Irrationally, I consider being a Google engineer the "dream job." How can I convince myself that there is nothing special about it?

Updated on : December 8, 2021 by Jayden Delaney



Irrationally, I consider being a Google engineer the "dream job." How can I convince myself that there is nothing special about it?

Google is a dream job, if you're happy to stay in their place

I've been an engineer at Google for about two years, and I came on the job with something like the attitude you have now, but to be honest, I've become increasingly disappointed in working here. I am becoming anonymous as several of my close co-workers and immediate superiors are active on Quora (and may even be following this question).

First of all, I should point out that my experience is with one of the "unglamorous" teams - if you end up in DeepMind or X working on autonomous cars or whatever, your experience will probably be very different, but also keep

Keep reading

Google is a dream job, if you're happy to stay in their place

I've been an engineer at Google for about two years, and I came on the job with something like the attitude you have now, but to be honest, I've become increasingly disappointed in working here. I am becoming anonymous as several of my close co-workers and immediate superiors are active on Quora (and may even be following this question).

First of all, I should point out that my experience is with one of the "unglamorous" teams - if you end up in DeepMind or X working on self-driving cars or whatever, your experience is likely to be very different, but also keep in mind that it is a small and very exclusive part of what Google does. Google is first and foremost an advertising company, and most of the workforce (myself included) works on problems that ultimately come down to optimizing advertising revenue. What I would tell myself looking back is that many of the things that I initially saw as great advantages of working at Google have a dark side.

  • You are very well paid, but you live in one of the most desirable areas in the world. My starting salary plus equity right out of college was more than my father earned as a civil engineer with three decades of experience. That's a definite advantage: I've been able to travel the world, enjoy good restaurants, buy gifts for the people I care about, and other things my parents never had at my age. However, living in such a desirable area is a huge disadvantage for me - the suburbs are too quiet and smug for my liking and the rent is surprisingly expensive (for the scale, I used to live in Manhattan). San Jose is very meh - SF is fine, but it takes so long to get there, it will be the story of your life anywhere in Silicon Valley.
  • The prestige of the job is highly disproportionate to the difficulty of the job. People are immediately impressed when I tell them that I work at Google, even around here, where it is not uncommon. Much of the prestige comes from Google's reputation for having a rigorous interview, which does not correspond in the least to the reality of day-to-day work. Most of my work consists of fixing bugs and writing "glue" code to make the different classes play well together. I could have done my job as a third year college student; I don't feel "pressured" and I don't think I've become a better programmer or engineer as a result of working here (I get into this later).
  • The caliber of the employees is highly disproportionate to the difficulty of the job (see above). I have met some of the smartest and most amazing people in my life working here, and it is a real pleasure to talk to them on almost anything. In general, they are hugely under-utilized (I get into this later). I and many of my colleagues manage by doing only two or three hours of "real" work a day and being boring the rest of the time. I have consistently received very positive performance reviews, so I know this is not because I am performing below expectations.
  • 20% of the time it's a myth. Contrary to popular belief, there is no expectation that you will create and work on your own project. I don't have a 20% time project and no one I know does. It is also not due to lack of time, as I definitely have the time, but the higher ups would probably consider that using it for a side project is not working enough on their team's project. Much of the job is "looking busy."
  • Meritocracy is quickly depleting. If you are good at your job, you can move up quickly, up to a point. Your salary goes up significantly (it may seem like money is being thrown at you), but outside of some teams, your actual influence or ability to decide what you want to work on doesn't. Getting promoted to positions where you have real responsibility is largely a game of politics, much as Google would like to deny it.
  • Working here generates complacency. This is probably what bothers me the most about the company, not least because I see that it is slowly creeping into me and the people around me. Many of my co-workers came here with the intention of using Google as a "springboard" to network, meet talented people, and gain new skills that will help them do what they are truly passionate about, be it your startup or comeback. to do a Ph.D. or non-profit work. They and their mother had a startup pet at one point, and I can tell you that none of them failed due to lack of technical talent. For anyone you talk to, it's always "just a few more years" until they save enough start-up funds to get started; then it is " until our children grow up "," until we finish paying the house "," until the children go to college ", etc., etc. Some people have said that they will quit smoking in 6 months to launch their startup for ten years. Maybe some of them will, all the power to them. But I suppose Google knows the kind of people it is hosting and has learned to keep them here as "lifesavers": they feed you, they throw money at you, they keep you light, and they discourage change. Adopt a certain lifestyle outside of work - you get used to conveniences like traveling, taking time off when you want, eating out, going to shows, maybe getting married and looking to buy a house and settle down. At some point, the only direction you can move and maintain your quality of life is " or going back to school and trying to live on a graduate student stipend. Right in my time here I have seen at least two people that I know well try, then less than a year to give up and come back. or going back to school and trying to live on a graduate student stipend. Right in my time here I have seen at least two people that I know well try, then less than a year to give up and come back.
  • The free food is quite bright. I know they are just feeding us to constantly keep us on site and working / talking to other Google employees, but the food is consistently better than I normally have and they regularly bring in world class chefs so no complaints there :)

I have to say that whether Google is right for you really depends on the lifestyle you are looking for. I certainly have many colleagues who acknowledge all of the above, but then say, "So what?" The job may not be all they hoped for, but with the salary of a Google engineer they have been able to buy a nice house, have children, send their children to college, support their parents in retirement, save for their own. retirement, etc. I don't think there is anything wrong with that. If settling down and starting a family is important to you, the benefits of staying on Google are pretty good. But if you want to use Google as a "springboard" to what you are really passionate about, keep in mind that Google has a way of "holding on."

