Disclosure: This post might contain affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I’ll earn a commission, at no additional cost to you. Read my full disclosure here.
Starting out as a Google Technical Program Manager, I had a lot to learn and a lot to prove. This role took me on a roller coaster of challenges and triumphs, teaching me more about technology, teamwork, and myself than I could have imagined. In this post, I’m excited to take you through my journey at Google Cloud Platform, as well as the Google Security team, sharing the real deal about the ups and downs, and all the lessons learned along the way.
From day one at Google, I was surrounded by incredibly smart people and thrown into a fast-paced world of tech. It was both exciting and daunting, but I was ready for the challenge. In this deep dive, I’ll give you a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s really like to be a Google Technical Program Manager, the good, the bad, and everything in between.
If you are interested in following my career path, then you can also look at my other posts:
- My Experience As A Microsoft Software Engineer: A Deep Dive
- My Experience As An Amazon Product Manager: A Deep Dive
- My Experience As A Microsoft Product Manager: A Deep Dive
- Google vs Amazon vs Microsoft PM Roles: A Deep Dive
- Inside the Culture of the Top Tech Companies
- Salaries for Software Engineers are On FIRE!
- The Google Technical Program Manager Interview
- Google Campus in Seattle-Kirkland
- Team Structure
- What Does A Google Technical Program Manager Do?
- Memorable Moments
- Compensation for A Google Technical Program Manager
- The Google Culture
- Downsides Of Working At Google
The Google Technical Program Manager Interview
I started my application process for a Google Technical Program Manager position by getting a referral from a Googler. In many companies, getting a referral from an existing employee helps a lot to bring your resume to the top of the recruiter’s stack. In Google’s case, a referral is even more powerful, as the Googler’s referral becomes part of the application process.
After the referral, I got contacted by a Google recruiter and we scheduled a phone interview. During the phone interview, I was asked a few questions that tried to cover a wide set of TPM questions. The following list does not include the actual questions that I was asked, but it is a representative list.
- Program Sense: Describe your favorite project that you worked on
- Technical Depth: Dive deeper into the system design of the project
- Analytical: Tell me about a time, when you found that something was not working well in your product and how you worked with the team to fix it
- Leadership/Collaboration: Tell me about an example of how you helped a teammate
After I cleared the phone interview, I was invited to the Google campus. As I prepared for my on-campus interview, I focused on 3 main areas, which proved to be invaluable:
- Project Management Fundamentals: It is really important to have the correct project management checklists in your mind, in order to provide structured answers. Auditing a Project Management Professional (PMP) preparation class and an Agile class were very helpful for me. I was not interested in getting any certification, but I just listened to the videos and refreshed my memory. This way I could quickly think of different checklists based on the question asked.
- Technical Acumen: Be prepared to dive deep into the technical design of any of your previous projects. Know them really well! Also, it doesn’t hurt to go through some material or classes on system design. You will not be asked to code, but you will definitely need to talk about technical subjects.
- Past projects: Google Technical Program Manager interviewers tend to ask a lot of questions that are based on past projects, i.e. they start with “Tell me about a time when….”. It is much better to create a list of 10+ stories based on projects than to try and think of the stories during the interview.
My interview took place on the Kirkland campus. Some interviewers were local, whereas others were on video conferencing. This is a typical structure for any type of Google interview. I remember three main things about the interviews:
- There was a huge number of behavioral questions that focused on past projects. I had spent a lot of time thinking about past projects, but toward my last interviews, I was running out of stories. Since then my advice for other candidates is to prepare more than 10 stories for past projects.
- All interviewers were really polite and the interview felt like a normal discussion. I did feel that their probing questions were done, in order to help me solidify my answers and not because they wanted to reject me. In fact, after I started at Google, I collaborated closely with most of my interviewers and we became good friends
- At the end of my last interview, as I was chatting with my interviewer, he offered to give me a tour around the campus. This was an offer that I could not refuse, so we walked together. It was a great experience. And after I joined Google, I did the “official” tour around the campus. That tour was good, but the one by my interviewer was so much better!
If you are interested to learn more about Technical Program Manager interviews, you can read my post How to Prepare for Technical Program Manager (TPM) Interviews.
