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Google Fires Blogger? 628

Thomas Hawk writes "CNET is reporting that Mark Jen, a blogger whose candid comments about life on the job at Google sparked controversy last month, has left the company. CNET reports that it is not clear if he resigned or was fired but references a post at Google Blogoscoped where it was suggested that he may have been fired over his blog Ninetyninezeros. Given Google's push into the blogging space with their recent acquisition of Blogger it might be interesting to see how this shakes out."
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Google Fires Blogger?

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  • by JPelorat ( 5320 ) * on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @10:58AM (#11617811)
    Oh, the drama!
  • Blog link (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jadsky ( 304239 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @11:01AM (#11617849)
    How about a link to the actual blog [blogspot.com]? It's still up...
  • by wobblie ( 191824 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @11:02AM (#11617860)
    Given Google's push into the blogging space with their recent acquisition of Blogger it might be interesting to see how this shakes out.

    Why? What does that have to do with anything?

  • by nagora ( 177841 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @11:02AM (#11617866)
    ...in the blogosphere, does anyone care? The answer to this ancient riddle is: Who cares?

    Not employing bloggers at all seems a fair enough policy to me. Why pay someone to sit all day and think of "witty" things to write to other wasters?


  • Hmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @11:03AM (#11617870)
    Man criticises employer in public.
    Employer fires man.

    This is fascinating ... why, exactly?
    • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Sophrosyne ( 630428 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @11:05AM (#11617897) Homepage
      because everyone wants to work for Google-- it's like someone won the geek lottery then ripped up the ticket.
    • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by WormholeFiend ( 674934 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @11:07AM (#11617943)
      Man criticises employer in public.
      Employer fires man.

      This is fascinating ... why, exactly?

      Because the masses expect freedom of speech and opinion, but the people in power don't like to grant it.

      To a lot of people, this is like an alarm going off. But to a lot of cynics, this is just run-of-the-mill stuff that's expected to happen regularly.
      • Re:Hmmm (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Paul8069 ( 732650 )
        This is not about the employer not granting an employee's right to free speech, it is about the employer using their right to free speech.
        In this instance, they're free to say, "You're fired."
        (Assuming that this guy was fired, but this example applies in more situations than this).
      • DAMNIT PEOPLE (Score:4, Informative)

        by dAzED1 ( 33635 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @11:51AM (#11618418) Journal
        "freedom of speech" means the guy won't go to JAIL for it. It doesn't mean his employer can't do anything to him. He could claim flinging poo on cars in the Google parking lot was an act of "speech" according to today's warped interpretation of the first ammendment, but that wouldn't mean that Google couldn't *fire* him for it. His saying something in a blog just won't get him put in *jail*, per the first ammendment.
        • If you flung poo on cars they'd arrest you for flinging poo on cars. But not for whatever 'message' you were trying to communicate. (what would that be? that you were an alpha chimp?)
      • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Interesting)

        by dave420 ( 699308 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:29PM (#11619666)
        400 complaints to the HR department from fellow workers. He had to go. Google did a good thing here, not a bad thing. Those who think it was bad are clearly selfish, if they assume the fired guy's right to speech without reprisal was more important than those 400 peoples' right to not be pissed off.
      • Re:Hmmm (Score:3, Interesting)

        by king-manic ( 409855 )
        Because the masses expect freedom of speech and opinion, but the people in power don't like to grant it.

        To a lot of people, this is like an alarm going off. But to a lot of cynics, this is just run-of-the-mill stuff that's expected to happen regularly.

        More like "Because the masses expect freedom of speech and expect not to suffer any consquences for this speech". Google didn't censor him. They fired him. An anology: It's be yoru right to protest for animal right for PETA, but it's my right to file charg
  • by garcia ( 6573 ) * on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @11:03AM (#11617874)
    Don't piss off your employer or when it's time for people to go you're the first one. I worked with a woman who was quite vocal at work about how she hated her job and she was looking for another and blah blah blah.

