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Google Perks Are Great, But They All Mean Business 289

Posted by Zonk
from the mental-note-must-buy-self-more-gorp dept.
megazoid81 writes "While there have been complaints of late, Google was recently named the best place to work according to the widely read annual Forbes survey, in its first appearance on the list. The plethora of perks at Google does make you wonder though what kind of hours the company expects its employees to keep. In the context of Google's perks, a Knowledge@Wharton article explains that there are two kinds of workers: segmentors and integrators. Segmentors want to maintain a strict separation between work and home while integrators don't mind mixing the two. The piece posits that segmentors might actually mind too many perks at their workplace and find their commitment eroding. Does Google have a disproportionate number of integrators in its workforce? What kind of worker are you — segmentor or integrator?"
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Google Perks Are Great, But They All Mean Business

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  • Non-issue (Score:5, Insightful)

    by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Friday March 23, 2007 @12:19PM (#18459925)
    Can you integrate sleep and work? Or sleep and pleasure? Not very well. Same with work and pleasure. You need down time to throw everything away and see to your higher-order needs, or they will come up wanted (read: affect your work).

    Clock out time, that's it. Turn the machine off, leave the building, and forget about it until 9am. If your business can't handle that, they obviously need more staff.
    • by Timesprout (579035) on Friday March 23, 2007 @12:23PM (#18459985)

      Or sleep and pleasure?
      Someone has never had a wet dream.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by dubbreak (623656)
        If you have sex regularly you won't have wet dreams. Of course, if you are at work all the time (especially some place like google) you most definitely aren't getting laid on a frequent basis.
      • Re:Non-issue (Score:4, Interesting)

        by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Friday March 23, 2007 @02:08PM (#18461641) Journal
        I work from home as a developer/dba for a foreign based company, on a triplehead workstation in my living room.

        That workstation also holds all my music, my games, my movies, plays my DVDs, displays my photos, records my jam sessions, records my home videos, and handles all my communications with my friends and family.

        My girlfriend works from home as a self-employed graphic designer/webmaster on a dualhead workstation in our living room, 5 feet away from me as I type this.

        We work when we want, we rest when we want, we play when we want.

        Separation is for wage slaves. If I was a slave, I'd want to forget it whenever I could too. But if you're running your own life, it's not going to happen.

        Now the Googleplex... this reminds me of a cross between living on a military base and living in your parents basement.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Dude, I like my job. I also like other things. To do both, I have to spend time on both, and that means there has to be time when I'm not working. It's convenient to do that at the same time each day.

          It's not like the end of the day rolls around and I think "Gee, I'm so glad I don't have to work now!" But I still look forward to taking the time to do something else.

          You're a slave when your work overcomes your personal life. For people like me, the easiest way to prevent that is to simply put the work i
    • by Valdez (125966) on Friday March 23, 2007 @12:28PM (#18460041)
      I don't know about you, but my GF seems to pretty adept at integrating her sleep with my pleasure. =(
    • by AutopsyReport (856852) on Friday March 23, 2007 @12:29PM (#18460071)
      Or sleep and pleasure? Not very well.

      Speak for yourself. I sleep on top of a big pile of money with many beautiful ladies.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by openaddy (852404)
      Sometimes work is pleasure. I know someone who works long hours at Google, and she claims that she LOVES her work. Not sure if she was just trying to justify her long hours, but I'm sure it happens in the general population. Hell, I occasionally feel like I'm not completely whoring myself for my work. :P ...But only occasionally.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I've found that As i was younger sacrificing personal time for work was pretty easy and I would find many excuses to justify it. But as I've grown older and been through the Layoffs and the stories of "Well you are a wonderful Worker but", I've found the seperation of work time and my time to be more important that they excuse of completing one more task before leaving for the day. The occasional project over my allocated time or missing one break here or there is ok. But I will almost always make it up by
        • Re:Non-issue (Score:5, Insightful)

          by cayenne8 (626475) on Friday March 23, 2007 @01:02PM (#18460515) Homepage Journal
          "The occasional project over my allocated time or missing one break here or there is ok. But I will almost always make it up by leaving early one day or taking a few minutes longer break the next chance I get."

          Same here...Amen.

          Don't get me wrong, I enjoy my work....but, I only work to have money to support my free time to do what I wish (travel, buy toys, computers, women, homebrewing...etc). If I won the lottery tomorrow, I'd never work again a day in my life.

          Now...that's not to say that if I didn't have to work, I'd not do some things that might appear to be work or that might earn me extra $$'s....but, that is stuff I do for myself for fun.

          When the door hits me on the ass on the way out of work....my thoughts and concerns for work end THERE. I do not give it a 2nd thought in general, till I cross the threshold the next day. The worksite only has my thoughts when they pay me. I contract....so, this is the setup. I care about my work, I try my best to please the customer, and will go the extra mile when needed to get things going. But, never for free.

