What’s it like to work for Google?
“After 6 interviews and an assignment, I finally was informed that I got the job – I’ll be a Googler!”
This was back in May 2006, after which I finished up my Masters in Consumer Psychology Research, and within the next week moved from Wales to Dublin and was assigned my new desk.
Along with my new desk, I was given a buddy – it’s like a go to person to take you to lunch, show you the ropes and make sure you get settled in ok. All Googlers have one and I’ve been a buddy to others. It’s perhaps easy to take for granted when in Google, but there really is a great social network there. There’s elaborately themed team parties nearly every month; the free lunches and games mean that people hang out together more; we all moved desks frequently through our time there partially just to mix things up and meet new people; everyone’s given the chance to work on projects they’re interested in, which can also mean working across several teams at any one time. This final point, I must admit, was one of my favourite things at Google. We got to try different projects, discover what we’re best at and go with what we decided would make the most positive impact. We were often advised to manage our job like we’d manage our own company – perhaps this is one of the reasons why Google manages to keep a small aspiring company feel. People there were (/are) excited and passionate about what they’re doing and they believe that they’re each making a difference. That’s what makes Google fun and innovative.
I, for example, worked primarily as an AdWords Strategist for some of the largest UK & Ireland companies. I was also an AdWords Optimisation Trainer, delivering training to other Googlers, clients and agencies for approx 15% of my time. I’ve always been interested in user experience (UX) and usability testing, enhanced by my Masters thesis on this topic. So, while at Google, I showed this interest, made direct contact with the UX team in Google’s MountainView HQ and had the privilege of meeting them there and working with them on AdWords Editor and AdWords Front End projects. In line with this I was also an AdWords Editor Guru for the Dublin Office as a 5% role, through which I delivered Editor Training to representatives of all worldwide Google offices at a Conference in Mountain View, California. One other fun role I had was as the EMEA Ambassador Program Lead. I arranged for certain Googlers to spend a quarter (i.e. 3 months) in another Google office that needed assistance in their area of expertise. Through this I had the pleasure of contact with many Googlers worldwide and thoroughly enjoyed hosting them in Dublin.
All in all, Google is a great place to work. It’s the people that really make it what it is. It’s noticeable that it’s not just the smartest and most ambitious people around that get jobs at Google, they’re also genuinely interesting and fun people. I worked with Googlers who’d won Olympic medals, founded the Irish Ultimate Frisbee National Team and even invented the Rubix cube! Everyone had something that they loved other than work. It’s a fun place because there are lots of like minded, liberal, optimisitic, intelligent and passionate people who spend 8+ hours working together every week day. The perks (free food and drink, annual ski trips, on site masseuses and gyms, out of this world parties, an annual allowance to spend on your hobbies etc etc) although admittedly amazing and good PR, are not the be all and end all at Google. I think there was more chance of really loving your job (regardless of your role) in Google than in any other company, because you were given the freedom to make it your own and take responsibility of it. This is what the kind of people who are employed by Google thrive on, and what makes it all work.
As of November 2009, after more than 3 years at Google, I decided to move onwards and upwards, closer to my family and core friends in Belfast, Northern Ireland. I’ve now set up Search Scientist Ltd, to do what I do best, for local Northern Irish businesses. I take great pride in my work, like I did at Google, and indeed all my life and I’m excited about online marketing in Northern Ireland as it now grows and is proving it’s potential up here.