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Google Perks Are Great, But They All Mean Business

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the mental-note-must-buy-self-more-gorp dept.

Google 289

megazoid81 writes "While there have been complaints of late, Google was recently named the best place to work according to the widely read annual Forbes survey, in its first appearance on the list. The plethora of perks at Google does make you wonder though what kind of hours the company expects its employees to keep. In the context of Google's perks, a Knowledge@Wharton article explains that there are two kinds of workers: segmentors and integrators. Segmentors want to maintain a strict separation between work and home while integrators don't mind mixing the two. The piece posits that segmentors might actually mind too many perks at their workplace and find their commitment eroding. Does Google have a disproportionate number of integrators in its workforce? What kind of worker are you — segmentor or integrator?"

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289 comments

Non-issue (5, Insightful)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#18459925)

Can you integrate sleep and work? Or sleep and pleasure? Not very well. Same with work and pleasure. You need down time to throw everything away and see to your higher-order needs, or they will come up wanted (read: affect your work).

Clock out time, that's it. Turn the machine off, leave the building, and forget about it until 9am. If your business can't handle that, they obviously need more staff.

Re:Non-issue (5, Funny)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#18459985)

Or sleep and pleasure?
Someone has never had a wet dream.

Re:Non-issue (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18460987)

I still pee the bed, you insensitive clod.

Re:Non-issue (5, Funny)

Valdez (125966) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460041)

I don't know about you, but my GF seems to pretty adept at integrating her sleep with my pleasure. =(

Re:Non-issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18460587)

is that because she's not talking?

Re:Non-issue (3, Funny)

AutopsyReport (856852) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460071)

Or sleep and pleasure? Not very well.

Speak for yourself. I sleep on top of a big pile of money with many beautiful ladies.

Re:Non-issue (2, Insightful)

openaddy (852404) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460115)

Sometimes work is pleasure. I know someone who works long hours at Google, and she claims that she LOVES her work. Not sure if she was just trying to justify her long hours, but I'm sure it happens in the general population. Hell, I occasionally feel like I'm not completely whoring myself for my work. :P ...But only occasionally.

Re:Non-issue (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18460295)

I've found that As i was younger sacrificing personal time for work was pretty easy and I would find many excuses to justify it. But as I've grown older and been through the Layoffs and the stories of "Well you are a wonderful Worker but", I've found the seperation of work time and my time to be more important that they excuse of completing one more task before leaving for the day. The occasional project over my allocated time or missing one break here or there is ok. But I will almost always make it up by leaving early one day or taking a few minutes longer break the next chance I get.

Re:Non-issue (5, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460515)

"The occasional project over my allocated time or missing one break here or there is ok. But I will almost always make it up by leaving early one day or taking a few minutes longer break the next chance I get."

Same here...Amen.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy my work....but, I only work to have money to support my free time to do what I wish (travel, buy toys, computers, women, homebrewing...etc). If I won the lottery tomorrow, I'd never work again a day in my life.

Now...that's not to say that if I didn't have to work, I'd not do some things that might appear to be work or that might earn me extra $$'s....but, that is stuff I do for myself for fun.

When the door hits me on the ass on the way out of work....my thoughts and concerns for work end THERE. I do not give it a 2nd thought in general, till I cross the threshold the next day. The worksite only has my thoughts when they pay me. I contract....so, this is the setup. I care about my work, I try my best to please the customer, and will go the extra mile when needed to get things going. But, never for free.

Like I said, I enjoy my work like many here do...but, I don't understand how so many people make the work so much of their lives, and are actually willing to sacrifice their free time to spend with families, and friends doing things that are fun and good for the soul. People who go into deep depression and the like when they get get go, are sad. I'm not saying I'm thrilled when it has happened...but, I don't feel I lost a part of ME when it happened...my main concern is finding the next gig to keep the money flowing. It is, after all...just business, and putting a face other than that on it, IMHO, is unhealthy and unrealistic. The company sees you as nothing more than an asset (or liability)....you need to see them in the same light.

But, I've realized that life IS short. Once you cross that age of realizing that you are no longer bulletproof, that you will slow down a bit...you see that spending time on you, for you is very important. There is so much to do and see in the world....and it ain't gonna get done sitting in a 3 wall cube 24/7. There is such thing as a life out there......get one.

I don't think many people will be on their deathbeds regretting that they didn't get more OT in...especially if it is unpaid.

Re:Non-issue (2, Insightful)

SocialEngineer (673690) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460155)

I wish you could convince my employer of that. We get the speech, "We don't want your job to be your life", but that doesn't keep me from having to stay until 1 AM the day before (well, technically, the day of) a holiday.

It isn't a question of which, so much as.. Which industry, and job title you carry. The daily newspaper industry, especially for anybody involved in production, is a demanding mistress. While it is a great idea to be able to clock out at 5 or 6 no matter what the job, sometimes, it just doesn't work that way.

integrating sleep and pleasure (2, Insightful)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460393)

I dunno, I have a pretty easy time integrating sleep and pleasure, in fact if you work all day and somehow bring your work home, sleep may be the only true pleasurable/relaxing time of your day!

Re:Non-issue (1)

14erCleaner (745600) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460467)

Scott Adams got it right: the definition of "work" is "something you don't want to do".

I'd say more, but it's lunch time, gotta go. :D

Re:Non-issue (4, Insightful)

AeroIllini (726211) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460907)

You are clearly a segmentor.

