I'm kinda missing my old job. Well, I'm missing having co-workers. I actually liked working with those people. But since I'm unemployed I figure I should take advantage of having free time. Today I drove down to Mountain View and had lunch with a friend who works at Google.
Now, I've worked at a couple big Silicon Valley companies and remember what it was like eating in the big company cafeteria with the oven roasted meats and the grilled panini sandwiches and the pizza baked to order. Google puts all that to shame. They have four different cafes, each with a different sort of selection. We opted for the healthy "no name" cafe and I made myself a sandwich with fresh roast turkey and pressed it myself on the grill. Yum.
I also got a little walking tour after lunch. Wow. OK, get this. Google has free laundry facilities for their employees. It looks like a laundromat but all the machines are free of charge. So are the environmentally kind detergents etc. I suppose it helps get more hours out of the workers, but really. The offices were pretty crazy too. They had ping-pong and pool tables all over the place, a kitchenette fully stocked with snacks and drinks on every floor, and common libraries with useful tech books here and there. Lots of color and cute decorations. And I got to see where Jimmy Carter signed the big historical chart of search volumes hanging on the wall.
I ran into someone I used to work with about six years ago, and saw a couple other people I recognized from my days in the valley. Cool stuff. It would be pretty easy to go back to that culture, except that I've changed a lot since I was part of it and I'm not sure I'd be happy there. Well, I've got other stuff on my plate for now.
Google provides lunch free every day for their employees. If you do that most days that's over 200 lunches a year. At $10 a day that's a $2000 benefit. I wonder if there are tax implications to that.