© 2016 Vimal Gopal. All rights Reserved. San Diego, CA
Palantir has been making headlines again (as seen in the image on the left) and have caused several people ask me, "What is it like to work for Palantir?" In this entry, I attempt so summarize a day in the life of Palantirian.
I work in Santa Monica, along the up and coming "Silicon Beach" that features numerous startups and software behemoths alike. Working in this area is a cool perk, but Palantir offers a lot more than just a cool location to work. They feed us, do our laundry, give us a gym membership and stock the office with all kinds of snacks, drinks and toys. Up in the Shire (our code name for our Palo Alto headquarters), employees get free massages, free chiropractic adjustments, free onsite medical care, housing subsidies and much much more.
Unfortunately, my job requires me to travel... a lot. So, I'm not in the office much to take advantage of it's awesomeness. But, the work I do is extremely impactful. No, I don't work on a website that allows you to post status messages... no, I don't work on software that allows you to ask your phone funny questions... no, I don't work on a search engine. I work on developing tools that allow law enforcement agencies to find bad guys and fight crime.... crimes like human trafficking, gang violence, terrorism and fraud. I work on making the world a safer place... like I said impactful stuff. And I do it with the some of the smartest people I have ever encountered... in my life.
But, it's not all awesome. To round out the picture, I have to mention its drawbacks. First and foremost... work/life balance. Palantirians work a lot, and when they're done working, they work some more. This nonstop work schedule can negatively affect one's health and isolate them from the outside world. It's no wonder Palantirians are thought of as living in a bubble. Next... diversity, a problem that plagues many Silicon Valley companies. When we think of diversity we typically think of gender and racial diversity. However, there is an additional problem at Palantir, age diversity. Finally, Palantir is not known for great job security. If you're not performing, you either need to shape up or ship out. As such, attrition rates are high.
But, no company is perfect. They all have their pros and cons. And despite it's unique set of shortcomings, Palantir is still a great place to work; especially if you are young and ambitious.