I'm glad you're taking time out of your busy work day to post on Slashdot and espouse how being a segmentor is The Only Way (tm).

Where's the +1 Irony mod?

Re:Non-issue (4, Insightful)

vokyvsd (979677) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460941)

Can you integrate sleep and work? Or sleep and pleasure? Not very well. Same with work and pleasure. You need down time to throw everything away and see to your higher-order needs, or they will come up wanted (read: affect your work).

Clock out time, that's it. Turn the machine off, leave the building, and forget about it until 9am. If your business can't handle that, they obviously need more staff.
That's a fallacious argument. "Ability to integrate with" is a non-transitive relationship, and sleep is a particularly good example of why this is so. Here's your reasoning applied to another example: Sleep can't be integrated with baking cookies, and sleep can't be integrated with talking on the phone, therefore baking cookies can't be integrated with talking on the phone.

Also, it's not impossible for your higher order needs to be fulfilled by work. In fact, I would say it is the most likely place where self-actualization will occur. Compartmentalizing your life and writing off work as dead time (as far as high order needs is concerned) seems extremely unhealthy. Maybe you need a better job.

Re:Non-issue (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#18461035)

Good point on the fallacy. Touche :)

Hate freaking buz words. (3, Interesting)

WarlockD (623872) | more than 7 years ago | (#18459933)

If I am doing the same work at the office that I could at home, I would like to do it at home. If the environment is nicer at my office with a more social atmosphere, then I would go to the office.

I don't see why us peons would care at any rate. Managers have already made up their minds on this issue beforehand.

Re:Hate freaking buz words. (4, Insightful)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460967)

There are two kinds of workplace analysts- segmentors and integrators:

  • Segmentors break workforces down into segmentors and integrators.
  • Integrators recognize that such distinctions only serve to generalize what is in fact a matter that an individual should resolve with his supervisor, and that identifying individuals as one or the other (or even at a point on a continuum) doesn't provide useful data in isolation.

Segmentors and integrators all covered in... (3, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#18459943)

there are two kinds of workers: segmentors and integrators. Segmentors want to maintain a strict separation between work and home while integrators don't mind mixing the two.
Am I the only one who immediately got the "three kinds of people" speech [imdb.com] from "Team America: World Police" stuck in their head upon reading this?

Re:Segmentors and integrators all covered in... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18460235)

Fuck Yea!!!!

Re:Segmentors and integrators all covered in... (1)

Dorceon (928997) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460819)

There are 11 kinds of people: Those who know binary, those who don't, and 9 more I can't remember.

Too simple (4, Insightful)

JanneM (7445) | more than 7 years ago | (#18459949)

The division is easy, but too simplistic. I'm both: I do like to separate my work and my free time pretty cleanly. Because of that I actually appreciate my hour-long train commute as it creates a natural barrier and an external imposition to go to and from work at specified, reasonable hours.

At the same time I really, _really_ like my work, so I tend to mull things over on my off time, and idly reading up on background stuff I find interesting (and that incidentally is really helpful for work).

There is a real difference between wanting to be at work for long hours, and idly reflecting on interesting problems even when off duty.

Re:Too simple (4, Interesting)

WinterSolstice (223271) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460029)

I agree - I hate the fact that my on-call work interferes with my weekends/nights/holidays. On the other hand, the relaxed and mellow atmosphere at my work is a nice trade-off for the on-call. So while I mind the intrusion of work into home, I appreciate that the inverse is also allowed. Balance is best.

So I'd be a Seg/Int 60/40 split or some such :D

I specifically chose a house with a 30 minute commute to help with that split.

Re:Too simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18460373)

Okay, this is going to sound confrontational, but I don't mean this in any mean spirited way.

You don't understand what the split even is then. You're actually a 100% integrator. There is no half one/half the other in this situation. You either are, or you are not, and this is something that's even mildly touched upon in the article, and where alot of problems can arise in the workplace. Me, I'm a seperator, so this is something that I see on a daily basis personally. People who let their work life tend to bleed into their home life to also tend to make people who don't look like underachievers to certain breeds of managers, regardless of what the actual bottom line ends up being.

The biggest gulf I tend to see between these two groups tend to be between people who are married and/or have kids, and those who do not. The first group tends to have massive obligations that have to be met on a daily basis aside from work, and the second can take care of things when and if they want to, and don't have to be anywhere at any given time.

Anyhow, I'm rambling now, and my point is, you either are, or you are not. There's no middle ground really, and if you don't know which you are, you're probably an integrator.

Re:Too simple (1)

Bozdune (68800) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460529)

Some good points. However, when you own your own company, you're an integrator by definition -- or you fail. The good news is you're not working for "the man" -- you ARE "the man." And that makes it OK to take a phone call at 10PM from Australia, or get up at oh-dark-hundred for a flight. Most of the time, it's OK. Ah, hell, who am I kidding, it sucks. But at least if you're successful some suit somewhere isn't the beneficiary. You are.

Children at work (1)

hsmith (818216) | more than 7 years ago | (#18459955)

That is the only thing that bothers me of "home life" entering into work life. Leave your damn children at home. Other than that, we all bring our personal lives to work, work takes up so much of our lives it is bound to happen.

Re:Children at work (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18460045)

How would you know if you never work in the first place?

Faggot nigger.

