Takeaways from Interning at Google

 

Working at Google was a huge learning experience. I was surrounded by the smartest, most diverse set of people I have ever met. Not only did I become a better researcher, but also learned a lot of skills that can be transferred to any workplace to maximize productivity and impact.

Always Come Prepared With 3 Talking Points
At nearly every meeting, one of my managers always asked me what my three takeaways were from my conversations with stakeholders, trainings I attended, etc. This made me reflect on every meeting I went to, so when I had a meeting with my manager, I was prepared with something interesting to say. If I didn’t have any takeaways to present, I would come with questions I had. This provides value and guidance for every conversation. By building this habit of preparing 3 takeaways/questions led to more productive meetings and thoughtful conversations.

Ask Questions & Speak Up
From my last post, I talked about how I struggled with imposter syndrome and on top of that, I’m an introvert at heart. This made speaking up a huge hurdle for me. This is something I knew I was struggling with early on and my manager brought it up as well. She gave some helpful tips that allowed me to break out of my shell. One was to come to meetings prepared with a question to ask or something to say. For me, I shy away from speaking up because I’m scared of sounding dumb, but by coming to a meeting prepared with something to say, it relieves the stress and breaks the ice for speaking up later in the meeting, Another great tip is speaking up early; the later it gets, the harder it will be!

Understand the Business
One of my managers really emphasized understanding the business and I completely agree that this should be kept in mind at whichever company you decide to work at! Being knowledgable about the business through company research and by getting to know people from all departments will help you understand company goals. In turn, you will be able to present things that resonate better with stakeholders. When you’re able to get stakeholder buy in, you’ll be able to have more impact on the company. For me, making impact is a really important part of work and it’s really fulfilling to know that I’m able to bring value in a positive way.

Collaboration is Key! Ask for Feedback & Don’t Take Critiques Personally
Google’s a really collaborative company, especially the UX team that I worked on. I remember when I was creating my research plan and in the middle of it, people hopped into the Google Doc and started commenting all over it. At first, I was taken aback and didn’t want everyone looking at my unfinished work. I was defensive and thought I was doing everything wrong when I saw the number of comments left on my document. Though, overtime, I learned to appreciate the time people took to read over my work and give me critical feedback. As time went on, I started seeking feedback because I saw the value of iterative feedback and this was reflected in my work too. Without the guidance, my deliverables wouldn’t be as strong as they turned out to be, It’s hard to be receptive to critiques, but overtime you grow a thicker skin and learn that it’s about the content and not you, personally.

Thanks again to everyone on the Google Drive UX team, especially my hosts, Lindsay & Julia, who were the best mentors I could have asked for!
xo Kerstin