“Tech it Easy.” This is the slogan written on the wall of the room at Tel Aviv Google Campus where a Google representative talked to us about this R&D center for the world famous company. Not only is this a catchy pun, but also it truly encapsulates the atmosphere at Google Campus.
Guest Blogger: Anna is a sophomore at WashU
Google has beautiful work spaces so employees are happy at work. This includes delicious and healthy breakfasts and lunches that allow employees to mingle with co-workers, furthering friendships and sharing of ideas. There are even countless amenities: gym, washing machine, postal service, and even a barber that comes once a week! It was also an honor to hear from the manager of the Google Tel Aviv R&D center and amusing to see him wearing jeans and black T-shirt when he oversees over 600 Google employees.
I learned about components/abilities of Google that I didn’t even know existed such as Google Sites (where one can create his/her own website hosted by Google). I was also intrigued by the 20% Project which allows employees to work on their own side projects 20% of their time. This feeds into the entrepreneurial culture that is so present in Israel, allowing people to think on their own independently apart from their main Google assignments. Remarkable projects have come out of this, including digitizing Yad Vashem records and the Dead Sea Scrolls, preserving them forever and making them widely available electronically. This seems so different than many work environments that are more possessive of employees and are structured hierarchically such that those at the top have more latitude for innovation than those expected to complete assigned tasks.
When the Google representative was asked his favorite thing about working at Google, he answered simply: the people (the same reason I picked WashU). It’s no wonder it’s so difficult to get a job at Google because, as the representative described, everyone who works there is strong professionally/technically and highly motivated, but also has fun hobbies and is interesting and personable. Being well rounded is so important in any industry – it’s not good enough to just be really good at computer technology or only being able to communicate with people: to work for Google you need both. Google understands that the value of technical and intellectual talents is compromised without equally compelling personal and interpersonal qualities.
While I think more fields (and colleges) today appreciate that success depends on the entire person, not just their intelligence, I imagine few professions look for these qualities as thoroughly as Google does. I am reminded of a physician who cannot communicate with or comfort a patient or a professor who excels in research but cannot teach – both likely compromise the work they perform and the consumers they serve.
I was also made aware of the many social movements Google has led. We have learned from so many places (the news, VCs, Start Up Nation, etc) how the many Orthodox Jews and Arabs in Israel are under-employed. Google provides programs for both of these groups through Kama-Tech (for Orthodox Jews) and Palestinian High-Tech Trade Mission.
Google additionally helps bridge the gap between the number of men and women in high tech by both creating Yazamiot, a women’s entrepreneurial movement, and Mind the Gap, a program that encourages high school girls to major in computer science. I appreciate the way Google is reaching out to different underprivileged groups of people without gaining any immediate reward in return. Just as Google regards employees as “whole” people, the company seems to consider the whole environment in which it operates and engages that environment. How fitting for a company that offers such an interactive product to value interaction in all aspects of its operation.
Image: Google headquarters in Tel Aviv.