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Google The Internet Businesses

Google Tops 100 Best Places To Work 317

Posted by kdawson
from the perks-galore dept.
inetsee writes "Fortune Magazine's annual '100 Best Companies to Work For' list is out, and Google topped the list in their debut appearance. Some highlights of the benefits of working for Google that caught my eye were the free gourmet meals and the massages. The chance to spend 20% of your time working on your own personal projects also sounds very appealing. Of course, with resumes rolling in at the rate of thousands a day, the competition is fierce."
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Google Tops 100 Best Places To Work

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    How come we never hear about that?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Oddscurity (1035974) *
      Because whoever'd publish such a list would get hit with a defamation suit within the hour?
      • Because whoever'd publish such a list would get hit with a defamation suit within the hour?

        Sue away...

        http://www.wanderlist.com/worstUScompanies [wanderlist.com]

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by monkeypoo (981042)
          Cisco seems to be on both lists. They are both the 11th best company and the 12th worst one. Something tells me this "worst company" page is just for people to rant about companies they don't like, not a subjective review of work environment.
        • by rossz (67331) <ogre&geekbiker,net> on Monday January 08, 2007 @11:13PM (#17518740) Homepage Journal
          That's not a proper list of bad employers. It's a random list of every company someone has a grievance with. From what I can tell, few of the posts were by current or former employers of the named company. Examples, Walmart, most people who work for them like their job. Their posting was just a typical example of "hate the big guy". Another example, Harley-Davidson, not liking their product has nothing to do with whether they are a good employer or not. In fact, HD is employee owned and, unlike in the 70's, make awesome motorcycles. However, just because I ride a Harely does not mean I am qualified to rate them as an employer.
        • by hobo sapiens (893427) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @11:14AM (#17523354) Journal
          Dillards is at the top of their list...this hits home for me. My wife just quit her job there. I have to say, that in the month she worked there I know enough to say that Dillards is the worst place to work for. Hear this:

          1) if you don't meet sales targets, at your semi-annual review you get a pay cut. No, you don't get commission. You don't get a huge raise if you exceed your sales targets. You just get a pay cut if you miss.

          2) Servant mentality. Employees are forbidden from using the store's elevators, escalators, etc. They must exit in the back of the mall, and even when it's dark out there is no security to ensure than employees get to their cars, and they must park in Antartica.

          3) Judging from the previous item, you'd think there is no security. No, there is security -- to watch the employees. My wife had to ge a clear purse (really a bag) because she cannot carry in opaque bags. There is security watching them at their counters. They are watched in the stores. They are watched as they exit and enter. And the mall that she works in is in a good part of town.

          4) Poor morale. In addition to mistreating employees, Dillards fosters a very competitive spirit among employees. So nobody likes one another.

          5) Bad scheduling. My wife took this job because she has limited availability, since I work and we have two children. This leaves just a few evenings that she can work, and as such she was unable to get a job more like she is accustomed to. Well, of course, they scheduled her overnight to do inventory, which was flat out unnacceptable.

          6) After about a month, my wife (being the honest, professional person she is) wrote a resignation letter. When she tried to hand it to the manager, he told her he could not accept it and instead she needed to fill out a form. Management proceeded to avoid her for the rest of the day. Needless to say, she never got a form. She made them take her letter. This is how they treat people who try to do the right thing and give notice. She should have just did a no show on a Saturday or something. That would have served them right.

          So, while this site is obviously a not-so-reputable one, they are dead right. Dillards is a horrid place to work, and they deserve to go out of business. Hope you enjoyed reading this. It should make you feel *really* good about your job as you sit at your desk sipping a coffee. I know I do.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 08, 2007 @10:00PM (#17518224)
        Personally, I view the entire exercise as a sham. I have personal experience with one of the companies on the list - Principal Financial - which I refer to as my year from hell.

        The company is legendary here in Des Moines ... they can break virtually any law they care to, without consequence. They are the proverbial 900 lb gorilla. With a long history of owning the State senators and Attorney General. As an example, they finally got rid of the 'Hourly exempt' class in 1999, under Federal pressure ... how many years was that illegal under the FLSA?

        Recently, they had to devalue, sorry, restate their mortgage portfolio by half ... just a little stock fluffing there ... before Citi bought that division - and then canned the lot of them. Oh, and the recently departed were not allowed to apply for any other Principal job for a year. Well, actually, once they were pick-slipped, they could *apply*, but Principal wouldn't even look at them. Yep, that's illegal.