Re:Children at work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18460207)

Hey where do you work? If we work at the same place, I'll bring all 3 of my children to work just to piss you off. :-)

Children are the bane of telecommuting (1)

Sodade (650466) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460663)

I work for a monolithic tech co. 80% of the people I deal with (including myself) are telecommuters. Almost every day, I am on a call where I hear someone's kid screaming or crying in the background. These are six figure professionals we are talking about. In my mind, it is totally inexcusable. It is crap like this that gives telecommuting a bad name. Personally, I wouldn't let an employee telecommute if they have kids in the house.

Re:Children at work (3, Insightful)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460821)

we all bring our personal lives to work

I bring virtually none of my personal life to work, save for the occasional call I take from my mother, and even then it's on a personal cell and kept to a minimum. No family member or friend has my desk or cell number (and the desk number is printed incorrectly in the directory, something I've not corrected in three years, so they wouldn't be able to call and discover it), nor my e-mail address. A couple of them have seen the physical location where I work because I've pointed it out driving by, but I doubt they remember where it is. At work, only HR and my direct manager have my home numbers. I have no photos or personal documents at work aside from certification information on the wall (the latter only because it quiets a few particular people), nor do I keep personal files on any system. If I were to walk in and find out that I no longer had a job, I would be able to put down my work cell and my badge, pick up my keys and personal cell, take down the certs and put them under my arm, and walk out the door holding everything that is mine.

On top of all of that, personal time is mine. When I walk out the door, I'm on my time. At lunch, I do what I please -- which is usually eating a small lunch and taking a 15-minute nap in the car. I answer e-mails only if a response is urgently needed, and the general culture is to never call someone once they've left the building unless it's critical, and there's an unspoken agreement that if someone is in the break room or a particular area outside, they don't get bothered unless it's critical, so I have few concerns about that.

I am not antisocial, and get along well with everyone at work, having lunch with one or more of them once or twice a week. Some people bring in all manner of decorations for their cubicles, with photos and even the odd painting. I wallpaper mine with functional security posters and TCP/IP diagrams. It's simply a choice of where to draw the line, and how heavily it is drawn.

Re:Children at work (2, Funny)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460931)

At lunch, I do what I please -- which is usually eating a small lunch and taking a 15-minute nap in the car.

Sir, you are a genius.

Segmentation (4, Funny)

Bicx (1042846) | more than 7 years ago | (#18459965)

The only integration I'll ever do was in calculus class.

I don't know (1)

NickFitz (5849) | more than 7 years ago | (#18459967)

I work almost entirely from home, and regard my work as my hobby. OTOH, I'm damned if I'm ever going to invite a colleague round here. What does that make me - apart from an unsociable git?

Hey I know that guy (1)

cronius (813431) | more than 7 years ago | (#18459969)

That's actually kinda funny, where I presently work, there's one guy in the office who's a total "segmentor." He gets the job done (as far as I know), he's a nice guy, causes no trouble, but socially he's totally aloof, doesn't even eat lunch with the rest of us.

Personally I like integrating, but not too much though, you don't always work with people you share anything significant with (except a job of course). Not being social at all has to be pretty sucky over time, seeing how you spend so much time at work.

Re:Hey I know that guy (2, Interesting)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460059)

That's actually kinda funny, where I presently work, there's one guy in the office who's a total "segmentor." He gets the job done (as far as I know), he's a nice guy, causes no trouble, but socially he's totally aloof, doesn't even eat lunch with the rest of us.

Yeah, that's not the same at all. Segmenting your life so you don't take your work home with you, and don't drag your personal problems to the office is a very different thing from being aloof and disinterested in your co-workers (or maybe just socially awkward).

Re:Hey I know that guy (1)

JanneM (7445) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460107)

That's actually kinda funny, where I presently work, there's one guy in the office who's a total "segmentor." He gets the job done (as far as I know), he's a nice guy, causes no trouble, but socially he's totally aloof, doesn't even eat lunch with the rest of us.

Nope, he just sounds like a normal introvert. He may still think, eat and sleep work business, but he's not big on casual socializing.

The article's "segmentor" (I dislike the sound already) is someone who may be 110% gung-ho while at work, someone who bellows out the company anthem whenever he takes a dump - but leaves when work time ends and shuts work off completely the moment he comes home.

Re:Hey I know that guy (1)

cronius (813431) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460403)

I see. I blame the summary *whistle*

I now realize I need to find a short, catchy anthem for my future start-up.

Re:Hey I know that guy (4, Funny)

Itninja (937614) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460315)

he's a nice guy, causes no trouble, but socially he's totally aloof
I can't be sure, but that sounds like a serial killer to me. Or maybe you guys are all just a bunch of dicks.

Just to summarize, there are only two possible reasons for his behavoir:

1) He is a a serial killer

2) You are dicks

No other possible explanations that I can think of....

Re:Hey I know that guy (1)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460649)

he's a nice guy, causes no trouble, but socially he's totally aloof
I can't be sure, but that sounds like a serial killer to me. Or maybe you guys are all just a bunch of dicks.

Just to summarize, there are only two possible reasons for his behavoir:

1) He is a a serial killer

2) You are dicks

No other possible explanations that I can think of....

Sorry, I know you're joking, but I've got to go ahead and disagree with you on that one... I fit that discription perfectly, though the people I work with are all nice, nor am I a serial killer. I just like keeping to myself.

Not all socially-private people sit at home all the time with the shades drawn, you know... :P

Re:Hey I know that guy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18460911)

Here's 2 more that you didn't think of....

3) You are a moron.

4) You tried to be funny but failed.