    I was only there 6 months when the layoffs came up and she got the slip and I didn't. She flew off the handle that I should have went before she did. She didn't appreciate it when I mentioned she probably shouldn't have been so vocal about how she didn't like her job.

    hi everyone, sorry my site has been down for the past day or so. i goofed and put some stuff up on my blog that's not supposed to be there. nothing serious and they didn't ask me to take anything down (even the stuff where i'm critical about the company). i'm learning that google is understandably careful about disclosing sensitive information, even vague financial-related things. the quickest way for me to fix the situation at the time was to take it all down. now i'm back up. just so you know, google was pretty cool about all this. thanks for and sorry for the frenzy of speculation.

    It's obvious that Google had been aware of this guy's blog and while they didn't ask him to take anything down and they didn't ask him to stop he should have seen the writing on the wall and kept it down. He had a choice and he decided to bring it back up, but I am not about to speculate what would have happened if he hadn't.

    Keep your opinions about work to yourself. If you don't like your job don't work there anymore. If you can't find a new job keep your mouth shut (to the Internet as well especially when you work for a firm full of Internet connected people that run THE search engine) until you do.

    Just do your job and go home. Personally, I don't want to hear about anyone's work life outside of work and I certainly wouldn't want to describe mine to anyone else in my free time. Free time is exactly that. Time away from work!
    • by brlewis ( 214632 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @11:10AM (#11617974) Homepage
      Google may have had no chance but to fire this guy. The SEC is very strict about any kind of financial information employees share. Even a vague summary of an internal financial presentation posted to a blog could mean trouble. Any appearance of Google trying to talk up its stock through underhanded means would be investigated.
    • by Scorpius-nl ( 827901 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @11:23AM (#11618114)
      Ok, think i'll take this this flamebait.

      You know what happens if people shut up and just do their work and never tell to the outside what is going on? Especially in large companies it eventually creates an atmosphere of repression, and the feeling in the back of your head that you need to be carefull with what you say.

      It also creates a sense of false truths, as the cnet article says, a microsoft employee taking pictures of apple computers being unloaded is fired, creating the impression that at microsoft only windows is used.

      Eventually the company will have lost touch with reality, because the employees don't speak their mouth, creating for example a company like microsoft. I know speaking to the outside world is something different, but it's the beginning.

      And like a fellow slashdotter once said, google is just a company, primarily aimed at making profit, that it's primary objective. All the "cool" google things are invented because they make a very nice profit.
  • by halivar ( 535827 ) <bfelger@gm a i l . c om> on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @11:03AM (#11617885)
    ...of the professional world (damn these short comment titles!) is that you become a representative (somewhat) even on your own time. That means you respect the company's privacy and keep internal matters internal.

    It's kind of like a family member airing all you dirty laundry. Do they have a right to be upset about your idiosynchrosies? Maybe, probably. Should they be telling the whole world about it? No... I think loyalty should be a driving factor here.

    That said, I would have hoped that Google would be more lenient than this (assuming he was fired). But now they have public investors to think of, and they have to act more like a corporation than perhaps they have in the past. Sometimes that means tough love for employees who forget their first task is to make money for the company.
    • Given the utter denseness of this guy and his total inability to take a hint, I can see where Google might consider him an unacceptable liability going forward, on top of what he's already done.
  • to keep anything you think or do outside of work secret to your employeer.

    you have me from 9am-5pm you may fill me with opinions or ask my opinion however once my clock reads 5 i STFU and get the hell out.
    • to keep anything you think or do outside of work secret to your employeer.

      But... he has been writing about the company. It is a very thin line between writing about life inside a company and inadvertently disclosing stuff that the company thinks should remain inside the company.

      Examples from the blog include the number of Stanford/MIT project managers, and so on. None of anyone else's business but Google's, and it should stay that way.

  • by Concern ( 819622 ) * on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @11:06AM (#11617917) Journal
    ...and all the comments that I've seen so far.

    What did he actually write that made google unhappy?