After the interview, I went through team matching. This is a process that is specific to Google. More specifically, after my interview, the recruiter created a package with all my information (resume, interview feedback, etc) and made it available to all hiring managers. Any interested hiring manager could schedule a call with me. If there was a match, i.e. both me and the hiring manager agree, then he would write a letter of support saying that he’s willing to accept me in his team. Fortunately, I had an interested hiring manager in the Google Cloud Platform. We talked and I found his team very interesting. The recruiter added his statement of support to the rest of my packet and sent it to the Hiring Committee, which is responsible for deciding whether I’d get an offer or not.
I got the call for the offer a couple of weeks later. It was a surreal moment! I still remember the excitement and relief that I felt that day! All the hard work, the late nights, the stress—it had all paid off. Looking back, landing the role at Google was a pivotal moment in my career. It was the start of a new chapter, filled with new challenges and opportunities to grow.
Google Campus in Seattle-Kirkland
Google’s campus in the Pacific Northwest consists of multiple smaller campuses in the Seattle and Kirkland areas. The total number of employees in the area is several thousand people. Based on Geekwire, Google is the second largest employer in Kirkland and employed almost 3000 employees there in 2021. Also, it employed another 3000 employees in Seattle in 2018. The combined Seattle-Kirkland campus is considered the third largest Google campus worldwide, based on the number of employees.
Since the Seattle-Kirkland campus is considered as one campus, this means that employees have the option to work on either side of Lake Washington, based on their own preferences. People who live in downtown Seattle tend to work in Seattle, whereas people who live in the Eastside tend to work in Kirkland. Of course, there are several people, who commute across the lake. My base was in Kirkland, however, I collaborated with teams in Seattle, so I visited both campuses on a regular base.
The initial campus in Kirkland is in the Houghton area and consists of 4 buildings. Similar to every other campus, they have lots of amenities, including:
- 3 restaurants
- 2 coffee places with baristas
- Massage rooms
- Nap pods
- Soccer field
- Arcade room
- Indoor basketball court
- Indoor ping pong
- Music room
The list goes on and on, but this gives you an idea. Google is definitely known for taking great care of its employees.
Currently, the Houghton campus is being expanded with the addition of nearby buildings. The new buildings will include large-scale murals, vibrant fine art prints, a video installation within a zen room, and aerial sculptures. Also, Google has already built a campus in Kirkland Urban, which is close to the downtown Kirkland area. This includes four buildings that total 760,000 square feet of space. There are micro-kitchens, dining spaces, lounges, meeting rooms, a recording studio and band practice area, a dog lounge with a rooftop exercise area, a small movie theater, and a production studio.
The initial Seattle campus was in the Fremont area. However, Google added more buildings in the South Lake Union area. These high-rise buildings are literally next to the lake, so they have amazing views across Lake Washington. They also have lots of amenities, such as cafe, conference rooms, collaboration space, amenity spaces, UX lab, events auditorium, fitness center and locker rooms, medical clinic, bicycle lounge, and micro-kitchens
Due to the size of the campus, lots of Google products have teams in the area. So, it’s relatively easy to find interesting teams and projects. Obviously, the California campus (Mountain View and Sunnyvale) is much bigger and it provides even more choices, however, Seattle-Kirkland is not very far behind opportunity-wise.
Google Cloud Platform (GCP) consists of various products, e.g. Compute, Networking, Storage, Databases, Machine Learning, etc. Each product is built by a separate team within GCP. Each product team has separate hierarchies for Software Engineers and Product Managers. They all report to the same VP, e.g. the VP of Compute, the VP of Storage, etc. However, Technical Program Managers have their own org within GCP, i.e. they report to a different VP, i.e. the VP of Technical Program Management in Google Cloud.
Within the TPM org, there are different sub-teams for each product, each of which reports to a different Director (who reports to the VP of TPM). The exact titles change very often, but conceptually there is a Director of TPM for Compute, a Director of TPM for Networking, etc. Each director has several TPM Managers reporting to him. And the TPMs report to TPM Managers. It is important here to note that TPM Managers are people managers, which means that they deal with people management and OKR (Objectives and Key Results) reporting, but they don’t drive features.
