Friday, March 30, 2012
When I arrived, there were more than 300 people in the building and, according to one individual, 75% of those present were under the age of 30. Almost everyone was dressed in jeans and t-shirts. There was a space where breakfast and lunch were served free of charge on a daily basis, (calling it a cafeteria would be an injustice). Additionally, there is a snack bar with light snacks and beverages available 24/7. There was a game room complete with a ping-pong table, video games and an outdoor patio with a grill. Any guesses where I was?
Did anyone guess I was in the Ann Arbor office of one of the world's most recognizable companies? I was at Google and the individuals I mentioned are employees who refer to themselves as "Googlers." The environment I described isn't a communal dorm or apartment complex, rather it is their workspace.
Since it's inception in March of 1996I, Google's mission has been, "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." While those words may not be quoted verbatim in any school district mission statement, the concepts contained within are not too far off.
As I reflect upon my visit, I find myself asking if Google employees representative of the typical 'Gen Y' employee? Is the work environment I observed there the type of environment they thrive in? If so, does the current structure of our schools prepare our graduates to succeed? Will the current structure of our schools attract the best, brightest and most creative minds 'Gen Y' has to offer?