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Google Businesses The Internet The Almighty Buck IT

Google Faces Employee Retention Challenge 339

Posted by michael
from the golden-handcuffs dept.
prakslash writes "60% of Google's 1900 employees now hold stock options worth at least one million dollars. According to experts in this Reuters article, it is now imperative for Google to maintain its sense of mission. If it fails to do so, a whole slew of employees facing post-IPO burnout and boredom will leave the company to go back to school, start a new company, or join the ranks of high-tech early retirees. Such a mass cashing-out could lead to a decline in Google stock price and intellectual brain-drain. Oh how I wish I worked for Google."
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Google Faces Employee Retention Challenge

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  • by HappyClown (668699) on Saturday October 02, 2004 @06:12PM (#10416408)
    Well send in your CV! It sounds like they might have a few job openings shortly...
    • by pdx_joe (690372) on Saturday October 02, 2004 @06:19PM (#10416478)
      At what point does Google go from hip, cool company to overbearing, monopolistic, Microsoft company? It seems public opinion is a bit fickle.
      • by Alien Being (18488) on Saturday October 02, 2004 @06:41PM (#10416596)
        "It seems public opinion is a bit fickle."

        Right, we must not waffle or send mexed missages even if presented with new facts.

        Google is now a public company. Many /.ers will be sure to point out that it is now their obligation to maximize ROI. That's not quite correct. The board of Google is responsible for doing whatever the prospectus said they would do.

        Let's hope that Google continues to change the way things are done. If they become myopic about short-term profits, they will be screwed in the long run.
      • by fm6 (162816) on Saturday October 02, 2004 @09:31PM (#10417382) Homepage Journal
        At what point does Google go from hip, cool company to overbearing, monopolistic, Microsoft company?
        At the point where they stop relying on superior tech and start relying on underhanded tactics to smother possible competition.
    • Shhhh! He doesn't know that the moon base was an April Fools joke!
    • You don't want to work in a company where almost all your coworkers are millionaires, and you're not, because you happened to join the company after the IPO date.

      Maybe in 3 - 5 years, when most of the millionaires have left, but I would certainly NOT join Google right now, unless my stock options strike price was at pre-IPO levels (which it won't).
      • You don't want to work in a company where almost all your coworkers are millionaires, and you're not, because you happened to join the company after the IPO date.

        Maybe in 3 - 5 years, when most of the millionaires have left, but I would certainly NOT join Google right now, unless my stock options strike price was at pre-IPO levels (which it won't).


        I've got to second this. Joining google right now:

        1. Get Options at current price.
        2. 500-1000 millionairs leave during the 5 years it takes to become vest
  • Free lunch? (Score:5, Funny)

    by miroth (611718) on Saturday October 02, 2004 @06:12PM (#10416413)
    I guess Google is finally realizing that there's no such thing as a free lunch (even if they provide their employees with one).
    • it is now imperative for Google to maintain its sense of mission

      The thing to understand is that like other cutting edge Internet companies, Google is no longer what it was. It is now a publicly held company with ONE SPACIFIC THING in mind for its mission: Produce cashflow for its stockholders. This is now Google's "mission". One day, it will be the mission of many of today's successful Open Source brainiacs. This is the way things tend to flow in a free society, people for the most part are driven by th

      • by Alien Being (18488)
        WRONG!

        From Google's prospectus:

        Our mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. We believe that the most effective, and ultimately the most profitable, way to accomplish our mission is to put the needs of our users first. We have found that offering a high-quality user experience leads to increased traffic and strong word-of-mouth promotion. Our dedication to putting users first is reflected in three key commitments we have made to our users:

        * We will do o
  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Saturday October 02, 2004 @06:12PM (#10416415)
    Google seems to already be a step ahead of this problem, creating a billboard puzzle in the Boston area [slashdot.org] and publishing a test for potential applicats to fill out.

    Not only do they have the problem of suddenly having a few hundred jobs to fill, but they also have the problem that nearly everybody in the world would like to work for them. By setting up such qualifying quizes before even asking for a resume, Google's trying to filter out the best applicants early in the process so that they don't waste their time on pursuing people they'll not end up hiring.

