Google have developed a reputation for being just about the most exciting company on the planet. Famous for constantly breaking new ground and shaping the world we live in (both online and off), you can understand why so many talented graduates compete ferociously to become a part of the 30,000 strong technology superstar. But is working for Google really so different from any other large corporation? If you’re a budding young geek, will it get the best out of you in a way that no other tech firm could?
I remember when I was in my final year of junior school, I felt like king of the playground. Breaktimes were spent re-enacting our favourite WWF moves on petrified 3rd years before pillaging fresh bounties of Premier League stickers, Space Raiders and Top Trumps. I had it all. And yet just 1 year later I was in big school with my y fronts pulled over my head asking to be let down from an allarmingly high clothes peg.
Well it seems that life at Google can deliver a similar shock to the system. Brilliance is relative and while you may have been a supernerd throughout school and university, step one foot inside Googleplex and you’re just a plain old thicko. Or at least that’s a common view shared by many of the disgruntled ex-employees on this compelling Quora thread. They complain that because Google is saturated with talent, it is difficult to get promoted and almost impossible to make a real difference….
“I habitually describe my time working as an AdWords monkey as being like a janitor at the UN. You know that theoretically great world changing things are going on in the building, but all you ever really see is sh*t.”
Consequently, ambitious young minds join excitedly but soon lose their drive as they settle into repetitive, undemanding projects within excessively pampered surroundings….
“There was a 100+ emails thread about removing the massage chairs from that room because some people allegedly were being kept from sleeping because the massage chairs were too noisy.” And they say sweatshop workers have it tough.
I suppose it’s worth stating the obvious; for these to even be ex Googlers they are by definition the ones that didn’t work out and unlikely to be representative of their no doubt chirpier former colleagues. It’s a fascinating dilemma though. As a keen and ambitious young engineer, would you rather have an impact on the company you work for or work for a company having an impact on the world? Because it seems the two may not go hand in hand.