My news

As many of you know, I haven't been very happy with my day job lately. There are a lot of factors in that, but the biggest one is that the company closed our office in Redwood Shores (a 20-minute drive from my house) and moved us all up to San Francisco (nearly an hour's drive if I were willing to drive it, or an hour and a half each way by a combination of car, train, and foot; longer if I take a slower train).

So a while back I started thinking about looking elsewhere. To make a long story short, I got an offer from Google last week.

Google's biggest advantage over my current job is that the office is literally a 5-minute bike ride from my house—in fact, the buildings are part of what used to be the SGI campus when I worked at SGI. (The connection being that part of why I live where I do was so I would be close to SGI.)

I didn't want to post here until I'd talked with my current manager; I don't think any of my co-workers read this journal, except maybe nj, but I try not to post things that I don't want publicly known, 'cause anyone who Googles for my name will quickly find this journal.

Anyway, I talked with my current manager about it yesterday afternoon. I was dreading doing that; she's probably my favorite of the managers I've worked for, and I knew that she wouldn't be happy about the prospect of my leaving. But I figured it was important to give her as much advance notice (of the possibility of my leaving) as I could without actually Officially Giving Notice yet.

I'm not sure yet whether I'm going to take the Google offer or not. There are various (mostly minor) things about the offer and their corporate culture and the job in general that I'm not entirely thrilled with, despite the rave reviews that the company gets from the programmers who work there.

On the other hand, as noted above, I haven't been all that happy with the directions my current job has been taking either. And reducing my commute time by over 90% is awfully tempting. (Commute time is not the only good thing about working at Google, of course, just the one that leaps out most prominently for me at the moment.)

And last month, Jon Carroll wrote a column about his time working for the Village Voice, in which he said, among other things: "If you get a chance to be where stuff seems to be happening, take it." Stuff is certainly happening at Google.

Anyway, I don't need to make a decision for another week and a half. I'm sure I'll make up my mind in various directions a dozen times between now and then.

Hmm—this reminds me that I've been meaning to post a link to Jack Boulware's 2002 article about Google. Boulware was one of the readers at Writers With Drinks last month; he read an excellent story, and I was poking around on his site to see whether the story was online when I came across the Google article. I imagine things have changed a fair bit there in the past couple years, but I suspect the general spirit of the place is much the same.

6 Responses to “My news”

  1. Jenn Reese

    Congratulations on the offer, whether or not you decide to take it! 😀

  2. Catherine O

    congratulations! FWIW, I think you should take it. 5 MINUTE COMMUTE. And if you hate it, you can always quit.

  3. naomi_traveller

    Congratulations on the job offer! I don’t know if this one is the answer for you, but it seems like an interesting option.

    For what it is worth, i find that a bike commute makes up for a lot of work-related annoyances. It is the main reason I work where I do.

    Any tech writerly insight I can offer is yours for the asking…

  4. Kathleen

    Congrats on the offer, whatever you decide to do!

    I don’t know much about Google specifically, but I know all about the joys of the five minute commute, and they are definitely plentiful. Having to give it up made the decision to leave my last job much more difficult.

  5. Benjamin Rosenbaum

    Ooo! Google!

    Wow! So what’s not to like? Don’t they give you a day a week to fiddle with whatever you feel like? Don’t they have buckets of free food? Don’t they swarm with extremely smart and creative people? Aren’t they awash with ridiculous amounts of money? Don’t they provide an invaluable service to the world?

    And the short commute is a very, very good thing. (Presuming the actual work hours aren’t a great deal longer…)

  6. Jed

    Thanks for all the congratulations and comments!

    Short version of answer to Ben (trying to be careful not to say anything here that would reflect too badly on either company, ’cause I like both companies and think both have a lot going for them): The corporate culture at Google is a bit more startup-ish than I’m usually comfortable with (but my current job is getting more big-company-ish than I’m usually comfortable with); and the work I would be doing isn’t quite as interesting to me as what I was doing for most of the time I’ve been at my current job (but I haven’t worked on that project in the past year), and there are details of the offer that I’m not entirely happy with. Also, it’s likely that I would have to share a cube, and I really hate sharing cubes.

    So, still undecided. I’ve got about a week left to make up my mind.


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