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Bill Brown

A complicated man.

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It's really tough: I read Steve Yegge's description of the perks of working at Google Kirkland and I'm torn. On the one hand, damn! Can you imagine working in a cushy environment like that? It's the lap of luxury and you don't even have to be a billionaire to enjoy it—you just need to get hired by Google!

On the other hand, damn! Can you imagine working in a cushy environment like that? It seems like you'd get so soft because of the coddling and you'd really have to work to avoid feeling entitled. It seems that Aaron Swartz may have been on to something with his critique of life at Google. It certainly appears that Larry Page might have second thoughts.

Personally, I like the work. All the music studios, dog parks, gyms, and such seem like distractions from work. Don't get me wrong: you definitely should take breaks but a walk would suffice. Moreover, free food and all the rest cost a lot of money. It doesn't come out of salaries or capital expenditures, seemingly, but it's got to come from somewhere. My guess is that Google's generating cash out the wazoo and the cost of perks is not yet registering on shareholders' radars.

The effects of this sort of coddling poses a real threat both to Google and the employee. When there comes a time to reduce the perks—and that seems inevitable—the business risks alienating employees who have come to expect the perks. For the employee, he or she will have a difficult time at the next company if they can even find one comparable in pay. Personally, I say no thanks. I'll take my generous pay, excellent benefits, flexible schedule, and reasonable perks any day.