Google's Utterly Mental Signing Bonuses

Google is paying some people around half a million dollars not to go to Facebook, a senior Facebook engineer has confirmed. Googlers, prepare to get spoiled and entitled again, recession be damned.

Google has been offering raises and signing bonuses left and right to stem a flood of defectors to Facebook, reportedly keeping one mid-level developer with a $500,000 signing bonus and a 15 percent raise to his $150,000 salary. Asked about this online the other day, Facebooker and ex Googler Paul Buchheit — who invented Gmail, FriendFeed and the slogan "don't be evil" —confirmed that the bonus report is true:

Yes, it is. Many people at Google use Facebook offers in order to get a big raise.

That's to be expected, given Google's recent belt tightening. After touting the productivity benefits of perks like free meals, Google sometime around last year decided its employees had grown entitled and that cutbacks were needed. CEO Eric Schmidt told reporters last fall, "Google pays very well. Google is clearly a growth company... We don't want them to come to Google for those reasons." Instead, he added, people should feel like "'We're happy to be employed. We love what we're doing. Our friends, you know, have been laid off.'"

Schmidt had a point; even Google's own employees had grown tired of coworkers' petty complaints about how, for example, the chocolate frosting on free brownies stuck to their fingers, or how free gourmet restaurants were reduced to one per building.

And yet the CEO has decided to abandon his old position, at least for some workers. In 2010, it's just fine if you're at Google for the money.

Schmidt might have held on to some potential turncoats — someone at Google said 80 percent of employees took their counteroffers — but now he'll have to deal with all the engineers who didn't try and leave the company and are feeling all the poorer for their loyalty. Google's days of peak entitlement may yet be in front of it.