Recently, I got an email from a Dublin based Google employee. On first reading the message, I thought to myself - ‘Gee what now is Google telling us?’ as her email read ‘Google said I should go volunteering’.
On second reading, it wasn’t half as a big (brother) deal as I initially thought, but rather more a good and positive thing. The way it should have read is – ‘I can get time off from my job in Google to go volunteering abroad’. And that’s a kind of cool, your employer giving you some time off to spend time doing something that is not related to your work. Time out to give back by improving the lives of others.
So I did a little research online (on Google, of course), and found Google have quite a progressive leave policy. For starters, they embrace employee sabbaticals. They say 3 months, but I found cases online where it’s longer, up to two years in one example. Of course, it’s unpaid but that does guarantee that you have a job on your return. So you needn’t be fretting about your future income & means while abroad. Bear in mind, that sabbaticals usually have to coincide with the business, so if you’re really needed at a particular time of year, they’re probably not going to be able to accommodate you. You’ll have to play it smart and start planning early.
Google are quite generous around their charity work and endeavours so there might be an angle to get them to partially fund your volunteer travel. Let’s face it, they have the dosh, so it’s probably a case of bending the ear of the right internal management contact. I can’t find any concrete examples online but there’re cases where they match contributions made by employees to reputable causes and organisations, such as disaster relief. Not sure if this includes employee volunteering abroad but it’s an angle definably worth exploring.
So what else does the company offer in terms of perks that might suit an aspiring volunteer trip? Travel insurance for a start. Googlers can travel without worries as employees and their families are covered with travel insurance and emergency assistance.
So maybe Googlers should consider go volunteering abroad. After all, Google says they should.