Segmentor (3, Insightful)

tidewaterblues (784797) | more than 7 years ago | (#18459981)

I am a segmentor all the way. My job is just a means to an end, and if I forget that then I will never achieve that end.

Re:Segmentor (0)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460077)

Then maybe you're in the wrong job?

Just a thought...

Re:Segmentor (3, Insightful)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460103)

Or maybe his life isn't defined by his work? Just another thought...

Re:Segmentor (1)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460169)

It doesn't have to be- but if anything as major in your life as your work (like, say, your marriage) is simply a means to an end rather than an end itself, in my view you seriously have to re-evaluate that part of your life.

Re:Segmentor (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460197)

Dude... no one's job is an *end*. It's a way to make money, spend some time being creative, and develop a few skills while putting yourself in a position where you can *enjoy* the wealth you've acquired. Why else would people retire and travel? If your view was the predominant one, people would work until they died, no?

Re:Segmentor (1)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460301)

You forget though, Mandatory Retirement.

There's a reason why the word mandatory is there many people would like to work until they die. I know I would.

However, for me work isn't an end exactly, my philosophy is just "habit and routine make my life possible." I don't like to break from my routine one iota, and I don't like vacation for this reason.

As to "enjoying the wealth I've aquired," my SO has taken care of that for me for the forseeable future. My time when I'm not at work is spent on figuring out ways to get out of debt. It's not enjoyable.

Re:Segmentor (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460347)

As to "enjoying the wealth I've aquired," my SO has taken care of that for me for the forseeable future. My time when I'm not at work is spent on figuring out ways to get out of debt. It's not enjoyable.

Sounds to me like *you* need to re-evaluate your priorities. ;)

Personally, my life is so full of other things that I'd have no trouble filling my time if work should come to an end... after all, I am far more than just a computer programmer.

Re:Segmentor (1)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460817)

My Priorities

1. Getting out of debt

2. Never getting in debt again

3. Filing a police report against my SO is she ever gets me into debt again. (Because she won't do it without identity theft this time.)

I don't know, seem fairly solid to me.

Re:Segmentor (2, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460247)

It's all about priorities and who gets to run at nice level -10 and who gets to run at 17.

Jobs are transient, in this day and age usually highly transient.

Re:Segmentor (4, Insightful)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460583)

It doesn't have to be- but if anything as major in your life as your work (like, say, your marriage) is simply a means to an end rather than an end itself, in my view you seriously have to re-evaluate that part of your life.

I don't think one should consider a job the same sort of commitment as a marriage. A job is an involvement, not a commitment. Like a breakfast of ham and eggs: the chicken is involved, the pig is committed.

Re:Segmentor (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460313)

Then maybe you're in the wrong job?
I think you're missing the point of the article. Even if he were to have a job he loved 100%, he would most likely still want to keep his work life separate from his home life. Some people are motivated by what they produce, some people are motivated by whether people like them, many people are motivated by something completely different.

I know that no matter how fulfilling my career may be at some point in my life, it will never be fulfilling enough for me to not separate it from my personal life. I tend to hyperfocus, which means that if I bring my work home *at all*, I'll end up neglecting my family.

Two kinds of people (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18460011)

There are two kinds of people: those who divide people into two groups, and those who don't.

The thing about programming/design (5, Interesting)

MarkKnopfler (472229) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460021)

This is the thing about programming in particular or creative engineering design in general. If you enjoy, or are into the work, it is very difficult to become a segmentor. Design and coding are very cerebral processes, and as it happens to me that I design and improve in my head whenever my brain finds a few free cycles. If I hit upon a good idea, I like to implement/try it immediately. Most of the better programmers/designers that I have seen do work in this mode. Hence having perks of this kind does help.
Most of the segmentors that I have seen end up in marketing or man-management at the end, even if they might have started in core engineering because of a simple reason they do not enjoy the process.
This of course is my opinion and there are exceptions, but exceptions are rare.

Re:The thing about programming/design (3, Insightful)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460153)

Sorry, but all those perks are designed to do is get people to stay in the office. Personally, I do my best thinking when I'm standing in the shower. Getting *away* from the office is the key to coming up with novel solutions, IMHO. Otherwise, one tends to get locked into a certain mode of thinking... change of setting can alleviate this.

Meanwhile, a proper balance between work and personal life ensures that you don't burn yourself out or get exhausted with what you're doing. After all, people can't work 24/7 and remain creative. The mind really does need rest.

Re:The thing about programming/design (1)

brunascle (994197) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460337)

i'm the same, but i still consider myself closer to a segmentor. if i think of something at home, i'll usually just make a mental note or write a post-it and deal with it when i get to work the next morning.

i'd be okay with dialing into work from home, under my own free will, but i wouldnt be very happy if someone from work called me out of the blue and i was expected to immediately transition into work mode.

Re:The thing about programming/design (1)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460369)

I don't think that is all that particular to programming or engineering. The art world is so "intergrator" it's almost sad. In entertainment, it's all about who you know, which translates into social life = work. I'm sure there are other fields that are heavily slanted towards intergrators, I'm actually have trouble thinking of a high earning field that isn't.

Re:The thing about programming/design (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460701)

"... it is very difficult to become a segmentor."

no it's not. You just have bad habits.

I completly understand the drive and thrill to get that idea working, sadly just doing it is not the right approach.
It needs to be thought about. How big is it going to be? what pitfalls are there? etc . . .
I have seen many people(myself included) end up doing more work because they just rushed to implement without taking time to think about the consquences.

