Google feels like a mistake...

Google GoldenPant
Jul 1 45 Comments

I joined Google right out of college 3 years ago (T3). I was bright-eyed and motivated. I had other offers, but I thought Google would be the best in terms of comp (which it was) and maybe experience too.

They said I would get a choice of teams, but after 3 months of the "process", I only had one "match" (I interviewed for and was hired for Washington). I figured things would be fine. I never had wanted to do front-end, but maybe I wasn't giving it a fair shake? Maybe it would be as interesting as the jobs at some of the offers I had turned down?

Here we are, 3 years later, and I feel I may have made the wrong choice.

I feel like I have done nothing worth mentioning, I feel less capable than I was when I interviewed, more dull, and much less motivated. I haven't felt growth, but rather regression.

No promotion, I am fairly sure I don't like frontend (at least the way we do it: Boq/Wiz), not much understanding of anything.

My whole tenure at Google I haven't really known how I could be better. I have felt stuck in my spot though until I can improve or "prove myself".

At this point I know I need a change and I would like advice (or chastisement, if I deserve it). Rip me apart Blind.

How can I improve? I don't feel it is as simple as "put in more hours".

Am I stuck until I improve or "prove myself"?

Not that I see things in Google in WA that interest me on go/grow, but would anyone want to take on a 3-year L3 anyway?

How could I advertise myself to a different company without coming across as incapable?

Am I cut out to be a SWE of I haven't liked it at "one of the best engineering companies"?

Any relevant stories or wisdom?

If I should gtfo of SWE, what are related jobs I might consider?

L3
3 YOE (not counting internships)
TC: $200k (according to go/prosper, $120k salary)

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TOP 45 Comments
  • Deloitte broadway74
    You need to interview with companies you don’t care about. Figure out how to spin your experience into a positive. Even a receptionist who order donuts for an office can spin it to say he/she organizes and manages office tasks. It’s about how you spin it and you sound depressed. Do some interviews to work on crafting your stories and gain confidence then to interview where you actually want

    Also be grateful you had the opportunity...$200k 3 years after college is really good. Better then 80% ppl in the United States
    Jul 1 3
    • Google GoldenPant
      OP
      Good idea about the interviewing, thank you!

      No arguments about that comp, probably better than I deserve. I definitely have counted myself lucky.
      Jul 1
    • eBay abababbb
      Probably better than 95% I would say
      Jul 1
    • Webroot myguy
      200k income is better than 98% of people in the US in 2014 according to: https://graphics.wsj.com/what-percent/
      Jul 2
  • New / Eng QTdN03
    I feel sad now. Can’t you use 20% of your time to do something exciting?
    Jul 1 5
    • Google GoldenPant
      OP
      Two reasons I haven't: 1) Managers have told me things like "A 20% project happens from 100% to 120%" or "This is not a good time, we need to get things out the door"; 2) The 20% projects "availaible" to me of interest have been few and far between.
      Jul 1
    • Deloitte broadway74
      I think you need to carve out the time yourself. No one is going to handhold you to find what projects you are passionate about. If you are interested in a specific hardware or software ( not engineer and don’t know terminology) go out and meet ppl doing those projects. Volunteer to help them and who knows maybe you eventually network to another team. You need to own your career and take action. If you sit back you will have same problem at company xyz
      Jul 1
    • New / Eng QTdN03
      Sounds like your problem is a shitty manager who doesn’t value your development and happiness.
      Jul 1
    • LinkedIn nubody
      Managers are not mothers or fathers. What kind of utopia you living?
      Jul 1
    • Amazon rumpuz
      Career development is part of a manager's job.
      Jul 2
  • Wizards of the Coast aaaabaa
    I was stuck for 5 years at Junior, 6 years after leaving that company I'm a principle at my dream job. It sounds like you've gone to sleep, it happens to the best of us at times in our careers, but it's time to wake up.

    Do whatever you need to to make that happen. For me, I took a job at a three man company, it changed my life. Maybe you need to take a couple months of mental health time and work on something interesting or change jobs. Get out of your comfort zone, work with something you don't understand, get excited about something.

    Most of all, remember this feeling, etch it into your mind, and never let yourself go to sleep again. It's personal and career death.
    Jul 2 1
    • Wizards of the Coast aaaabaa
      Oh and never let yourself be cowed into staying somewhere you're not wanted by financial worries. You're a goddamn (former) Google engineer, it's unbecoming.
      Jul 2
  • eBay wtftc
    3 years is a drop compared to your career, you didn’t waste anything. Try doing some interesting side projects (open source or within google).
    The G name opens many doors that are not possible otherwise. So, make use of it and make the move. YOLO!
    Jul 1 0
  • Google / Eng QrJx75
    Lots of encouraging words on the thread. But no one is giving you the hard truth you need. So I'll take a crack :)

    You need to admit to yourself that you need to improve. And it is not to "prove yourself" because you've had 3 years to do so. If you had something to prove, it would have been done already. I'm positive during calibrations your manager/director has already asked what can be done to get you out of L3.

    What can you do to improve? Switching teams and getting into a different environment is a good start, but you must couple that with a growth mindset. You need to be proactive and learn everything. Your explanation of boq in the earlier comments shows me that you just go thru the motions. I don't code in boq framework, and even I know what it is!

