Google employees are consistently among the happiest of employees of any major tech company but that still doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for everyone. Some former Googlers recently took to Quora to answer the question of what it’s like to be fired from the tech giant, or at the very least to leave the company on less-than-friendly terms.
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Our first story comes from Grigory Yakushev, a former Googler who was starting to feel burned out and decided that a switch to another division might reignite his productivity. He made a critical miscalculation when he decided to transfer to semantic search, however.
“Search is the biggest and most complex product at Google, and semantic search (the thing that gives you a direct answer to the query instead of links) is one of the brainiest teams around,” he explains. “With burnout my performance not only failed to recover — it went further downhill.”
Google apparently tried nudge him out of the company gently but he politely told them that he didn’t want to go since he liked having a big Google salary. While you can’t really blame him, Google wasn’t all that pleased to hear this answer.
“In March I was put on PIP (Performance Improvement Plan). It’s a formal agreement that I should produce certain output in two months,” he explains. “After a week it was quite obvious to me that I won’t make it. Again I had a talk with HR and director, and was actually threatened to be fired with ‘Gross Misconduct’ (without benefits and waiting period). Apparently my manager and director decided that I was somehow gaming the system and just milk the company while not making any effort to do my job.”
He was officially terminated shortly after.
Our next story comes to us from Michael O. Church, a former Google UX designer who says he left the company on “less-than-ideal” terms. One thing he notes is that it can be really damaging for your career to get fired from Google after a short time since the company has a reputation as a great place to work.
“You should never bad-mouth an ex-employer out of spite, but if you have a job under 12 months, then under most circumstances either you or the employer looks bad, and your job is to make it them (but, even then, not appear to be enjoying it, but objectively laying down facts that are favorable to you),” he writes. “People will ask, after a short and not successful Google stint, how you managed to have a negative experience at Google. In this way (and others) Google’s sterling reputation (perhaps reflective of what it was in 2007) is actually a detriment.”
All the same, he says it’s pretty rare to get canned within the first year of starting work at Google so in most cases working there will be an asset to your career.
Finally, we have a story from Joel Johnson, who says he “walked off the job” at Google after working there for just four months back in 2010.
“I was followed around, sabotaged, and harassed everyday, and eventually I got tired of it,” he explains. “I suppose they get the last laugh (as well as the laughs before, at the beginning, and during), however, as I magically went ‘insane’ (Targeted Individual) once I left, and even after 5 years, I’m still sabotaged by and bombarded with distressing/intrusive/harassing thoughts.”
Uh, yeah, man… that… doesn’t sound paranoid or crazy at all…
At any rate, there are plenty of other stories in the Quora thread about what it’s like to be fired from Google. Check them out here.