The manatee watches...

The Internship & Google Jun 07, 2013

I just returned from a company outing to see "The Internship". I had set my expectations kind of low, but was pleasantly surprised. It's not great per se but is cute. Working for the company portrayed in the movie, they give a pretty good recreation of the campus and the company backdrop. But I take issue with the one thing that they get very, very wrong about Google: the people.

In the movie, work hours are long, the people are straight-up mean, and the corporate culture is cut throat. The interns are told that their Summer program is a little more than a competition, a "mental Hunger Games" as they call it. 95% of them will not be given jobs. Unfortunately, (in the movie) this turns out to be exactly the case - the protagonists and their team end up employed but at the expense of the hundred or so other bright and capable interns.

The full-time employees are don't fair much better in the script writer's hands. The two shown most frequently are rude, over-worked, and generally mean-spirited people. The term "googley" is bandied about, but those that use it are laughed at and derided.

This runs exactly contrary to everything that I've experienced in my time at Google. Google is full of incredible people, kind people, and thoughtful people. I had never worked at a place before this where each person that I meet is universally generous and outgoing. While there are some jokes about the word "googley", no one would deny that it is a positive attribute and something that they would like ascribed to themselves.

Are my coworkers at Google smart? Yes, but they aren't braggarts. Do they work hard? Yes, but not a the expense of their own well being. Are expectations here high? Yes, but they're not unreasonable. Google accomplishes great things not by virtue of fostering a hostile environment. Google accomplishes great things by employing great people and encouraging them to succeed.