    So, yes, Google's going to lose some key talent because they've just created a bunch of modern-era dot-com millionaires. However, they'll just hire somebody else to replace anybody they lose and will move on.
    • by WombatDeath (681651) on Saturday October 02, 2004 @06:20PM (#10416482)
      That billboard thing was a piece of piss. I wouldn't consider myself qualified to work for Google and yet their little puzzle was so trivial that I couldn't actually be bothered to solve it. Added to which, of course, is the fact that you could Google the answer within a day or two of the buzz commencing.

      If they really wanted to use that sort of approach to resumé filtering they'd have used a hard puzzle and put a time limit on it. In reality, it was a marketing tool - albeit quite a good one, in my opinion.
    • They also seem to be handing out little "testing" packets too. I got one of em in Linux Journal, It has a few math problems in it and a questionaire.
    • Google is also putting full-page ads in my school's newspaper (UCSD). They also have the Google Labs Aptitude Test. http://cruftbox.com/blog/archives/001031.html
      Turnover will hurt any company, but I think Google is stable enough to handle it.
    • Google seems to already be a step ahead of this problem, creating a billboard puzzle in the Boston area and publishing a test for potential applicats to fill out.

      Answer is 7427466391.com [7427466391.com] thanks to a google search
    • by stu72 (96650) on Saturday October 02, 2004 @07:25PM (#10416837)
      Funny.

      All the option apologists say options are necessary to motivate employees.

      And yet, when successful, it seems options just motivate them to leave.

      Funny.

      Just remember where all the money to create those millionaires comes from - the shareholders. If existing shareholders are willing to suffer dilution and buyback expenses just to "motivate" talent, why not just pay them the equivalent in cash? It would save a whole lot of paperwork & accounting nightmares.

      oh right I forgot, that doesn't let them move billions of compensation expenses out of the expense column and into the "financing activites" column.
      • And yet, when successful, it seems options just motivate them to leave.

        It depends how you set up vesting. Sure all those people might be wealthy on paper, but how many can actually cash out even if they wanted to? Usually options vest over 3 or 5 years. That means after the first year after the IPO, you can exercise only 1/3 or 1/5 of you options. By that time, as many dotcommers discovered, they might be underwater.

        It would save a whole lot of paperwork & accounting nightmares.

        I agree that a fai
  • by Dancin_Santa (265275) <DancinSanta@gmail.com> on Saturday October 02, 2004 @06:15PM (#10416439) Journal
    Google technology is so far advanced beyond what we mortals need in a search engine that most of those engineers working in the labs are not necessary. For all intents and purposes, they are done.

    Now they probably need to keep the servers up and running, and that can probably be done with a few colos located in various countries with cheap labor and moved around as necessary.

    So cut the workforce, move all essential server capacity to India, China, and Eastern Europe, and let those millionaires go off and start other companies. God knows they've probably got some good ideas for other products, better to see them deliver those ideas from their own small company than to see it bastardized by a large Google (product placement and marketing and all that).

    Braindrain at Google could be just what our ailing tech sector needs.
    • by torstenvl (769732) on Saturday October 02, 2004 @06:20PM (#10416487)
      Yahoo's search results aren't that much different than Google's in the top ten.

      No company can create something and just sit on it and remain in a market position. If MS couldn't parlay its success with MS-DOS into its success with Windows 95 into its success with IE and 98 and XP...

      Yeah. Nobody would still be using MS-DOS today. They'd all be using Linux or BSD or something.

      So Google does need talent to stay competitive.
    • linkfarming has been a real problem for some time.. and continues to be.

      that is just an example of some of the ongoing problems a search engine has to face, they're number one but the quality of the results degrades then I among others will be switching to something else.

    • So cut the workforce, move all essential server capacity to India, China, and Eastern Europe, and let those millionaires go off and start other companies.