        Local headhunters have learned to (mostly) avoid the company ... send in an applicant, and they'll often come back with the line "We already had the applicant on file and were planning on contacting them in the near future." The first part is completely true ... you applied back in High School, they've kept your résumé on file. The second half? Well, the applicant will get a phone call ... now.

        The company does do a lot of things right, and many divisions are good, even great places to work. But it's very much up to chance, unless you have friends on the inside already. Doesn't help that the senior execs are morally and ethically bankrupt.

        And, of course, I seriously question how a company makes it onto the 'Top 100' list when their out-of-court settlements to former employees range into the hundreds-of-thousands. Regularly.

        Hard feelings? ADNR sounds about right.

        • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @06:53AM (#17520970) Homepage Journal
          OK, I'll go over this once more:

          The easiest way to find the best places to work is to look for the ones whose names end in "..University".

          The money is surprisingly competitive, there are tons of holidays and always hot young chicks around. Try to live walking distance and you'll be able to sleep in on days you don't have "meetings".

          Plus, if you are a moderately capable worker, you will immediately be made a Director, and the Administration will be amazed that you are so much more productive than anyone else in the place. Just do your job at about half-speed and you'll raise the average.

          They'll even pay for you to engage in the greatest scam of all: Getting your PhD. Once you do that, you are forever enshrined in the Brotherhood of People Who Take it Easy and you can spend your days playing Eve and "walking down the street for an espresso".

          Many the day I pinch myself for the great luck of having left all the corporate bullshit behind a few decades ago. Oh, there's one more important step: Marry a brilliant, beautiful Math Grad Student (preferably from Eastern Europe - the Asian ones will expect you to work hard), then when she gets a job in the Financial World, even Lotto winners will envy you.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Coucho (1039182)

      How come we never hear about that?
      Chances are you're working at it
    • I think there was a TV show a while ago (don't really watch TV often and just saw it for a few minutes in a hotel room) about shitty and odd jobs. Late Night with Dave Atel also i believe had some rather odd jobs featured on it, including the guy that has to clean up hotel rooms after suicides.
  • Competitive pay, gourmet food, good location, great benefits. Where's the fruit company?
    • by Al Dimond (792444) on Monday January 08, 2007 @09:42PM (#17518086) Journal
      Good location?

      Apple is located in Cupertino, CA, in the middle of Silicon Valley. It is not a "good location". Silicon Valley is endless, boring, ugly suburban sprawl. You'd hope that it would at least be cheap to live in such a crappy place, but it's not, cost of living is very high. I know because that's where I am living right now, and I'm moving as soon as my lease is up. I don't know if you've ever lived here or not, but I think lots of people just think that it must be cool to live in California where you're near the ocean and it never snows...
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Have you ever lived anywhere else?

        Silicon Valley is not paradise, but it's damn nice. The absolute worst thing about this area is the absurd housing costs.

        Yeah, it's suburban sprawl-y, but the mountains and palm trees and beautiful weather more than make up for it. As you well know, it will be over 60 and sunny again tomorrow. At the beginning of January, for god's sake. There is a reason people want to live here and are willing to put up with the housing costs and taxes. It's fucking beautiful all the
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Al Dimond (792444)
          I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, which as far as suburbs go, are better than those of the valley. Why? Because they surround Chicago, which is a real city. Instead of masses of people driving in essentially random directions to work every day, a truly significant portion of the rush-hour traffic is relieved by commuter rail going downtown. Why does that matter? Because it means you don't have fucking 8-lane surface streets every half mile or so. The only roads that actually go anywhere in the vall
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by superdude72 (322167)
        Apple is located in Cupertino, CA, in the middle of Silicon Valley. It is not a "good location". Silicon Valley is endless, boring, ugly suburban sprawl.

        Cupertino is an urban oasis compared to the gargantuan office parks of South San Francisco, where Genentech is located. It took half of my lunch break just to walk from my office building across the parking lot to the office building with the sandwich shop that is similar to a concession you might find in an airport. There are tens of thousands of people wo
        • There are tens of thousands of people working in this area and none of the usual amenities you would find in an area with tens of thousands of people.