          Like I said, I enjoy my work like many here do...but, I don't understand how so many people make the work so much of their lives, and are actually willing to sacrifice their free time to spend with families, and friends doing things that are fun and good for the soul. People who go into deep depression and the like when they get get go, are sad. I'm not saying I'm thrilled when it has happened...but, I don't feel I lost a part of ME when it happened...my main concern is finding the next gig to keep the money flowing. It is, after all...just business, and putting a face other than that on it, IMHO, is unhealthy and unrealistic. The company sees you as nothing more than an asset (or liability)....you need to see them in the same light.

          But, I've realized that life IS short. Once you cross that age of realizing that you are no longer bulletproof, that you will slow down a bit...you see that spending time on you, for you is very important. There is so much to do and see in the world....and it ain't gonna get done sitting in a 3 wall cube 24/7. There is such thing as a life out there......get one.

          I don't think many people will be on their deathbeds regretting that they didn't get more OT in...especially if it is unpaid.

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by cshay (79326)
            Now...that's not to say that if I didn't have to work, I'd not do some things that might appear to be work or that might earn me extra $$'s

            Ironically, this is what many programmers in Silicon Valley are doing. They appear to be "working" in the sense you describe it (something you have to do to earn money that wouldn't do if you have money), but they are actually having fun, being fulfilled, and lucky them, they get paid for it. This is not unique to Google, it is silicon valley culture - this place attr

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I wish you could convince my employer of that. We get the speech, "We don't want your job to be your life", but that doesn't keep me from having to stay until 1 AM the day before (well, technically, the day of) a holiday.

      It isn't a question of which, so much as.. Which industry, and job title you carry. The daily newspaper industry, especially for anybody involved in production, is a demanding mistress. While it is a great idea to be able to clock out at 5 or 6 no matter what the job, sometimes, it ju

    • I dunno, I have a pretty easy time integrating sleep and pleasure, in fact if you work all day and somehow bring your work home, sleep may be the only true pleasurable/relaxing time of your day!
    • Scott Adams got it right: the definition of "work" is "something you don't want to do".

      I'd say more, but it's lunch time, gotta go. :D

    • Re:Non-issue (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AeroIllini (726211) <aeroillini@@@gmail...com> on Friday March 23, 2007 @01:27PM (#18460907)
      You are clearly a segmentor.

      I'm glad you're taking time out of your busy work day to post on Slashdot and espouse how being a segmentor is The Only Way (tm).

      Where's the +1 Irony mod?
    • Re:Non-issue (Score:4, Insightful)

      by vokyvsd (979677) on Friday March 23, 2007 @01:29PM (#18460941)

      Can you integrate sleep and work? Or sleep and pleasure? Not very well. Same with work and pleasure. You need down time to throw everything away and see to your higher-order needs, or they will come up wanted (read: affect your work).

      Clock out time, that's it. Turn the machine off, leave the building, and forget about it until 9am. If your business can't handle that, they obviously need more staff.
      That's a fallacious argument. "Ability to integrate with" is a non-transitive relationship, and sleep is a particularly good example of why this is so. Here's your reasoning applied to another example: Sleep can't be integrated with baking cookies, and sleep can't be integrated with talking on the phone, therefore baking cookies can't be integrated with talking on the phone.

      Also, it's not impossible for your higher order needs to be fulfilled by work. In fact, I would say it is the most likely place where self-actualization will occur. Compartmentalizing your life and writing off work as dead time (as far as high order needs is concerned) seems extremely unhealthy. Maybe you need a better job.
    • Your analogies aren't applicable because you are comparing unconscious states (sleeping) to conscious activities (work or play).

      I think this requires a healthy dose of moderation. It's fine if I spend some time watching TV also figuring out a tough work problem in my head. It's fine if I spend some time at work browsing and posting on Slashdot. It's fine if I choose to work a little extra sometimes finish a task that I really want done before I leave, so that I can achieve a sense of accomplishment with
    • I like what I do, but not all aspects of it, and I don't love it more than the many other aspects of my life. However, I have known a few lucky souls who did exactly what they loved and they loved every minute of it. These are people who would be doing their work AS downtime if they weren't getting paid for it. Your post is certainly sensible advice for the vast majority of people who aren't in that situation. I just wanted to point out that a few people do have another viewpoint.

      I like to think that some t
  • by WarlockD (623872) on Friday March 23, 2007 @12:20PM (#18459933)
    If I am doing the same work at the office that I could at home, I would like to do it at home. If the environment is nicer at my office with a more social atmosphere, then I would go to the office.