      Servers cost pretty much the same in the US, China or Eastern Europe - in hardware terms (and are perhaps cheaper after import taxes etc). The manpower requirement isn't a large part of ongoing expenses - manpower 'costs' Google in the development areas (direct in these workers, plus indirect from their assistants, people running the canteen etc; I'm
  • by johnmoe (103704) on Saturday October 02, 2004 @06:15PM (#10416446)
    As long as they have interesting things for people to work on, I don't think they should have too much trouble keeping people. Who really cares about money? It is hard to find interesting problems to work on Google lets their employees do that AND pays them for it. What more in life could a person ask for?
    • by Daniel Ellard (799842) on Saturday October 02, 2004 @07:47PM (#10416937)
      People with kids, mortgages, other debts, plans for the future... If you think a million dollars is a lot of money, well, you haven't tried to buy a house in a decent school district near Boston or Silicon Valley recently.

      • by King_TJ (85913) on Saturday October 02, 2004 @10:48PM (#10417643) Journal
        Without trying to sound rude, the people who "care about money because of kids, mortgages, other debts, etc. etc." aren't the target employees for a business that revolves around inventive new ideas.

        As it's often been pointed out, there are practically no scientists out there who have achieved any great/notable work after they were married and had kids. This is no accident.

        When you make the decision to start a family, you effectively trade off much of your former "free time" in an attempt to reap the benefits and experiences/insights gained from bringing a new child into the world and from forming a "life partnership" with someone else, to solve day-to-day matters together.

        The "free time" you would have had before that is the commodity used by inventors and creative types to come up with innovative/original ideas and works.
  • Well good. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mark_space2001 (570644) on Saturday October 02, 2004 @06:16PM (#10416452)
    So maybe some people who don't need jobs anymore can retire and some people who do need jobs will get them. Sounds like a free market to me....
    • No kidding. Maybe even do the growing trend among tech companies in the central California region to fire all employees, offer no relocation, and re-open shop in the Portland, Oregon area. Oregonians need jobs more than California needs anything.
  • by NotQuiteReal (608241) on Saturday October 02, 2004 @06:19PM (#10416480) Journal
    My first thought was actually in the article: A million bucks isn't what it used to be - "If you live in Mountain View, California, and someone gives you $1 million, you might be able to pay off your mortgage, but you can't retire,"

    Even if it is only subject to capital gains taxes, that takes a bite too. The article only says at least one million... doesn't say what the average is or anything. Also, it doesn't mention any selling restrictions.

    The way the market goes with these things, I don't expect the valuation to stay at 180 P/E for all that long... I could be wrong, but I suspect this will be a self correcting "problem".

    I sure wish I had the problem. [4 time stock option looser]

    • by gl4ss (559668) on Saturday October 02, 2004 @07:04PM (#10416724) Homepage Journal
      elsewhere though.. a million bucks can be enough to kickstart that idea you've had in back of your mind about this some excellent new tech(remember, these aren't just some your average wage slaves either because google has specifially been looking for intelligent and creative people).

      and they must have quite a number of people with 10m+ too.. who got those options by being in important positions.. you can only buy loyalty so far before you've given so much money they don't need you anymore(at which point you gotta think of some other stuff like giving them intresting jobs to keep 'em).
    • by mikael (484) on Saturday October 02, 2004 @07:23PM (#10416824)
      In the UK, they did a study to see how much money would make people happy. From a survey they figured that around four million pounds was enough (six million dollars). Enough for someone to make themselves and all their relatives happy.
      • I can't find a reference, but I recall a very interesting survey asking people who much they would like to me making or how much they thought they should be making.

        What they found was that on average, people at every income level felt they should be making about twice what they were.

        In other words, weath & poverty (above a certain minimum) are largely relative, and contrary to left leaning thought, no matter how much you give people they'll always want, or say they need, more.
  • Totally expected (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Duncan3 (10537) on Saturday October 02, 2004 @06:21PM (#10416490) Homepage
    Look, I know you dont want to hear this... but...

    When you're hiring someone, it's absolutely CRITICAL not to pay someone enough to be "comfortable". It removes all motivation, and makes for unmotivated and uninterested employees.

    Management 101, and a quick lession any hiring manager would learn if they didn't already know.

    Giving people piles of cash in options, is one of the mistakes startups make over and over and over. And this is normal to the process.

