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What it’s like to work at a very specific, single Silicon Valley tech giant

Posted June 12, 2015

This post on Medium just floated up on Twitter: What it’s really like to work for a tech giant

It pains a grim, tongue in cheek picture of what is the standard amalgamation and stereotype of what we consider the “valley tech giant/startup grind.” This is not a rebuttal. It’s just an alternative view since my days are so different, it had to be written.

So without further disclaimer, I present:

What it’s like to work at a very specific, single Silicon Valley tech giant

Intuit is right in Silicon Valley. Next door to Google, literally. I pass those big busses every day as they shuttle people in. I am not sure what counts as tech giant, but as of today the market capital is around 30 billion dollars, with maybe 8000 employees. It’s been in Silicon Valley for 32 years and always a market leader in it’s niche.


Here’s a day like any other for me


Wake up. Do kid things.


Drive my 10 minute drive to work. I choose to live down in the suburbs and not the city so I can be home with my kids more. And yes, I do have to pay a hefty rent check to do so. I am certainly not even close to a “rich silicon valley type” I moved here from Utah as just a regular, mid-level tech designer. We have a 4 person family in a 2 bedroom, 900 sqft condo. I love it.


Arrive at work. Hit the gym where I have a Intuit personal trainer, who I pay with my own money, train the shit out of me.


Walk across the nice campus to my building and go to my standing desk which I requested. Say hi to some people, plug in my computer to my dual Thunderbolt 27″ monitors, and get started on the usual tech-giant daily email slog. There are hot-desk areas, but everyone has their own dedicated space. Yes, most are cubicles, with lower walls. I don’t mind it at all, it’s a nice desk area that is roomy and you can do whatever you want with. There are plenty, plenty of open spaces to work, a cafe, drop-in rooms and lounge areas, a large coffee shop, and couches and chairs all over.

Also, there’s no expectation that you work at your desk. Work anywhere. Work under a tree. No one cares.

My boss focuses on results and has never given me any type of schedule or indication that she cares about where I am or when I am working. It’s a trust relationship and I conduct myself as an adult professional, and have a delightful degree of flexibility in whatever I do. As long as I keep her and teammates informed, it’s all good.


Work stuff. I’m not an engineer, so the engineering code culture of the valley isn’t something I’m a part of. I do my work that’s a part of the Intuit UX organization, specifically I serve the customer care organization. There are usually meetings and walking to various buildings each day, so I don’t ever really “sit at my desk” for more than maybe 2 hours.


The cafeteria has a number of different stations serving all types of food if that’s what you want, so there’s always something good for any taste. And a big salad bar.

Noon-Quitting Time

After the lunch, it’s back to the workday. Meetings and other tasks related to my role. I typically am back at my house by 5:30, and almost never later than 6.


Suburban parent life. Nothing special. I go to bed at around 9, get my beauty sleep, and do it all over again.

It works for me

I am not a young Silicon Valley-ite. I am also not a programmer or at a startup. And Intuit isn’t really a run-and-gun company that has crazy demands and deadlines. It’s always rated one of the top places to work for. I like it here, I like my daily routine. I can’t complain. In fact, I am quite happy.

So I guess, if you’re not stoked on your Silicon Valley job, maybe give Intuit a try?






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I love all things experience design. I work as a Principal Service Experience Designer at Intuit in Mountain View, CA.
  • kevinsyun

    I enjoyed reading this post — thanks for sharing! Looks like a good life you have there ;)