, exercise can help reduce the cancer risk by converting more of the body's fat into muscle.
Any discussion of weight and breast cancer is a politically sensitive topic, for some may misconstrue that as the medical establishment blaming victims for getting breast cancer. Victims themselves could also feel guilty, wondering just how much a factor weight played in their getting the disease.
Ian Manley, a spokesman for Breast Cancer Care, a British charity, said his agency has always been very careful about issuing similar lifestyle advice.
"We would never want women to feel responsible for their breast cancer," he said. "It's a complex disease and there are so many factors responsible that it's difficult to blame it on one specific issue."
La Vecchia cited figures from the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which estimated that 25 to 30 percent of breast cancer cases could be avoided if women were thinner and exercised more.
That means staying slim and never becoming overweight in the first place. Robert Baan, an IARC cancer expert, said it wasn't clear if women who lose weight have a lower cancer risk or if the damage was already done from when they were heavy.
Drinking less alcohol could also help. Experts estimate that having more than a couple of drinks a day can boost a woman's risk of getting breast cancer by four to 10 percent.
After studies several years ago linked hormone replacement therapy to cancer, millions of women abandoned the treatment, leading to a sharp drop in breast cancer rates. Experts said a similar reduction might be seen if women ate better — consuming less fat and more vegetables — and exercised more.
Michelle Holmes, a cancer expert at Harvard University, said changing things like diet and nutrition is arguably easier than tackling other breast cancer risk factors.
"Women who have early pregnancies are protected against breast cancer, but teenage pregnancy is a social disaster so it's not something we want to encourage," she said in a phone interview from Cambridge, Massachusetts. "But there's no downside to reducing obesity and increasing physical activity."
She also said people may mistakenly think their chances of getting cancer are more dependent on their genes than their lifestyle.
"The genes have been there for thousands of years, but if cancer rates are changing in a lifetime, that doesn't have much to do with genes," she said.
In the 1980s and 1990s, breast cancer rates steadily increased, in parallel with the rise in obesity and the use of hormone replacement therapy, which involves estrogen.
La Vecchia said countries like Italy and France — where obesity rates have been stable for the past two decades — show that weight can be controlled at a population level.
"It's hard to lose weight, but it's not impossible," he said. "The potential benefit of preventing cancer is worth it."
Vittoria paused, brushing a lock of hair from her eyes. “Religion is like language or dress. We gravitate toward the practices with which we were raised. In the end, though, we are all proclaiming the same thing. That life has meaning. That we are grateful for the power that created us.”
Langdon was intrigued. “So you’re saying that whether you are a Christian or a Muslim simply depends on where you were born?”
“Isn’t it obvious? Look at the diffusion of religion around the globe.”
“So faith is random?”
“Hardly. Faith is universal. Our specific methods for understanding it are arbitrary. Some of us pray to Jesus, some of us go to Mecca, some of us study subatomic particles. In the end we are all just searching for truth, that which is greater than ourselves.”
Langdon wished his students could express themselves so clearly. Hell, he wished he could express himself so clearly. “And God?” he asked. “Do you believe in God?”
Vittoria was silent for a long time. “Science tells me God must exist. My mind tells me I will never understand God. And my heart tells me I am not meant to.”
How’s that for concise, he thought. “So you believe God is fact, but we will never understand Him.”
“Her,” she said with a smile. “Your Native Americans had it right.”
Langdon chuckled. “Mother Earth.”
“Gaea. The planet is an organism. All of us are cells with different purposes. And yet we are intertwined. Serving each other. Serving the whole.”