          That's what happens with skyrocketing real estate prices and high-paying jobs. People convince themselves that it all evens out... "Oh sure, the rents are higher, but the pay is higher, too!" Fine and dandy, except Joe the Science Teacher can't afford to live in the city any more. And Bob the Convenience Store Clerk doesn't feel like commuting three hours i
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mdfst13 (664665)
      Maybe Apple didn't apply. This isn't the best 100 companies. It's the best ranked 100 out of 446 choices. See http://money.cnn.com/.element/ssi/sections/mag/fo r tune/bestcompanies/2007/box_how.popup.html [cnn.com]

      Instructions for applying for next year at http://www.greatplacetowork.com/best/nominations/n om-100best.php [greatplacetowork.com]
  • by Kalriath (849904) on Monday January 08, 2007 @07:39PM (#17517106)
    Well, since the recruitment process is a machine, just write your resume like a robot. GoogleBot's sure to pick you then!
  • by ghaltmann (998674) on Monday January 08, 2007 @07:39PM (#17517110)
    I want to work for Goolge too. As long as it doesn't get caught in my eye.

    OK I know that was bad.
  • by b0s0z0ku (752509) on Monday January 08, 2007 @07:42PM (#17517134)
    Find a good small company (~20 people) where you fit in well. You'll have much more flexibility since the Top isn't all that high in a small company. Or even start your own. Many of the companies worth considering aren't even on the radar yet.


    -b.

    • by Freaky Spook (811861) on Monday January 08, 2007 @07:52PM (#17517226)

      I tried starting my own company, but some geek guy in glasses bought me out.

      Now my pencils are all broken.
    • by metlin (258108) * on Monday January 08, 2007 @07:54PM (#17517250) Journal
      Or find a small group within a company where you fit well, and you will feel much the same.

      Companies are not all the same on the inside, and some groups are better than the others within a company.

      I work in the R&D division of a telecom services company - and our group is very small but is great to work with. For the most part, we are encouraged to think up cool things with technology that we think are worth exploring and are given the opportunity to work with them.

      Alternatively, you could start your own company and work with a company that you already know (i.e. consultant and consultancy services etc).

      Not every group in a big "good" company is necessarily good, and not all departments in a "not-so-good" are necessarily not-so-good.

      You need to feel comfortable with the group and the people you work for, else there is no point, no matter how amazing a company maybe rated.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by b0s0z0ku (752509)
        Or find a small group within a company where you fit well, and you will feel much the same.

        Agreed, though the small groups within companies are still more subject to orders from on high and blanket company policies than bona-fide small organizations.

        -b.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by metlin (258108) *
          True, but that becomes a double-edged sword -- you get some benefits being a part of a bigger organization that a smaller organization can't afford (good health insurance, stock options and 401k plans, long term security (well, depends on the company) etc). Of course, on the flip side, like you said, you are still subject to blanket company policies and the like.

          Once again, it would boil down to the group/company in question, rather than any one place.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by radtea (464814)
            good health insurance, stock options and 401k plans, long term security

            For those of us outside the U.S., the health insurance thing isn't such a big issue. Not having to deal with an insurance market where for some unfathomable reason health insurance is tied to employment also makes it a whole lot easier to start your own company if you are outside the U.S.

            Stock options are generally better with smaller companies, although they can work out for big as well. Pension plans aren't looking as good these days
            • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
              Not having to deal with an insurance market where for some unfathomable reason health insurance is tied to employment also makes it a whole lot easier to start your own company if you are outside the U.S.

              Exactly why I think that nationalized or state-owned health insurance would actually help true capitalism. It would remove another impediment in the path of startup companies. BTW - it's actually not that difficult to find even in expensive states. Be prepared to pay $2-300/mo in the more expensive pla

              • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

                by Kalriath (849904)
                You mean like here in New Zealand, where a component of our Income Tax actually goes to a State Owned health insurance provider? We get injured at all, and the government's public health insurance steps in and pays all the bills. Unless you work for a healthcare provider, then your employer forks out for it.
                • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

                  by b0s0z0ku (752509)
                  You mean like here in New Zealand, where a component of our Income Tax actually goes to a State Owned health insurance provider? We get injured at all, and the government's public health insurance steps in and pays all the bills.

                  Yeah, that kind of system...

