Is Bigger Better?

Life is a series of connections and responses. Some days it is easier to connect than others. Yesterday, EY focused greatly on their company culture and it resonated with me. Today, however, Google’s pitch about their culture fell flat for me. I cannot say for certain if it was because of the differences between the two or if it was simply down to the day of the visit. Both companies stressed the importance of collaboration and highlighted that they treat newcomers and veterans as equal value in most cases. However, while EY had a very professional feeling about it, Google was felt less like a workspace and more like an expensive playground. My feelings were noted by our guide, who explained that he believed Google to be too relaxed for any other company in the world. He stated that the atmosphere is possible because of the insane amount of profit brought in. While a guide is a company representative, I would like to acknowledge that they cannot answer any question perfectly, but the way he answered my biggest question left me exceptionally uncomfortable with the working situation. I was curious as to how a company of such magnitude could truly make every employee matter.

He responded that they were “cogs in a machine, but cogs with a lot of room to work.”

Instead of being dissuaded, my fear of such a company was put on display for all to see. EY was a very large company, albeit much smaller than Google, and every person who spoke felt like they mattered greatly, including the interns and fresh workers. A company culture is for those who work for it or intend to work for it and anyone who dislikes it would not be applying, and I determined that I will probably never work for Google. I can understand that the people who it is for thrive in the environment and accomplish amazing things. The evidence lies in how proud they were of their company and in the reactions of my classmates who loved the trip. I would like to think that most employees could be as proud of their company as the Googlers are, but I do not have the work experience to say that for a certainty. Google does a lot of things for the culture, from promoting being yourself in and out of work, to referring to themselves as Googlers, to all the “fantastic” amenities.

To me, though, it just screamed of a writhing corporate mass decorating itself with bells and whistles and holding up pretty trinkets to distract from the bloated monstrosity in front of us.

There was one very useful result of who served as our guide through the building. He told us how Google promoted employees to use twenty percent of their time to work on a personal passion project. His time focused around work that could be done in the community. He said that they actively fight against gentrification, a process they help cause, work to provide Wi-Fi and other help to local schools, and try to boost entrepreneurs. This community focus is in line with the service Google provides, the spread of information to everyone. By giving back to the community, they satisfy stakeholders outside of the organization, such as customers and the local government. It also allows them to continue to thrive, according to the Open Systems Hypothesis. It is certainly impossible to say that Google is not a thriving company.

I cannot simply disregard my personal feelings when it comes to comparing EY and Google, so instead of trying to cast it aside, I will state my bias. Google was not for me.