It shouldn't shock anyone that the reality of working for Google is not nearly as swell as what some of us might imagine it to be it is, after all, a job at a company, with all the mundane meetings and lame middle managers of any company. But now there's a Quora thread with thoughts from a bunch of current and former Googlers about why it sucks.
First off: Pretty much everyone is over-qualified for what they do. They've got people with advanced degrees doing crap like manually removing flagged content from YouTube and providing tech support for ad products. This leads to a lot of boredom, and under-achievement, apparently, amongst people who are used to being over-stimulated overachievers.
I used to joke with my colleagues that Larry & Sergey go out on their yachts - tie them together, sit back on the same recliners you'll find on their jumbo jet, each on his own yacht/set of yachts, smoke cigars, and put up pictures of Googlers with little snippets like "was a GM at muti-national telecomm company, got a Harvard MBA and is now answering Orkut tickets." and then they would erupt in laughter and clink their cigars & Scotch together in celebration. This, of course, is highly unlikely given neither of them would ever smoke a cigar or drink Scotch. Remainder is plausible.
I also felt like the "too many bright people" issue caused a problem. When everyone is stack ranked against each other, someone has to be on the bottom or in the bottom half. For many bright people who had always been at the top in whatever venture they attempted, occasionally getting stack ranked at the bottom was a painful experience.
Still, though, not everyone is awesome, and there are some dark politics as there are in any large company.
Unfortunately, in spite of the common belief, I think the average level of Google engineers is mediocre. With a lot of arrogance, too... In the last team I found myself in such a sea of lies, like K in Kafka's "The Castle", that I was totally lost... sighed and went ahead interviewing... they hit me first though; I was, and probably still am in their blacklist. Politics is my weak point of course.
Many share offices, and cubes, despite there being plenty of space for non-office uses.
If you have to work in one of the four main campus buildings, you will most likely be extremely cramped. It's not uncommon to see 3-4 employees in a single cube, or several managers sharing an office. With all the open areas for food, games, TV, tech talks, etc, it can be surprisingly hard to find a quiet, private place to think.
And it kind of sounds like a hellish version of summer camp.
The worst part of working for Google is the people. In order to get in to work at Google you have to be the kind of person who "whoops" when your CEO comes in the conference room. And screams with excitement when they announce "We've introduced...searching by pictures!!!" as a new product. You need to think it's cool to be a "Newgler". Yes, the old guard in Google like to call themselves Googlers, and when you first join you are a "New Googler" or "Newgler" as they like to call you. And they think this is cool when they tell you that...You have to work with people who tell you that on your first day and get excited about it, in another life they'd work at camp. They tell you that there is no "Management" when there clearly is.
Also, it makes people fat.
I put on 18 kilos while working at Google. But they also provided access to great gym within the office. One of my colleagues lost 20-30 kilos while I was there. But with so much food around, it was hard to resist and soon I realized that I was eating whenever I was bored or thinking.
There, don't you feel better about your dumb job now?