    Everything I've seen on his blog so far is pretty innocuous.
    • by Scorillo47 ( 752445 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @12:57PM (#11619158)
      The new blogs is missing the critical pieces. Fortunately, the contents of the previous blog are cached here. [bloglines.com]

      Here are some relevant paragraphs:

      January 24, 2005

      uh oh, what happened to my bank account? [blogspot.com]

      By markjen

      so i happened to look over my finances this past weekend and i realized something: i'm broke. which is odd, because i had a bunch of liquid capital in my checking account last time i checked, and now all of a sudden i have nothing.

      i realized the root problem was that google's relocation process requires the employee to pay all the expenses up front and then get reimbursed for them later. that means you have to cover an apartment hunting trip, your final relocation, lease termination fees and temporary housing expenses all in advance. not to mention that they don't pay out your signing bonus and relocation money until your first paycheck (which i haven't received yet). finally, add in the fact that i had to put down two months rent as a deposit for my new lease, and i'm flat broke.

      on the plus side, this first paycheck is going to be huge... (which unfortunately means i'll probably end up getting taxed huge on it. doh!)

      which led me to thinking about the "benefits" package at google. as i thought about it, i realized that most of the "benefits" actually seem to be thinly veiled timesavers to keep you at work. take for example: free lunch and dinner. now this one is an awesome value proposition for google; i'm not exactly sure why other companies don't also recognize the value and join in. consider this: it probably costs google a maximum of $3 per employee for lunch and $5 per employee for dinner. so that's only $8 per day, but if you think about the fact that the employee now probably only takes a half hour lunch break and also stays late working, the company actually realizes far more than an $8 gain in employee output. not to mention that most people think this is a great "benefit" and google gets a ton of positive press on it. in short, this "benefit" is designed benefit the company, not the employee.

      then look at all these other fringe "benefits": on-site doctor, on-site dentist, on-site car washes... the list goes on and on with one similarity: every "benefit" is on-site so you never leave work. i'm not going to say this isn't convenient for us employees, but between all these devices designed to make us stay at work, they might as well just have dorms on campus that all employees are required to live in.

      next, let's look at the health care benefit provided. arguably, this is the biggest benefit companies pay out for their employees. google definitely has a program that is on par with other companies in the industry; but since when does a company like google settle for being on par? microsoft's health care benefits shame google's relatively meager offering. for those of you who don't know, microsoft pays 100% of employees' premiums for a world-class PPO. everything you can possibly imagine is covered. the program has no co-pays on anything (including prescription drugs); you can self-refer to any doctor in the blue cross blue shield network, which pretty much means any licensed professional; and you can even get up to 24 hour-long massage sessions per year.

      lastly, google demands employees that are 90th percentile material, so what's with the 50th percentile compensation? the packages would've been decent when the company was pre-IPO, but let's be honest here... a stock option with a strike price of $188 just doesn't have the same value as the ones of yesteryear. even microsoft adjusted their base salaries to 66th percentile years ago when it was clear that their stock options weren't as much a part of the total compensation package as it used to be. for a post-IPO company like google, it only seems fair that they adjust things acc
  • Quote (Score:5, Informative)

    by Apreche ( 239272 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @11:06AM (#11617918) Homepage Journal
    From the actual blog:
    hi everyone, sorry my site has been down for the past day or so. i goofed and put some stuff up on my blog that's not supposed to be there. nothing serious and they didn't ask me to take anything down (even the stuff where i'm critical about the company). i'm learning that google is understandably careful about disclosing sensitive information, even vague financial-related things. the quickest way for me to fix the situation at the time was to take it all down. now i'm back up. just so you know, google was pretty cool about all this. thanks for and sorry for the frenzy of speculation.

    Apparently this wasn't an issue of someone talking about their life at google, or their day-to-day tirals and tribulations on the job. This was someone releasing sensitive NDA information onto the net. While I don't like NDAs as much as the next guy its a pretty obvious breach of contract and an OK reason for firing. For everyone getting ready to start hating the last giant non-evil corp left, you're going to have to wait a few more weeks.
    • Re:Quote (Score:3, Insightful)

      by drsquare ( 530038 )
      For everyone getting ready to start hating the last giant non-evil corp left, you're going to have to wait a few more weeks.

      Non-evil? A company who censors its employees and fires people, destroying their livelihoods, for daring to criticise them? A company that buys out decent services and ruins them (i.e. deja news)? I don't see why people still think google is not 'evil', they're as bad as any other large corporation. Take off the blinkers.
  • by MosesJones ( 55544 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @11:07AM (#11617932) Homepage

    I've got some Karma to burn so I'm going to say this anyway.

    For all the muppets who will respond about Google being a "bad" company, and how they were "good". FIRING PEOPLE HAPPENS, and sometimes ITS THE RIGHT THING TO DO. If one person is dragging down the morale of everyone else, should that be allowed to continue ? If one person is damaging the companies reputation, should that be allowed to continue ?