    • If you are looking for benefits specifically, most starups and small companies can not afford top-tier health insurance and dental insurance, and usually you have to kick in a whole lot for your percentage.
    • by dbIII (701233)
      It depends. Family companies can be absolute hell if you are not in the family. It's really annoying to have your pay delayed for five weeks becuase the payroll has gone into the daughters 21st party and have nothing you can do about it apart from wait or give up on the money and leave. Sometimes a boss in that situation will expect ridiculous hours for no extra pay and horrible working conditions (industrial and radiation safety in my case) because that is the way they work themselves - and they forget
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by svunt (916464)
      Agreed. I've been working mostly for big corporations over the past decade, and I was ready to slit my own throat, so hard did it suck. Now I work at a 35 person music exporter, I'm actually TRUSTED to do my job without supervision, KPIs, etc. It's flexible, everyone knows everyone, we drink together, work together, play together. The pay's about 20% more than a big company would ever pay me, and I haven't worn shoes to work once this summer. Google sounds awesome, but frankly, I like being the nerd at wo
    • by StikyPad (445176)
      True, but everything comes at a price. Many people would trade the stability of big business for the flexibility of small. And while no large business can be as flexible as a small one (especially if it's one's own SB), large companies are making inroads, such as flex-time and Google's 20% policy. Starting a business is a considerable risk as well, even if you're competent. That's not to say people shouldn't take risks, but it's not for everyone, especially those who may have families and place a higher
      • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
        That's not to say people shouldn't take risks, but it's not for everyone, especially those who may have families and place a higher proprity on stability.

        Actually, for people with families, having their own business might be even more important. Something with the ability to *make* money (rather than just having a worth) which can be passed across generations.

        -b.

        • by StikyPad (445176)
          That's not an advantage of small business; large businesses can be passed generationally as well.

          Anyway, advantages and disadvantages.. that's all I'm saying.
  • by Eternal Vigilance (573501) on Monday January 08, 2007 @07:46PM (#17517158)
    Sounds like a trip to the library is in order before I submit my resume!

    Thanks for the info!
  • Google... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by b0s0z0ku (752509) on Monday January 08, 2007 @07:46PM (#17517164)
    20% of time working on personal projects

    Fine, but if you're working in a smaller, less demanding company, you might have that time free, so you can work on the projects without the company knowing about it. Far better to market an idea independently than under the auspices of a large employer. At least you have the opportunity for profits far beyond a salary that way.

    gourmet meals, massages

    Just give me a decent salary, TYVM. If I want a massage, I can go to a masseur after hours. If I'm working in a city, I can pretty much order whatever I want to (and can afford) for lunch.

    -b.

    • by lowrydr310 (830514) on Monday January 08, 2007 @07:50PM (#17517210)
      $20 says the Google massage doesn't include a 'happy ending'...
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by sokoban (142301)
        For an $80 tip, it just might.
      • From my own personal experience, masseuses are generally built like Rosie the Riviter. If I wanted that kind of treatment, I'd go down to the basement and use vice-grips.
    • Re:Google... (Score:5, Informative)

      by nwbvt (768631) on Monday January 08, 2007 @08:09PM (#17517390)

      "Fine, but if you're working in a smaller, less demanding company, you might have that time free, so you can work on the projects without the company knowing about it. Far better to market an idea independently than under the auspices of a large employer. At least you have the opportunity for profits far beyond a salary that way."

      Check the terms of your employment again. Most likely your employer owns rights to anything you produce while they are paying your salary, unless it absolutely has nothing to do with their line of work (and even then, you are going to want to get a lawyer to make sure everything is by the book). Generally speaking hiding another job on the side from your employer is a good way to get your ass sued.

    • Re:Google... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by MarcoAtWork (28889) on Monday January 08, 2007 @08:21PM (#17517490)
      If I'm working in a city, I can pretty much order whatever I want to (and can afford) for lunch


      try doing that as a vegan/veggie and you'll see that having a vegan/veggie-friendly cafeteria onsite would be great.

      In my opinion the only big minuses with working for google are that

      #1 it's in the valley (plenty of nicer places to live in the US/Canada, of course if you live to work this doesn't really matter)

      #2 everybody and their dog is applying to work there, which means that the odds of the company culture deteriorating are not insignificant (not to mention that the bigger the company the more likely that it will become a series of fiefdoms and so on)

