Google is famous for its perks, but the ones that ended up being my favorite were not the free food:
- Peer bonuses
- Anyone at Google can nominate a coworker for a peer bonus. They write a couple sentences about what the person did and send it to their manager for approval. It’s a really nice way of getting quick recognition for going above and beyond for someone. I feel bad that I didn’t give more of these out, but it was a terrifically nice feeling to get them.
- Anonymous mailing list for woman engineers
- During my tenure, someone started an anonymous mailing list for woman engineers, where people discussed everything from robotics to travel to birth control. There was also, of course, lots of discussions about how to deal with the unpleasant situations women in tech invariably find themselves in. Having this platform was like having a place you could breathe free.
I am also proud of my contributions: when I was having a rough week a while ago, I started a thread about “tell me about a cool thing you’re doing” (I gave the example of having just regrouted my bathroom tile) and it became one of the most popular threads on the list. During the recent issues with The Document That Shall Not Be Named, someone revived this thread and people decided to make it a monthly topic, so I’m happy to have that as my (unattributable) legacy.
- Mail room
- I hate going to the post office and I always feel like I’m doing it “wrong” (I’ll stand in the wrong line, use the wrong box, something). Google’s mail room had all sorts of envelopes and boxes and, most importantly, would let you drop off any envelope or package and they’d put on the right stamps on for free. They also had a hilarious wall of portraits of “famous postal workers” (Newman of Seinfeld, the guy from Cheers, and so on).