    Firing people is something that happens. And it doesn't make companies "bad" or "good". In fact companies ARE NEVER bad or good its the PEOPLE in them that make bad or good decisions. Reference Microsoft, it was the will of a group of people to act as a monopoly and abuse that position.

    For anyone who thinks about "Good" and "Bad" in a George Bush style way when looking at any part of the world, whether business or politics. GET OUTSIDE and see the shades, subscribe to the economist, read the Wall Street Journal, become a member of Green Peace and Amnesty International, but don't wear Rose Tinted specs and moan because ONE person got fired.

    Google has ALWAYS been protective, and ALWAYS done some "odd" things. There is no tipping point of bad to good, the world is not as simple as "Whitehouse Politics 101".

  • by PornMaster ( 749461 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @11:07AM (#11617936) Homepage
    Given Google's push into the blogging space with their recent acquisition of Blogger it might be interesting to see how this shakes out.

    They bought Pyra in 2003. It's now 2005. This guy worked there for one month. I think your sense of perspective is a little out of whack.
  • by mikkom ( 714956 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @11:07AM (#11617938) Homepage
    Quote from A Chat with Mark Jen [zawodny.com]:
    First off, nothing Mark said surprised me. Yes, he was fired from Google. It was directly related to his blog. He was employed there for just a couple of weeks.
    So the rumor is true.
  • by hsmith ( 818216 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @11:09AM (#11617957)
    unless you own the company, keep your comments to yourself. Don't name your company directly or share secrets about the company. especially on an open forum where people can see. stupid, just stupid to do, i don't feel sorry about him at all. use your head people.
  • by jxyama ( 821091 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @11:10AM (#11617975)
    i thought about this a lot, since i started using online forums, including slashdot, and reading various blogs... traditionally, much "power" is given to those that can lash out the "last word" in any debate/argument/conversation. i'd like to call it the "last word syndrome."

    journalists commanded much power (and editors, even more so) because printed articles are a one-way message. writers always got the last word. then came the online forums and even there, arguments turn into flamewars where every post is a repeat, but people keep on posting because they want to be the last one to put their point of view in.

    blog is a hybrid. you post and others can comment, but those comments are not as visible. if you have a blog with decent audience, you do get to put out the "last words" for the most part, while allowing some feedback.

    i can understand why management wouldn't like this. it's uncensored and they feel powerless because they don't have the control and they don't get to reply in the same way.

    however, i don't understand the mentality of a new hire doing the best he can to appear "pompous, inconsiderate, disloyal" employee (to the management) by complaining openly to the world (but not directly to those at the company) via his blog. it's almost as if he wanted to challenge his perceived "right" to post about google on his blog...

  • by kzinti ( 9651 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @11:11AM (#11617983) Homepage Journal
    A googol is ten to the one hundredth power, written as a one followed by one hundred zeros.

    Ninety nine zeros, the name of the blog, is a googol minus one.

    And now we have Google, minus one. One named "Mark".

    Maybe it's just because I'm a former math geek, but I just love the way this worked out...
    • a googol minus one (Score:5, Insightful)

      by way2trivial ( 601132 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @11:16AM (#11618037) Homepage Journal
      wouldn't that be 99 nines?

      • Oh, DUH! (Takes massive caffiene dose, jumpstarts brain.) Let's put the emphasis on FORMER math geek. Or let's say my input parser mistranslated. I deserved to be soundly flogged for this one.

        So... ninety nine zeros... Google over ten?

        Just doesn't have the same irony, now does it?

        Oh. Never mind...
      • by Cecil ( 37810 )
        No. It would be 100 nines.

        A goolgol is 1 followed by 100 zeroes, in other words 101 digits. Subtract one, and you still have 100 digits, all nines.
    • Hmm, a googol minus one should be ninety nine nines, not zeros, right?
    • Excuse me, Professor Fermat. Google minus one is, uh....

      [Before I embarass myself -- one hundred minus one is two nines, therefore google minus one is...]

      ...one hundred nines. Anyway, it certainly isn't ninety nine zeros, or anything else with zeros.

