Life at Google compared with Microsoft

In case, you haven’t come across this article or email, it is a nice comparison of lifestyles at the Tech Giants by a guy who left Microsoft, worked on a startup which later got acquired by Google, then he worked at Google and finally joined Microsoft, again.


Here is excerpt –


Work Culture:


The culture at Google is very much like the old culture at Microsoft ? back when the company felt like most employees were in their mid 20?s.  These kids don?t have a life yet so they spend all of their time at work.  Google provides nearly everything these people need from clothes (new T-shirts are placed in bins for people to grab *twice* a week!) to food ? three, free, all-you-can-eat meals a day.  Plus on-site health care, dental care, laundry service, gym, etc.  Imagine going from college to this environment and you can see how much everyone works.  People are generally in the building between 10am and about 6pm every day, but nearly everyone is on e-mail 24/7 and most people spend most of their evenings working from home.


This culture changes a bit with more experienced folks.  They generally work 10a ? 6pm like the new hires, and most of them are on email until around midnight.  It?s pretty common for them to be working most of the evening, too.


20% of time:

“20% is your benefit and your responsibility.?


In other words, it?s your job to carve out 20% of your work week for a project.  If you don?t carve out the time, you don?t get it.  Your project needs to be tacitly approved by your manager. 


Most people don?t actually have a 20% project.  Most managers won?t remind you to start one.


office arrangements:

There are glass-walled offices, there are open-space areas, there are cubicles, there are people who?s desks are literally in hallways because there?s no room anywhere else.  There are even buildings that experiment with no pre-defined workspaces or workstations ? cogs (err, people?) just take one of the available machines and desks when they get to work.


Google doesn?t seem to think that private offices are valuable for technical staff.  They?re wrong.


management structure:

There are front-line developers, and then their manager.


It?s possible for a developer on your product to actually work for a manager in research (a completely different division).  This makes it really interesting at review time.  Oh and conflict resolution between team members is very complex ? the product?s manager isn?t involved day-to-day, probably doesn?t actually manage all of the peers who are trying to resolve a conflict, and likely hasn?t spent any time with their employees anyway.


career development:

Not really.  There is no career development plan from individual contributor to manager.  Basically if you get good reviews, you get more money and a fancier title (?Senior Software Engineer II?) but that?s about it.


additional information/suggestions:

Make the food in the caf

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