Who actually uses Google’s ball pits?

How engineers waiting for their stock to "vest" at big tech companies make 6-figure salaries while doing barely any work.

August 8, 2017

Engineers waiting for their shares to vest. AKA, the “coasters” at tech giants making 6-figure salaries, with little incentive to do any real work.

Business Insider spoke with several of these so-called “resters and vesters” about their experiences, including one Facebook engineer whose manager told her to stop coming to work altogether and just pretend like she was doing something important while her stock matured.

The coasting phenomenon is hardly a secret in the Valley — HBO’s Silicon Valley based a whole character on it. But if everyone knows about it…

Why do companies let people ride on their dime?

For one, just so their competitors can’t have them.

Microsoft Research uses high-paying jobs as a defense mechanism to keep “hard-to-find experts” in niche fields like quantum computing from getting snatched up, letting them collect a paycheck while keeping their day jobs as professors.

Facebook also has a hush-hush bonus program called “discretionary equity” — massive chunks of stock that vest over time and act as “golden handcuffs” to keep their top engineers from jumping ship.

But, a cushy job can be a career-killer

Google’s “moonshot” unit essentially functions as a startup with unlimited funds, paying engineers $250-600k to work on extremely “long-term,” experimental projects.

However, the lack of urgency can result in huge gaps on engineers’ resumes — and red flags for future employers. Turns out living in a vester’s paradise is both a blessing and a curse.

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