    • Re:How ironic... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rdc_uk ( 792215 )
      You obviously were never much of a "math geek" then, since you can apparently neither subtract, or divide by 10, without cocking up.

      Googol = 1 followed by 100 zeros.

      1 followed by 99 zeros would be 1 googol DIVIDED by 10 (basic maths, really)

      NOT 1 googol MINUS 1 (which would be 100 NINES in a row...)

      ninety nine zeros on its own, is not even a number (unless a really badly written 0), but a bitfield, and a null one at that :)
  • by GillBates0 ( 664202 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @11:12AM (#11617993) Homepage Journal
    ...and since we must talk about Google everyday:

    Google India launches Google India Code Jam 2005 [rediff.com] with a payoff of Rs. 3lakh (roughly enquivalent to $20k (my estimate after adjusting for cost of living and annual salaries)). This contest is also being organized by TopCoder.

    The Google India News page also links to this news article [hindu.com] about Anurag Acharya, a graduate of the Indian Institute of Technlogy and the engineer behind Google Scholar [google.com]. Incidentally, Krishan Bharat [gatech.edu] the Principle Scientist at Google who created Google News [google.com] is also an IIT graduate.

  • by Neil Watson ( 60859 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @11:12AM (#11617994) Homepage
    Perhaps they fired him because of poor writing skills. I didn't see a sinlge capital letter on the whole page.
  • Never... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Sophrosyne ( 630428 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @11:13AM (#11618010) Homepage
    Never use the services of the largest text searching company you work for, to bad mouth it.
  • Be More Careful (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nnnneedles ( 216864 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @11:23AM (#11618113)
    If I had gotten a job at google, I would have been a lot more careful.

    This guy first ditches microsoft, because they don't want to code with extreme programming methods (laughs), and then gets himself fired from Google. I'm sorry, but what a dumbass. He doesn't know how lucky he is..
  • Blog-martyrdom (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    What is it about being labeled a "blogger" that suddenly turns every "persecuted" mewling diarist into a martyr? This makes about as much sense as branding someone as a great novelist because his or her handwriting is neat and well-organized in a big fancy notebook. Yeah, I "blog." But I don't have any delusions about the waste of electrons I spew with each post. People once thought what they said on CB radio was pretty damned important, too. Come to think of it, blogging has a lot in common with CB radio.
  • by jacquesm ( 154384 ) <j&ww,com> on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @11:25AM (#11618133) Homepage
    here [zawodny.com]
  • by JLavezzo ( 161308 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @11:37AM (#11618247) Homepage
    So, if you're unhappy at a job, vocal about it, then are not longer at that job why would anyone assume you didn't quit BECAUSE you were unhappy?

    If this guy's boss even noticed the negative stuff on the blog and talked with him about it, it may have only served to bring into focus how unhappy he was working there, helping him decide to quit.
  • Big^brother (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @11:39AM (#11618262) Homepage Journal
    Google has a lot of power, in that they've got the search history of the planet at their querytips. Want to know which stock symbol is hot? Which celebrity is popular? Which kink that guy at searches for every night from 7-8:30PM? Which nanotech is getting all the attention from the Chinese universities?

    Google got everyone all happy with their "don't be evil" pre-IPO hype. Now they've got all the info, all the metadata, all the money, and no accountability. Ignorance is strength!
  • No big deal really (Score:3, Insightful)

    by grundie ( 220908 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @11:42AM (#11618311)
    My employment contract states quite clearly that I do not discuss company policy outside of the company. If I do then I'll be picking up my P45!

    Just about every other company has similar clauses in employment contracts, I would presume Google does too.

    If the guy has been sacked then its his fault. This ain't a good-or-evil company issue, its simply a case of someone breaching his terms of employment, simple as that. I can't see what Google has done wrong here.
  • by gelfling ( 6534 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @11:49AM (#11618394) Homepage Journal
    On the one hand every company has those silly rules, that almost all of us are violating right now, to not use company assets for private use while at work or at any other time. Clear enough.

    Now companies, and Delta and Northwest are famous for this, are telling their employees that using their own machines in their own homes to discuss, even in passing anything having to do with said company, even to other employees of the same company is not only a fire-able offense but is criminal.