      #3 given #2 the interview process is way way way way too convoluted and drawn out, but that's just to be expected with the sheer volume of resumes they receive: the downside is that it will turn away a lot of really qualified folks, since in general people at a certain level of competency/employability won't feel like putting up with that (since on average they'll have plenty of other companies vying for their services and honestly, you wouldn't want to hire somebody that's just going through the motions for a few months at their current job just waiting for your call, would you? that wouldn't be exactly the type of ethics you ought to go for IMHO).
    • Re:Google... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bcrowell (177657) on Monday January 08, 2007 @08:30PM (#17517556) Homepage
      In addition to the parent post's points, I'd add four more reasons why I wouldn't want to work there:
      1. It's a huge organization, where you're a cog in the wheel.
      2. Part of the point of the interview process is for the interviewee to judge whether the potential employers seem nice, and know what they're doing. If the interview process involves lots of monkey business with no objectively proven reliability, then that's a big minus for me. For me, the monkey business category includes handwriting tests, polygraph tests, contrived interview situations ("there's a snake in the trash can! just kidding!"), as well as Google's puzzles and goofy computer personality tests. (A homebrewed test is not a valid way to identify smart people. My mother works in the testing industry doing statistical modeling, and she considers even the professionally constructed IQ tests to be pretty poor.)
      3. Heinous traffic in Silicon Valley.
      4. Insane housing prices in Silicon Valley.
      • Re:Google... (Score:4, Informative)

        by Onan (25162) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @02:57AM (#17519990)

        (I work at Google. I'm not speaking for them in any official capacity, just talking about my experiences here.)

        1. It's a huge organization, where you're a cog in the wheel.

        We try pretty hard to make that be not the case. Most development teams are three to six people, specifically to result in projects that are long on individual excellence and short on bureaucracy.

        2. Part of the point of the interview process is for the interviewee to judge whether the potential employers seem nice, and know what they're doing. If the interview process involves lots of monkey business with no objectively proven reliability, then that's a big minus for me. For me, the monkey business category includes handwriting tests, polygraph tests, contrived interview situations ("there's a snake in the trash can! just kidding!"), as well as Google's puzzles and goofy computer personality tests.

        I've never known Google to do any of these things. If someone did decide to do handwriting tests, faux-snake tests, or whathaveyou, I doubt they'd be asked to do any more interviews. I'm not sure I know what you mean by "Google's puzzles and goofy computer personality tests", but it doesn't sound like anything I've ever seen done here.

        I (and to my knowledge, all other interviewers here) tend to ask questions that focus on and understanding of fundamental technical concepts, and the ability to reason effectively with that understanding. We try to stay away from technical trivia questions ("Oh yeah, well what's the -m option to mkdir do!?") and rely on questions about the underlying ideas.

        3. Heinous traffic in Silicon Valley.
        4. Insane housing prices in Silicon Valley.

        Fortunately, not all of Google is in Silicon Valley; we have offices around the world. I'm not in Mountain View myself.

    • by Daverd (641119)
      Just give me a decent salary, TYVM. If I want a massage, I can go to a masseur after hours. If I'm working in a city, I can pretty much order whatever I want to (and can afford) for lunch.

      If they give you income, and then you spend that income on massages and food, then you're paying income tax on it. If they give you the massages and food directly and cut your salary a little less than the cost of the massages and food, you both come out ahead. In addition, since your income is lower, you'll be paying s
    • or business opportunities. They foster personal development and exploration. If you only ever learn or do the stuff you need to do the job, then you're far from likely to bring new ideas & thinking to the table. I spend a lot of time doing personal projects (on my own time) and they often have some spin-off benefit at work. For instance, I recently wrote some software that was cranking approx 50k interrupts per second. At work there was some concern as to whether a similar processor could crank 10k int
  • Large companies. (Score:5, Informative)

    by GigsVT (208848) on Monday January 08, 2007 @07:47PM (#17517178) Journal
    Fortune has a tendancy to concentrate on public companies, since that's their industry, pimping public companies. The vast majority of companies in the US are privately held, and under 1000 employees. I notice that none on this list are less than 1000 employees. They even have the gall to call those "small" companies.

    • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
      The vast majority of companies in the US are privately held, and under 1000 employees. I notice that none on this list are less than 1000 employees. They even have the gall to call those "small" companies.

      And the best way to find such a small company to work for is sometimes to open the phonebook (or use a yellow pages site) and start making calls and sending resumes. Look at their websites as well, a lot of companies show open positions on web sites without advertising on the bigger job boards like Mon

    • by Joe5678 (135227)
      Fortune's requirements are that they have to survey 400 of your employees, so that pretty much puts all small companies out of the running.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by CyberZen (97536)
      #7. SC Johnson & Sons, in Racine, WI. Privately held, huge, and, for this area, the HOLY FUCKING GRAIL of employment. You wouldn't believe some of the shit they have available; here's two examples:

      1) There's a huge park here. For Johnson employees only. Includes a full-service fitness complex (think YMCA) and 9-hole golf course.
      2) SC Johnson owns timeshare properties all over the world. Employees can book them for vacations.