    Be engaged man. Otherwise, you're wasting your talents.
    Jul 2 1
    • New pbYo77
      This is some good advice. When I was team matching at Google, the HMs really emphasized that you are in charge of your own career there, which I appreciated
      Jul 2
  • Microsoft sillyboi
    There are millions (including me) out there who are ready to do anything to get a chance to work at Google. You landed there right out of college and gained experience. That's a solid thing on your resume. You can basically move anywhere you want now.
    Jul 1 6
    • Microsoft sillyboi
      After working at AWS and azure, that's the last bastion. Not for lower than existing TC though.
      Jul 1
    • Cisco fresh-prin
      Aws is in its own league with azure not far behind. Gcp is wayyyy far behind
      Jul 1
    • Microsoft sillyboi
      Yeah but experienced both 😋
      Jul 1
    • New / Eng
      bleatcode

      New Eng

      PRE
      Amazon
      bleatcodemore
      So which is better built behind the scenes? Will azure always be playing catch-up or will they innovate apart from AWS?
      Jul 1
    • Microsoft sillyboi
      Tbh, cloud wars isn't much about innovation(not to say it doesn't matter). It's majorly played out by sales, field, support, ecosystem and pricing. AWS isn't far ahead coz they got superior tech. It's because of first mover advantage and robust customer ecosystem. In fact, lots of AWS services are just open source+glue code. Not really built from scratch. That way, Microsoft, Google have had some great original technologies. Azure is sadly going the AWS way of glue code to catch-up fast. I would even argue, Google cloud has the best original technologies currently. But doesn't mean they win the cloud wars coz it's much more than technology.
      Jul 1
  • Google ysNB35
    First question to ask yourself: am I burnt out at Google? Meaning I can't find it in myself to put in some more effort now, even if I knew it would pay off. If that's that case, interview someplace else, and negotiate a start date in September, take the summer off.
    If you are not burnt out, then you should have a serious talk with your mgr. Tell them you want to take charge of your career and get to L4 in 12-18 months. Ask them for guidance about what you need to do to get to EE.
    At L3 your manager should help you find tasks that demonstrate EE and later L4. But you need to ask for them. I then recommend a career discussion once every 4-8 weeks.
    Jul 1 0
  • Amazon lkhgf
    How to advertise yourself to other companies? No need to do anything, you have G on your resume.
    How to grow? If you don't like the team find another one that has more impact. If you can't find any at Google in WA, you can either move to another state (CA?) or move to another company in WA.

    How to still keep a high TC? Get several offers and negotiate.
    Jul 1 0
  • Cisco frans.ba
    3 years at L3 isn’t so bad G normally doesn’t hire straight out of college anyway. I know people with 6+ that switched to G for L3, and 10+ that switched to L4... to each their own as I would guess that would be a step back in career chasing a better company ‘name’
    Jul 1 3
    • Amazon I5swfi
      Google hires tons of new grads. L3 is basically an entry level position
      Jul 1
    • Google / Eng jf8s3b
      I suspect majority of l3 are new grads. Median time to l4 is 2 years fyi
      Jul 2
    • Google GoldenPant
      OP
      The median time to L4 in 2 years has had me worried. I feel like L4 is easily more than a year away for me.
      Jul 2
  • Google jlKI86
    Exactly the same situation and tech stack, but 4 years in. Wrestling with the same questions and problems. I have no real answers tbh. Also considering leaving the field. Feel free to PM.
    Jul 24 0
  • Amazon I5swfi
    If you want a light a fire under your ass, go to Facebook.
    Jul 1 0
  • New / Eng PQQw63
    Thank you for sharing your perspective.

    At least you have G on your resume. It is a good thing. Many people dream to have it and leetcode everyday.
    Jul 1 0
  • Facebook cuck
    Wtf is boq/wiz
    Jul 1 7
    • Google GoldenPant
      OP
      Some teams do, I think, but mine, and others, use Wiz. If I've leaked a secret, don't out me ;)
      Jul 1
    • Facebook cuck
      I don't know what that is but it sounds terrible
      Jul 1
    • New / Eng
      bleatcode

      New Eng

      PRE
      Amazon
      bleatcodemore
      I'm guessing Wiz is just a common (googley) themed UI component/widget library. Surely Facebook has the same internally for consistency.
      Jul 1
    • Facebook cuck
      Yes we have a few react UI libraries
      Jul 2
    • Facebook bhha
      Nope it’s a full fledged framework
      Jul 2
  • Google pepperpots
    Wiz? Are you working with legacy code? If so that's bad. Some JavaScript frameworks might really make you hate coding. Typescript + angular + apps framework is what most teams do now. May be switch to teams that have already migrated to new frameworks. Get l4 and then try switching to backend if needs be.
    Jul 1 2
    • New / Eng
      bleatcode

      New Eng

      PRE
      Amazon
      bleatcodemore
      Wait, you can't just switch teams ad-hoc at G with meets expectations? You can at FB and AMZN from what I hear.
      Jul 1
    • Google GoldenPant
      OP
      Well, the other manager has to want you on their team for you to move...

      My codebase is not legacy. Our legacy codebase that we still have to poke into sometimes uses Closure components.
      Jul 2
  • New / Eng
    XEsK75

    New Eng

    PRE
    Amazon
    BIO
    Fullstack Developer
    XEsK75more
    Work on side projects. Front-End is actually pretty fun and has gotten really complex now. Play around with React/Redux/React Native or Angular/TypeScript/Ionic. Good luck OP!
    Jul 1 0
  • Coupang
    butthol

    Coupang

    PRE
    Facebook
    BIO
    I am speed.
    buttholmore
    This is what happens when you don’t have a good leader or mentor to help you progress
    Jul 1 0
  • Facebook Vasu56
    Try changing team and location as well if possible. If nothing works, then start hunting outside
    Jul 1 0