While Microsoft and Google are both companies situated in the tech industry, their offices could not have been more different. Walking into Google headquarters yesterday, I felt as though I was walking into spaceship with the décor reminding me of Stanely Kubrik’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. The colorful furniture and décor screamed fun which was something we learned is very important to Google and its working culture.
When giving us the tour around the small city that makes up Google’s Dublin office, I took note of how much the company values work-life balance. It seemed that the company really believes that it is in their best interest to make sure their employees are happy, while Microsoft really focuses on making sure their customer is happy. Google as a whole seemed more casual and informal, which you could derive from the employees’ style of dress which consisted mainly of jeans and t-shirts.
I was also surprised to hear that both our guides at Google did not study anything related to business, with one graduating with a degree in Russian/German and the other in Graphic Design. Now, they are both working in marketing and sales at one of the largest tech companies in the world. Even in terms of hiring practices, I found that Google is more unconventional than Microsoft. I would even compare Google to THINKHOUSE which also hires people who have taken “untraditional” careers path.
After seeing so many people who have taken untraditional paths in successful positions, it not only gives me reassurance in taking an unconventional path down the road, but also reassurance that billion-dollar companies value individualism and creativity. In school, it can sometimes feel like there is a cookie cutter image of what it means to be a successful student, but if I learned anything from the site visit to Google, it’s to never hide your authentic yourself because you’ll never know what traits or skills a company will value.