Why Google

Monday, October 28, 2019

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Think of a tech geek. Then think of the opposite. That's me!

I'm the person who presses 'Ctrl-Alt-Delete' the moment my computer screen freezes, and if all else fails, force-shuts-down anything and everything. I'm the person who prefers the look and feel (and smell!) of a paperback book to an e-book. I'm the person who's typically classified as a 'laggard' in the 'diffusion of innovation' model, a theory commonly used to describe technology adoption within society.

If anyone told me a year ago that I'd be working for a technology company in the summer, I would have been in complete disbelief. If I'm being honest, entering the tech industry was one of the last things on my mind for this simple reason: technology is hella scary to me. It's this intimidating, black box of unfathomable code and complex jargon.

Above all, and perhaps the most compelling reason behind my fear of technology is the fact that it disrupted my favourite industryjournalism and news media! It's the industry that I've envisioned myself entering for the longest time. Despite the newsroom's huge and growing reliance on technology, the latter is typically spoken of as this huge, nasty cloud of grey that descended upon journalists and started stealing their livelihoods away from them. Newsrooms weren't prepared for the disruption, and till today still find it difficult to monetize their digital content or convince people to pay for news that may be otherwise be found free-of-charge on alternative platforms.

So, was me applying for an internship at Google a case of "if you can't beat them, join them"? Maybe, possibly. Yet, a part of me knew that this unwarranted fear of technology was really borne out of a real awe of the sheer power that it had over and on society and people, especially in today's day and ageand I secretly wanted to be a part of that.

But with all that said, did all of the above seriously cross my mind when I was applying for an internship? No, because everything started out with a complete gung-ho moment when I chanced upon the call for applications online and decided to apply with a one-pager that supposedly encapsulates who I am. Google doesn't request for cover letters, so a resume is all you've got which made for a really speedy (read: impulsive) process on my end.

Did I think I would get it? Not at all. Yet, here I am, adding on to all the 'How I got into Google' articles and YouTube vlogs that's floating around the Internet. As much as I want this writing exercise to serve as a way for me to reflect on my journey to the company and to revisit my motivations, I'm hoping it can also help someone out there in his/ her application process, especially for fellow business or communciations undergraduates who may not have considered a career in technology prior.

And my advice to anyone who has reached out to me, be it on LinkedIn or in person, would be to know your motivations. It's an open secret that Google's very visible welfare benefits are off the charts, but being able to have a massage in the middle of the day or having free bacon and eggs everyday for breakfast shouldn't be what excites you the most when you think about working at the tech giant. More so, it should be about the work that you can potentially be doing, or perhaps the unique corporate culture that cannot be found anywhere else.  

That said, I get it. I wasn't completely certain of my own motivations at the very beginning either. I didn't think too much about my application after the online assessment, and it was only when I received an email informing me that I was shortlisted for a phone interview, did the possibility of working at Google become real. And it was it was then that I started thinking about my own version of 'why Google'. 

Sure, I was the biggest fan of the search engine (my boyfriend can attest to that, because I use it to debunk all the fake news he enjoys spreading to me), and I spend most of my waking hours on YouTube (an exaggeration, but still). But being a loyal user of these sites isn't a convincing enough reason why I should be on the other side of these products. However, my aha!-moment came when I read the company's corporate mission. It was then that I immediately knew how much I wanted to be a part of it. 

Let's backtrack a little: my main motivations behind wanting to pursue a career in journalism—other than because I absolutely love writingstems from my desire to push out accurate, timely information to the masses in a hopefully unbiased perspective. I have always felt strongly about the power of information. It makes people become more informed, which in turn helps them make the right decisions that will go on to affect their lives. It could be as huge as reporting on global politics, to even the movie review section that may convince someone to watch a poignant film and reflect about their own life. Providing useful and impactful information to people has pretty much always been my unofficial life goal. 

And if you think about Google's mission, it's kind of the same thing: To organise the world's information, and make it universally accessible and useful. I know, I sound like the company's spokesperson at this point but this is honestly a real, unfiltered recount of the process I went through to realize how much the stars aligned for me. Prior to this point, I was slowly giving up my dream of pursuing journalism (due in part to my countless rejections from newsrooms around the world, and a hesitation to join the local media) and didn't think I'd be able to find a company that I could resonate with. 

Of course, even with that, I needed to get through the next few rounds of interviewsconsisting of a phone call, a Google Hangouts chat, and a on-site interview with my would-be manager. I think having my motivations clearly figured out worked to my advantage, because it didn't feel like a chore researching on the company in preparation for the interviews, and I felt extremely at-home speaking to all my interviewers. 

And that sums up the why's, and a bit of the how's, of me somehow spending my summer in Google. I'd consider myself proof that you really don't have to be a tech geek to be working in a tech company. All it takes is a bit of passion for technology, and a belief in what it can do for people. 
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