If you joined Google in Asia Pacific very recently, you probably experienced a special event at the company’s regional headquarters in Singapore last month: your graduation ceremony as a ‘Noogler’. If you don’t work for Google, this is the tech firm’s official portmanteau for a newly recruited Googler.
Noogler graduations are famous in the US for requiring newbies to don rainbow caps (in Google’s blue, red, yellow, and green colours), which feature mini propellers on the top and the word Noogler at the front. A loop video of the October festivities posted by Sydney-based Noogler Jessica Love on LinkedIn proves that Singapore is no exception to the funny-hat rule. The video shows about 90 Nooglers sitting on bleachers (behind a ‘Congratulations Nooglers!’ banner) in Google’s Singapore office as they excitedly toss their hats in the air, in homage to a university graduation cap-throw.
Graduations like this take place a few times a year in Singapore (and in other major Google offices globally), after a class of Nooglers has gone through their initial orientation, which lasts for about five to 10 days, and typically involves both technical training and lectures about the company’s culture. There was another graduation in Singapore in August, for example, according to a LinkedIn post by Donovan Sung, a newly recruited product management lead.
The graduation hats (which feature in the 2013 Google-based movie The Internship) were the brainchild of Doug Edwards, who ran Google’s ‘Thank God it’s Friday’ all-hands meetings in the early 2000s and wanted a way of making new people easily identifiable, so current staff could make them feel welcome. “To me, it was hilariously funny to see all these PhDs walking around in beanie propellers,” he said in a 2013 interview.
As Edwards alludes to, Google’s graduation hats aren’t only worn by people straight out of university – they are for all new staff, regardless of experience level. You can therefore join Google as a Greygler (an employee aged 40 or older) and still wear a Noogler cap.
These days, the zany propeller hat has gone a bit corporate. It features in the official logo for Google’s APAC Noogler orientation, and it was even emblazoned into cup cakes served to Nooglers in Singapore earlier this year, according to employee LinkedIn posts.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, APAC Nooglers write enthusiastically about their inductions and graduations in Singapore. “What an unreal first two weeks at Google. In what felt like a real-life version of The Internship movie, I’ve spent the last 10 days at Google’s APAC HQ in Singapore,” Thomas O’Connor, who joined Google as an account strategist earlier this year, writes on LinkedIn. “We were even given the Noogler hats!”
Simon Mortlock – Read more on efinancialcareers.com