The set of people working on each project includes:
- Product Manager (PM): Responsible for the product roadmap
- Technical Program Manager (TPM): Responsible for the project plan
- Backend Software Engineers: They typically belong to multiple teams, i.e. they report to different Engineering Managers, even if they are part of the same product
- Frontend Software Engineers: They are part of the same team, e.g. the UI team for Networking
Some projects do not need TPMs. For example, if a project does not require work from multiple teams then typically there is no Google Technical Program Manager assigned to it. However, all large-scale projects within GCP that need TPMs include Software Engineers from multiple teams.
Similarly, some projects do not need Product Managers. These are typically infrastructure projects that are not user-facing. In that case, the TPM typically might need to do some basic PM tasks, such as writing the Product Requirements Document (PRD).
Finally, some projects might not need front-end software engineers. If a project is not user-facing via the GCP UI, then there is no need for front-end work.
What Does A Google Technical Program Manager Do?
The role of the Google Technical Program Manager is to own the execution of the product’s development, i.e.:
- Develop the project plan
- Collect the requirements from the Product Manager
- Collaborate with the Technical Leads (TLs) and Architects, in order to break down the upcoming release into tasks
- Determine the cost, the owner, and the timelines for each task
- Track all the timelines and update as needed
- Communicate with stakeholders
- Identify all stakeholders that need to be engaged with the project
- Make sure that all stakeholders are aware of the latest project status, e.g. via status reports, meetings, project website, etc
- Define the OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) for the next 6 months of the project and report the status of each one of them to the Leadership team on a weekly basis
- Manage risks
- Work with the engineering team to identify risks, and characterize them based on impact and likelihood
- Establish mitigation plans and owners
- If a risk materializes, then communicate the new status to stakeholders
- Track dependencies
- Most projects with TPMs include multiple teams that have different priorities and deadlines
- Ensure that all teams are committed to delivering the required work for the project
- Monitor the work as it goes
- Handle any changes in priorities from the dependent teams as the project progresses (e.g. if a developer leaves the team or if the team priorities change)
- Lead the technical design of the product
- Work with the key Software Engineers that are involved in the team to finalize the design and capture it in the design doc
- Make sure that the design includes aspects like scalability, accessibility, testability, etc
- Work with the team to design the SLOs/SLIs for the product and verify that they map to the PM’s expectations
- Ensure that all the interfaces between the dependent teams are signed off by all involved teams
- Manage the Launch Process
- Schedule bug bashes
- Get signoff from all teams (engineering, support, marketing, etc)
- Get Launch approvals from the VP or Director before going live
For more information on the role of the Technical Program Manager, take a look at my post What Does A Technical Program Manager (TPM) Do? A Practical Guide
Starting Out at Google: The Noogler Experience
My first steps as a Google Technical Program Manager were met with an unexpected and refreshing approach to onboarding: a two-week New Hire Orientation that was unlike anything I had experienced at other companies. This period was a testament to Google’s investment in its people, a time when managers were explicitly instructed not to assign any tasks to us newbies. Instead, we were encouraged to immerse ourselves in the rich tapestry of Google’s culture, products, and technologies. It was a clear message that here, at Google, learning was not just encouraged—it was prioritized.
As a Noogler, I was in what they called a “protected” state for six months. It was a unique phase where the focus was on absorbing as much knowledge as possible, networking with peers, and truly understanding the Google way of life. During one of my first one-on-one meetings, my TPM Director emphasized the importance of this learning period, assuring me that the opportunity to learn at this scale was unparalleled. My manager echoed this sentiment, reassuring me that my performance metrics were secondary to my educational journey.
This philosophy was liberating, allowing me to grow without the typical pressures new hires might face elsewhere. It allowed me to explore, ask questions, and make mistakes without the fear of immediate repercussions. My calendar was quickly filled with training sessions, tech talks, and social events, all designed to steep me in Google’s innovative practices and collaborative spirit. Being a Noogler was a foundational period that set the tone for my tenure at Google, emphasizing the value of intellectual curiosity and the long game over short-term gains.