The rush of the new idea blinds people to the fact that maybe it's abad idea, or the implementation needs to be thought through.

Now I right down my idea, sketch it out, make a list of what I need to do to get the concept of what's in my head down on 'paper'. then when the exitment subsides a little, and plan on how I will dal with pitfalls.
My code is cleaner, the ideas I implement are always a success and praised. I get more accolades, max reviews numners and I work 4 10s. I occasionally take a call after hours; about 1 every 4 months.

Obviously you like technical work. There is no reason youi can't do technical work on your free time, but for YOU not for the company that wuold drop you like a hot potato if they could save a nickle.

Home? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18460033)

???

You spend half your life aft work. (1)

xtal (49134) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460055)

Keeping the two seperate is damn near impossible. I'm happier when I don't try, and focus on living my life instead. From my own experience, this is vastly more productive so long as you can manage your time effectively. Methinks that Google might just be onto something.

Re:You spend half your life aft work. (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460267)

Keeping the two seperate is damn near impossible. I'm happier when I don't try, and focus on living my life instead.

Agreed. But if your life is more than just your work, you'll be a "segmentor" more or less automatically, I think. Personally, I have somewhere on the order of a million hobbies. When I get home, I don't have *time* to think about work because I'm busy cultivating other parts of my life that I consider important.

FIRST (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18460069)

Consultants face the same life style decisions (2, Interesting)

MarkWatson (189759) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460093)

I work out of a home office and until a life-threatening medical problem last December, I was definitely an 'integrator', never really being off line. BTW, my problem (DVT followed by two large pulmonary embolisms) was almost certainly caused or made worse by a few month work spree - too much time at my desk. I have since set strict boundaries: I set a "get up and walk around" timer on my laptop, place limits on "billable time" each day and even some limits on time for learning new technologies (although my 2/3 time for paid work and about 1/3 time learning ne things ration has stayed about the same).

Anyway, transitioning from an 'integrator' to a 'separator' has been a good thing for me. People do need down time.

At the end of the day, I believe that productivity is about quality work time, not quantity.

Re:Consultants face the same life style decisions (1)

MarkWatson (189759) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460265)

"2/3 time for paid work and about 1/3 time learning ne things ration" --> "2/3 time for paid work and about 1/3 time learning new things ratio"

must learn to preview :-)

Worries me (5, Insightful)

dmayle (200765) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460097)

I've gotta say, each there is a story about working at Google, everyone seems to talk about how horrible the number of perks are because it must mean they expect you to work crazy hours, and I wonder how jaded we've become?

How about this as an idea, maybe the perks aren't meant to make people work crazy hours but instead just make good business sense?

  • Doctors on site? Makes sure sick employees get better, and helps prevent healthy employees from getting sick
  • 20% Off-project time? I know that when I have a serious problem, it's usually solved by walking away from the issue at hand and focusing on something else, letting my brain solve it in the background. What's more, all those 20% projects become a great source for potential revenues.
  • Free food? By having their own cafeteria they can bring down costs, so it's less expensive than you might think for them, and they get the bonus of employees eating together, potentially discussing work, etc.

And on top of all of this, it makes their employees really happy, and gets them really good press!

I, for one, would be more than happy to talk to a recruiter at Google

Re:Worries me (1)

bernywork (57298) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460173)

Yup, seconded.

If Google are reading this, I am about to head to Dublin for a year, if you want to sponsor me to stay thereafter, let me know.

Berny

Keeping the flame alive (1)

wsanders (114993) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460367)

Back in the goodle days in Silicon Valley lots of places had these kinds of perks, too. Google only stands out now because no one else can afford to offer them anymore.

I also have to say I know a few people who work there, and they are the some of the smartest, coolest, and nicest people I have ever known or worked with. So if they load on the perks, it is only to retain good people.

Re:Keeping the flame alive (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18461011)

The issue with silicon valley isn't that they can no longer afford the perks (and no longer give them), but that employees are considered more expendable. They make less of an effort to prevent burning out employees and accept higher turnover.

When you get into your second or third month of 7 days a week 12+ hours a day with your boss asking you to see if you can 'stay late' to try to catch up on the project (wtf? later than 12 hours 7 days a week?). More employers are fine with this now than they were during the dotcom boom. Back then, they'd give you recreation time at the office. So what if you 'wasted' 2-3 hours a day if you were there >12 hours a day. You were happier, more productive and the work got done without the entire team quitting at the end of the project. When you were friends with all of your coworkers, you'd stay out of loyalty to them, not necessarily loyalty to the company. Either way, the company benefited.

Google is sucking up the high quality people who are tired of being treated as machinery. Productivity stays at a consistent level and you don't keep losing all of the high quality employees you hire.

According to co-workers... (1)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460165)

"What kind of worker are you -- segmentor or integrator?"

I'm the ass-imilator.

Segmentor ....now (4, Interesting)

Itninja (937614) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460221)

At my last job I was the textbook integrator. I kept on top of email from home, preformed server admin stuff at all hours via VPN, and would even come in after hours when a got a server alert that needed attention. One day, I decided to add up all these extra hours. I was a salary employee, so it's not like I was getting paid extra to work overtime. I was shocked with the totals.

During one calender year, I had worked over 200 unpaid hours. And, since they would have all been considered overtime hours and worth 1.5 regular hours, it totaled 300 hours' worth of lost wages. That's nearly two months worth of time!