    I don't see why us peons would care at any rate. Managers have already made up their minds on this issue beforehand.
    • by iluvcapra (782887) on Friday March 23, 2007 @01:31PM (#18460967)

      There are two kinds of workplace analysts- segmentors and integrators:

      • Segmentors break workforces down into segmentors and integrators.
      • Integrators recognize that such distinctions only serve to generalize what is in fact a matter that an individual should resolve with his supervisor, and that identifying individuals as one or the other (or even at a point on a continuum) doesn't provide useful data in isolation.
  • by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Friday March 23, 2007 @12:20PM (#18459943) Homepage Journal

    there are two kinds of workers: segmentors and integrators. Segmentors want to maintain a strict separation between work and home while integrators don't mind mixing the two.
    Am I the only one who immediately got the "three kinds of people" speech [imdb.com] from "Team America: World Police" stuck in their head upon reading this?
    • by Dorceon (928997)
      There are 11 kinds of people: Those who know binary, those who don't, and 9 more I can't remember.
  • Too simple (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JanneM (7445) on Friday March 23, 2007 @12:21PM (#18459949) Homepage
    The division is easy, but too simplistic. I'm both: I do like to separate my work and my free time pretty cleanly. Because of that I actually appreciate my hour-long train commute as it creates a natural barrier and an external imposition to go to and from work at specified, reasonable hours.

    At the same time I really, _really_ like my work, so I tend to mull things over on my off time, and idly reading up on background stuff I find interesting (and that incidentally is really helpful for work).

    There is a real difference between wanting to be at work for long hours, and idly reflecting on interesting problems even when off duty.
    • Re:Too simple (Score:5, Interesting)

      by WinterSolstice (223271) on Friday March 23, 2007 @12:27PM (#18460029)
      I agree - I hate the fact that my on-call work interferes with my weekends/nights/holidays. On the other hand, the relaxed and mellow atmosphere at my work is a nice trade-off for the on-call. So while I mind the intrusion of work into home, I appreciate that the inverse is also allowed. Balance is best.

      So I'd be a Seg/Int 60/40 split or some such :D

      I specifically chose a house with a 30 minute commute to help with that split.
  • That is the only thing that bothers me of "home life" entering into work life. Leave your damn children at home. Other than that, we all bring our personal lives to work, work takes up so much of our lives it is bound to happen.
    • by Martin Blank (154261) on Friday March 23, 2007 @01:21PM (#18460821) Journal

      we all bring our personal lives to work

      I bring virtually none of my personal life to work, save for the occasional call I take from my mother, and even then it's on a personal cell and kept to a minimum. No family member or friend has my desk or cell number (and the desk number is printed incorrectly in the directory, something I've not corrected in three years, so they wouldn't be able to call and discover it), nor my e-mail address. A couple of them have seen the physical location where I work because I've pointed it out driving by, but I doubt they remember where it is. At work, only HR and my direct manager have my home numbers. I have no photos or personal documents at work aside from certification information on the wall (the latter only because it quiets a few particular people), nor do I keep personal files on any system. If I were to walk in and find out that I no longer had a job, I would be able to put down my work cell and my badge, pick up my keys and personal cell, take down the certs and put them under my arm, and walk out the door holding everything that is mine.

      On top of all of that, personal time is mine. When I walk out the door, I'm on my time. At lunch, I do what I please -- which is usually eating a small lunch and taking a 15-minute nap in the car. I answer e-mails only if a response is urgently needed, and the general culture is to never call someone once they've left the building unless it's critical, and there's an unspoken agreement that if someone is in the break room or a particular area outside, they don't get bothered unless it's critical, so I have few concerns about that.

      I am not antisocial, and get along well with everyone at work, having lunch with one or more of them once or twice a week. Some people bring in all manner of decorations for their cubicles, with photos and even the odd painting. I wallpaper mine with functional security posters and TCP/IP diagrams. It's simply a choice of where to draw the line, and how heavily it is drawn.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        At lunch, I do what I please -- which is usually eating a small lunch and taking a 15-minute nap in the car.

        Sir, you are a genius.
    • by Ossifer (703813)
      Any your damned pets!
  • by Bicx (1042846) on Friday March 23, 2007 @12:22PM (#18459965)
    The only integration I'll ever do was in calculus class.
  • I work almost entirely from home, and regard my work as my hobby. OTOH, I'm damned if I'm ever going to invite a colleague round here. What does that make me - apart from an unsociable git?

  • That's actually kinda funny, where I presently work, there's one guy in the office who's a total "segmentor." He gets the job done (as far as I know), he's a nice guy, causes no trouble, but socially he's totally aloof, doesn't even eat lunch with the rest of us.