Adapting to New Norms
During my early days as a Google Technical Program Manager, I encountered a cultural shock that was as challenging as it was enlightening. Coming from Microsoft, where project timelines used specific dates for each deliverable, Google’s approach felt like stepping into a world where time had a different rhythm. In my role, I was coordinating with multiple engineering teams within the Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and every time I reached out for an ETA, the response was a uniform ‘end of the quarter.’. This cadence turned my project plan into a step-based plan, where each deliverable ended at the end of a quarter, leaving no room for movement in between.
This quarterly heartbeat of project milestones was a stark contrast to the Microsoft environment, where engineers provided concrete dates, and any slippage was met with an updated timeline. At Google, the fluidity of deadlines was common, and it took me some time to adjust to this new tempo. The ownership of these timelines fell heavily on the shoulders of us TPMs. We were creating the project plans, and with that came the accountability for every date. If an engineering team wanted to shift their deliverables, it was a simple matter for them, but for me, it meant that I had to provide lots of explanations.
Embracing my role as a Google Technical Program Manager meant accepting the role of the guardian of the timeline. It was a responsibility that came with a nuanced power dynamic: the engineering team would easily modify their timelines, yet I was tasked with justifying each shift in schedule. This was a delicate balance to strike, requiring a blend of assertiveness and adaptability. I had to learn to articulate the rationale behind timeline changes convincingly, ensuring stakeholders remained aligned with the evolving plan. It was a dance of negotiation, one where I learned to lead with confidence, even when the project plan changed unexpectedly.
Balancing Agility with Accountability
One of my main projects at Google Cloud Platform was spearheading the launch of a new service, a role that put me at the very heart of project management as the TPM. The challenge arose when it came time to create a detailed project plan. I faced resistance from some team members who were reluctant to commit to specific deadlines. Their preference leaned towards an Agile methodology, favoring a fluid approach that tracked progress and adjusted ETAs as needed. This perspective stemmed from the reality of software development—new tasks often emerge as the work unfolds, making initial ETAs a moving target. While I understood their stance, it created a tension between the need for flexibility in the development process and the necessity for predictable timelines for stakeholders.
The situation was further complicated by the expectations from our leadership team and the growing anxiety of our Product Manager, both of whom were counting on concrete ETAs for planning and communication purposes. Fortunately, the Technical Lead was on my side, advocating for set milestones and committed ETAs. We tried to navigate these choppy waters by assigning a specific project segment to the developer who favored the Agile approach. This was our compromise: he would manage his section his way, providing ETAs without my intervention. It was a risk, and both the Technical Lead and I were aware of it, but we hoped it would demonstrate the value of a more structured approach through contrast.
However, as we feared, this segment soon became a black box, with progress unclear and deadlines murky. It was a stark reminder that while Agile has its merits, accountability, and predictability are crucial in project management. We had to intervene, halting the hands-off approach and recalculating an ETA that wouldn’t jeopardize the overall project timeline. From that point on, I managed this segment with the same structured approach as the rest of the project. Despite the hurdles, we managed to pull through and launch on time, a testament to the importance of finding the right balance between Agile flexibility and the clear direction needed for project success.
Mentorship and Training at Google
Immediately after starting at Google, I was struck by the caliber of my peers. Surrounded by some of the brightest minds in tech, it was hard not to feel a twinge of imposter syndrome. Google, aware of this common challenge, addresses it head-on during New Hire Orientation. They openly discuss the phenomenon, acknowledging the internal dialogue of doubt that many of us experience. This transparency was a relief; it was comforting to know that these feelings were normal and that I wasn’t alone in this. The company’s proactive approach in normalizing these conversations was a stark contrast to the often unspoken undercurrents of inadequacy that can pervade the tech industry.
The support didn’t end with just discussions. Google provided a wealth of training programs designed to tackle imposter syndrome, offering strategies and tools to help us navigate these tricky waters. These resources were invaluable as I found my footing in an area where my expertise paled in comparison to the seasoned veterans around me. The training served as a constant reminder that everyone starts somewhere and that even the most accomplished Googlers had once been in my shoes. It was this culture of continuous learning and encouragement that helped me slowly shed the cloak of self-doubt and embrace my role with confidence.
