An open letter to my employer…

Dear Google,

As an employee who is paid somewhere near the median salary at our company, I’m incredibly fortunate to enjoy an annual compensation that places me in the top 1% of incomes worldwide. On top of this monetary compensation, along with all employees, I’m provided with free, healthy meals at Google offices around the world (I’m speaking of pre-pandemic days, of course).

You know the old saying “there is no free lunch”? Like everything in life, this employee perk has an opportunity cost - the cost of my free lunch is forgoing the opportunity to feed someone who is in dire need. At a time when so many people are struggling to feed their families, pay their bills, and keep a roof over their heads, this perk seems excessive to me.

As we prepare for the return to our offices in a post-pandemic world, I’d like to offer a few suggestions for some ways Google could give more back to our local communities, without whom there would be no Google.

  • All employees should pay for their own meals.
  • Google cafes worldwide should be repurposed to prepare and deliver meals to those with the greatest needs in and around our worldwide office locations.
  • Employees should acquire their meals outside Google offices. This would give us all a bit of much needed exercise and enable us to support our local restaurants and shops.

We’re often asked by our managers how they can help with our mental health and wellbeing during these challenging times. My answer is simple: please give me fewer perks. More to the point, let’s find a way to share those perks, or the value thereof, with people who need them more than I do. That would go a long way toward making me feel better about myself and my company, because helping other people is the best therapy.


Marc Cohen