    Personally I like integrating, but not too much though, you don't always work with people you share anything significant with (except a job of course). Not being social at all has to be pretty sucky over time, seeing how you spend so much time at wo
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Abcd1234 (188840)
      That's actually kinda funny, where I presently work, there's one guy in the office who's a total "segmentor." He gets the job done (as far as I know), he's a nice guy, causes no trouble, but socially he's totally aloof, doesn't even eat lunch with the rest of us.

      Yeah, that's not the same at all. Segmenting your life so you don't take your work home with you, and don't drag your personal problems to the office is a very different thing from being aloof and disinterested in your co-workers (or maybe just soc
    • by Itninja (937614) on Friday March 23, 2007 @12:48PM (#18460315) Homepage

      he's a nice guy, causes no trouble, but socially he's totally aloof
      I can't be sure, but that sounds like a serial killer to me. Or maybe you guys are all just a bunch of dicks.

      Just to summarize, there are only two possible reasons for his behavoir:

      1) He is a a serial killer

      2) You are dicks

      No other possible explanations that I can think of....

      • by notque (636838)
        You win, that was hilarious.

        Without reading this thread, I would have never thought that having concerns other than being social at work would annoy people.

        Now if you'll excuse me, I have a book to read over lunch.
    • Not being social at all has to be pretty sucky over time

      Not if you're the sort of person who just doesn't enjoy being social. I work at an office whose culture I consider pretty much perfect. I had a cube next to another guy for three years and we never spoke to each other once. I wouldn't even know his name except it was written on the outside of his cube.

      Just because the guy doesn't go to lunch with you doesn't make him a crank. He probably just likes being by himself.
  • Segmentor (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tidewaterblues (784797) on Friday March 23, 2007 @12:23PM (#18459981) Homepage
    I am a segmentor all the way. My job is just a means to an end, and if I forget that then I will never achieve that end.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    There are two kinds of people: those who divide people into two groups, and those who don't.
  • by MarkKnopfler (472229) on Friday March 23, 2007 @12:26PM (#18460021)
    This is the thing about programming in particular or creative engineering design in general. If you enjoy, or are into the work, it is very difficult to become a segmentor. Design and coding are very cerebral processes, and as it happens to me that I design and improve in my head whenever my brain finds a few free cycles. If I hit upon a good idea, I like to implement/try it immediately. Most of the better programmers/designers that I have seen do work in this mode. Hence having perks of this kind does help.
    Most of the segmentors that I have seen end up in marketing or man-management at the end, even if they might have started in core engineering because of a simple reason they do not enjoy the process.
    This of course is my opinion and there are exceptions, but exceptions are rare.
    • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Friday March 23, 2007 @12:34PM (#18460153) Homepage
      Sorry, but all those perks are designed to do is get people to stay in the office. Personally, I do my best thinking when I'm standing in the shower. Getting *away* from the office is the key to coming up with novel solutions, IMHO. Otherwise, one tends to get locked into a certain mode of thinking... change of setting can alleviate this.

      Meanwhile, a proper balance between work and personal life ensures that you don't burn yourself out or get exhausted with what you're doing. After all, people can't work 24/7 and remain creative. The mind really does need rest.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by fm6 (162816)

        Personally, I do my best thinking when I'm standing in the shower. Getting *away* from the office is the key to coming up with novel solutions, IMHO. Otherwise, one tends to get locked into a certain mode of thinking... change of setting can alleviate this.

        Hey, everybody's different. Most people are like you — but there are folks who are happy and creative spending 14 hours a day at the keyboard.

        Meanwhile, a proper balance between work and personal life ensures that you don't burn yourself out or get exhausted with what you're doing. After all, people can't work 24/7 and remain creative. The mind really does need rest.

        Depends on what you mean by "need". Yes, an unbalanced life will eventually burn you out. But it burns out some folks sooner than others. The ones who can't handle it at all certainly don't become the coding addict type we're talking about.

        Actually, I don't think that the perks they offer at Google are "designed" to do anything. Many other companies used to

    • by brunascle (994197)
      i'm the same, but i still consider myself closer to a segmentor. if i think of something at home, i'll usually just make a mental note or write a post-it and deal with it when i get to work the next morning.

      i'd be okay with dialing into work from home, under my own free will, but i wouldnt be very happy if someone from work called me out of the blue and i was expected to immediately transition into work mode.
    • I don't think that is all that particular to programming or engineering. The art world is so "intergrator" it's almost sad. In entertainment, it's all about who you know, which translates into social life = work. I'm sure there are other fields that are heavily slanted towards intergrators, I'm actually have trouble thinking of a high earning field that isn't.
    • by geekoid (135745)
      "... it is very difficult to become a segmentor."

      no it's not. You just have bad habits.

      I completly understand the drive and thrill to get that idea working, sadly just doing it is not the right approach.
      It needs to be thought about. How big is it going to be? what pitfalls are there? etc . . .
      I have seen many people(myself included) end up doing more work because they just rushed to implement without taking time to think about the consquences.