Beyond the formal training, Google’s mentorship programs were a lifeline. The company has a robust network of experienced Googlers who volunteer as career coaches and Noogler guides. Opting into mentorship was a simple process, and it connected me with individuals who were once navigating the same journey. Within my team, a seasoned TPM took me under their wing, providing guidance and support as I learned the ropes. This layered approach to mentorship—both formal and informal—ensured that help was always within reach, reinforcing the idea that at Google, growth is a team effort, and no one has to go it alone.
Google Perks: More Than Just a Job
Starting my day at Google was always a highlight. I’d grab a free breakfast, enjoying the kind of meal that you’d usually have to sit down at a restaurant for. It was a relaxed way to slide into the workday, chatting with teammates and fueling up for what lay ahead. Lunch was a similar story. I had my pick of Google’s own restaurants, and I didn’t have to spend a dime. It was more than just eating; it was a chance to take a break and catch up with friends from other teams.
The perks didn’t stop at food. Every afternoon, I looked forward to a coffee break, where the coffee was made by a real barista, just like at a cafe. And when the workday was done, I often hit the gym right there at Google. It was convenient and meant I didn’t have to worry about fitting exercise into my busy schedule. If I ever worked late, I could even have dinner there. Plus, by giving feedback on new Google products, I could get free massages. It was a nice little bonus for sharing my thoughts.
Google’s perks made every day easier and more fun. I could grab snacks anytime from the micro-kitchens, play a game in the arcade room, or even take a nap in one of the nap pods if I needed a rest. Google really took care of us, making sure we had everything we needed and more. It was a whole different world compared to other places I’ve worked, where perks like these were just wishful thinking.
Finally, the learning opportunities are vast and varied, covering an array of topics that extend far beyond the usual work-related training. Classes on business strategies, personal finance, and advanced coding are just the tip of the iceberg. What makes these sessions even more valuable is that they’re often led by fellow Googlers, sharing their expertise, or by specialists from outside the company, bringing fresh perspectives. This educational mix enriches our professional development and personal growth, all within the Google ecosystem.
Receiving Conflict Management Lessons From My Director
Googlers are known to be Googley, which means among other things that they respect each other. However, at some point, I had a serious conflict with a specific co-worker. In my mind, he wanted me to manage some projects that were in his area and then report the status to him so that he could take credit from our Director. Instead, I wanted to be able to define my role and decide the projects that I wanted to manage and get credit for my accomplishments. So, I complained to my Director about this conflict.
The Director talked to both of us separately, found our points of view on the conflict, and gave us each a copy of the book “Leadership and Self-Deception” by the Arbinger Institute with a handwritten note saying that it gave him valuable insights on navigating relationships at work.
I read the whole book within a couple of days. I found that it’s easy to put myself “inside the box” and think that other people are to blame when a collaborative relationship is not going well. When this happens, we betray ourselves, as we resist helping others. The hard part is to “get outside the box”, question myself, and see the other individual as a person with needs, hopes, and worries. That’s when we can appreciate them and effectively work together.
After reading the book, I realized that in the particular conflict with my coworker, we were both in the same team and we were both trying to do the best for us as a group. However, we were having a difference in the way to achieve the optimal goal. So, I changed my mindset, sat down with my coworker and we found a solution that worked for both of us. I think that both of us grew from this experience.
From that point on, I’m always trying to be cognizant that I am not always correct when there is a conflict. I have an open mind when I disagree with somebody and I try to understand their point of view. It’s definitely helped me build stronger and more reliable connections with people.
Securing GCP: A Cross-Product Collaboration
In my role within the Security team at Google, I was tasked with a mission critical to the integrity of Google Cloud Platform (GCP) products: ensuring their security. This project was a deep dive into the vast ocean of GCP services. I liaised with TPMs across the spectrum of GCP offerings, delving into the intricacies of their product infrastructures and guiding them in integrating with our robust security frameworks. This endeavor wasn’t just about ticking boxes on a security checklist; it was a comprehensive learning journey. I gained an intimate understanding of each product’s architecture, release schedules, and the unique security challenges they faced. This process was as much about building relationships as it was about fortifying defenses, and it pushed my technical knowledge to new heights.
