Google’s badge of honour
It isn’t the car you drive but the badge you wear that’s the biggest status symbol for Google employees.
Full-time staff wear a white badge, which highlights their elevated status, while contractors wear a red badge. Interns are on green passes, while yellow badges are reserved for lower-skilled workers. Although the badges control access, it’s the perks afforded to the holders of the different colour badges that foster most resentment.
“I am a consultant (a “red badge” as I often remark!),” says Google Analytics evangelist Avinash Kaushik. “There’s little difference between roles and expected outcomes between a full-time employee and a consultant. Nonetheless, there’s a very different benefits structure at multiple levels for consultants. I also don’t have any holdings of Google stock, and, not being a full-time employee, I don’t hold any Google options.”
I was very uncomfortable about the class position, and like lots of others I wanted to have a white badge, which brought even more privileges
Contractors complain that full-time workers on lesser badges have been actively hidden away by Google. “I was very uncomfortable about the class position, and like lots of others I wanted to have a white badge, which brought even more privileges,” says Andrew Norman Wilson.
Wilson was sacked after he photographed yellow-card workers leaving a building. He claims the company was almost trying to keep the “lower class” employees out of the public eye, with working hours of 4am until 2.30pm.
“They were full-time, but had no perks at all, and they were scanning in books, so it was a monotonous job – almost like working in a factory. They got no recognition and had these yellow badges to identify them as lower grade.”