So I quit that job after 10 years (I'm kinda a slow learner), and found a company that insists I work no more than 40 hours a week. If I am called on work more, I get to make it up later. So now I am a segmentor. Work is work, home is home, and never the twain shall meet.

Integrator (3, Funny)

smithwis (577119) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460243)

I'm an integrator of the highest order. I integrate so much freetime into my work that even I wonder how I get anything done.

Oh, do think Google wants me to integrate work into my off time?

I'm an integrator... (2, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460273)

...which is why I need to work for myself. And I've been working in that direction for... forever now. But anyway, at least if you're working for yourself you can choose when to work and what to work on. I can't help thinking about work when I'm gone, it just happens.

Integration Not Complete enough (4, Funny)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460305)

I am an ideal integrator. I would love to work at a place that is completely integrated. I could work for google, have a google wife, 2.5 google kids, live in a google house, drive to google in my google car, drop of my laundry of google brand clothes at the google dry cleaners, eat at the googleteria, taking a break at 5 to go to the google bar to share a few drinks with my google friends, pick the kids up from google school, and head out for a night at the google opera with my google wife. That would be perfect. All of my needs would be met entirely.

However, anything short of that requires me to segment my personal life from work. I need to fulfill the needs that work doesn't provide, requiring necessary non work related period. Perks would be nice, but not if they distract me for fulfilling the other needs. As the article says, they'd get in the way of my real life. At least thats what happened when I tried living a truly integrated workplace, very far from google. I went a whole month without leaving the compound's gates. Needless to say, I was not attending any operas with my wife. Which is why I had to leave. It was like 75% perfect, but anything short of perfection sucks.

Re:Integration Not Complete enough (1)

Fross (83754) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460765)

I could work for google, have a google wife, 2.5 google kids, live in a google house, drive to google in my google car, drop of my laundry of google brand clothes at the google dry cleaners, eat at the googleteria, taking a break at 5 to go to the google bar to share a few drinks with my google friends, pick the kids up from google school, and head out for a night at the google opera with my google wife.

this reminds me of a woefully uneducated american couple who visited my family, in italy, several years ago. the wife was a fashion victim, so spent the whole time there shopping at fashionable places, picking up armani, valentino, gucci, and the like. except she pronounced gucci "gookie". so one day, she came over saying "...and we went to the via veneto and i picked up a gookie bag and some gookie shoes, then...."

Re:Integration Not Complete enough (1)

hab136 (30884) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460803)

Except for the wife and kids, many company towns [wikipedia.org] operate(d) exactly like that. The company owns the houses, stores, goods, etc. Mining, logging, steel, paper mills, and other businesses have operated company towns.

One danger is that the company knows your pay and can adjust prices so that you never really get ahead - this has happened more than once.

Trilogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18460363)

All too familiar.

I used to work for Trilogy, once cited as the best place in the US to work. It was a disaster: they had overexpanded, lacked a lot of process discipline and relied on small groups of super-bright people. Unfortunately you do need some structure and control.

It ended with the CEO in tears firing 1/3 of the company one Saturday. (Yes, they made people come in on a Saturday just to fire them!)

Google may be different, and I'm sure I could get hired there if I wanted to, but I'm scared off by the similarity with Trilogy.

My Worker Type (0)

MSTCrow5429 (642744) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460365)

"What kind of worker are you -- segmentor or integrator?"

Disintegrator.

Re:My Worker Type (1)

Knara (9377) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460851)

My coworkers would say I'm a frobnicator

Big Deal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18460407)

They are just copying the ideas of having everyon live the Google life with everything provided by the company from Globex Corporation....

It's not really that black and white... (1)

FirstNoel (113932) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460415)

I leave work at work for the most part. Exceptions include deadlines and emergencies, and they are few and far between.

However, 4 of my coworkers and myself play WOW (World of Warcraft) on an almost nightly basis together. We don't discuss work when we play, except if we're trying to find the one person who knows how to fix the emergency at work. I think I did that once.

Another caveat, my wife, father-in-law, and 2 of my wifes Uncles work at the same place as me. Separate depts thank god, but still, we talk about work at home, home at work. But that's usually the gossipy stuff.

But if I try my damndest to forget what I was doing the moment I walk out the door at 4pm. My thoughts are on my daughter, wife, and whether I'll have a margarita when I'm playing WOW. Printing problems, MRP issues...I try to let them go.

So it's me I'm a segmentor, but life makes me an integrator.

Sean D.

*Groan* (3, Insightful)

Noryungi (70322) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460419)

Oh, please, "segmentors"? "Integrators"? What's next? "Dronators"? "Dilbertors"?

Seriously, this is just one aspect of the US work culture: the company you work for simply assumes that you are going to put in long hours and work until late at night or early in the morning. This, in my opinion, is simply wrong: the longer you work, the less productive you are and he more exhausted you are as well.

Not to mention that putting in long hours takes a very heavy toll on your family life, if you are married and have children. So Google perks are great, but they simply (a) represent something wrong in U.S. culture and (b) reflect the fact that a lot of people at Google may be young and single adults, who can afford to spend a lot of time at the office.

Personally, instead of free massage and thirteen different restaurant in-house, I'd rather be able to have flexible hours to take care of my kids, telecommute for a couple of hours a day -- I am sure I would be a lot more productive working from my home from 11:00pm until 1:00am, or even have more paid vacation days. I don't really care about in-house restaurants or nerf tournaments. But I guess that's just me.

