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Mark Jen’s blog, (ex-future?) Google’s employee

Mark Jen was working for Microsoft when Google decided to hire him. I thought it was quite difficult to get a job at Google, but apparently, their tests can help them to find talented developers, but not to catch “stupid” bloggers.

When he joined Google, Mark Jen started a blog — using Blogger, the blogging tool owned by Google — to criticize the policies of his new company. You already heard about bloggers fired because of what they wrote on their personal blogs, but it’s the first time I find such an example of irresponsibility.

I don’t know today if he has already been fired, but his blog, ninetyninezeros, is not always available. You can still read what he wrote on January 23, 2005, thanks to a cache from Yahoo!

Jen complains about being broke because Google didn’t give him any money in advance to pay for his apartment in San Francisco. He also writes that free meals and free in-house doctors and dentists on the Googleplex are just a way to force employees to work more.

He might be right, but using a tool provided by his new company to criticize it is totally wrong.

Just in case Google contacts Yahoo! to eliminate the latest notes on Jen’s blog, here are some excerpts — with their original typography, i.e. without any capital letters.

i realized the root problem was that google’s relocation process requires the employee to pay all the expenses up front and then get reimbursed for them later. that means you have to cover an apartment hunting trip, your final relocation, lease termination fees and temporary housing expenses all in advance. not to mention that they don’t pay out your signing bonus and relocation money until your first paycheck (which i haven’t received yet). finally, add in the fact that i had to put down two months rent as a deposit for my new lease, and i’m flat broke.

on the plus side, this first paycheck is going to be huge… (which unfortunately means i’ll probably end up getting taxed huge on it. doh!)

Jen even dares to compare health benefits offered by Microsoft and Google.

next, let’s look at the health care benefit provided. arguably, this is the biggest benefit companies pay out for their employees. google definitely has a program that is on par with other companies in the industry; but since when does a company like google settle for being on par? microsoft’s health care benefits shame google’s relatively meager offering. for those of you who don’t know, microsoft pays 100% of employees’ premiums for a world-class PPO. everything you can possibly imagine is covered.

It’s probably clear for you by now. If you want to blog about your company, don’t follow Jen’s example. His future at Google is probably limited — and with good reasons. I’ll come back soon on the subject of limits that any blogger should respect when he writes about his company — even if his company has no defined policies.

2 Responses to “Mark Jen’s blog, (ex-future?) Google’s employee”

  1. Blogs for Companies » Blog Archive » An update on Mark Jen’s blog Says:

    […] Two days ago, I told you about Mark Jen, the Google’s employee who openly criticized his company, while using the blogging tool provided by Google (check “Mark Jen’s blog, (ex-future?) Google’s employee” for more.) […]

  2. Blogs for Companies » Blog Archive » Mark Jen lost his job at Google Says:

    […] You probably remember Mark Jen, a new Google employee who compared on his blog the benefits offered by his new company and by his former one, Microsoft (read my previous notes here and there). […]

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Roland Piquepaille
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