      The rush of the new idea blinds people to the fact that maybe it'
  • Keeping the two seperate is damn near impossible. I'm happier when I don't try, and focus on living my life instead. From my own experience, this is vastly more productive so long as you can manage your time effectively. Methinks that Google might just be onto something.

    • by Abcd1234 (188840)
      Keeping the two seperate is damn near impossible. I'm happier when I don't try, and focus on living my life instead.

      Agreed. But if your life is more than just your work, you'll be a "segmentor" more or less automatically, I think. Personally, I have somewhere on the order of a million hobbies. When I get home, I don't have *time* to think about work because I'm busy cultivating other parts of my life that I consider important.
  • by MarkWatson (189759) on Friday March 23, 2007 @12:31PM (#18460093) Homepage
    I work out of a home office and until a life-threatening medical problem last December, I was definitely an 'integrator', never really being off line. BTW, my problem (DVT followed by two large pulmonary embolisms) was almost certainly caused or made worse by a few month work spree - too much time at my desk. I have since set strict boundaries: I set a "get up and walk around" timer on my laptop, place limits on "billable time" each day and even some limits on time for learning new technologies (although my 2/3 time for paid work and about 1/3 time learning ne things ration has stayed about the same).

    Anyway, transitioning from an 'integrator' to a 'separator' has been a good thing for me. People do need down time.

    At the end of the day, I believe that productivity is about quality work time, not quantity.
    • "2/3 time for paid work and about 1/3 time learning ne things ration" --> "2/3 time for paid work and about 1/3 time learning new things ratio"

      must learn to preview :-)
  • Worries me (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dmayle (200765) on Friday March 23, 2007 @12:31PM (#18460097) Homepage Journal

    I've gotta say, each there is a story about working at Google, everyone seems to talk about how horrible the number of perks are because it must mean they expect you to work crazy hours, and I wonder how jaded we've become?

    How about this as an idea, maybe the perks aren't meant to make people work crazy hours but instead just make good business sense?

    • Doctors on site? Makes sure sick employees get better, and helps prevent healthy employees from getting sick
    • 20% Off-project time? I know that when I have a serious problem, it's usually solved by walking away from the issue at hand and focusing on something else, letting my brain solve it in the background. What's more, all those 20% projects become a great source for potential revenues.
    • Free food? By having their own cafeteria they can bring down costs, so it's less expensive than you might think for them, and they get the bonus of employees eating together, potentially discussing work, etc.

    And on top of all of this, it makes their employees really happy, and gets them really good press!

    I, for one, would be more than happy to talk to a recruiter at Google

    • by bernywork (57298) *
      Yup, seconded.

      If Google are reading this, I am about to head to Dublin for a year, if you want to sponsor me to stay thereafter, let me know.

      Berny
    • Back in the goodle days in Silicon Valley lots of places had these kinds of perks, too. Google only stands out now because no one else can afford to offer them anymore.

      I also have to say I know a few people who work there, and they are the some of the smartest, coolest, and nicest people I have ever known or worked with. So if they load on the perks, it is only to retain good people.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        The issue with silicon valley isn't that they can no longer afford the perks (and no longer give them), but that employees are considered more expendable. They make less of an effort to prevent burning out employees and accept higher turnover.

        When you get into your second or third month of 7 days a week 12+ hours a day with your boss asking you to see if you can 'stay late' to try to catch up on the project (wtf? later than 12 hours 7 days a week?). More employers are fine with this now than they were du
    • by jvagner (104817)
      i think it's a little of both, but if it was JUST about keeping employees working longer, i wouldn't expect their food service to be as quality/value oriented as it is. home-made food, using quality and organic ingredients..? it seems like they wanted to offer a certain standard of services, more than your local subway or marriot cafeteria service, and that is commendable.

      and i'm a segregator.
  • "What kind of worker are you -- segmentor or integrator?"

    I'm the ass-imilator.
  • Segmentor ....now (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Itninja (937614) on Friday March 23, 2007 @12:41PM (#18460221) Homepage
    At my last job I was the textbook integrator. I kept on top of email from home, preformed server admin stuff at all hours via VPN, and would even come in after hours when a got a server alert that needed attention. One day, I decided to add up all these extra hours. I was a salary employee, so it's not like I was getting paid extra to work overtime. I was shocked with the totals.

    During one calender year, I had worked over 200 unpaid hours. And, since they would have all been considered overtime hours and worth 1.5 regular hours, it totaled 300 hours' worth of lost wages. That's nearly two months worth of time!