    But, that's the fun isnt it ;) Yes Google will retain maybe 5% of the millionares, yes they move on to other things, and yes they knew this would happen.
    • by irokitt (663593) <archimandrites-iaur@@@yahoo...com> on Saturday October 02, 2004 @06:34PM (#10416556)
      So, you're one of those people who reads Dilbert and sympathizes with the boss?
    • by Forbman (794277) on Saturday October 02, 2004 @06:36PM (#10416564)
      No, you hire people who will enjoy the work, the kind who appreciate the money, but don't care too much about it.

      If all you hire is people wanting to move up to $70K a year, instead of people looking for new cool things to do, then, yes, you create the lack of motivation that money seekers get.
      • You're talking about the opposite problem, but yea, that too.

        Pay them too little (your point) and they wait to bail. Pay them too much, and they don't need the job.
      • Case in point: After a week away from work, I'm generally kinda bored. After two weeks, I'm beginning to creep into the office while no-one's looking...

        Seriously, I enjoy what I do, and it gives my life real structure; if someone gave me a million, great, I could finally buy a house, but I wouldn't quit my job.
    • When you're hiring someone, it's absolutely CRITICAL not to pay someone enough to be "comfortable". It removes all motivation, and makes for unmotivated and uninterested employees.

      Well, theres a limit to this thinking though. It's not possible to make enough at my current company to even but a shitty condo where we are located.
      The end result for is not motivation, it's de-motivation. I.e. "what the hell am I even working for if I can't even afford to live here?"
      Everybody's different, but if I was "c
    • Re:Totally expected (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sql*kitten (1359) *
      When you're hiring someone, it's absolutely CRITICAL not to pay someone enough to be "comfortable".

      It's even more critical that you pay them well enough that they won't jump ship for a better salary at the first available opportunity.

      Management 101, and a quick lession any hiring manager would learn if they didn't already know

      Actually, I've taken Management 101, and you clearly haven't. Money is what behavioral psychologists call a "hygiene factor". Lack of a hygiene factor can make a person miserable
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 02, 2004 @06:21PM (#10416493)
    Google has the challenge of building a whole new mission. With billions in the bank and way more employees than are needed to operate a search engine, there is no way they can keep going if they just maintain their current mission. They need to get a whole new mission.

    Another challenge they need to get a grip on is a release culture. Up to now, most of their products and services have been in perpetual beta. If they want to expand, they need to get a mentality that sets targets, and makes releases. Right now they look like Netscape did. Their most visible product, the Google search engine, has way more features, many of which are useful, than any competitor. In terms of search quality, though, I think they already fall behind the new MSN search. If all they do is tack more features on and add new beta products they will fall behind. Granted, they have a long time to make it work, with that mountain of cash, but that won't sustain them forever.

    Google needs to decide on a new vision that is grand, but reachable with the money they have now. Then they need to execute their new plan successfully. Neither staying where they are, or growing at their current rate, is a viable option. They need big changes. They may well be up to it, but we won't know for certain for a few more years.
  • Google Labs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rafikki (818387) * on Saturday October 02, 2004 @06:24PM (#10416509)
    I like their Google Labs idea. It's a great way to show the employees that they're supporting them, and at the same time allows them to stimulate the engineers creativity, probably helping to reduce burn-out rates as well.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 02, 2004 @06:27PM (#10416529)
    To quit your job at google go to: {last 10-digit prime found in consecutive digits of e}.com
  • Harder to recruit? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    If folks leave, one wonders how hard a time they will have recruiting new Googlers...

    Salaries were not competitive with the market as recently as 4 months ago. Of course, back then they were still "Pre-IPO." IMHO, You'd have to be foolish or a huge gambler to take a meager salary in lieu of options at the current strike price.

    So once the brain-drain starts... there may be no way for Google to staunch it... unless they start hiring very competitively (and presumably, retro-compensating current employees).
  • reminds me of... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nbert (785663) on Saturday October 02, 2004 @06:36PM (#10416563) Homepage Journal
    the documentary "Microslaves"

    They interviewed some ex Microsoft employees. All of them are millionaires due to stock options. Now they are mostly in their late twens wondering what to do with their existence for the rest of their time (one of them - living in his huge mansion alone said that he pretends to be into IT consulting on dinner parties, because saying that you basically do nothing is kind of embarrassing).

