Red Echo

June 21, 2011

I haven’t even started working for Google yet and I’ve already run into some annoying big-company bullshit. Every Google employee apparently starts out with a week long orientation in Mountain View, which is fine – I’m looking forward to it, actually – but I’ve just found out that they expect me to pay for all the travel expenses myself. Sure, they’re promising to reimburse me later, but it still means I have to extend Google a short-term, zero-interest loan of a thousand bucks or so as a condition of employment. It’s so pathetically cheap – they can afford the fancy benefits package they were dazzling me with last week, but can’t afford to buy a plane ticket and book a hotel? Not cool. I am well aware that this kind of exploitative nonsense is common in the mega-corporate world, but I’d expected better from Google. I hope this is just laziness, something they picked up from other companies without really thinking about it, and not a true reflection of their management philosophy.

Oh, well. Perhaps I can turn the nonsense to my advantage. Instead of booking a plane ticket and a rental car, perhaps I’ll just ride down on my bike and bill ’em for the cost of fuel. It’ll cost less than a plane flight, I won’t have to deal with the TSA, and I’ll get to show up for my first day in style.


  1. Please let me know (email? I don’t get notices of comments on this site…) when this is going to happen. I’d love to meet up! If you’d like a place to crash, we could probably arrange that as well (keeping in mind that we don’t have an extra room, and do have small, annoyingly loud children… but also have a couch in the living room, and a 3D HDTV…). And our liquor cabinet may have a mediocre selection, but it’s free :D

    (OTOH, we have zero AC, and it gets hot in the summer…)

    The Google campus is nice (been there a few times, a couple interviews, and a few Google Summer-of-Code mentor summits), as is Mountain View in general (great options for food and shopping – and the best used bookstore I’ve ever seen).

    Comment by Micah Cowan — June 21, 2011 @ 3:57 pm

  2. Yeah, X-Rite does the same thing (almost). They purchase the plane tickets, but I pay for the car rental, the hotel, etc. Then I get reimbursed later.

    At first, it annoyed the hell out of me. But then I turned it into a perk. Credit card rewards get racked up *real quick*, and I reap the benefits. X-Rite inadvertently paid for Elissa’s and my hotels with rewards points when we went on our cruise, for instance.

    So while it can suck to be the bank for your employer, it does have its upsides if you get creative enough.

    Comment by Aaron Ballman — June 22, 2011 @ 6:21 am

  3. Not to worry – I think that’s standard for your first trip, but eventually you won’t have to pay out-of-pocket.

    Comment by Brady Duga — June 27, 2011 @ 4:57 pm

  4. Hi Mars

    Every single company, large and small, that I’ve ever worked for has handled expenses this way. Except for one which gave folks a company paid credit card. One of the guys went out and bought himself a motorcycle, crashed it and left the company with a large unpaid bill. The company credit cards were recalled shortly thereafter. Like Aaron said, there are perks to arranging and paying for your own travel. Hopefully Google will pay your expense report quickly, before your credit card bill becomes due and then you’re actually AHEAD of the cash flow game.

    Comment by Joe Huber — July 2, 2011 @ 9:14 am