Stop trying to make fetch happen, or why I take issue with fixation on Google

Recently my dad emailed me the following news article.

While stories about 7 year old girls going after what they want at an early age and it being something like computer science is great, I take issue with parents and society as a whole putting companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon on pedestals like this, but in particular, Google.

The issue I take with this is in two prongs. The first one is companies aspiring to be like Google. I take issue with this because I think companies should be happy in themselves that their culture is what they’re aiming for, that they do things their own way and accept that putting bean bags and free bikes, food, massages, gyms and other amenities into their offices isn’t going to make their culture amazing. ey, if you want to give me those things, fine, great, but it doesn’t make you Google. Additionally, every company’s culture has its downsides, and google will be no exception. Having everyone around you be amazing has to cause one hell of an imposter syndrome problem.

My other problem is people like this 7 year old girl and what they’re told about aspirations as a developer. I’ve met many developers who dream of working at Google. I was one of them. I’ll be honest and say that I’ve never applied to work there, and that’s a mix of thinking I won’t get in, laziness and wondering whether it’s what I really want or whether their culture has been overhyped.

Society seems to have this image that it’s the holy grail, everything will be perfect when you get there and you can slide down fireman poles to your hearts content. Films like The Internship proliferate this and make it seem as if a job at Google is the prize. Similarly, they make it seem like it’s an impossible target, when if you really, really wanted it, and more importantly you were right for Google, it really isn’t impossible.

The point I’m trying to make is not everyone can or should be a Googler. The fixation shouldn’t be on free stuff and doing everything 100% perfect so you can get there, because in the same way that Google’s culture won’t work at every company, not every person will work well in that environment. The focus shouldn’t be on being the perfect image of a Googler, it should be on finding out what culture you really want to be in, what makes you tick and what you enjoy about hanging out and working with other people. The second half to this problem is, if as I’ve described, you have this image that if your life as a developer goes perfect, that’s got to be an awful blow to your self confidence if you don’t make it.