Six months into Google as Software Engineer: perks & benefits

21 Aug 2022

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Google is famous for its generous perks & benefits. Google has many perks & benefits and it wouldn’t actually be useful to list them all here. Instead, I will talk about those perks & benefits that stood out for me and made a difference in my life.

Three meals a day. When I say ‘meal’ I mean proper breakfast, proper lunch, and proper dinner with many options to choose from. For a person who does not fancy cooking, this can make a big difference. I am one of those people: the last meal I cooked was scrambled eggs and it was a year ago. Since I joined Google I’ve been eating 3 proper meals on time. Simply eating 3 meals on time improved my health tremendously.

Also, if you don’t cook it probably means you either order food or go to some nearby restaurant. I am 100% sure everyone agrees that “What should we order today?” or “Which restaurant should we go to today?” is one of those very difficult daily questions. Not having to answer that question every day has been a big load off my head.

Randomizing meal choices

Gym & showers. One of my colleagues told me that for him one of the best perks at Google is the gym and showers. “Yeah, exactly!”, I told him. Regularly going to the gym requires a good amount of discipline. Having to find a nearby gym that suits you, managing the subscription for it, and spending a total of 2 hours for an hour of exercising doesn’t help much with mustering that disciple.

At Google, it takes me 5 minutes from me working at my desk to me starting my workout: 1 minute to walk to the changing room, 2-3 minutes to change, and 1 more minute to reach the gym. Now that I told you that it is easy to hit the gym for me, some of you might think that I go to the gym regularly. I did so, at least first 2 months. Unfortunately, I found the gym a bit boring. Maybe I need good gym pals to actually enjoy it.

You go to gym regularly, right?

Needless to say, I am satisfied with my one-pack and found a great alternative to burning calories: sports. Currently, my week is filled with various sports games organized by Googlers: football twice a week, volleyball twice a week, ultimate frisbee on Wednesdays, and if those aren’t enough - bouldering in the evenings. Again, it takes 5 minutes from my desk to me playing one of those games (except for bouldering - it takes 30 minutes to reach the bouldering place). There is an added benefit to playing these games compared to the gym. It is a great way to meet new people and make friends. Since I joined Google I’ve been physically active and fit. I got to meet so many cool people from other teams.

Dogfooding. Eating your own dog food or “dogfooding” is the practice of using one’s own products or services. It is a way for Google to test its products in real-world usage by having its own employees to use and provide feedback on products and services before they are launched. Googlers can apply to these internal dogfood programs and get to use new cool features and products before the launch. It could be a new Gmail feature or the next Pixel phone. For me, there is a certain pleasure in using the next big things before they become the next big things.

What gives people power?

Legal support & relocation. Relocating to a new country and settling in (registration, opening a bank account, and getting your work permit) can be very challenging, especially if you don’t speak the local language. Having a dedicated person working with you on my relocation process and making appointments on my behalf when needed made a big difference for me. I even had a person who accompanied me to registration appointments.

Google provides a full relocation package to its employees. Pretty much everything someone with an accompanying spouse and kids would need to relocate hassle-free: apartment hunting, moving, flight tickets, temporary accommodation, car rentals, language course, etc. However, these services are not much of use to someone single like me. Luckily, there is a cash-out option. That means Google pays you certain amount of money to handle your own relocation.

» Next chapter: work-life balance