    So I quit that job after 10 years (I'm kinda a slow learner), and found a company that insists I work no more than 40 hours a week. If I am called on work more, I get to make it up later. So now I am a segmentor. Work is work, home is home, and never the twain shall meet.
  • Integrator (Score:4, Funny)

    by smithwis (577119) on Friday March 23, 2007 @12:42PM (#18460243) Journal
    I'm an integrator of the highest order. I integrate so much freetime into my work that even I wonder how I get anything done.

    Oh, do think Google wants me to integrate work into my off time?
  • I'm an integrator... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday March 23, 2007 @12:45PM (#18460273) Homepage Journal
    ...which is why I need to work for myself. And I've been working in that direction for... forever now. But anyway, at least if you're working for yourself you can choose when to work and what to work on. I can't help thinking about work when I'm gone, it just happens.
  • by Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) on Friday March 23, 2007 @12:47PM (#18460305) Journal
    I am an ideal integrator. I would love to work at a place that is completely integrated. I could work for google, have a google wife, 2.5 google kids, live in a google house, drive to google in my google car, drop of my laundry of google brand clothes at the google dry cleaners, eat at the googleteria, taking a break at 5 to go to the google bar to share a few drinks with my google friends, pick the kids up from google school, and head out for a night at the google opera with my google wife. That would be perfect. All of my needs would be met entirely.

    However, anything short of that requires me to segment my personal life from work. I need to fulfill the needs that work doesn't provide, requiring necessary non work related period. Perks would be nice, but not if they distract me for fulfilling the other needs. As the article says, they'd get in the way of my real life. At least thats what happened when I tried living a truly integrated workplace, very far from google. I went a whole month without leaving the compound's gates. Needless to say, I was not attending any operas with my wife. Which is why I had to leave. It was like 75% perfect, but anything short of perfection sucks.
    • by Fross (83754)
      I could work for google, have a google wife, 2.5 google kids, live in a google house, drive to google in my google car, drop of my laundry of google brand clothes at the google dry cleaners, eat at the googleteria, taking a break at 5 to go to the google bar to share a few drinks with my google friends, pick the kids up from google school, and head out for a night at the google opera with my google wife.

      this reminds me of a woefully uneducated american couple who visited my family, in italy, several years a
    • by hab136 (30884)
      Except for the wife and kids, many company towns [wikipedia.org] operate(d) exactly like that. The company owns the houses, stores, goods, etc. Mining, logging, steel, paper mills, and other businesses have operated company towns.

      One danger is that the company knows your pay and can adjust prices so that you never really get ahead - this has happened more than once.
  • I leave work at work for the most part. Exceptions include deadlines and emergencies, and they are few and far between.

    However, 4 of my coworkers and myself play WOW (World of Warcraft) on an almost nightly basis together. We don't discuss work when we play, except if we're trying to find the one person who knows how to fix the emergency at work. I think I did that once.

    Another caveat, my wife, father-in-law, and 2 of my wifes Uncles work at the same place as me. Separate depts thank god, but still, we
  • *Groan* (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Noryungi (70322) on Friday March 23, 2007 @12:56PM (#18460419) Homepage Journal
    Oh, please, "segmentors"? "Integrators"? What's next? "Dronators"? "Dilbertors"?

    Seriously, this is just one aspect of the US work culture: the company you work for simply assumes that you are going to put in long hours and work until late at night or early in the morning. This, in my opinion, is simply wrong: the longer you work, the less productive you are and he more exhausted you are as well.

    Not to mention that putting in long hours takes a very heavy toll on your family life, if you are married and have children. So Google perks are great, but they simply (a) represent something wrong in U.S. culture and (b) reflect the fact that a lot of people at Google may be young and single adults, who can afford to spend a lot of time at the office.

    Personally, instead of free massage and thirteen different restaurant in-house, I'd rather be able to have flexible hours to take care of my kids, telecommute for a couple of hours a day -- I am sure I would be a lot more productive working from my home from 11:00pm until 1:00am, or even have more paid vacation days. I don't really care about in-house restaurants or nerf tournaments. But I guess that's just me.
  • by moore.dustin (942289) on Friday March 23, 2007 @12:57PM (#18460421) Homepage
    While currently, I am a segmentor, I would rather be an integrator. If I could enjoy my job enough to include it as part of my "life" then I would be all about it. Till that time comes, I will continue to enjoy my clean break from work when I leave my office.
    • by qwijibo (101731)
      That's probably the most common problem - a mismatch between employee and employer. Where I work, everyone is interviewed to gauge their "fit" for the team. Basically, they want to hire round pegs to fit into the square holes the organization provides. I think the idea is that if we get a critical mass of round pegs, the organization may provide some round holes. Of course, the philosophy of any large organization is to pound the round peg into the square hole until it fits or shoots out the window.
  • Perks? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Cereal Box (4286) on Friday March 23, 2007 @01:00PM (#18460473)
    Let me pull this up because there are so many," he says. When his computer produces a list a moment later, Kallayil makes his way down the screen and continues: "The free gourmet food, because that's a daily necessity. Breakfast, lunch and dinner I eat at Google. The next one is the fitness center, the 24-hour gym with weights. And there are yoga classes."

