The Google Life

3:35 PM -- I finally got around to looking up Fortune's 100 Best Employers to Work For. No big surprise that Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) made the top spot.

The accompanying "Life Inside Google" photo essay features a lap pool, a climbing wall, and a volleyball pit. The text lauds Google's "college atmosphere" and shows lots of folks goofing off (and very few actually working, come to think of it).

Fun stuff. But does that make Google the greatest place to work?

It's a longstanding Silicon Valley practice to provide certain amenities -- great cafeteria, on-site dental care, a dry cleaner -- to prevent employees from having to leave work. They can continue being productive without pesky distractions from errands, hobbies, pets, children.

"Work is such a cozy place that it's sometimes difficult for Google employees to leave the office, which is precisely how the company justifies the expenses," the Fortune writeup says.

There's something unhealthy about an environment that encourages you to spend every waking hour at work. And something just a little bit pernicious about a company that sets up that environment while pretending to be your friend.

Fortune's rankings are based on employee surveys, so obviously Googlites think I'm wrong. At a glance, though, No. 2 Genentech offers one key benefit that, for my money, beats Google's trampolines and pool tables: a six-week sabbatical.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

sfwriter 12/5/2012 | 3:15:13 PM
re: The Google Life Right after graduate school, my husband and several of his classmates interviewed at Google.
Sure, the perks are great but we quickly realized that if he took a job there, my daughter and I would never see him.

Instead he opted for the 35-hour-per-week consulting job with 5 weeks of vacation. When we're eating dinner together at 6:30, I sometimes think of our Google friends who won't even board the bus back to SF until 7:30.
CoolLightGeek 12/5/2012 | 3:15:07 PM
re: The Google Life SFWriter,

You make a good point here. It can also help explain the question: Will New England Ever Have a Cisco?


Most New Englanders were raised to consider it a sin to sell your whole life to your company, unless of course, your CEO is God.

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