Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 


I was talking to a former Googlie the other day.

He told me about the marvelous numbing quality of working there and realizing how much money you're making.

He said that quite a few of his co-workers suffered internal combat every day because they were being paid so well, but their work wasn't seeing the light of day.

They were like an expensively assembled bench on a Champions League team.

It's well known, you see, that Google pays its employees well.

It isn't, however, the highest-paying company around. Not if you believe Glassdoor, at least.

Its list of America's highest paying companies for 2016 enjoys all the delight of staring at a vast display of ice cream and knowing that you're lactose-intolerant.

Google only comes in at an impoverished fifth place.

As you swoon and tear at your earlobes in stupefaction, you'll be wondering who might pay employees even more than Robot Central.

It must be one of those stinking banks, surely.

It seems not.

Instead, at number 1 it's  A.T Kearney.

This is not a mortgage brokerage in deepest Alaska. It's a consulting company based in shallowest San Francisco.

Those of jaundiced mind might detect a certain irony that those who claim to make tomorrow's technology are underpaid relative to those who, well, merely claim they know about tomorrow's technology.

Should you be a numbers person, A.T. Kearney offer median compensation of $167.534. This soars over Google's piffling $153,750.

Who, though, comes second?

You'll be stunned into volunteering for Madame Tussaud's when I tell you that it's a company called Strategy&.

Yes, of course it's a consulting company. It's part of PwC.

I wonder how much consultant time it took to come up with the sparkling name Strategy&.

I'm delighted, however, that it inspired these large brains to create sentences such as this: "Strategy& creates strategy that works."

Because they tried strategy that doesn't work and it didn't work.

I suspect you're permanently in the thrall of Big Data, so you're sure third place was taken by a consulting company.

How wrong you are. In third place was Juniper Networks.

This is merely your typical -- or perhaps slightly atypical, given how well it treats employees -- company that develops and markets networking products.

We are nothing without networking. Who can forget this?

The fourth company that tosses cash at its employees like football players toss cash at strippers in nightclubs is, oh, you'll truly never guess.

Actually, you likely will if you've read this far.

It's McKinsey.

Yes, the company that's long been a symbol of excellence -- or, in my experience, of the excellent series starring Don Cheadle, unaccountably called House Of Lies.

So there you have it.

If money is your all, if creating strategies that work (or sometimes don't) makes you tingle in the same way as when you accidentally get your foot stuck in a vice, consulting seems to be the perfect place for you.

Indeed, of Glassdoor's Top 10 four are consulting companies. Six are technology companies.

The top company that isn't (quite) involved in one of these two is Visa, at number 11.

In fact, Visa is the only company on the list not involved in consulting and technology.

But here's the most exciting part: other than A.T Kearney, Strategy&, McKinsey and Boston Consulting Group (and Visa), the other 20 companies in Glassdoor's top 25 are all technology companies.

Tell your kids.

Wait, they already know, don't they?