So What’s it like working at Google?

I found this on my daily troll of the Internet and thought it was worth keeping here in my archives. The replies are anonymous, and should be taken lightly. But some of the comments come across genuine, revealing some really interesting insights into Google’s corporate culture, strategy and the day-to-day life of being a Google employee.

Here are some extracts from the post:

CinoBoo: “I’ve been there for about 5 years. You can read about the good parts anywhere, so I’ll try to offer a counterpoint based on having worked at other software companies.

A common problem is that it’s easy to become spoiled by all the perks. Several offices have developed distinct cultures of entitlement, and people whine about the quality of the fudge on the free brownies. It’s embarrassing to be around people who’ve become like spoiled children.

An engineering-specific problem there is that there’s a lot of support for operations — that is, lots of people whose job it is to keep the systems running. Engineers don’t habitually carry pagers and are on-call relatively infrequently. The plus side is that they can focus on development, get adequate sleep, and be more productive. The downside is that they can easily lose touch with what’s really going on in the data centers and sometimes even their customers. It’s a trade-off. Google is at least aware of it and uses incentive programs to entice engineers to spend time in ops roles.

Last, the company is big into ‘generating luck,’ which means trying a whole bunch of stuff in the hopes that a few efforts will pay off.”

GoogleEmployee22k: “Google is a great place to work. These are the things I like about my job:

1) Everyone is super smart
2) 18 different cafes
3) Free Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
4) The food is gourmet quality (e.g. omelet bar, chefs that make custom sandwiches for you, sashimi, free drinks 24/7, free snacks of all sorts 24/7.
5) The 7 person conference bicycles
6) Every Friday, Larry, Sergei, or Eric takes questions from us (in person), and we get free beer (e.g. Downtown Brown)”

solyanik: “Management institute is awful. A typical manager has 50-100 employees, so even if they meet with their reports once a month for 30 minutes, that’s about 2 weeks worth of almost constant 1:1s per month (allowing just a bit of time for stretching in between :-) ). That’s not a lot of time for interaction. As a result, managers aren’t empwered [sic] to participate in technical decision, they don’t have very much vote in performance reviews (these are done by committee), and not even hiring (which is also done by committee). I’ve asked older Googlers what the managers did there, and they universally said “I don’t know”. Almost all managerial decisions that I witnessed at Google (mostly around resourcing the new projects) were not great, and the only way I could explain them was by some sort of internal political struggles between different players in the management game. The good thing was that, as I said above, they don’t have very much role in day to day operations of the company. But if you LIKE being a technical manager, if that’s how you see your career, Google is definitely not for you.”




Josh is a multidsicplinary designer who has a love for creativity and design. He enjoys learning and experimenting in all areas of design. Please feel free to follow Josh on Twitter