Wednesday, August 31, 2011

10 reasons you wish you worked at Google

I just spent the last two days at Google for training and team building on behalf of one of my clients. I became intensely jealous of the culture at this massive internet company. Hence, 10 reasons you wish you worked here.

1. Google HQ, where 5000+ Googlers work, is in Mountain View, CA, where the weather is perfect every day.
2. You're never more than a two minute walk from a micro-kitchen stocked with cereal, fresh fruit (even figs!), a wide selection of gourmet snack items (fresh and non-perishable) and at least 30 kinds of beverages, from coffee to Coke to Odwalla smoothies to Hint Water. All free.
3. The cafeterias, which are also free to employees and their guests, feature a wide variety of foods, mostly locally sourced and organic. Seeing the line of South Asians at the Namaste counter, I loaded up my plate with daal, naan, roti and Tandoori chicken.
4. You are asked to dedicate 20 percent of your time to a project separate from your regular duties. It doesn't even have to result in a profitable product launch for Google. It can just be something cool or charitably minded.
5. You can use adorable Google bikes to get from one office to another. Or request a free ride from an on-campus "taxi."
6. If you live in San Francisco, you can catch a free ride to work on a fancy coach-style bus. They leave from various neighborhoods every 10 minutes and there's free wifi on board. Most bus riders haul in bags of dirty laundry and use the on-campus machines to clean their clothes.
7. If carrying your laundry to work doesn't burn off the three meals a day you're snarfing down at work, you can get your exercise on the playing fields, the beach volleyball courts or in the lap pool. And top it off with a free massage--there are dedicated rooms in every building with full-time massage therapists on staff.
8. Make yourself comfortable in the Google bathrooms. The seats are heated, there are bidet functions should you want them, and there's plenty of educational literature pinned up so that no learning opportunity is wasted. And you can be sure that a company that pays for your meals and laundry isn't going to make you cough up a quarter for a tampon.
9. Get inspired. Artwork by Googlers is on exhibit, as is a T. Rex replica skeleton, a 3 foot Android phone and photos from small business owners around the world whose companies have benefited from Google ad buys.
10. Bring your dog to work. I saw countless pups as well as a ton of small children. And according to a Googler I spoke to, the daycare centers are so "amazing" they have a 3 year waiting list. Of course, most kids graduate from day care at age 3, so maybe that's one tiny little reason not to wish you worked at Google. Hah.
11. Okay, I'm won over, but this place is freaking utopia. Everyone carefully sorts their lunch tray leftovers into compost, recycling and trash bins, there are daily talks on self-improvement and knowledge sharing... and to top it off, a pashmina that slipped off me unnoticed during our tour was waiting on the curb 5 hours later.