    It makes me wonder if stock options are really a sustainable way for both sides to grow. Wouldn't it be better to have more employees at a lower wage like 500 grands a year? Every ex MS worker being part of the documentary suffered some kind of burn out syndrome, so it might make sense to reduce their workload at the same time.

    • I'm surprised at this. I'd understand it if we were talking about people who weren't particularly interested in what they were doing and just did it to earn a living, say clerical workers and management types, but I would have expected programmers to have their own interests to which they would be happy to be able to devote their time once freed of the need to support themselves. Most programmers I know have a project they'd like to work on, a business they'd like to start, or strong non-programming intere

      • Re:reminds me of... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by nbert (785663)
        a business they'd like to start

        since you mention it - one guy put his money into a .com startup distributing sheet music. After the bubble bursted he had to accommodate to a quite moderate lifestyle. He's still running this company, but the server is in his basement and he had to fire his employees...

        btw: who told you that clerical employees don't have aspirations?

        • btw: who told you that clerical employees don't have aspirations?

          Fair enough, up to a point. I really meant to say two separate things. One was that programmers often like programming, so they'll still do it, either purely as a hobby or by starting their own business, even if they no longer need to support themselves. To my knowledge there aren't an awful lot of people who do clerical work because that's what they like to do.

          Secondly, lots of people, including programmers and clerical workers, have o

    • by Sweetshark (696449) on Saturday October 02, 2004 @07:57PM (#10416988)
      As my ex-boss once said:
      Being rich does not make you happy, but it is easier to cry in a Rolls-Royce ...
    • Sheesh, I'd trade him in a second. Not because I want the money itself - I don't - but because I want to found my own games company, and for that, having a lot of money would help.

      What's wrong with people when "I'm rich" immediately leads to "I have nothing to do with my life"? There's more to life than getting rich!
    • Now they are mostly in their late twens wondering what to do with their existence for the rest of their time

      Dude! Two chicks at the same time!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 02, 2004 @06:37PM (#10416568)
    This whole article is based on interviewing people at other companies and asking what happens after an IPO. There's nothing specific about Google at all. Is there any actual evidence of people at Google selling out? Is there one actual instance of somebody leaving Google because they got rich on the IPO?

    Recently I was interviewing with Google in Mountain View (and I'm posting AC for that reason) and I didn't meet a single person there who seemed like the IPO had affected them at all. Some engineer made the comment to me "Yeah, I ended up with a lot of money after the IPO, and the thought crossed my mind to leave, but what would I do? I can't think of any place I'd rather work."

    Everyone loves to hate on Google now that they're no longer the scrappy underdogs. But after walking around the "Googleplex" I can't say I've ever seen a company where the engineers were happier.
    • by SlashdotLemming (640272) on Saturday October 02, 2004 @08:12PM (#10417064)
      Everyone loves to hate on Google now that they're no longer the scrappy underdogs. But after walking around the "Googleplex" I can't say I've ever seen a company where the engineers were happier.

      It's the usual Slashdot jeasously. Anyone who has any sort of success must be torn down. I'm a loser so I'll sit around Slashdot pumping myself up by putting others down.

      Hmmm, kind of like I just did.

      C'ya Slashdot. Over and out...
  • by mikeophile (647318) on Saturday October 02, 2004 @06:50PM (#10416658)
    CFO: It looks like we have quite a problem, Eric. We are losing employees because their stock options are worth so much, they don't wan't to work anymore.

    CEO: The deuce you say, George. There's only one thing to do.

    CFO: What's that?

    CEO: George, we have to tank the company. When the stock bottoms out, we'll buy back those options and correct the retention problem. We must destroy Google to save it.

    CFO: OMFG, you're brillant. But how will we devalue the company? Google is doing great.

    CEO: We're going to need help. We need someone with experience in this sort of thing. Get Carly at HP on the phone, quick!