      Plus, on-site day care, etc. The Johnson family has no one to keep happy
  • yehp (Score:4, Funny)

    by User 956 (568564) on Monday January 08, 2007 @07:48PM (#17517184) Homepage
    Some highlights of the benefits of working for Goolge that caught my eye were the free gourmet meals and the massages.

    Sounds like you got a happy ending with that gourmet meal and massage.
  • Goolge? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Pharmboy (216950)
    One of the biggest advantages of working for Slashdot is you don't have to know how to spell Google.

    (I hate spelling nazis, but crap, we are talking about EDITORS here...)
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by metlin (258108) *
      (I hate spelling nazis, but crap, we are talking about EDITORS here...)


      Editors? On Slashdot, that word does not mean what you think it does. :)
    • Not a misspelling. It's Google's word for the Google gulag ;-)
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by vistic (556838) *
      Give them a break... they have to proofread/edit about a full page's worth of text a DAY! And that's without a spellchecker (uhhh... apparently)!

      I mean, they're overworked as it is!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 08, 2007 @07:56PM (#17517270)
    I've worked at a technology company that had an on-demand gourmet chef, free massages, a concierge, free snacks and pop and very similar perks. Once somebody realized this was wasting a bunch of money and that people would work there even if there wasn't a gourmet chef, they dropped the perks all together. Alot of people then got angry about this and left and then things returned to normal. It is still one of the best places to work. Google has alot of money and they haven't had a chance to be taught a lesson in frugality. Once shareholders start demanding the impossible and they can not meet these demands with their profits from advertising only, you better believe that gourmet chef's job will be the first to go!
    • by nelsonal (549144)
      I agree you're probably right, but don't know if it's that wise. I'm using my observations of Microsoft where a convenience store's drink selection was available to programmers and was removed a few years ago. Obs 1-Most programmers are salaried at MS so the longer they stay the lower your total compensation costs. Obs-2 Programmers stayed longer with the free drinks. Obs 3-The drinks were far cheaper than paying for an extra hour of a programmer's salary (even if they sounded like tremendous waste to i
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jorghis (1000092)
        Are you certain of that? I havent been near the Microsoft campus in over a year, but my friend who currently works there insists that they still have them.

        Personally I can see the logic behind free food more easily than I can see the logic behind free drinks. I wont stay at work an extra hour for a coke, but I will stay if I can get a free meal by doing so.
      • by jchenx (267053)

        I agree you're probably right, but don't know if it's that wise. I'm using my observations of Microsoft where a convenience store's drink selection was available to programmers and was removed a few years ago.

        The free drinks are still here (*sips on Diet Dr. Pepper*). If you're referring to the selection, it really hasn't changed all that much over the past few years. It's a pretty wide selection really (all the major brands, regular and diet).

        If anything, MORE perks have been added, such as upgraded coffee

  • Missing Out on... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Beetle B. (516615)
    Don't care what anyone else thinks. The best place to work is as a faculty at a university.

    And if you complain about it not being a company, then you're just plain picky.
    • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
      And if you complain about it not being a company, then you're just plain picky.

      Well, arent they companies (non-profit corporations) even in the strict legal sense?

      -b.

    • You might want to adjust that to read tenured faculty member.
  • Yahoo's on the list? Well, I guess it's a trade off - good working conditions and benefits along with an even money chance of being fired in the Yahoo shake-up in 2007.

    Not my first choice of employer...
  • by jorghis (1000092) on Monday January 08, 2007 @08:39PM (#17517616)
    Bear in mind that EA was also rated highly on this list for a while. This list is more about who can impress the editors with the best story about why their place is awesome to work at. What it really means is that Googles HR people are doing a great job of selling the company. Dont get me wrong, Google is a great place for a software engineer to work at, but this list doesnt mean diddly.

    This list leaves most of the smaller companies off of it too. Maybe they should consider the title "100 best places to work if you want to work for a huge multinational." I am not knocking them for doing that, after all, how could they consider every small business in America? Just observing that there are some really great small companies out there. Also worth considering is that smaller companies will usually compensate you a lot better because they have fewer qualified applicants than the Googles and Microsofts of the world.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Grishnakh (216268)
      Also worth considering is that smaller companies will usually compensate you a lot better because they have fewer qualified applicants than the Googles and Microsofts of the world.

