When I began working at KBOA in 1972, they were using the same basic style of headphones that they had been using for 20 years. WWII era Bakelite’s designed for durability, rather than fidelity or comfort.
When they became available (a couple of years later?) I bought a pair of Sennheiser HD 414’s. As I recall, I paid about $60 for them, out of my own pocket. A lot of money in those days (I was making about $14K when I left KBOA in 1984).
But they were wonderful. Light, soft foam ear pieces… and they sounded GREAT. The music sounded great and I sounded great. I looked forward to putting those headphones on.
In the nearly 40 years since, I have purchased a lot of what I considered to be the “tools of my trade.” Microhones; my first computer; digital audio recorders; laser printer; CD drive; video cameras; laptops; and –most recently– the iPad.
I have always looked on these purchases as investments. Not in my company, rather in me. I could have waited until the company thought it made sense to purchase these tools but I was impatient. And I was right. The things I learned (still learning) usually improved my skills and enhanced my value.
Most of my co-workers throughout the years took a different view. If the company wanted them to have and use the latest tools, the company should pay for them. Can’t argue with that.
But I’ve always thought of these purchases as the “carpenter’s tools.” A carpenter friend once explained to me that master carpenters would not think of using someone else’s tools. They took pride in the things they built and insisted on having and using their own tools, that went with them from job to job.
And, if you have a good accountant, you can take the expense as a deduction. Happy Tax Day.