  • by TiggertheMad (556308) on Saturday October 02, 2004 @06:57PM (#10416683) Homepage Journal
    I work at a certain EVIL company, and there have been some rumors that Google has been sniffing around, looking for good employees (yes, yes, obligatory MS joke here...) to bring over.

    It looks like they are agressively trying to make sure that they keep on top of the talent curve. MS has always made an effort to grab up all the most talented engineers coming out of school. Google might try to give them a run for the money.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 02, 2004 @07:04PM (#10416725)
    Intelligent people with enough money to convert their ideas into a business isn't something to be sad about. The slight hardship Google might suffer is more than offset by the chance for a lot of smart people to pursue their own interests.
  • A million dollars? With that they might be able to buy a tiny house near Google. But then they'd be broke and have to keep working. And somehow, in the mindset of Silicon Valley, that seems normal and rational.

    Of course, they could always retire and move someplace sane.
  • vesting ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mqx (792882) on Saturday October 02, 2004 @07:16PM (#10416785)

    Options usually vest over a number of years, so while they may be worth a paper-$1m, they're only going to see real-$1m if (a) they keep working hard/smart enough to keep the paper-value high, (b) they keep working long enough to cash in the paper-value to get real-value.

    This is exactly what options are designed to do!

    With regard to "brain drain", for a company like Google, it would have people champing at the bit to work there: so any lost talent is easily replacable with new hires, if they keep standards up in the hiring process. And, it's good to have fresh talent come in over time to keep revitalising the place.

    Finally, as others have mentioned, many of these types of people actually like what they are doing. I can tell you that if I were a millionaire, I'd live a nice lifestyle, but I'd still be pottering around on code or doing something creatively interesting -- (a) because that's what I like to do, (b) I'm just not the type of person to laze around doing nothing.

    There are _many_ examples of serial millionaries and creative types who do what they do because they love the creative elements.

  • by melted (227442) on Saturday October 02, 2004 @07:20PM (#10416807) Homepage
    I, for one, welcome our millionaire overlords. I wish more tech companies had folks who had enough money to retire, so that those who don't have enough money yet would be able to make a bit more and advance their careers a bit faster. Where I work, it's like a freakin' concrete wall up there. Folks who have been with the company are well put in their trenches and it's nearly impossible to get anywhere, because the "old boys club" is everywhere. I wish the stock price doubled and they took off. I'd be a happy camper then.
  • CASH OUT NOW ! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Ha, they would be wise to cash out now. Google is just another company, and they can't ride a much higher wave. I worked at (unnamed major software company) pre and post IPO. The smart ones exercised their options as soon as legally possible. Guess what, the stock never went up to those IPO year numbers again. I saw lots of programmers that came in during year one for low salaries and big options get that cream. Even the shipping clerks had 20k or so of options. Besides, there are geniuses graduating from u
  • by Proudrooster (580120) on Saturday October 02, 2004 @07:28PM (#10416852) Homepage
    Thank you Google for showing us that one in a million company where stock options actually pay off ! Google and it's employees have achieved the American dream and should be proud. America is still the greatest country in the world. You can roll the dice, start a company, and sometimes even be successful. On the flip side, if you fail, America is still the land of opportunity. You can always start over.

    America is still the land of hope and promise, even though our leaders are trying to crush the hopes and dreams of the American spirit with FEAR, UNCERTAINTY, and DOUBT! Thanks again GOOGLE, you are a bright ray of light peeking through the gloom.
  • by mikael (484) on Saturday October 02, 2004 @07:29PM (#10416861)
    which already include an in-house masseuse and free lunches prepared by the former chef to the Grateful Dead.

    For a moment I thought that read "an in-house massage ... by the former chef to the Grateful Dead".

    "And zeez is how weee tenderize zee meat before we apply zee hot sauce... bork! bork! bork!"

  • Now wonder so many jobs are being outsourced overseas. Instead of making rich employees richer you can make poor employees comfortable and still save money.
  • by 3seas (184403) on Saturday October 02, 2004 @07:45PM (#10416925) Journal
    What if they all decide to stay and continue building this company and its stock value?

    What better place to increase your own wealth but where you have had and can continue to have influence on its growth.... as opposed to some disconnected, abstracted stock market game of chance...