Re:*Groan* (1)

Dara Hazeghi (1076823) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460935)

And this is why the US should mandate 35 hour work weeks, like France did some time back. The French are at least as productive as we are, and do that with 60% of the work week and 6 weeks vacation.

I Would Like to Change (2, Interesting)

moore.dustin (942289) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460421)

While currently, I am a segmentor, I would rather be an integrator. If I could enjoy my job enough to include it as part of my "life" then I would be all about it. Till that time comes, I will continue to enjoy my clean break from work when I leave my office.

Re:I Would Like to Change (1)

qwijibo (101731) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460769)

That's probably the most common problem - a mismatch between employee and employer. Where I work, everyone is interviewed to gauge their "fit" for the team. Basically, they want to hire round pegs to fit into the square holes the organization provides. I think the idea is that if we get a critical mass of round pegs, the organization may provide some round holes. Of course, the philosophy of any large organization is to pound the round peg into the square hole until it fits or shoots out the window.

I'm more of a Slacker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18460427)

Now where's my benefits? When I was working at Boo.com I only had to show up three days a week for five hours.

I used to be an integrator, but .... (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460439)

then I discovered that the company's idea of integrating work and "real-life" meant letting me doing work at home. However when they came to their side of the bargain it also meant not doing home-things at work.

There was always a suspicion (thankfully, no-one ever tested it) that if you hurt yourself while working at home, then you'd be completely disowned so far as liabilty went. Same for RSI and other long-term work related problems. "Well your home life contributed to that condition, so it's nothing to do with us"

Now, I always have "commitments" at weekends or evenings. I'm much happier and the work still all gets done.

Just make sure that if you take work home, or let it invade your personal time the home/work balance is actually a balance

Perks? (2, Interesting)

Cereal Box (4286) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460473)

Let me pull this up because there are so many," he says. When his computer produces a list a moment later, Kallayil makes his way down the screen and continues: "The free gourmet food, because that's a daily necessity. Breakfast, lunch and dinner I eat at Google. The next one is the fitness center, the 24-hour gym with weights. And there are yoga classes."

There is a pause before he adds that he also enjoys the speaker series, the in-house doctor, the nutritionist, the dry cleaners and the massage service. He has not used the personal trainer, the swimming pool and the spa -- at least not yet, anyway. Nor has he commuted to and from the office on the high-tech, wi-fi equipped, bio-diesel shuttle bus that Google provides for employees, but that is only because he lives nearby and can drive without worrying about a long commute.


I'd be worried about the fact that Google has the spending habits and business plan of a late 90s dot-com. Isn't advertising something like 95% of their revenue?

Segmentor... or just common sense (1)

athloi (1075845) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460545)

My preference at jobs is to go in, get the task done, and then go do something fun.

Most "work" done during workdays could be done in four hours, tops, if people were committed to efficiency.

I think many people like being at work because they feel a total lack of doubt. I'm doing the right thing, earning money, forget about the divorce, the kids, the debt, the extra 25 pounds, the smoking habit, distant mortality, etc.

Mixing work+home == "you're fired" (2, Interesting)

narf501 (1051136) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460615)

Never mix work and home, EVER. This is something I learned hard, because when you let co-workers find out what you do for fun, when they know what friends and acquaintances you hang out with, what music you listen to, then that is ammo that your peers and your office politics rivals will use to get you fired should some bad thing happen, and they have a chance at it.

For example, I've seen a co-worker (who was EXTREMELY talented) fired at a previous job I was at because he listened to heavy metal/goth, and during a major emergency on a Saturday night when servers melted (UPS failure), he ran into work in full club gear in order to get servers back up and running. Even though he got the servers up in an hour, he got fired a week later, not because of performance, but because his boss was a country music type of guy and didn't like anyone who didn't drive a pickup truck and attend rodeos in the first place, and him finding an underling who listened to something totally different caused him to dig up anything to fire the guy by. At the time, it wasn't a big deal, the guy just hopped to a different place and made more money, but these days with jobs being outsourced or handed to I-9 thralls, it may end up causing someone to have their next home for their family be a homeless shelter or park bench.

It seems easy to mix the two, but don't. You don't want co-workers who are potential enemies when it comes raise/promotion time to have knowledge on how to sabotage you.

Personally, I leave work and home totally separate. Even, my work car (a bland, boring vehicle that stays clean and personal-item free) is different from the car I use in other things. If asked about family or whatnot, I give a bland reply back. It sounds bad, but come raise/promotion time, issues that people can bring against me are only work-related... they can't dig up skeletons out of the rest of my daily existence to use.

Re:Mixing work+home == "you're fired" (1)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460763)

My philosophy exactly. Keep things at work work-related, if only to make sure your supervisor has a unbiased opinion of you come evaluation time.

Re:Mixing work+home == "you're fired" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18460839)

Dude, get another job. That's really sad.

The whole "working for Google" discussion is actually all about how you and your employer shape your environment. Now step back and think about the environment that you have to be working in when you need to take a separate car to work and avoid letting your co-workers know anything about you. How anyone who can afford two cars could go to work each day for a company they are so cynical about I don't understand.

Something else to consider: Maybe the fact that you are so skeptical of your co-workers intentions will eventually lead to you being fired. Nobody likes a non-engaging outsider. At least nobody I know.

Re:Mixing work+home == "you're fired" (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460885)

Or I could just sue the motherfucker for unjustified firing and discrimination. I can't believe that this actually happened, or just his tastes in music led to the firing.

