If you work for an investment bank (like Goldman Sachs) and you think life would be much better if you worked for a tech company (like Google), you might want to refresh your worldview by taking a look at the recent tweetstorm from former Google designer Morgan Knutson.
Knutson spent around a week tweeting about his miserable experience working on Google+ in 2011 and 2012. It's long and you can read it for yourself here. Knutson emphasizes that this was at least six years ago, that this was just one team and that he is just one man venting about his subjective experiences. Even so, he makes working for Google sound as bad as working for any investment bank - if not worse.
This, briefly, is what you need to know.
1. Google was not above the bait and switch job offer
Knutson thought he'd be working on Chrome. He was actually staffed on Google+.
2. Google's campus seems pretty infantile when you work there
Knutson says it's "silly and college like" and "kitsch." "Goofy colored furniture. A slide. Crap...everywhere."
3. Google can take ages to get back to you after an interview
In Knutson's case Google waited around three months. Loooong.
4. Induction day is super-corporate
Knutson says his first day was like he imagined, "freshmen orientation at a prestigious college would be like." Everyone was called "Nooglers" and sat in a room that, "looked like it was set up for a time-share pitch."
5. The CEO is treated like a God
"The CEO didn’t just have an office. The entire floor was his," says Knutson. It included a war room and his own, "super fancy vegan cafe called “cloud” that wouldn’t be sustainable in the real world."
6. Not everyone at Google is a sweetheart
In eight months, Knutson says the head of Google+ (his manager), "didn’t say a word to me. No hello. No goodbye, or thanks for staying late. No handshake. No eye contact."
Another manager, who Knutson calls 'Greg' is described as, "a smarmy, politically motivated little fella who had no intentions of ever leaving Google," and who took credit for some of his work. At one point, Knutson says Greg told him he didn't want him on his team and that he could go home - even though he wasn't actually being fired. "Google was completely and utterly ruined for me after this moment," Knutson reflects.
7. It's a highly political world in which things get done even though they don't make commercial sense
Knutson says, for example, that teams were encouraged to integrate Google+ features with, "a 1.5-3x multiplier on top of your yearly bonus. Your bonus was already something like 15% of your salary." People were therefore receiving a, "ton of money to ruin the product [they] were building with bloated garbage that no one wanted. "
8. Google will underpay you given the opportunity
Knutson earned comparatively little working for non-profits before joining Google. He says they took advantage of this: "They low-balled me. My offer was $115k a year with $100k in stock vesting over 4 years. It was way more than I’d ever made, but still below market rate. I accepted with no negotiating. My title was UI Designer Level II. Also low."
9. Google has four year bonus vesting
10. The work at Google can be meaningless
Knutson came across someone he says was, "working on a tiny sliver of a sidebar tucked away on an internal page of Plus. Games, or something. “Inconsequential” is a good description."
11. The bureaucracy can be huge
"There was the “creative team” which was a service team that would create icons or other assets based on the outdated style guides. You’d have to submit a form and wait for them. They were a bit surly."
There's plenty more in there, but the bottom line appears to be this: quitting banking for a job at a big Google style technology firm will not solve your career issues. It may even make them worse.
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