      Really? I've worked at and gotten offers from both large and small companies, and the large companies always had much better compensation than the small ones. The small ones were always super-cheap, not just about compensation, but about everything else too, like travel costs, equipment purchases, etc.
  • goolge? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Vacardo (1048640)
    Using goolge as a tag? I lol @ you
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 08, 2007 @08:57PM (#17517764)
    > The chance to spend 20% of your time working on your own personal projects also sounds very appealing.

    I've known a few people that have worked there and some that do now. From what I understand, at least most of the time, you get to spend 20% of the 50-70 hours of your work week there on your side project. Yeah, the official work week is only 40 hours, and you're technically supposed to be able to spend 8 hours of that on your own thing... but managers being managers (even at Google), they still schedule the work like you're spending all 40 hours a week (and maybe a little more) on your real project and are displeased if you don't deliver.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by akf2000 (262227)
      Who owns the IP for the work produced during this 20% side project time?
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Kalriath (849904)
        Who do you think? I guarantee Google is not lacking on the "All your idea are belong to us" clause.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday January 08, 2007 @09:09PM (#17517844)
    Do you notice something? Google is amongst the top places when it comes to benefits, and they're also one of the top players when it comes to productivity. Could it be that satisfied workers are productive workers? Even if they put 20% of their time into private projects?

    Simply because a dissatisfied worker will put 20% of his time into the company and slack off the rest. Why bother working harder than necessary for the slave wage you get? Why bother spending half a thought on what you're doing? Do you get more money if you do something beneficial for your corp? Or will it be swallowed away by one of the managers as "their bright idea" anyway?

    So Google is in the fortunate situation to hand pick their employees. The kind that is more productive in 20% of their time than a good deal of people in 150% (i.e. with 50 percent overtime). The kind of people that don't NEED a job, but the kind that can choose wherever they want to work.

    So what's left for the rest? Exactly. The sludge. The kind of worker that tries to spend the hours between 9-5 with as little effort as possible and drops his keyboard the moment the clock strikes 5. Or, more likely, he'll drop his coffee mug.

    That's what you get for minimum wage and zero benefits. Supply and demand, price and quality.
    • by jchenx (267053) on Monday January 08, 2007 @10:01PM (#17518230) Journal
      Do you notice something? Google is amongst the top places when it comes to benefits, and they're also one of the top players when it comes to productivity. Could it be that satisfied workers are productive workers? Even if they put 20% of their time into private projects?
      There's more to Google (and other "top players") than merely benefits. Even if there weren't great benefits, there would still be a lot of people clamoring to work at Google, because of two major factors:

      1) Industry leader
      It's nice working for companies that are arguably industry leaders. That's why you'll always have a ton of people interviewing for Microsoft, Apple, Dell, Intel, Amazon, etc. Those big names, regardless of how you perceive the companies themselves, still look awfully good on resumes. And chances are, they have pretty darn good pay as well. There's also a good chance that the projects you will work on, have a pretty large scope. For many, it's great to say you worked on "Product X", even though your actual contribution may be rather small. It's still better than saying you worked on "Product Y" that no one has even heard of, or ever will.

      2) Interesting projects
      Before Google was at the top, and before it could offer all those really great benefits, you still had a bunch of upstart software engineers wanting to work there, because the projects were really interesting. Even if the benefits weren't there, and Google wasn't quite at the top yet, you'd still have engineers very interested in that space. Sure, not as many, but the people you would get could arguably be the best, since they're actually excited about the work.

      In contrast, you've got a ton of smaller companies that could offer fantastic benefits, but if you're missing out on the above two things ... you're not going to interest nearly as many folks. Personally, there's no amount of money (short of astronomically crazy) that a typical government contractor company could pay me, in order to work there. It's just work that I'm plain not interested in (and I've done it before). Since I have the opportunity to work for an "industry leader" (in my case, that's MS), then that's what I prefer to do.
  • by Animats (122034) on Monday January 08, 2007 @09:14PM (#17517904) Homepage

    Do you notice something? Google is amongst the top places when it comes to benefits, and they're also one of the top players when it comes to productivity. Could it be that satisfied workers are productive workers? Even if they put 20% of their time into private projects?

    That's more the nature of the business. They don't make anything physical, and they provide very little customer service.

    All of Google's businesses other than search generate little if any revenue. Really, stuff like Google's office systems exist to push back against Microsoft, not because running a word processor in the browser is a good idea.

