Tech: Strategy: Everyone wants to work at Google — but we found out how 15 ex-Googlers knew it was time to quit

Google is a dream job for many workers in the tech industry. We spoke to former Google employees to find out why they decided to leave the company, and their answers ranged from frustration with company politics to the desire to become a social media influencer.

  • Google is a dream job for many workers in the tech industry.
  • We spoke to former Google employees to find out why they decided to leave the company.
  • Their answers ranged from frustration with company politics to a desire to take the next step in their career, whether that’s learning new skills, building a new company, or becoming a social-media influencer.

Google is routinely rated one of the best places to work in the US.

It’s no surprise that with a median salary over $160,000, generous benefits packages, and perkslike free gourmet food, massages, and music lessons, Google is considered a dream job by so many people in the tech industry.

So why would anyone ever want to leave?

We spoke to several former Googlers to find out why they left the company, compiling their responses with those of other former employees who have written about their departures publicly.

Their reasons include everything from frustration with company politics to simply wanting to feel more freedom at a smaller company. One former Googler even quit to become a social-media influencer.

Read on to see the reasons 15 former Googlers gave for leaving the company.

Liz Wessel, cofounder and CEO of WayUp

Former position at Google: Product marketing manager

Why she left: Wessel told Business Insider she knew it was time to leave Google when she couldn’t stop thinking about her next career move.

“If you can’t do a good job at your job anymore because you’re spending all of your time thinking about another job opportunity, that’s probably a good sign,” she said.

Tyler Breisacher, software engineer at Hustle

Former position at Google: Software developer

Why he left: Breisacher was one of about a dozen Googlers who left the company in April to protest Google’s controversial collaboration in which it provides the US Department of Defense with artificial-intelligence technology.

After thousands of employees signed a petition, Google announced it would cease work on the project next year.

“This is obviously a big deal, and it’s very encouraging, but this only happened after months and months of people signing petitions and [internal debate] and people quitting,” Breisacher told Business Insider.

Breisacher said his decision to leave was also influenced by Google’s sponsorship of a conservative political conference and its failure to act decisively after YouTube videos related to LGBT issues were flagged as inappropriate on the site.

“When I started, Google had a reputation as a pro-gay, pro-trans company,” Breisacher, who is gay, told Business Insider. “I guess I’m disillusioned. I know that Google is a for-profit company and you shouldn’t expect it to do things purely for the good of the world. But in the past, we would expect leaders to listen to the employees and to think carefully about issues and not to cross certain lines.

“Things have changed at Google.”

Krystal Bick, social-media influencer

Former position at Google: Product marketing manager

Why she left: Bick left her six-figure job at Google in 2015 to pursue her side hustle: being a social-media influencer.

She knew it was time to leave after she recognized that influencer marketing was seeing an influx of advertising dollars. Now, she earns as much as four figures for a single sponsored post and five figures for brand ambassadorships.

More importantly, she said, being an entrepreneur is liberating.

“There’s 90% certainty, and there’s 10% of ‘this could really fail miserably, and then I don’t know what I’m going to do,'” Bick told Business Insider. “But I think I was comfortable enough with the fact that even if I fall flat on my face, at least I tried it, and I tried it at a moment where I feel like it really was an opportunity to try it.”

Daren Makuck, software engineer at Qwil

Former position at Google: Software engineer

Why he left: Makuck left a high-paying engineering gig at Google and took a 50% pay cut to work at Qwil, a startup that facilitates payments between freelance workers and the companies that hire them.

His previous company, Toro, had been acquired by Google one year earlier, and Makuck said he wanted to work at a smaller company again to feel more ownership of his work. Though he initially didn’t expect Qwil to be a long-term job, a conversation he had with CEO Johnny Reinsch changed his mind.

“He replied, ‘If we can’t keep you happy enough to stay for more than a year, that’s on us,'” Makuck told Business Insider. “This was the first time I had ever felt like a company — not just the people in it — would share the responsibility of my employment, and it’s something I didn’t even realize I needed.”

Libby Leffler, a vice president of SoFi

Former position at Google: Account strategist

Why she left: Leffler left Google in 2008 to work at Facebook, and in seven years she worked her way up from a client partner to the manager of strategic partnerships.

But she initially turned down the Facebook job offer, only to realize a few weeks later that it was the right move for her.

“It became very clear that there was a lot to learn in this new role at Facebook,” she told Business Insider.

She said her chief concern in accepting the client-partner job was her lack of formal sales training.

“This was a great opportunity for me to dive in and see what I could do,” Leffler said. “My instinct at that time was very clear to look for and move into new opportunities where I could learn skills that I wasn’t familiar with.”

Michael Lynch, self-employed software developer

Former position at Google: Software engineer

Why he left: Lynch explained in a blog post in February that he left Google because of the company’s frustrating internal politics and the difficulty he experienced trying to get a promotion.

“My career was being dictated by a shifting, anonymous committee who thought about me for an hour of their lives,” he said. “Management decisions that I had no input into were erasing months of my career progress.”

He added: “Worst of all, I wasn’t proud of my work. Instead of asking myself, ‘How can I solve this challenging problem?’ I was asking, ‘How can I make this problem look challenging for promotion?’ I hated that.”

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