    There is a pause before he adds that he also enjoys the speaker series, the in-house doctor, the nutritionist, the dry cleaners and the massage service. He has not used the personal trainer, the swimming pool and the spa -- at least not yet, anyway. Nor has he commuted to and from the office on the high-tech, wi-fi equipped, bio-diesel shuttle bus that Google provides for employees, but that is only because he lives nearby and can drive without worrying about a long commute.


    I'd be worried about the fact that Google has the spending habits and business plan of a late 90s dot-com. Isn't advertising something like 95% of their revenue?
    • by Malc (1751)
      Perks? Give me the cash! I'll spend it enjoying myself how I want to, finding my own culture and pleasures, and not be dictated to by my employer and turned in to a 2-dimensional cookie-cutter employee. Oh, and put me on a team of people who are going to work and not spend half the day hanging-out and socialising. I want to leave at a reasonable hour but still be able to do my job effectively and be on a successful team. Get a life people ;)
  • Never mix work and home, EVER. This is something I learned hard, because when you let co-workers find out what you do for fun, when they know what friends and acquaintances you hang out with, what music you listen to, then that is ammo that your peers and your office politics rivals will use to get you fired should some bad thing happen, and they have a chance at it.

    For example, I've seen a co-worker (who was EXTREMELY talented) fired at a previous job I was at because he listened to heavy metal/goth, and
    • Or I could just sue the motherfucker for unjustified firing and discrimination. I can't believe that this actually happened, or just his tastes in music led to the firing.

      If it is true, I can't imagine the paranoid place you work in. My boss knows I once dated a dominatrix (I was her boyfriend, *NOT* a client, mind you) and it doesn't mean a thing to him.
    • So is it assuming too much to say that at that previous job, there was no HR department? Sounds pretty lame.

      OP: Count me as a separator, btw...
    • For example, I've seen a co-worker (who was EXTREMELY talented) fired at a previous job I was at because he listened to heavy metal/goth, and during a major emergency on a Saturday night when servers melted (UPS failure), he ran into work in full club gear in order to get servers back up and running. Even though he got the servers up in an hour, he got fired a week later, not because of performance, but because his boss was a country music type of guy and didn't like anyone who didn't drive a pickup truck a
  • Both! (Score:5, Funny)

    by DdJ (10790) on Friday March 23, 2007 @01:16PM (#18460761) Homepage Journal
    I'm an Integrater from about 10am to about 4pm on work days, and a Segmentor the rest of the time.
  • Must every article these days follow the same lines?

    1. Reduce group in question to two, robotic types.
    2. Toss about simplistic arguments concerning said types.
    3. Leave real world situation utterly unanalyzed.

    It's like using approximations in physics and mathematics, only less useful.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by P3NIS_CLEAVER (860022)
      Yes, there are two kinds of people! Those who must classify /. articles and those who don't.
    • 1. Reduce group in question to two, robotic types.
      2. Toss about simplistic arguments concerning said types.
      3. Leave real world situation utterly unanalyzed.

      4. Profit!
  • My wife - comp sci/math major with honors blah blah blah - has been heavily recruited by Google. It hasn't become annoying or anything, but she's been contacted numerous times before and since getting her B.S. She wouldn't take the job anyway because it would cause her to relocate, but I know that she considers the extent of the perks a significant strike against Google.

    From on-campus meals to weights to doctors to dry cleaning she considers the extent to which Google tries to be a part of the lives of it
  • Since I was a kid I have always loved to fix things and found that I was skilled at fixing mainframes and their peripherals. But CDC was on the decline so I moved from Minnesota to a smaller company in St. Louis. I flew from city to city fixing equipment that was hopeless and on the edge of a lawsuit. As equipment got smaller and smaller and more disposable I saw the writing on the wall and moved into software.

    My point is that I would have paid to get to play with the stuff that I fixed but instead got paid
  • by JustNiz (692889) on Friday March 23, 2007 @01:29PM (#18460945)
    Stupid Americans with your self-inflicted workaholicism. Don't blame google when its all in your own mind.

    People should feel they can legitimately enjoy the perks then go home after doing an 8 hour day.

    Whatever Google's real motivation is for offering free meals and transport, its pretty stupid to feel obliged to put in more hours because of them, especially if no-one has explicitly stated that they are provided in order to commit you to work more hours.
    And if they ever do say that, then drive yourself and take sandwiches in.

