Day 8: Google HQ

This afternoon we visited the Google Headquarters in Dublin. Due to the immense size of Google’s office spaces we saw only a fraction of their buildings. I was most amazed by the aspects that made the office seem more like a home or community center. There are gyms, pools, restaurants, and even a store with Google merchandise. This is indicative of two things: one, how much time Google expects their employees to spend at the office and two, how much they value the well being of those employees. Initially, I had expected anyone from Google to have an extensive background or interest in tech. I was surprised to find that the two employees we spoke with had backgrounds in Russian and graphic design. Despite these backgrounds, both talked very highly of Google and said they felt comfortable and confident in their roles in Products and Services . I was intrigued by this, since we are taught to choose a major that relates to the field we want to work in. For these employees, their major did not dictate their career and they were able to learn on the job to acquire new skills. I also found it interesting that Google really encourages movement internally. They do not want to limit anyone’s growth and are willing to give employees the opportunity to work in other areas. For example, one of our tour guides participates in the 20% program where she spends one day a week working in another department, unrelated to her primary role. I really liked this concept, as I like to be involved in a lot of different things as compared to just one task.

My biggest takeaway from this visit is the importance of optimism and adaptability. In a world that is so driven by innovation and technology, there is no predicting where the future of any industry will go. As professionals, we will need to be willing and able to learn new skills well beyond our degrees. This will make us competitive applicants in the job market, despite the length and prestige of our resumes. I was shocked to find that a large, multinational company like Google is more focused on our abilities than our accomplishments. Before, I felt that anyone who landed a job at Google had a perfect SAT score, a degree in computer science and a show-stopping resume. What I discovered was quite the opposite. Google wants to see creativity and drive more than anything else. They are more concerned with our potential than our past, as they are looking to hire people who can make an impact as opposed to those who already have. We often set high standards for ourselves in terms of grades and test scores. This can limit the time and attention we put into developing other skills like communicating with other people or drawing from our creativity. Both are equally beneficial to us as lifelong students and after this site visit, I recognize the importance of balancing the two.

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