However, the path to a more secure platform was not without its obstacles. Each product team had its own set of priorities and constraints, and not all were able to allocate the necessary resources for security integration without hesitation. Some teams were enthusiastic and ready to collaborate, while others were stretched thin, racing against tight deadlines that left little room for additional tasks. It was a delicate balancing act, navigating between the urgency of security needs and the reality of product development pressures. Yet, the spirit of ‘Googleyness’—a shared commitment to the company’s values and goals—always shone through. We found common ground and innovative solutions, even when the odds seemed stacked against us.
The experience was a masterclass in cross-group collaboration and conflict management. Each interaction was an opportunity to hone my negotiation skills, to listen actively, and to find the win-win scenarios that are the hallmark of effective teamwork. The project was more than just a security initiative; it was a catalyst for personal and professional growth. I emerged from the experience not only with a greater technical acumen but also with a richer understanding of how to unite diverse teams toward a common, critical goal.
Compensation for A Google Technical Program Manager
The best public database for salaries in high-tech companies is provided by Levels.fyi. This website uses data from actual job offers, in order to publicize the compensation across different levels for lots of high-tech companies.
Here is a screenshot of their data for Google Technical Program Manager salaries, as of 11/3/2023.
Performance Review Process
Google Performance reviews are every six months. At that time, the manager writes a written assessment of the employee’s accomplishments within the last six months and suggests a rating. This recommendation goes into discussion by the TPM Managers of the org. If there are any disagreements, then they all discuss about it.
The following table shows the potential ratings for each employee, as well as the multiplier for their rewards, e.g. if the multiplier is 1.5, then they get 150% of their target rewards (bonus, stock) for that level.
- TI (Transformational Impact): 1.6x
- OI (Outstanding Impact): 1.45x
- SI (Significant Impact): 1.25x
- MI (Moderate Impact): 0.9x
- NI (No Impact): 0x
Promotions are also done every six months. Each Google Technical Program Manager, who is interested in getting a promotion needs to apply for it. They need to write a packet with all the supporting information about their accomplishments since their last promotion. After that, they submit all this information to the Promotions Committee. The Promotions Commitee stack ranks the employees that applied for promo and determines the cut line. Only candidates about the cut line will be promoted. The rest are given feedback on why their application was denied.
The Google Culture
Embracing Openness and Innovation
Walking into Google, I was immediately struck by the air of openness and the spirit of innovation that permeated every corner of the company. Ideas weren’t just welcomed; they were encouraged, regardless of where they came from. This created a vibrant atmosphere where creativity thrived and innovation was just part of the daily routine.
It was empowering to know that my voice mattered and that I could contribute to the conversation. I was amazed by the fact that I could view and modify the source code of every Google product. Everybody’s calendars are visible by default, so I could see their meetings. And every Thursday there is an open Q&A session called TGIF (I assume that it used to be scheduled on Fridays), where the Leadership team receives questions from anyone at Google and answers them.
This culture of openness also meant that we were constantly pushing boundaries and exploring new possibilities. It was an environment that challenged me to think outside the box and to bring my best ideas to the table. And while this sometimes meant facing failure, it also meant that we were always learning and growing, which was incredibly rewarding.
The Power of Collaboration
The emphasis on teamwork at Google was unlike anything I had experienced before. Projects were collaborative endeavors, with each team member playing a crucial role in achieving our common goals. This sense of unity and shared purpose was a driving force, helping us to overcome challenges and achieve great things together. The camaraderie that developed among team members made the work feel less like a job and more like a mission, we were all committed to.
This collaborative spirit extended beyond our immediate teams, fostering a sense of community throughout the entire company. It was not uncommon to see cross-functional teams working together, sharing insights, and learning from one another. This interconnectedness not only made the work more enjoyable but also led to better results, as we were able to leverage the diverse skills and perspectives of our colleagues.
A Balance of Work and Play
One of the things that truly set Google apart was its ability to balance hard work with a sense of play. The office spaces were designed to encourage creativity and collaboration, with colorful decor and open layouts. But it wasn’t just about the physical space; it was about the culture that encouraged us to take breaks, play games, and just have fun. This approach to work created a positive and energizing atmosphere, making the challenging work feel more manageable.
