Something absolutely incredible happened today. Something that reminded me of what makes this company so extremely inspiring and different. Something that made me pause for a second … and realize that the Googs will always be my first and biggest company crush (yes, I just invented that expression… I’m pretty sure though that I’m not the only one with a company crush!).
Just like myself, there are many people who travel a lot for work. And in order to keep people within budgets and under cap (each destination has certain spending limits for flights and hotels), Google rewards us with credits. If I go to Rio de Janeiro where the hotels have a cap of $240 and I end up in a hotel that costs less, I get some of those savings as "trip credits". This system encourages us to be frugal, but it’s also meant to reward us. I can accumulate credits for being thoughtful in my spending, and I can then take those credits and redeem them … for an upgrade, a better hotel, a flight route that might be more convenient but also more expensive, etc...
So over the years, I accumulated close to 24K USD of trip credits – a LOT of credits! As I’m approaching my last few weeks with Google before heading to business school, I’ve been thinking a lot about how to best make use of those credits (especially because I don’t have any business trip coming up anymore). So I was delighted to hear that we now have an internal auction system that would allow me to bid on certain loyalty programs with the credits I have accumulated. Sounds great? Believe me it is.
But today, the really amazing thing happened. I got an email, saying that I’m among those in the company with the largest number of credits… and that I could take those credits and make donations to some specific pre-selected charities. MY. JAW. DROPPED. My company allows me to make monetary donations worth about 24,000 USD??? … YES, Google did just that. And it wasn’t the first year they did, but the first time I got such heads-up to use my credits for a good cause.
So I clicked on the link and ended up on a portal where I could choose how I wanted my trip credits to be donated. I felt like I was Santa Claus … $5K to Doctor’s without Boarders, $5K to the International Justice Mission, and so on… I really don’t know the last time I was *that* happy. This felt so good, and it felt so “right.” Google could have been dead-quiet about my credits and not encouraged me to use them in any way, but they didn’t. And that’s exactly what makes Google, Google. They wanted to give me a chance to do something good. To reward me for begin frugal and allow me to have impact in this world.
Google … I’m leaving you this summer, but you will always be my first big company crush. XO, Omid.