failing like never before


Why Working at Google Is Not My Dream Job (Anymore)

I had to sign several NDAs with Google and I am honestly too lazy to check what I can and cannot disclose. In light of that, I'll keep this vague and hopefully avoid getting sued (fingers-crossed).

I still remember being in high school and reading about how amazing it was to work at Google. About how amazing their free cafeterias were, their company gyms, massage chairs, and on-site laundry machines. Not to mention the brightly colored walls and hip decorations, which were a stark contrast to Intel where I interned. Conan O’Brien once compared Intel's offices to a parking garage, and complimented them on their excellent design choice to match the grey trim with the grey walls. When I was in university, and I learned more about the ground breaking projects Google had, the brilliant people they employed, and the amazing resources they provided their engineers, I knew that Google was a company I wanted to work for. What computer science undergraduate didn't dream of working at Google? To work at the same company with brilliant minds like Guido van Rossum, Leonard Kleinrock, and Ken Thompson? But in college, after two phone interviews I was rejected from a summer internship, and turned down for a full time position after another three phone interviews.

But not too long ago I interviewed with Google again. The entire experience, from first e-mail to final phone call stretched from the end of November to the beginning of April. I passed the phone interviews and the on-site interviews, all of which were arduous but not unmanageable.

After finding out I passed the interviews, and Google finished doing my background check, I spent the next two months on an emotional roller-coaster. I spoke to a couple hiring mangers, exchanged many confused and angry emails with friends and colleagues at Google, and had numerous phone calls with my recruiter, whose tone ranged from apologetic to congratulatory. At various times, I was not entirely sure if I was fully rejected, or if the only thing standing between me and a formal job offer was some paper work. Many phone calls with the recruiter (who was very kind and helpful) were required for clarification, but did little to assuage my annoyance as she was not allowed to explain any of the inner workings of the hiring process. As the weeks dragged on I received job offers from two other companies, so I gave the Google recruiter a deadline and the inscrutable bureaucracy missed it with all the grace of a three-legged elephant.

I am not overly found of interviews. They can be difficult and uncomfortable and require me taking time off from my current job, and getting my chain jerked around does nothing to help improve the situation. I was contacted by another Google recruiter two months back, who asked me if I was interested in the exciting new job opportunity she had (I wasn't, my current job is more interesting). The caveat was that I would have to do some more interviews. I was surprised to discover that although working at Google has been my dream job for many years, I turned down this opportunity with no difficulty whatsoever. The time and the trouble involved just didn't seem worth it anymore. While I still believe Google is doing great things, there are also other companies in the industry doing groundbreaking work, many of whom can reach a decision over an applicant in three months or less.

The problem is not the fault of the excellent people that Google employs, but rather the creaking, rambling structure of their hiring process. Why is the whole process so obfuscated? Why are they doing background checks and calling references before they are even close to being ready to make an offer? Why is some arbitrary committee rejecting a candidate at the eleventh hour after everything else has been approved? Why does the rain fall from up-above? How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop?

These are questions that us non-Googlers (non-ooglers? nono-oglers?) may never know the answer to. But we can take solace in the fact that the Silicon Valley is a big place with many wonderful opportunities. And hey, I hear Facebook is hiring :)

(EDIT: see hackernews discussion)



I had a pretty bad dream recently, which is of particular note primarily because I never remember my dreams, and secondly because it was a pretty lame nightmare.

I dreamt that someone had hacked into my server and erased my entire database, whereupon I woke up with my heart pounding fast in my chest. I got out of squeaky metal bunk-bed turned my monitor on, reassured myself that my blog was still whole and complete, backed up my entire MySQL database onto my hard drive, and climbed back into bed. The next morning, I woke up unsure of if I had dreamed up the entire experience; that is, if I had dreamed that I had had a bad dream and instantly dashed to my computer.

I don't even understand why I was so stressed out about losing my blog articles, after all I already do periodic backups. Even then, its not as though anyone actually reads my blog so losing a few bad blog articles could hardly be considered a big lose.

But anyhoo, there it is. My worst nightmare since I was six and dreamt that my cousin was a monster that was going to eat me. Its really quite depressing.

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The Dream

My computer science class ended early and I got back to my room early. Having througly exhausted my mental faculties throughout the day, I decided it was time to test my physical limits. I changed my clothes and headed for the gym. It was five o' clock, you had just climbed into bed to take a nap and our other roommate was reading the news.

I ran a little less then three miles on the track. My fear of treadmills has not faltered ever since I fell on my uncle's when I was eight. I lifted weights for an hour, until my muscles burned and I felt I had no strength left. The vastness and opulence of the school gym did not fail to amaze me, but for all its greatness it could not augment my strength or stamina. The weights in my hands were laughably small compared to those borne by the hulks standing besides me.

I took a long shower, turned my computer on, plowed through my RSS feed reader. It was seven o' clock, you were still sleeping soundly and our roommate was doing his homework.