    Apart from anything else, the transport has wi-fi and if you're not driving yourself you can work on the bus. this is all extra time for Google worth more than the cost of the transport anyway. The value of the free food only amounts to maybe 15 minutes of pay at most, but you save more than that time by not going out to get food. So why should people still feel obliged to work extra time measured in hours?

    My guess is Google's real motivation for offering those things is becase it differentiates the comapny and attracts hard-to-find developers to apply to work there in the first place. It has nothing to do with hours/week.

    As a manager, if members of my team work continually work more than 40 hours/week when its not necessary for their workload, it gives me an indication that they're either not able to keep up or they're brown-nosers, either of which gives me reason and inclination to fire them.

  • I'm working at home in Detroit doing medical transcription, so I guess I'm an inverse integrator. I've integrated work into my home life, but I'm not really giving up one for the other. I'm home all the time now, and don't need to go out but to run errands or visit friends/family. I get my work done for the day quickly and have time for my wife and other hobbies, like computer gaming, fishing, and traveling. I even traveled during summer last year with the laptop and got work done while at a campground, in
  • You may think you've integrated your work and you life, but if you have that's because you don't yet a have a life.

    You think you do, but someday you'll finally have one and look back and wonder what the hell you were thinking.

    And don't forget the sunscreen.

  • Segmentors are detrimental. Do not hire.

  • When I was working for someone else I tried to keep work and personal life separate. It isn't easy, because sometimes in my thoughts I'd be preoccupied with work. Like it or not, sometimes it's just not possible to completely stop thinking about work once I leave the office. That can certain sour personal life.

    Having started my own business I find but worlds overlapping. In great in some ways and bad in others. If I have personal matters to attend to in the middle of the day, or I just want to take a break,
  • When you go from university to an IT career, the integrator role is not much of a shift. You are already used to the crazy hours, and crunch time to get a project done at the last moment. Your friends in school are your classmates in CS and you expect co-workers as friends. You are young, and a perk filled job even with being on job even when you are off seems like fun, after all you are doing what you dreamed of.

    I wanted to be a programmer since I was 9 years old, and after I was done school and working full time, work was my life. I'd often work from 7 am until 11 pm, and I would hang out with co-workers off hours too. Although my co-workers and I had diverse conversations, the subject easily slid into work related matters, so it seemed I never really escaped the topic of tech very often. We didn't have Google level perks, but I was having a great time, making pre-dot-com-crash cash and had almost no time to spend it.

    The crash happened. I was now 30, work was my life, and "real life" was slipping by me. I had grown apart from "non-work friends", relationship with my family, and my love life suffered too. I felt like I was one dimensional, because work had taken up almost every moment of my waking life, the other interests I once had, were sitting on the shelf. I hadn't seen a live band, gone to the theatre, spent the afternoon in an art gallery, instead I was working or talking about work. Being out of work for a year gave me time to think. I remembered how much I enjoyed so many things other than IT - and took up hobbies, contacted old friends, and found a new boyfriend and by the time I found a full time job again I knew I did not want to work for any company who was offering too many perks because I knew from experience that if they give you too many perks they expect too many hours back from you.

    I now separate. I show up for work at 9am and leave at 5pm. My current job does not expect constant overtime (maybe once or twice a year) and in an emergency I will check my email or VPN in - but that too is rare. My co-workers are in their 30's and 40's so they have lives too. I see them during work hours only and although I like them and enjoy working with them, they are co-workers, not friends.

    I see my real friends after work and on weekends, and instead of talking about technology, we talk about independent film, politics, art, music, theatre and just about everything but computers. I don't talk about work to my friends except when I have had a busy day, I let them know it was hectic and I'd love to go out for a beer to forget it.

    Despite less money and no perks, I enjoy my job just as much as my pre-dot-com-crash job, and I have a very interesting life outside of work. Both sides are fulfilling, and I now prefer both sides separate.
  • by Brandybuck (704397) on Friday March 23, 2007 @04:54PM (#18464569) Homepage Journal
    I know some google engineers, and they are expected to work very long hours. There's nothing in writing that says you have to be there all day, but the pressure is there. Sure the rules say you only have to work eight hours and wear thirteen pieces of flair, but if you want to be a true Googlan you should voluntarily work until the last shuttle to Caltrain leaves, and voluntarily wear as many pieces of flair that will fit on your ultrawide suspenders.

    Another "incentive" is even more subtle. You're told all day long by Slashdot and the tech media that you are a genius. You have to be a genius otherwise Google would never hire you. But you're not a genius, you're just the average software developer. So you have to prove to your boss that you're a genius. What you lack in the way of perceived intelligence you make up for through longer hours.

    Because Google is concerned for your well being and health, you won't die of a heart attack by age thirty. But you will be single by age thirty (either divorced or never married).

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