    Imagine what those who got out early with MS would regret now!

    On teh more intelligent side of this, don't ya think the google guys would have considered this... especially given all the apparent presidence...???
    • by lwagner (230491) on Saturday October 02, 2004 @10:08PM (#10417505)
      Some factors to consider:

      1. Short-term capital gains @ ordinary income. Ouch. Tax man cometh. Depending on what the new president does with the tax laws.... 35-39% for federal, maybe up to 10% for state. All the folks espousing their liberal viewpoints I trust will enjoy giving up 45% - 50% to Uncle Sam because they are now "evil rich people".

      2. People who receive a windfall of money, such as lottery ticket holders, about 95% of them blow the money within 3 years. If you didn't earn it by struggling, you're not going to struggle on keeping it. Sorry to say, but they will also probably not go to see a NAPFA-certified [napfa.org], fee-only financial planner, either.

      Think of how many True Hollywood Stories you've watched on E! that have the same sob story.

      3. The exception to this is when it is annuitized, which would provide a certain amount of money per year for a certain amount of time. In which case, it would be more like a salary without work.

      4. A lot of these people are not vested. By the time they're able to exercise their options, the stock will probably be down at a level more in line with reality. If you're not liquid, you're only a millionaire on paper.

      5. Some people may own restricted stock, so this would impede their ability to convert it to cash. Again, another liquidity issue. By the time they are able to sell the stock, the price will have deflated.

      6. Money doesn't buy happiness. Most people would not enjoy laying around all day, past maybe 1 year, because your purpose in life becomes basically to consume. There are only so many cars and so many Rolex watches one can buy before it becomes old really quick. People need purpose and vision.

      There are actually psychologists who specialize in treating folks who receive a windfall of money. You don't realize that, when you receive a large sum of money or inherit something grossly large, some of your dreams, aspirations, and hopes are destroyed.

      Helpful hint that no one does. Here's how to turn into a "rich person" while keeping sane. If you save just 10% of your income, starting today, each year, in 20-30 years, you'll be right there... but you'll have done it organically and have your common sense about you.
  • by gelfling (6534) on Saturday October 02, 2004 @08:07PM (#10417041) Homepage Journal
    No doubt all those Google options have a beginning date and an end date and a strike price that's far out of reach today and will remain so as Google stock slowly slides backt to rational levels.

    On paper is one thing, real value is quite another. Millions of dotbombers know the reality of stock option accounting and if they were worth 'millions' from the get go they'd be warrants or gifts not options.
  • by artemis67 (93453) on Saturday October 02, 2004 @08:16PM (#10417087)
    On the contrary... Oh, how I wish I used to work for Google!
  • Pass the Champange (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mrshowtime (562809) on Saturday October 02, 2004 @08:26PM (#10417140)
    This is why Google should have never IPO'ed. Google is safe for the next few years as there is no real competition and the brandname is legendary now, but when ax falls, Google may find themselves in the closet with other great search engines like HotBot. Why would I want to work at google for $50,000 a year, when I could make the same at another search engine company and get stock options and try to make the company another google and then make my own million.
  • by Gannoc (210256) on Saturday October 02, 2004 @10:26PM (#10417562)

    Another problem are the 40% of people who AREN'T going to be millionares. When your co-workers who don't get to quit start driving into work in expensive cars, etc, its going to be hell on morale.
  • by ballpoint (192660) on Sunday October 03, 2004 @03:59AM (#10418675)
    While Google's employees may be a clever lot, most of them are just not financially astute enough or are too intrigued by their jobs to realize that they have decaying gold in their hands. Yes, they know they have gold, but no, they cannot imagine that it's a special kind of gold that decays.

    As such they will clamp on to their options and shares, linger on and eventually see their value erode, like so many engineers have seen past the bubble. To add insult to injury they will have paid taxes on the options.

    So here's a sound advice to anyone in a similar position: grab while the grabbing's good. If you linger, the grabbing times might pass you by.

I don't have any use for bodyguards, but I do have a specific use for two highly trained certified public accountants. -- Elvis Presley

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