  • by retro128 (318602) on Monday January 08, 2007 @09:48PM (#17518144)
    I'm going to have to run with a lot of what the Slashdotters are saying about this article and say that small companies are really nice to work for. I work for a small manufacturer about 10 minutes away from where I live. The pay is good and we get bennies. The flexibility I have is second to none. I can clock out, walk downstairs and tell the girls up front that "I'm leaving and I don't know when I'll be back, but you can get me by phone if you need me." Plus it's probably the only place I can wear a T-shirt depicting a newly married couple with the huge letters "BIG MISTAKE" below it three days after my boss' wedding. Additionally, I take off a day a week for my "own projects". So there's my 20%. True, I don't get paid for it, but since my project is a consulting company I make up for it.

    It sounds like the late 90's are coming back at Google. It's nice to have little perks like what they offer I guess, but it isn't for me. I like to know everything that's going on and hate the idea of being just another cog in the machine. Gourmet meals and massages wouldn't make up for the diminutive part I would play in a large corp, even if it is Google.

    At this company I'm at, the buck stops with me regarding the administration of this network. The pay is 25K less than what I was offered at a large corporation, but when you factor in power of decision-making, flexibility, the commute, and the overall freedom in a small company like this one I would have to say it's worth the pay cut.

    IMHO, Google isn't any different from any other large corp except that they can burn more cash and seem to try to treat their employees well. But keep in mind that even if they offered a large starting salary it would be sucked up matching the insane cost of living in the area they're in, with a terrible commute as an added bonus. Maybe those applying in droves want to be a part of history and say "I worked for Google", but not me. I'm perfectly happy right where I am, and am not buying into the hype.

  • by Eil (82413) on Monday January 08, 2007 @09:54PM (#17518176) Homepage Journal
    Don't forget that all of these benefits that are often touted as a result of working for Google are only (generally) available to the upper brass and engineers. Google has plenty of lower-level employees doing the tech equivalent of grunt work and they're treated about the same as in any other company.

    Or even somewhat worse...

    I interviewed with them for such a job and was startled to learn that although Google does all the interviewing and hiring, they always hire their entry-level employees through a temp agency for the first year. So while many companies have a one- to three-month probation period, Google has a full year before they trust you enough to bring you on as a real employee.
    • by Temporal (96070) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @12:54AM (#17519340) Journal

      I work for Google. Sorry, but your post is misinformed.

      all of these benefits ... are only (generally) available to the upper brass and engineers

      As far as I've seen, all the contractors, interns, etc. get the same access to the cafes and microkitchens as everyone else. In the middle of the night you'll often see some of the janitors enjoying a game of pool between emptying garbage cans. I have seen bus drivers -- who technically work for the bus company which runs our shuttles -- grabbing dinner in the cafe before going on their route. Some benefits are limited to full-time employees, but I have never heard of a benefit being limited to engineers.

      they always hire their entry-level employees through a temp agency for the first year

      I know many people who went straight from college to Google and I have never heard of this practice. I myself was considered "entry-level" and this did not happen to me. I do know one person who was a contractor before he became full-time, but this certainly isn't the norm.

      Obligatory disclaimer: I don't speak for Google. What I write here are my own observations, not official Google policy, and it's possible I am just blissfully unaware of some other side of the company where things work differently.

  • by chris_sawtell (10326) on Monday January 08, 2007 @10:38PM (#17518496) Journal
    I've nearly finished reading it, and can assure /.ers that it's not only a very good read, but it also seems to give a pretty good insight to how the Google Guys work, and what it would be like working there.

    Here is a link to the WWW site of the book [thegooglestory.com]

    The Company mode seems to have changed somewhat since the early pre-IPO days, but if I was able to replay my life I'd certainly try very hard to get on the Google payroll. "The Google Way" seems to have replaced the old "HP Way".

  • by gelfling (6534) on Monday January 08, 2007 @11:10PM (#17518722) Homepage Journal
    Govt jobs can be both the best and the worst. On the upside expectations are nil and no one cares. You can be lazy and evil and treat people like shit - as long as you're not sexist, racist or insulting to the handicapped or muslims you can have another job at your job. And if god is really smiling on your you can be a small city cop. On the downside you can work in hell in shitty surroundings and there's no way out. On the really bad side you can be working for a dept that is indicted and people go to jail.

What the world *really* needs is a good Automatic Bicycle Sharpener.

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