California Living: First week at work; orientation.

I just finished my first week at work, so let me tell you a bit about how it was. On Monday I had to be there at 8am; it's a 25 minute drive according to Google Maps, so, adjusting for traffic, I left around 7am. I was 10 minutes late. The traffic was just horrid. Big part of the way I was just standing still on the highway. No fun, believe me.

The next day I decided to leave at 6am, hoping that there are not too many nutters going at that hour. It was better, but let me tell you, there were still plenty of them.

The following day I took a shuttle and it was much better. As shuttles can use the carpooling lane it's somewhat faster and besides sitting on the shuttle I can still do stuff (that's how I'm getting this and most of the other posts done). The only problem is that from the place I live there are only 3 shuttles per day, so I have to be careful to be there on time, as missing one can be a problem.

Ok, I guess that just about covers transportation. The first week was filled with talks, presentations and little let's-get-to-know-each-other games. I have to say that the quality of presentations was surprisingly high. Think of any scientific conference. Now take the top 20% of the presentation. The first week felt as if I only heard those best talks: funny, entertaining and highly informative. Sure, not all of them. But most. And not a single crappy one. I know that some of my friends will think that it's my love for Google that made me look at this week through pink glasses, but I really think it's more than that.

So during that week I learned quite a bit about company's culture, way of doing things and also quite a bit of the technical stuff, including mind-boggling numbers and statistics. Now a side note. Google is unbelievably forthcoming when it comes to sharing all kinds of information with its employees (it's quite amazing, really). On the other hand, it's very careful about sharing it with the outside world (for obvious reasons). Therefore I may disappoint my more geek-inclined friends when I'll say that I'm not going to share any insider tidbits. Nevertheless, I still hope there'll be enough of interesting content for this blog (at least if you're interested in how I'm doing, not how Google is doing ;).

One of the things people are very excited about are Google cafes. I have to say, there's a good reason for that. There are many of them and you can get pretty much anything you want from sushi to Kimchi to pizza to... you get the idea. And it's generally good stuff too. Oh, and you get breakfast, lunch and dinner. Cool, huh? Yeah, pretty cool indeed.

If that wasn't enough there are micro-kitchens. Spread around the campus and always in your vicinity (not that the cafes are not...) are micro kitchens were you can grab a snack in-between meals. Thank Google, the ones in Mountain View do not have M&M's! (otherwise I'd be in deep trouble as I'm addicted to this stuff).

What else. On Friday I attented my first TGIF (Thank Google It's Friday), the weekly meeting of Google stuff with some updates and talks about what's happening in the company. It was pretty cool. Not only did I see Larry live, but again it was both interesting and entertaining. Plus, it was something of a TV production quality; if they pull it off every week it's quite amazing, really. Oh, and if you were wondering about the photo at the beginning of this post -- this is the official "uniform" for every Noogler (i.e. new Googler, i.e. new Google employee) for their first TGIF :).

Finally, I guess I should say something about the work itself. But as I only did courses this week, not much to report on. All I can say is that for now I feel both excited and scared about it. Excited because there's clearly a lot of super interesting stuff going on here, so work should be fun. Scared, because there's just sooo much to learn that it's completely overwhelming. If you throw into the mix the fact that there are tons of smart and ambitious people around here... well, frankly I'm a bit worried about how I'll fit in. Time will tell. Ok, enough for today and until next time!

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