I was solicited for a job at Google last month by their HR department. I turned them down. Here’s why:
- Having a really cool boss is still having a boss. Although Google is one of the most coveted employers in the world, they’re still an employer. That’s great for most people that can’t stomach the feast or famine life of being an entrepreneur. But it’s not for me. I’m an independent contractor. A gun-for-hire. My own man. I don’t make a lot of money, but I have an abundance of time, mobility, and flexibility. I make my own schedule. I don’t work nights and weekends. Save for 30 minutes of accounting each month, I choose the projects and companies I work for. But more than anything, I don’t answer to a boss. That’s not true—I answer to the person paying me. But I don’t have someone overlooking my methodology, analyzing my approach, and prodding my progress at every turn. So long as I deliver, it doesn’t matter. And that’s how I like it.
- I have the unwavering support of my wife. Being courted by such a company was as flattering as it was validating of my independent efforts thus far. I won’t lie: I entertained the Googleplex for a few moments. “Might as well string ’em along to see what you can get before turning them down,” I thought. Then I caught myself. “This is not who you are nor what you want to do. Thank them, say no, and move on.” That’s what I did. Then I told Lindsey about the exchange. She smiled and said, “Good for you, Blake. Now will you watch your son?” Translation: She doesn’t care what I do so long as I continue to shelter, clothe, feed, and provide experiences for our family. It’s difficult to express how liberating that kind of support is, but I’ll try with this: I love my wife.
- I’m gonna work for them as a contractor instead. As I said before, the best thing about working for yourself is being able to pick and choose the accounts you work on. It wasn’t always that way. In the beginning, I had to hustle for anyone with a dollar. With experience and time, however, that changes. Ten years after first going it alone, I only pitch the companies, products, and ideas that already interest me; that I already believe in (which results in better, more passionate work). Along with the other brands that are close to my life, Google is one of those companies. So I’ll pitch them until someone says, “yes.”
UPDATE: In 2015, they did. I became a contract writer for Google. Moral of the story: Don’t quit until everyone in the room tells you “no.”