How soul-draining it must be to work at the world's best company! Hence the introduction of Google's School of Spiritual Growth, an arm of the search engine's in-house university.

Behind it: star-struck engineer Chade-Meng Tan, who's known for his disturbingly large collection of snapshots with the famous people who visit the Googleplex. Tan, a Buddhist, is shown here with Lama Surya Das, the "American Lama", explained the purpose at a recent conference, according to Soul's Code, a spirituality website:

Google wants to help Googlers grow as human beings on all levels. Emotional, mental, physical and ‘beyond the self’. (This) is why Google University instituted the School of Personal Growth, perhaps the first of its kind in a large corporation. We don’t just pamper Googlers, we want to help them fulfill their full human potential.

It was inevitable that northern California's most successful company would embrace the region's embarrassingly goofy human-potential movement. And timely, too, that Google management would try to get employees focused on their spiritual well-being, at a time when so many of the stock options lavished on engineers are worthless.

The risk for Google: that newly enlightened workers will realize that working at an overgrown advertising broker which peddles personal-injury lawyers and diet pills to Web searchers is not the ultimate route to spiritual advancement.