Google Blogoscoped

Monday, January 19, 2009

Ex-Google Employees Discuss Why They Quit

TechCrunch was forwarded a discussion from a private group Google set up to ask former employees just why they left Google. The discussion contains a variety of views and opinion. For instance, one employee called Laurent wrote the following in May 2008 (when reading the thread it’s worth keeping in mind that ex-employees naturally aren’t a representative sample):

I also left Google after only 5 months.

As soon as I got inside, I had the feeling of being swallowed by a giant borg :)

Really, I felt like I didn’t exist, watching people buzzing around with laptops.

I did however meet with Larry and Sergey during a product review meeting, and have only good things to say about these 2 guys. (...)

What was strange with me at Google was: while outside, I had all these big ideas I could do if I ever worked there.

Once inside, you have 18,000 (at the time, Feb 2008) other googlers thinking the same things.

I think it’s a good move for them to have App Engine: they won’t need to hire that many people anymore, or buy small garage-guys because now developers will be able to develop over the Google OS for free for Google :)

Another employee, called Pam, started her hiring process with Google in 2003. She says:

Sure, Google isn’t perfect, its management isn’t perfect, the HR department isn’t perfect, etc, but by and large they do things better/smarter/friendlier than the vast majority of companies out there. (...)

I wonder if post-Google bitterness is correlated to when you joined and/or how long you were at Google. It seems that it is. Maybe it’s the memories of Google in the first few years I was there that make it it seem magical, but I really do treasure the time I spent at Google. I left a few weeks ago, after almost 5 years at the company, because I wanted to pursue a markedly different career path. Sure, I had times when I was frustrated with the way Google was doing things, or when I felt that my particular project, or assignment was lacking, and I definitely had managers that I didn’t enjoy. But all in all – what a freakin’ amazing experience!

One poster named Lilly says:

I think for me, some of the trouble was the crazy unaccountable product strategy processes that would tell you to work on high risk things on the one hand, but would hold you back for taking those chance on the other. I worked on Google Page Creator from the time it was just a 20% prototype and I also spent a lot of time believing in and doing some a lot of work to make Google Notebook something successful*. I’m not sure taking on those high-risk, challenging projects was a good idea in the long run, but nobody told me “hey, we don’t think this project is really worth the resources." I’m sort of a heart-and-soul into project person so this meant that I spent a lot of energy trying to [do] good work on high-risk projects I believed in, but through the inconsistent support and wavering strategies I had no direct control over, I felt like a lot of my energy got wasted.

[Thanks Grega M.!]

*Lilly mentions Google Page Creator and Google Notebook, both products which have by now been cancelled or stopped being worked on. Which doesn’t per se means her efforts were wasted, as it’s possible that parts of the technology of e.g. Page Creator are now integrated in e.g. Google Sites.


Blog  |  Forum     more >> Archive | Feed | Google's blogs | About


This site unofficially covers Google™ and more with some rights reserved. Join our forum!