COMPANY CULTURE / NOV. 06, 2013
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The Other Side of the Google 'Workplace Heaven'

Former Google employees gripe about their job perks and blast their former colleagues’ immaturity  on a Quora thread, which is being used by existing and former Google staffers to confess the worst things about working at Google.  

A job at the tech giant is considered career heaven given the perks involved including nap rooms, free massages at the office, memberships to exclusive sports courts and gyms, and unlimited servings of gourmet food, to name just a few! However, former Google employees would beg to differ. They have recently revealed the ‘darker’ side to working at Google… read on to find out more!  

Too much good food causes workers to gain weight

To begin with, the lavish catering facilities at Google’s head office, which provide an abundance of free meals and snacks for all employees, are apparently to blame for Google employees’ obesity! This seems an unfair complaint in my opinion; don’t they have self-control? Just because free food is available, doesn’t mean you have to eat it!

The company has a so-called 150-foot rule, which mandates that there has to be pantries with snacks, or cafeterias spread throughout the offices. It seems that this policy leads to a feeding frenzy.

One anonymous blogger argued that “I put on 18 kilos while working at Google. They also provided access to great gym within the office. One of my colleagues lost 20-30 kilos while I was there. But with so much food around, it was hard to resist and soon I realized that I was eating whenever I was bored or thinking.” 

The drama of noisy massage chairs and cramped office space

Moreover, former employees highlighted some ‘annoying’ day-to-day issues they had to deal with whilst working at the tech giant. According to a contributor, "In Zurich there is a quiet room where people go to relax, or take a nap. There are very nice looking fish tanks there and you can waste as much of your work time there, watching the fish do fishy things." Many staffers supported the removal of the massage chairs from the room because some people allegedly were being kept from sleeping because the massage chairs were too noisy. First world problems, right?

Anne K. Halsall, a product designer at Google has argued that if an employee has to work in one of the four main campus buildings, he will probably be extremely cramped. Usually three to five staffers are assigned a single cube and several managers share an office. She says that “with all the open areas for food, games, TV, tech talks, etc, it can be surprisingly hard to find a quiet, private place to think”.

Immature culture and mediocre middle management

Furthermore, although the variety of leisure and entertainment perks at Google's workplace - such as the games room which features pool tables, ping-pong, pinball machine, etc - aim to engage Google employees with creative activities, these perks seem to lead to more play than work. Many former employees criticised the immature attitudes of their co-workers. One blogger argued that "It's like never-never land - people never grow up.  They drink at all hours, socialize constantly, play games, and do little to no work."

As for the middle management, users claimed that they are completely focused on metrics and fail to inspire their workforce and they rely too much on the Google name and reputation to do that for them. Another contributor highlighted that Google is so big that you can’t have any substantial impact on the business as an individual. An anonymous user wrote: "Google is an incredible machine that prints money thanks to AdWords. Unless you are an amazingly talented engineer who gets to create something new, chances are you're simply a guy/girl with an oil can greasing the cogs of that machine."

All in all, it seems that the life in the seemingly lucrative and highly attractive Google workplace can be hard. But all of these issues have not affected the lure of working at Google, as more than a million applicants from all over the world apply to work at the company every year with a hiring rate of less than 1%. 

 

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