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I think you probably know the answer already. Given the wealth of forums inside Google where you could ask for this advice, you've decided to post anonymously to Hacker News. That probably means there's some underlying issue, like you think your manager is going to punish you if he or she finds out that you aren't happy with your position, or you think future teams you may want to work with will look upon you unfavorably if they read the post. As soon as you stop trusting your coworkers, it's probably game over. (And I'm not saying you're doing the wrong thing, or that your concerns are unwarranted. They are probably legitimate concerns.)

I was extremely happy at Google for many years. I liked my coworkers, I liked my work, I liked my manager. I did get burned out from time to time, but usually there was something interesting to keep me going through the rough patches, and my team, coworkers, and managers were all very supportive of what I needed to do to stay productive and happy (which in a lot of cases was "sleep for 2 days and maybe wake up to have a meeting that would be inconvenient to move"). It was quite wonderful. I had no trouble getting promoted, got "strongly exceeds" performance reviews, and had a lot of fun. Good times.

All good things must come to an end eventually, however. I came into work one day and my project was cancelled (and not like "wind it down over the next 6 months", but literally "might as well delete the CLs you're working on") and I hastily transferred to another interesting-sounding team that, in retrospect, I kind of got the hard-sell to join.

As it turned out, I didn't really care for the other team that I transferred to, and thought to myself "everyone else on my old team got 6 months to sit at home and research other projects to transfer to, so I'll just look for another project." I did not get that option. I was basically told "you just transferred, so you can't leave." And then told, "you really aren't getting enough work done on your own hours, I want you to be here at 9am so I can make sure you're working." That went as well as you'd imagine. A bunch of people advised me "you're depressed, you should take 3 months off and get some antidepressants". I talked with my doctor and did that. In the end, it had no effect. The third-party company that handles paid leave denied my claim, so it was unpaid leave. I decided to take a vacation right at the end of my leave... which the vacation system decided was invalid and silently discarded. When I was on vacation without cell phone service, Google started calling my parents (I'm 32 BTW) looking for me. It was quite a production when I finally got cell phone service back. 3 months of de-stressing, instantly erased.

I got back and started working on a new project under the supervision of my existing manager. He decided that, based on git commit timestamps, I wasn't programming quickly enough. (I got that from another very new manager once, and it was also an App Engine project. I'm not sure if that says more about me or App Engine, but I digress.) To be brutally honest, I'm kind of offended that he didn't consider me to be capable of forging timestamps on git commits. I thought about it, honestly, but in the end decided that experienced managers knows that some things are easy and some things are hard. But in the end, I thought honesty was the best policy.

I was pretty stressed out at this point because my manager and I clearly didn't get along, and the project I wanted to work on didn't have official headcount so I couldn't really get out of a bad situation. At that point I wrote up some email to the relevant concerned parties and realized "I do not want to read the response to this email", so I didn't. Some time passed and someone from HR called me saying "you know if you are gone for 3 days, you're voluntarily resigning, right?" I said, "yup." And that was the end of my experience working for Google. I still have my laptop and badge. They still have a box of my stuff (including my beloved Realforce 87UB keyboard!) Oh well.

My point is, there are other places to work. Google is a huge company and some people are happy and some people aren't. If you're unhappy, maybe you can find happiness elsewhere. I'll tell you one thing, though... antidepressants won't make you happy about a job you don't like.




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