If it is true, I can't imagine the paranoid place you work in. My boss knows I once dated a dominatrix (I was her boyfriend, *NOT* a client, mind you) and it doesn't mean a thing to him.

Stop right here! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18460665)

Any article that contains "... two kinds of..." is complete bull$hit that, at best, was written solely to stimulate insipid debating.

Both! (4, Funny)

DdJ (10790) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460761)

I'm an Integrater from about 10am to about 4pm on work days, and a Segmentor the rest of the time.

The minute work becomes your life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18460787)

...is the minute you've become a slave.

Specifically.. work for others.

Meanwhile, in the Land of False Dichotomies... (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460805)

Must every article these days follow the same lines?

1. Reduce group in question to two, robotic types.
2. Toss about simplistic arguments concerning said types.
3. Leave real world situation utterly unanalyzed.

It's like using approximations in physics and mathematics, only less useful.

Re:Meanwhile, in the Land of False Dichotomies... (2, Funny)

P3NIS_CLEAVER (860022) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460951)

Yes, there are two kinds of people! Those who must classify /. articles and those who don't.

Step 4... (1)

argent (18001) | more than 7 years ago | (#18461029)

1. Reduce group in question to two, robotic types.
2. Toss about simplistic arguments concerning said types.
3. Leave real world situation utterly unanalyzed.

4. Profit!

yes, some people mind the perks (1)

theStorminMormon (883615) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460813)

My wife - comp sci/math major with honors blah blah blah - has been heavily recruited by Google. It hasn't become annoying or anything, but she's been contacted numerous times before and since getting her B.S. She wouldn't take the job anyway because it would cause her to relocate, but I know that she considers the extent of the perks a significant strike against Google.

From on-campus meals to weights to doctors to dry cleaning she considers the extent to which Google tries to be a part of the lives of its employees creepy and cult-like. I think she's exactly the type of person Google wants to hire in terms of talent and ability, but it's clear that their perks are working against such people.

This doesn't mean the perks aren't working in general. There a possibly many more people who enjoy the perks rather than view them with distrust. But clearly some talented people are going to be turned off by extent to which Google attempts to insinuate itself into every aspect of your life.

As for me, I think the perks a bit over-the-top, but I wouldn't mind at all having to do less travel. But my wife enjoys running errands together - it's a chance for family time - and would consider Google to be competing for family time. And I think she has a point. Anyone know anything about work/family balance for people working at Google?

Shifting through the years. (1)

Sanat (702) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460835)

Since I was a kid I have always loved to fix things and found that I was skilled at fixing mainframes and their peripherals. But CDC was on the decline so I moved from Minnesota to a smaller company in St. Louis. I flew from city to city fixing equipment that was hopeless and on the edge of a lawsuit. As equipment got smaller and smaller and more disposable I saw the writing on the wall and moved into software.

My point is that I would have paid to get to play with the stuff that I fixed but instead got paid well for it.

I would even visit local offices while on vacation and fix some tough dog problems just for the fun of it. I realize now i was an idiot... but I enjoyed doing it at the time.

Today it would be like paying someone to play with an Xbox or Ipod. Ir was like " You mean you are going to pay me for what I really would like to do anyway? Sure! I'll do it"

Over the years though, as several other individuals here have pointed out the company would take a new direction, often with the management from other failed companies and sooner or later it was my turn to be escorted out on a friday afternoon due to across the board cutbacks.

Now I am self employed...This suits me now.

I can understand though how the workers might feel at Google... I had that feeling from the 60's through the 90's and life was effortless.

Sanat
       

Incorrect presumptions (3, Interesting)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 7 years ago | (#18460945)

Stupid Americans with your self-inflicted workaholicism. Don't blame google when its all in your own mind.

People should feel they can legitimately enjoy the perks then go home after doing an 8 hour day.

Whatever Google's real motivation is for offering free meals and transport, its pretty stupid to feel obliged to put in more hours because of them, especially if no-one has explicitly stated that they are provided in order to commit you to work more hours.
And if they ever do say that, then drive yourself and take sandwiches in.

Apart from anything else, the transport has wi-fi and if you're not driving yourself you can work on the bus. this is all extra time for Google worth more than the cost of the transport anyway. The value of the free food only amounts to maybe 15 minutes of pay at most, but you save more than that time by not going out to get food. So why should people still feel obliged to work extra time measured in hours?

My guess is Google's real motivation for offering those things is becase it differentiates the comapny and attracts hard-to-find developers to apply to work there in the first place. It has nothing to do with hours/week.

As a manager, if members of my team work continually work more than 40 hours/week when its not necessary for their workload, it gives me an indication that they're either not able to keep up or they're brown-nosers, either of which gives me reason and inclination to fire them.

Interesting question: segmentor or integrator? (1)

Eggplant62 (120514) | more than 7 years ago | (#18461019)

I'm working at home in Detroit doing medical transcription, so I guess I'm an inverse integrator. I've integrated work into my home life, but I'm not really giving up one for the other. I'm home all the time now, and don't need to go out but to run errands or visit friends/family. I get my work done for the day quickly and have time for my wife and other hobbies, like computer gaming, fishing, and traveling. I even traveled during summer last year with the laptop and got work done while at a campground, in hotel rooms, and at my ex's home in Tennessee. I'll have a difficult time giving it up if I go back to my computer technician career working in anything but a telecommute position.
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