But it wasn’t all fun and games. The work we did was demanding and required a high level of dedication and focus. However, the playful culture helped to alleviate the stress and provided a much-needed outlet for relaxation and rejuvenation. It was this balance that made Google a unique and enjoyable place to work, where I could be both productive and happy.
Focus on Well-Being
Working as a Google Technical Program Manager came with its fair share of pressures and high expectations. The pace was fast, and the stakes were high, creating a challenging yet exhilarating environment. There were times when the workload felt overwhelming, but the supportive culture and the shared sense of purpose helped to keep me grounded and focused. It was a constant reminder that we were all in this together, working towards something bigger than ourselves.
Despite the pressures, there was also a strong emphasis on wellbeing and taking care of oneself. Google provided resources and support to help manage stress and maintain a healthy work-life balance. For example, there are lots of classes, which focus on educating Googlers about their wellbeing. This holistic approach to employee wellbeing was a testament to the company’s commitment to its people, ensuring that we had the support we needed to thrive both professionally and personally.
A Culture of Support and Growth
Reflecting on my time at Google, the culture played a significant role in shaping my experience and my growth as a Technical Program Manager. It was a culture that celebrated diversity, encouraged innovation, and fostered a sense of community. It was a place where I felt supported, challenged, and inspired to be my best self.
More than just a workplace, Google was a community of like-minded individuals all striving for excellence. The culture of support and growth was evident in every interaction, every project, and every challenge. It was this unique environment that made my time at Google so special, and it’s what I carry with me as I continue on my professional journey.
Downsides Of Working At Google
Slow Career Progression
One of the more prominent challenges I faced at Google was the pace of career progression. Promotions and advancements seemed to move at a slower rate than expected, which could be disheartening at times. Despite putting in the hard work and achieving results, the path to the next level often felt lengthy and somewhat unclear. This aspect of the job required a good deal of patience and persistence, as well as a strong focus on long-term growth rather than immediate rewards.
The structure and criteria for promotions were not always transparent, which added an additional layer of complexity to career advancement. Navigating this process required seeking out mentorship, continuously seeking feedback, and proactively advocating for my own career development. While this slow pace of progression taught me the value of resilience and perseverance, it was certainly a challenging aspect of my experience at Google.
Navigating Organizational Complexity
The sheer size and complexity of Google’s organizational structure can be daunting, especially for new employees. Understanding how different teams and departments interact, and figuring out where to go for what can take time. This complexity sometimes leads to inefficiencies and a sense of being just a small cog in a very large machine.
Additionally, the decentralized nature of the company means that practices and processes can vary significantly between teams. While this allows for flexibility and autonomy, it can also create inconsistencies and a lack of standardization, which can be challenging to navigate.
Limited Visibility and Impact
Given the vastness of Google’s operations and the number of employees, it can sometimes feel like your work has limited visibility and impact. Contributing to large projects with multiple stakeholders means that individual contributions can get diluted, and recognizing the direct impact of your work can be challenging.
This lack of visibility can be demotivating, especially for those who thrive on seeing the tangible results of their efforts. Finding ways to connect your work to the bigger picture and seeking out opportunities for visibility and impact became essential components of job satisfaction and motivation.
As I look back on my tenure as a Google Technical Program Manager, it’s clear that this journey has been one of immense growth, learning, and unforgettable experiences. The vibrant culture, the brilliant minds I’ve had the privilege of working with, and the innovative projects I’ve been a part of have all played a pivotal role in shaping my professional journey.
Google, with its unique blend of innovation, collaboration, and fun, provided a work environment like no other. It pushed me to my limits, challenged me to think bigger, and taught me the true meaning of teamwork. The lessons learned and the skills acquired during my time here are invaluable, and they extend far beyond the technical aspects of the job.
Looking forward, I carry with me not just the technical skills and knowledge gained, but also the softer skills of resilience, adaptability, and the ability to thrive in a fast-paced, ever-changing environment. My time at Google has been a remarkable chapter in my career, a journey of personal and professional growth.