Google - The best place I've worked and also the most demanding. | Glassdoor

Employee Review

Employee Review

Helpful (457)

"The best place I've worked and also the most demanding."

StarStarStarStarStar
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
  • Comp & Benefits
  • Senior Management
Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Mountain View, CA
Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Mountain View, CA
Recommends
Positive Outlook
Approves of CEO

Pros

You can't find a more well-regarded company that actually deserves the hype it gets.

You'll work on cutting edge projects / solve important issues that impact your community and the world

You'll meet interesting people who are your colleagues, managers, and senior management.

You'll open the paper and see your company in the news almost every day, and read about projects you're working on, which is a cool thing

You'll see Larry and Sergey at TGIF and you'll admire how they lead the company. They are brilliant, goofy, low key but intense, and likeable.

There are 22 cafes (more or less), the food is excellent, and it's free.

Your pay will typically be competitive, though it needs to be tweaked up a bit since the economy has improved.

Google cares about how it treats its employees.

The campus is like an academic campus in many ways.

There are tons of activities on campus, like authors speaking about their books, films after work, and gyms where you can work out - but you'll need to make sure to carve out time to do these things.

You'll get plenty of external validation from people who suddenly think you're smart and rich because you work there, even if you're not rich and you're as smart when you didn't work at Google.

If and when you leave, you'll never regret having that company on your resume. It opens doors.

The company is flexible - if you're lucky, you won't have a micromanager boss and you can be somewhat flexible in how you work - but don't get me wrong - you'll work a LOT. But you don't have to do all of it chained to your desk.

Cons

I live in SF so the commute can take between 1.5 hours to 1.75 hours each way on the shuttle - sometimes 2 hours each way on a busy day or rainy day. That means being on the bus for 3-4 hours PER DAY. It's a wired bus though which means you can work on the way to Mountain View. But it can feel brutal.

Your first year or two are really important in terms of your career at Google and they affect how you're viewed, and your ability to be promoted. You should always ask to work on high profile projects. If you don't get them, don't expect to get high ratings or get promoted. Always volunteer for cross functional group work for maximum exposure, and then work hard at those things.

You'll likely work on something that no one will explain to you and it will take you at least a year to be comfortable doing what you're working on, even if you're super quick at learning. No one has time to train you or teach you what you're doing - which is kind of hard.

After two or three years, people you started out with at Google start to get promoted. If you're not one of them, you'll wonder why and how it happened, and that process is somewhat political and not always clear.

It's a big company now. And super political. So don't be naive. Expect some people to be catty, some people to be territorial, and be prepared to be mentally tough. Don't let people see your vulnerableness. It's a Darwinistic culture with a huge dose of 30-something idealism on top which can fool you into thinking that people are easygoing - they're not. They're driven. If you're not driven, you're not going to fit in.

When you start at Google, it seems like peer reviews are super important - they are, but they are the sprinkles on the fro yo. The important thing is that your direct manager knows your work, likes your work and likes you, and then you can get promoted. If your boss doesn't like you, all the positive peer reviews in the world won't help you. Make sure you know what your boss wants, and give it to them. You will have weekly one on ones, and make sure you are addressing your performance at each one, asking if they have questions, how you can improve, can you work on cross functional projects, etc.

It's really hard to find work life balance at Google. The workload is huge. I hardly have time to work out. The commute is brutal. My family sometimes needs more from me and I can't give it. I'm still trying to find the balance. I think I need more down time than most people so I have a hard time being structured every day to fit all the things I want into my day, so a lot of things slip, like working out.

Advice to Management

Keep on NOT micromanaging - that is a huge benefit to Google. Most of us have a huge workload and we work in spikes and not chained to our desks, and we care deeply about producing, and we produce a lot. We can do that because you respect us enough to give us some freedom in how we do our jobs.

Other Employee Reviews

Other Employee Reviews

  1. Helpful (7)

    "Undeniably a great place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Product Manager in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Product Manager in New York, NY

    I have been working at Google full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    - Outstanding benefits, competitive compensation
    - Big focus on employee well-being and happiness
    - Great internal culture
    - Fantastic food, and 3 meals a day offered in major offices
    - Beautifully designed and fun offices
    - A huge amount of trust is placed in employees
    - Extremely transparent company
    - Managers aren't overbearing on things like work hours—a lot of autonomy
    - People are candid and direct at all levels without being rude
    - Challenging and interesting work
    - Tons of resources available to grow and learn new things
    - Google has a ton of money and is able to throw lavish events for employees
    - Google does actively try to be a good citizen in the world
    - Upper management takes employee concerns to heart and actively tries to address them
    - Working at Google = people throwing themselves at you to offer you a job

    Cons

    - Onboarding is a very steep learning curve due to all the jargon, internal tools, internal software tools/languages, and new processes to learn
    - All the home-grown stuff makes it hard to keep up with what the rest of the world is doing
    - Bottom-up culture promotes innovation but lack of enforced decision-making can make things messy internally (e.g. why Google has so many chat apps)
    - Engineers are the heart of the company and as such can be highly entitled
    - Typical tech industry struggles with building a diverse workforce
    - Everything you need is provided for so it's easy to spend your entire life at work
    - Painful promo process, hard to switch career ladders internally
    - Just slightly cultish :)


  2. "Excellent benefits and people"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Sales Executive in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Sales Executive in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Google full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    A lot of talent all around, very inspiring.

    Cons

    Getting too large to operate effectively.

    Advice to Management

    Invest in enablement of current top performers, especially the ones eager to learn.

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