Quartz

I was a contract worker in Google’s caste system—and it wasn’t pretty

Google is a truly unusual place to work. The campus in Mountain View is dotted with giant statues of sweets representing the company’s Android versions—Eclair,…

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Erin Holmes
Head of Marketing/Dir. Product Management at Invested Media

I had no idea half of Google workers were contractors, temps, and vendors. Surprising, not surprising.

Peter Neeves
Director of Expert’s Community at CentSai

This is basically bs. Many tech firms use contractors to start because they don’t see another way. In this case it’s purely greed. Perhaps 5% or some such thing could realistically be temporary needs. But at this level it is abuse.

And the all too PC employees won’t stand up against their employer here, it would only cause more competition for advancement. Reeks of hypocrisy. They care so deeply that Google doesn’t aid the defense of this nation; they care so deeply that Google doesn’t participate in any version of a search engine the Chinese government might restrict. But screw those who work next to them day in and day out for months and years.

Xana Antunes
Executive Editor at Quartz

The caste system that's created in companies like Google that make extensive use of contractors has all sorts of unintended consequences—including for the staffers. As Ephrat Livni describes, for some employees, the many perks of being on staff end up making them feel guilty. Others turn into petty tyrants. The result infects the work culture for everyone.

Corinne Purtill
Senior Reporter at Quartz

I would read Ephrat Livni on virtually any subject. Hearing her perspective on Google’s contract caste is fascinating

Ephrat Livni
Reporter at Quartz

Working at Google is an incredible and bizarre experience. For one, you discover that there is such a thing as free lunch. Yet that is not enough to dispel the deep underlying gloom at the world's seemingly friendliest workplace.