Great ResignationCompensationReturn to WorkCareersLabor UnionsSuccess Stories

Former Google employee claims there’s a dark reason behind free office perks like dinner

March 29, 2022, 3:58 PM UTC

A former Google employee recently made a TikTok video criticizing the company’s perks, claiming they are a ploy to get people to work longer without having to pay more.

Ken Waks, 29, has gone viral on TikTok with more than 6.4 million views.

Waks worked in the Googleplex, the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California. He enjoyed free meals, transport, coffee, and dog-friendly offices during his time at Google.

“Companies like Google and known for their amazing perks, right? But what if I told you there’s a dark reason those companies do that. To get you to work more for less,” Waks said in his video.

He explained that Google’s free dinner perk started at 6:00 or 6:30 p.m., meaning if you wanted free food, you had to work later. The company offered shuttles that started at 6 a.m. and ran until 10 p.m. These shuttles were equipped with free WiFi, which he believes meant employees would have to work on the shuttle.

He also mentioned that while being able to bring your dog to work was a nice perk, it was also a way for companies to keep employees in the office. 

Waks, who was recruited by Google in 2017 when he was 24, quit Google twice and went on to work at Yelp.

He said Yelp provided also provided employees with perks, including baristas and tons of snacks.

“Why don’t I earn commission until after I earn $12,000 of sales each month?” Waks asked, recounting a conversation with his manager.

“That’s when we break even on you for the office snacks and perks that we give you,” his manager replied.

The video’s comment section was divided. While some agree with Waks’ point of view, others disagree and argue that companies like Google still provide higher salaries than the average U.S. worker earns.

“I am single with no friends. I will sleep in that office, I do not care, can’t wait to get my badge,” one person wrote.


Why tech companies give such “amazing perks” #workperks #google #googler #freefood

♬ Love You So – The King Khan & BBQ Show

Earlier this year, Google released the results of “Googlegeist,” a survey used to measure employee satisfaction regarding diversity, leadership, company values, and compensation. 

Results showed that employees’ positive views regarding their compensation had dropped. They also questioned why their wages have stayed the same while competitors like Amazon have raised base pay, according to a recent Fortune article.

“We know that our employees have many choices about where they work, so we work to ensure that they are very well compensated,” Google told Fortune in a statement. “That’s why we’ve always provided top of market compensation across salary, equity, leave, and a suite of benefits.”


Reply to @lifewithebs Brandon LIVED at Google in a truck for 16 months. Would you? #google #softwareengineer #workperks #bagsecured

♬ Blue Blood – Heinz Kiessling & Various Artists

In 2015, a 23-year-old Google software engineer who was drowning in student debt decided to get a 128-square-foot truck and live in it, according to Business Insider. He would then use all the company perks like the three meals a day, workout spaces, and showers to sustain himself. 

While living in a truck doesn’t sound ideal, it looks like Brandon out hacked the “dark side” of company perks and was able to save up to $100,000 in 16 months by living in the parking lot, according to SFGATE.

Regardless of Waks seeing perks as a ploy on employers’ side, some have leveraged them to successfully save money to pay debts, save for retirement, and make investments.

Never miss a story: Follow your favorite topics and authors to get a personalized email with the journalism that matters most to you.