Getting a job at Google is amazing for about six months. Then you adapt and things level out a bit. It's still great work. But when things get ordinary, they start to look, well, ordinary.

This is my take on how my life is different from when I was working at Amazon. These are in no particular order.

  • Free meals are convenient. I don't have to figure out what I'm going to do for lunch every day. Plus, it's actually quite a lucrative perk - a $ 3,750 savings (after tax) for lunches just, assuming $ 15 for lunch.
  • The compensation is better but that does not affect my day to day. I could live
Keep reading

Getting a job at Google is amazing for about six months. Then you adapt and things level out a bit. It's still great work. But when things get ordinary, they start to look, well, ordinary.

This is my take on how my life is different from when I was working at Amazon. These are in no particular order.

  • Free meals are convenient. I don't have to figure out what I'm going to do for lunch every day. Plus, it's actually quite a lucrative perk - a $ 3,750 savings (after tax) for lunches just, assuming $ 15 for lunch.
  • The compensation is better but that does not affect my day to day. I was able to live off my compensation from Amazon, and since I've been working at Google, my expenses haven't changed much. Better compensation means I can save more, but practically speaking, this just means that I have some bigger numbers on my Vanguard account.
  • The benefits of Google are better than anywhere else I've worked. I get an extra $ 9k before taxes due to the 50% match on the 401k. All my health, dental and disability insurance premiums are less than $ 100 a month. And while I hope I never need them, Google's death benefits are truly amazing. My 4 year old daughter would be well provided for into early adulthood.
  • The actual work is similar to other places I've been. Some things are easier, like provisioning 1000 machines to do MapReduce. Some things are more difficult, like making improvements to a system that 100 smart engineers have already worked on. However, my day to day is similar. Analysis, experimentation, coding, etc.
  • Google's scale offers great potential for impact. Reducing search times by an average of one millisecond saves nearly 40 years of user time each year. If it takes me a week to make such a change, it is a factor of more than 8000. However, due to the level of optimization the search stack has already undergone, 40 hours is unlikely to be enough to make such a change. 400 hours spread over a few engineers might be more typical. Still, that's a leverage factor of 800.
  • IT support is pretty good. Any problem and you can stop by your local TechStop (or chat online) to fix the problem. TechStops also have a stock of common cables and adapters, which has come in handy a few times. Getting new hardware is pretty easy. You can order a RAM upgrade on the internal site and it will install in a day or two. Some hardware upgrades are restricted (for example, only one new laptop every 2 years), but can be overridden with administrator approval.
  • One downside is that telling people in Los Angeles where I work doesn't generate as much interest as when I was working for IMDb. When someone finds out you were on IMDb, it usually sparks an interesting conversation about your acting career or interest in movies etc. When I tell people that I work for Google, I get an "Oh that's good." Every now and then I get a question about a legal decision or product that I don't work on and that I'm not very familiar with. These encounters are not as rewarding for either party.
  • The opposite is true on Quora. Quorans seem to be much more interested in Google, perhaps because they consider it a dream job. For example, I got over 400,000 views just for posting my annual budget. I'm pretty sure that if I had done that when working for a company with no name, it wouldn't have generated nearly the same amount of interest. I reached 1 million views in about a month, mostly due to my Google posts.
  • Google's crazy external sites are not what they appear to be. Shortly after I started at Google, our team flew to Cabo to spend 3 days off-site all expenses paid. While it was a nice break from the ordinary routine, I felt like I was on vacation with my coworkers. This was a bit awkward and I would rather spend my vacation time with my family and friends. If I am going to spend free time with my team, I would rather go to a restaurant, which we do quite regularly.
  • Many of the "cool" things in the office aren't that cool. There is sure to be a room where you can play video games or billiards. I used this room several times when I started, but I have no interest anymore. I prefer to play Kerbal Space Program on my home computer. Capsules for naps, massages, etc. they are also some of the benefits you could do without.
  • Google has invested heavily in the appearance of the office, particularly in the common areas. I personally appreciate these design elements. Working in a nice office feels good. Workspaces are nothing special. They are typical office spaces with half-height cubicles.
  • There are a few other perks that are actually quite nice. Like a free-use gym, a decent coffee shop, a car wash service (paid), etc. I use some of these, but not all.

I'm sure I missed a few things, but that should give you an idea of ​​what it's like to work at Google after the first year. Other Google employees are likely to have a different perspective. Much of it comes down to personal preferences.

Having talked to a few co-workers, I think the "honeymoon" period is a fairly common experience. Maybe it will last two months. Maybe it will last a year. In any case, most people adjust to the new work environment over time.

Other Guides:


GET SPECIAL OFFER FROM OUR PARTNER.