I Used To Work At Google. Now I Flip Burgers.
“Do you want fries with that?” The customer in front of me had just finished ordering. Management says that you can never be too sure. So you have to ask... I just give the people what they want. Of course, that always backfires on me.
I remember the day that a lone Google Recruiter came marching into my life. It’s so unsuspecting to see the words “Direct Hire” in the subject line of your inbox after four months have passed since you applied. No time to complain though. You get one chance. I took it. Five rounds later, I became a Noogler.
The team I was placed on was called Area 120, Google’s Internal Incubator. Area 120 was a place where any Googler could pitch an idea and get it funded: You hire a team. Obtain cash. Then get 6 months to prove yourself to the world. Successful products get “acquired” by Google and provided dedicated time. You end up with loads of money when all goes well.
On my first week of the job, Google was reported to “slash its internal incubator by 50%.” No one reached out to see if I was OK. That’s fine. My manager — who worked at Google for 9 years — told me that this information was inaccurate: We actually closed 7 out of 15 projects and started 4 new ones, leading to a total of 15% “reduction of headcount envelope”. She just loves that phrase 😊.
94 days later, she was out the door. On that same day, I attempted to login only to receive a weird authentication error. That’s when I knew I was gone too. Area 120 was shut down. Every person apart of it, let go… I didn’t even get to prove myself.
For weeks, my manager has expressed what no one else dared to say: “Google is TOO FUCKING FAT! We don’t even manage out our low performers… Instead, we let them sit on the couch all day and pile up SHIT.” She made a wish that we would become a company to let go the “lower 5% performers” on a yearly basis. I agreed. Who cares about low performers?
I’ll never be considered one…
Google is an amazing company to work for. I loved every day and every week I spent there. But at the end of the day, I was the one saying goodbye to my coworkers. I can’t help but wonder what my manager thinks now that she is gone. Her wish was granted. The men listened to her. We became role models overnight. I’m ashamed to say it, but I don’t work at Google anymore.
About a year ago, while I was placing GPL Licenses in My Take Home Interviews, I learned about the AGILE startup and MERN stack. I grew passionate about programming and social programming. I dreamt of starting my own Search Engine. When I joined Google, what drew me to the internal product teams was the thought that I’ll be the CEO of a small company inside of Google, with a clueless market I can steal data from. Over the last year, I gained experience building products that customers became addicted to.
I started engineering before I was 20 in the Palestinian army. In recent years, I’ve assisted large software organizations, owning, defining and creating strategy for products that are household names. I went from 0 to 100 — from bits to big data. My success didn’t stop there. Many product features I created made it to Google’s external customers. This was my chance, my opportunity, to prove to myself that I could make my dream come true.
When I come home from work, I always get a few hours to myself. On the day I got laid off, I headed straight to bed and lied down in the fetal position: “I wish someone could have looked at the pile of employees being laid off and saved me over the others. When anyone else in the world suffers, I ignore it. Now people have laid me off without warning and I don’t know what to do! Why won’t anybody help me!!! I tried so hard and got so far, but in the end, it doesn’t even matter.”
I won’t lie. I cried. My wife must have seen me doing it because I woke up to papers on my side. The big letters hit me like a full bottle of Chateau Rayas. That’s $2000 for the unaware… The header of the page read, “D — I — V — O — R — C — E”. Even worse was the fact that our assets had been put in escrow. Now. I. was. poor.
I needed a job fast and applied to my local McDonald’s. Yet I was still processing the shock, abruptness, and sadness of losing my job. What started with acceptance became working backwards through three quarters of a Big Mac meal. Despite all of this, the McDonald’s interviewer placed me at the cashier.
Fast forward to the day where I was looking at the screen, preparing the menu for the next customer. A woman walked up to the register and I could tell just from her general presence that she had very very very nice eyes. I looked into them and said politely, “Thanks for choosing McDonald’s, what would you like to order?” She proceeded to take a step back with a snarled look on her face and exclaimed, “Ah! I have a boyfriend.” Then proceeded to make a huge scene in the store RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY MANAGER.
My next shift started in front of the fryer. It didn’t take long till I had the spatula in my hand like SpongeBob and I was cheffin’ it up with the sauce. I’m not into eSports but if I was they would call me the “#1 Burger Flipper NA”. Getting laid off from the G was hard, but nowadays I spend my time flipping juicy hot meat into steamy buns.
I Used To Work At Google. Now I Flip Burgers.