    It seems though that companies at most need to apply legal standards of libel and slander in whatever country they are operating. If it doesn't break those laws then it shouldn't be actionable. Of course many of us live in a RIGHT TO WORK state which says a person can be fired for any reason at any time so maybe the whole point is moot.

    In either case I recommend that all employees refuse the company softball game, comunity service gathering, Christmas party, blood drive or solicitation from the United Way. You can never be to sure that through some accident not even of your own doing the sacred holy company's image won't be tarnished in some way. Better to leave all that stuff to someone else.

    And if someone asks you for a job or personal reference refuse that too. In fact, run all those queries through your corporate HR and/or legal department just to be sure.

    You company is not your friend.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @12:01PM (#11618523)
    I think I figured out exactly why he got fired.

    On January 28th (the day he got fired) Mark Jen apparently ran an Adwords Campaign pointing to his blog [dirson.com].

    Besides the obvious problem of him promoting a story about life at Google, regular people cannot run an ad with the word GOOGLE in it [dirson.com].

    Keep in mind that he worked in the adsense divison. He may have overrode this requirement. Instant termination. What was he thinking?
  • This happened to me too, but only for a job interview at Google. That's as far as I made it: I never worked for them or signed any NDA.

    My resume [krellan.com] was submitted, and I made it as far as the first phone screen. It was one of the best interviews I have ever had in my life! Everything went 100% great, better than I had ever hoped for. I felt we had really clicked. Then, it turns out that I lost the interview, because the interviewer read my blog [livejournal.com].

    He didn't like me talking about my job search or my experiences with Google's hiring process. He especially didn't like the way I described the interview, perhaps because it would have given future interviewees tips on what to expect. He valued his ability to "surprise" people with trick logic questions, and my description of the involved thought processes might have tipped his hand. (I've since edited my blog to remove the spoilers, as per his implied request.)

    Google and Microsoft share similar cultures, evidently. Both select for candidates who are good at discovering the "a-ha" moment that enables them to see through a tricky logic puzzle and solve [monster.com] it. I'm not good at logic puzzles or riddles in general, but in this case, I was able to relate the puzzle to a real-life problem I faced (when writing a simulator for a particular mechanism of a pinball [vpforums.com] machine).

    Lesson learned. The culture at Google is one of paranoid security, as others have confirmed with me. When interviewing (or working) there, don't reveal anything about the process. Merely mentioning the fact that you are interviewing/working might raise eyebrows. When in doubt, don't.

    The good news is that the interviewer liked me, and encouraged me to re-apply. Since I seemed to learn my lesson well, he told me he wouldn't put me on the blacklist, so I've another chance. I believe the cut-off period for previous failed applicants is a year and a day.

    During the time, I found a job I'm happy with now, and I'll definitely stick with it. I won't be jumping ship, in case you're reading this posting there and wondering :) The free food at Google is tempting, though....
  • by Whatchamacallit ( 21721 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @09:13PM (#11625103) Homepage
    Last few times I've witnessed someone getting fired that quickly, they did something very very very wrong or extremely stupid.

    A few examples:

    1. Getting caught rifling through a coworkers desk without their permission.

    2. Showing up late 5 times in 5 days and were given 2 verbal warnings and 1 written (while being on probation to boot).

    3. Failing a drug test.

    4. Lying on your resume, claiming a degree you did not have or employement record you did not have.

    5. Sexually harassing the unit secretary.

    6. Getting arrested and not showing up for work for several days because no one would bail your worthless ass out of jail nor call on your behalf.

    #7 should be blogging about your new companies internal policies and procedures, especially mentioning a 'signing bonus' and 'relocation compensation' benefits. Now every nimrod applying to Google will expect these 'optional' and 'discretionary' benefits.

    #8 doing something else completely against company policy which you would have known if you weren't napping in the 'boring 3 hour orientation'.

    What I want to know is why only 18 months at Microsoft? Hmmm... Get fired from there too? What about that IBM internship? How come he didn't get a job at big blue?

    I would guess at #4, they probably turned up something in a background check. These things take time to research. Google wants the best of the best employee's they probably spare no expense in researching the backgrounds of all new hires. Research of this sort takes time, the fact that it may have happened in only a few weeks, is a credit to the company.

Did you hear that two rabbits escaped from the zoo and so far they have only recaptured 116 of them?