Huge down-level at Google

Feb 15, 2019 53 Comments

I'm an SDE2 at Microsoft (L62) with 6.5 years of experience. I interviewed at Google for SWE-SRE and got an offer for Zurich but got down-levelled to L3 !

I'm located in India with a TC of 3.5 million INR (roughly 50k USD). The TC I'm being offered in Zurich is 230k USD so it's a huge TC bump for me.

Recruiter said I'm down-levelled because I don't have prior SRE experience, and HC decided I was a very strong L3 candidate instead.

I have the following questions -

1. Can I use the SWE-SRE offer and negotiate for an SWE team match?

2. Is it worth taking the offer given the down level? I'll save 5x more than I do in India but I'll start at a level that new hires start at.

3. If I interviewed at F/U/Apple after a few years, with total yoe as 10 but as L4 then at Google, will I be able to interview for E5/L5a/ICT4 ?

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TOP 53 Comments
  • Microsoft X9pl12
    You’re getting a huge pay increase and a level with lots of room to grow. I think you’re doing very well unless you just don’t want to be an SRE.
    Feb 15, 2019 0
  • Google DgUH12t
    You should focus on TC rather than level. US$230k is a very strong L3 offer, especially in Zurich. If you perform at L4, promo is a year or two away (though don't expect a big pay bump because your comp is on the very high end of L3). If you don't perform at L4, at least you're not being managed out.

    TLDR: For the same comp, you're better off at a lower level.
    Feb 15, 2019 2
    • Microsoft ramare
      Tldr - Are you serious? You get lesser refresher, lesser salary band. Only the initial grant saves you.
      And promo will take at least 2 years of sustained performance.
      Feb 15, 2019
    • Google DgUH12t
      It's not true that you'll get less refresher, everything else being equal. An L3 performing at L4 should expect "Strongly Exceeds Expectations" perf ratings which will lead to refreshers comparable to a CME L4, if not more. Google's comp as a function of performance curves are pretty steep.
      Feb 15, 2019
  • IBM / Data bbWI22
    How do you intend on saving 5X more?
    Feb 15, 2019 6
    • IBM / Data bbWI22
      I forgot about the free food at Google. But would OP be exempt from the accident insurance, pension contributions, etc? I’m seeing 70k in taxes not 50.

      Also dude my main point is that the lifestyle you’re suggesting is extremely frugal, which is not what OP is likely used to in India. An annual income of ₹35 lakhs in India puts OP among the top 0.08% of Indians, which doesn’t scream live in a flatshare or spend literally the minimum amount per month required for subsistence.

      OP should accept the offer, keeping in mind the lifestyle changes he or she would be required to make in order to really save the magnitude of money he or she is hoping to save.
      Feb 15, 2019
    • Google / Eng statusz
      Accident insurance is 100% covered by Google. They also pay some extra on top of base salary for health insurance. As an SRE he probably also qualifies for a free corp phone and home internet reimbursement. Pension deduction is part of your savings, you cash it out when leaving the country paying only a tiny tax if done correctly (transfer the money to a fund in SZ before you go). Even AHV in some cases depending on your passport you can also largely take in cash when leaving, or else as a pension at 65+, it's not all wasted money.

      Yes, the lifestyle I'm suggesting is pretty frugal, but possible savings are substantial, you can retire to India and never work another day in your life after just 5-10 years of working here. It will be up to OP to find the right balance for himself between a) frugality, earlier FI/RE, higher disposable spend later and b) comfort and high spend now. The younger he is, the more sense it makes to be frugal IMHO, compounding returns is the key. I also think that quality of life living frugally in Switzerland beats frugal living in India in any case
      Feb 15, 2019
  • Google / Eng statusz
    You're getting paid like an L4. Perform as one and you'll get your promo in a year or so and a raise. Put your ego aside and take the money.
    Feb 15, 2019 4
    • Any suggestion for moving from l4 to l5?
      Feb 16, 2019
    • Google / Eng statusz
      Shit out a ton of design docs
      Feb 16, 2019
  • Amazon / Eng Yolo!
    You’ll save 5X more just because your TC in an expensive western country with a high cost of living went up 5X of your Indian TC?

    I don’t mean to be funny, but for this alone I will say you are L3
    Feb 15, 2019 6
    • How did you calculate 10k per month after tax? Link to the tax calculator?
      Feb 16, 2019
    • Google / Eng statusz
      Comparis.ch has fairly accurate calculators. Use Quellensteuer calculator - it uses gross income as input and calculates what Google has to deduct from your paycheck for tax prepayment. Note however your final taxes will be different in any case, but those calculators need net income after all possible tax deductions. You don't have enough context to estimate those accurately, I suppose, so just stick with Quellensteuer as a first order approximation.
      Feb 16, 2019
  • Amazon amazoha
    What kind actions you got asked? Medium, hard? Graph/dp?
    Feb 15, 2019 6
    • Microsoft dilemma!
      OP
      Thank you zeff :)

      I did about 200 LC in two months. I wanted to get comfortable with every topic so I did topic wise then frequency wise.

      I've heard that Google doesn't ask leetcode questions verbatim so I tried to gain as much comfort as I could with every topic.
      Feb 15, 2019
    • Amazon zeff jezus
      Enjoy beautiful Zurich and I hope you get to L4 soon 😊
      Feb 15, 2019
  • Amazon / Eng
    ObongoAmnz

    Amazon Eng

    PRE
    Microsoft
    ObongoAmnzmore
    Your level is your level. Do not take a downlevel. They are counting on you being blinded by the comp increase. Cost of living in India and other economic factors influence that low TC relative to Zurich. Get your deserved level and get paid what you are worth by Zurich standards.

    Now this all depends on your interview performance.
    Feb 15, 2019 4
    • Google / Eng statusz
      The difference between Mountain View and Zurich is that in MTV you can actually relatively easily find another job next door (or next town at most) that will match or beat your Google TC, especially with the cost cutting that's been going on recently. Not so in Zurich, I hate my project currently and would quit if I could but I'm gold handcuffed to it here ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      Unemployment insurance would pay me more than any other firm around here. And I can't easily move to US
      Feb 15, 2019
    • Salesforce curious03
      Why can't u get a Google US offer ?
      Apr 8, 2019
  • Facebook public2
    Why would you even consider turning this down?
    Feb 15, 2019 0
  • Google VROC85
    Can you break down your comp in Zurich offer? 230k is unheard of for L3.
    Feb 15, 2019 4
    • Microsoft dilemma!
      OP
      That's a very good point. I'm hoping I'll get to L4 and the base pay raise plus increases refreshers will make it up for the cliff.

      My fiancee works for Microsoft and I'm hoping she'll get transferred to Msft Zurich as well and that should alleviate a bit of the load.

      What's the refresher for L3 and L4 look like?
      Feb 15, 2019
    • Google VROC85
      That's L4 comp in the Bay Area. I don't understand why they don't give you L4 at this comp. Promo L3 to L4 usually takes _at least_ a year.
      Feb 15, 2019
  • New Ksh93
    If you like to travel , there should be no doubt. Zurich is less than a few hours away from the whole of Europe
    Feb 15, 2019 1
    • Uber / Eng AreJay45
      I agree best reason is this!
      Feb 15, 2019

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