REASONS NOT TO WORK FOR GOOGLE
For many millenials, and for some baby boomers, Google is the place to work. A company which is only in its tenth year of public operation, it has entrenched itself into our lives so completely that for billions of people on the planet, daily life would be just impossible without it. Not bad for a firm that began life as little more than the internet’s version of a librarian. Even today, Google’s stranglehold on the public consciousness is possible only because of its monopoly in the field of internet search.
Google has also carefully managed its employment brand, which is the image of its work culture. Every now and then we see press releases of Google employees extolling the virtues of working there, accompanied by images of people lounging around, playing ping-pong, or munching on cake – in short, doing anything but work.
Reality, however, could be very different. Google employs the best and brightest young people in the world – and it now can because everyone wants to work there – so do you really think being surrounded by the most driven, ambitious people on the planet will be akin to a lounge on a beanbag? If you ever get in, expect some competition, and tough one at that.
Another concern is work-life balance. Regardless of what the media would like us to believe, the hours at Google are quite long, and employees are encouraged to forever stay connected. There are other firms that are equally big in their fields which give a lot more flexibility to the average worker. In fact, making the workplace ‘fun’ and employing a predominantly young workforce are both likely strategies to extract fifty to sixty hour weeks from them.
You think Google will be free of office politics? Think again. Google is no longer a bustling start-up where every person’s opinion counts and everyone can make a difference. It’s now a multi-national corporation with a huge middle management layer, which means raises and promotions – like in all other companies of its size – come to those who play their ‘PR’ cards just right.
And finally, it’s worth remembering that Google is yet to go through a full business cycle. What will happen to the free food and the ping-pong tables when it runs into losses and shareholders demand a cutback? How will it compete with the Google of tomorrow? Treating your employees well is easy when you’re posting double-digit growth; it will be interesting to see what happens when the tide goes out – as it must one day.
So if you’re considering Google as an employer, we hope we’ve given you some (free) food for thought.