Shocked to come back to provide and update and see it's been exactly one month since I started the thread.
Two weeks ago I talked to a coworker of mine who is a UX designer. She has been at Big-G for 10 months and told me she's leaving to go to Microsoft. She's taking a promotion and pay increase to leave Big-G and work at Xbox. I was surprised that she was leaving before hitting the 1-year mark, but she's definitely not the first person to leave this year. It made me feel more comfortable about the decisions that would lie ahead. She had a terrible experience here as well with not feeling welcome, being oversold the greatness of a project, and the constant restructuring and lack of stability.
Trust me on this, when all you want to do is work hard and deliver on something, all of which is the basis of your compensation and promotion opportunity, it's wildly demoralizing to constantly be shuffled and basically "forgotten about" by the big machine that is. When you work your ass off just to watch your projects get killed days before launch and knowing that you'll never get promoted or recognized for any of your work, you start to work for the pay check instead of what you're passionate about.
Big-G is widely considered as one of the best companies in the world to work for. And for many reasons, it really is. High salary and stock compensation, amazing perks, and working with smart people are all really great benefits. IMHO, Big-G is perfect for people who A) just want to write code and don't care what products they write code for. They just enjoy the compensation, great perks, and prestige of working at Big-G. B) people who don't work with any of the products. People in HR, operations, IT, etc. or C) People who work in the innovation part of the company.
I've come to realize that here at Big-G, it's incredibly difficult to contribute to anything meaningful (I'm mean in the overall grand scheme of life) and I've just gone back to being a drone again. It's really difficult to deal with. Even if I was able to own a great project or have a lot more ownership, who really gives a shit about any of these products or projects? I mean really, how exciting is email, public cloud, or phone apps and maps? Here's the wild thing to consider, the founders don't even want to work here anymore!!! They basically said, "y'all go do this boring stuff we've been doing for years. We're going to start our own company and use all this existing revenue to fund really cool shit that we want to work on." And that really cool shit is all based really far away.
Anyway, it's time for the actual update. I've searched across roles in program management, product management, public cloud, sales enablement, training, customer success, etc. And it's not that I didn't find opportunities that I could do and even excel at, it was all so bloody boring and tedious. I talked with various teams, managers, and peers. I interviewed for a handful of roles that I thought might be worth doing for a couple of years. But nothing met the three main criteria I was really looking for in a job; learning, impact, and challenge.
So with that being said, yesterday I agreed to a job offer from a startup here in Seattle. It's a passion project with great statement of work, an opportunity to contribute, and a path to an executive role if I do well. The salary compensation is nearly identical to what I made before joining Google. I have pre-IPO stock options, though I doubt they'll ever be worth much. The company is called Vicis and they make the highest safety rated football helmets. They also have a contract for improving the head protection in military helmets. So i'll directly be working with two of things I'm most passionate about in my life. The role will be focused on creating the product portfolio strategy and developing the growth plan for the overall product line and potential IPO.
Link to the company website: VICIS - Protect the Athlete, Elevate the Game
For those of you who know much about football, they have several NFL players who are investors in the company. Guys like Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, and Alex Smith. Patrick Mahomes (NFL 2018 MVP) also wears the helmets.
I'll be starting on August 5th at the latest, depending on timelines here at Big-G. I need some stock to vest on the 25th, so I can stick around for 2 weeks and still give a professional notice.
Thanks to everyone who contributed to the thread. It helped a lot.
Congratulations on the new gig! I don't follow football too closely but have skimmed through numerous articles regarding the long-term implications of the continuous impacts to the head. I can certainly see the appeal of this new role from an impact perspective.
I'll keep this short but I think you had nearly the same realization I did in my previous role. I was with a large company built on an archaic corporate structure, several redundant layers of middle management, and operations based in an industry that doesn't want to change. I hit the same brick walls with passion projects, restructuring, and good-ol'-boy politics. After a while, I realized I was spending most of my energy worrying about bullshit and very little on actually doing the job I was passionate about. It was at this point I realized it was time for a change. I bailed for a small company and haven't looked back.