What Is It Like to Work for Google or Apple?

Have you ever wondered what it might feel like to work for some of the most famous companies around? According to Glassdoor’s list of the 100 best companies of 2018, at least one of those familiar names also makes a great workplace. Google took home the fifth slot in 2018, for some pretty surprising reasons. Check out what its employees and former employees had to say.

1. It offers travel opportunities and perks

Android Marshmallow (latest android OS) replica in front of Google office
The perks are pretty great. | maislam/iStock/Getty Images

Many of Google’s employees enjoy its many free restaurants, on-site entertainment, and other opportunities. According to one employee, the company offers:

Extremely intelligent and competent coworkers, exciting products, great management, amazing perks (insurance options, food, discounts on almost everything), opportunity to travel.

A lot of employees highly value perks like entertainment and food in addition to standard benefits, when seeking new employment. It also plays a role in retention.

Next: Some employees highly enjoy the work environment at the company. 

2. The technology maven has an excellent culture

Employees are made to feel appreciated. | Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

According to a slew of satisfied employees, Google works hard to create a positive work environment. That said, one former intern did have a note of caution:

One note about this role is that your day to day is heavily dependent on your project. You could be doing anything from data science to building pretty power points. You are the “utility player” in baseball terminology.

The intern also noted that Google does not pay as well as some other similar companies. That may happen because many employees consider themselves generalists, rather than specializing in one particular area.

Next: Despite positive perks, some employees also feel overwhelmed.

3. Some Googlers also struggle with work-life balance

It can be hard to balance. | Scott Olson/Getty Images

According to one employee on Glassdoor, work-life balance at Google suffers. They also hard some harsh comments about the very perks others enjoy. That employee said:

What balance? All those perks and benefits are an illusion. They keep you at work and they help you to be more productive. I’ve never met anybody at Google who actually [takes] time off on weekends or on vacations. You may not hear management say, “You have to work on weekends/vacations” but they set the culture by doing so – and it inevitably trickles down.

Despite Google’s infamous perks, it might have to shape up if that attitude becomes more prevalent. Many people say work-life balance ranks really high on what they want in a job.

Next: Working for Google also carries this exciting side effect.

4. The company opens doors, even for ex-employees

Google's headquarters
It’s quite the company to have on your resume. | bennymarty/iStock/Getty Images

One Google employee reported an interesting perk: Working there makes you look smart and rich. The employee explained:

You’ll get plenty of external validation from people who suddenly think you’re smart and rich because you work there, even if you’re not rich and you’re as smart when you didn’t work at Google.

They went on to say that putting Google on your resume also opens doors, long after you leave. They loved having flexible managers and work schedules, as well.

Next: Google employees work long hours sometimes, but it also pays off. 

5. Work hard and it will pay off (maybe)

Google founders Sergey Brin (L) and Larry Page pose for photographers prior to presenting their new Google Print product at the Frankfurt Book Fair
What you do in the first two years is vital. | John Macdougall/AFP/Getty Images

Some current and former employees dished on what it takes to succeed at the media giant. Two words: work hard. One honest employee said:

Your first year or two are really important in terms of your career at Google and they affect how you’re viewed, and your ability to be promoted. You should always ask to work on high profile projects. If you don’t get them, don’t expect to get high ratings or get promoted. Always volunteer for cross functional group work for maximum exposure, and then work hard at those things.

That person also emphasized the importance of staying tough. They explained that the atmosphere does not end itself to vulnerability, because so many employees work so hard to succeed. If you work best in a tough, dog-eat-dog environment, this might come as good news to you.

Next: One employee also criticized Google’s speed. 

6. Like many places, politics can play a role

(Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)
Politics can make up any workplace. | Adam Berry/Getty Images

At least one employee called Google a “slow moving bureaucracy.” That employee said that when they first started, they began working on a project that should have taken six months. Instead, they kept plugging away for three years. They also had some criticism for the workflow:

Chaotic approach to project management: there is a semi-constant state of reorganization that goes on, with people and projects moved from office to office and continent to continent with no concern for how this [affects] efficiency.

In addition, that employee pointed out Google’s internal review policy. “Since everyone can rate anyone else and everyone is stacked ranked against anyone else, there is a motivation to stab people in the back,” they explained. “It makes for a competitive and not very nice environment within one’s own team.”

Next: Like anywhere else, Google sees its share of interpersonal issues.

7. People can get catty

Google Headquarters with bikes on foreground
Some people feel like they have to look a certain way. | SpVVK/iStock/Getty Images

Some older employees at Google take issue with a lack of age diversity. While the company does hire an array of employees who span the racial, gender, and geographic spectrum, it could do better in age range. That can contribute negatively to the company culture, as well. One poster said:

Most of the people here are also very young and look alike (skinny and aesthetically well maintained), and it makes a person that is older, let’s say 40+, feel unwelcome to apply because they don’t feel as if they would have a chance. There are a few older people, but not many.

At least one employee said they  “feel that they are hiring only certain types of people, even though their countless training videos say that they are supposed to be fair and square across the board.” Overall, Google sounds a lot like most workplaces: It has its ups and downs, but does its best, on the whole.

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