Please note that all viewpoints and anecdotes are purely my own and are not to be interpreted as that of the official company in any sense. So that whole schtick about a blog post yesterday? Yeah, not a thing. But hey, I'm here now, and that's all that matters, right?
On Tuesday, I officially started at Google as a BOLD Intern. To break it down for ya'll, Google offers a few different types of internships for students: undergraduate engineering internships, grad student internships, and an undergraduate program called the "BOLD." (This stands for Building Opportunities for Leadership & Development). Essentially, this internship program focuses on the sales, general, and administrative side of the company, rather than just the engineering/computer science part with which most people typically associate with Google. To be an intern in the BOLD program, you don't have to be a business major, but there are many who are.
While my official start date was on Tuesday, I spent the first few days in an extremely comprehensive orientation, instead of starting work right off the bat. We discussed everything from company protocol to outlines of our individual projects to the basics of being a Noogler, or "New-Googler." As I've mentioned before, I can't go into detail regarding the specifics of what we learned, as Google has a very strict policy on confidentiality. I know that a lot of people raise an eyebrow when they hear this, but in my opinion, it's pretty logical. Google's mission is "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." For the company to do that successfully, it must gain the trust of its users and consequently, maintain an appropriate level of both privacy and security. As an employee, I'm loyal to this mission and wouldn't want to do anything to jeopardize its execution :)
Done with housekeeping? Onwards!
I meant to take a picture of me heading out the door on Day 1, but by the time I got my butt packed and ready to go, there wasn't much time. Plus, I could just envision roommate soulmate H's groans if she knew I had dropped everything to take a blog picture.
I rode the GBus (shuttles provided by Google) to work and arrived a few minutes prior to 9 a.m. and headed straight to the designated building for check-in. Upon receiving my nametag and getting my security badge, I began "Noogler Orientation." We crunched through a few hours of technicalities, with a few breaks for coffee + snaxxx in the micro kitchen. What's a micro-kitchen, you may ask? Well, a micro-kitchen is Google's answer to a company mandate that says food must be within ~150 ft of employees at all times. Pretty cool, right? This provides employees with plenty of refreshments throughout the day and allows for what Google calls "casual collisions" between two or more employees. These collisions are essentially spontaneous conversations that foster creativity and bursts of innovation through interaction with other Googlers.
Around noon, we took our lunch break, with some people splitting up to go to different cafés. I made my way to a cafe with a few friends, which specializes in Asian food. Offerings included fresh crab sushi handrolls, maki rolls, wasabi seared albacore, pho, ramen, and a few different kinds of vegetables.
We spent the remainder of the afternoon in a second part of orientation with our BOLD team. To wrap up the first day, we were then paired in teams for a campus-wide scavenger hunt. In addition to learning more about the Googleplex, we ended up with our fair share of silly pictures and stories. Post-wrap up and dinner, I made my way to the GBus with the rest of returns and headed home for the night. We kept things low-key, in preparation for...
Orientation continued to Day 2 but was this time focused especially on the BOLD program. We spent a majority of the time going over the specifics of what we should expect with regards to our teams, logging hours, project management, and workflow exercises. Again, this was pretty in depth, so I'll spare you the nitty gritty details! The day concluded with a BOLD program mixer and dinner at a nearby café.
Of all the days, Day 3 was by far the biggest whirlwind. We finished our BOLD orientation with a "dos and do nots" in the workplace, along with a Q&A session with a panel of Googlers. We spent a lot of time discussing the more detailed aspects of the workplace, including diversity groups like Women@Google. We visited a café on main campus for lunch and shortly thereafter, our team managers met us for the end of orientation. All interns individually spent some time getting acquainted with their managers. Since I met with my manager on Monday, I was already acquainted with my team, but I really enjoyed getting to spend more time with them.. From there, the interns reunited to get our Noogler beanies (COOLEST HAT EVER) prior to TGIF. TGIF?
Yep! Well, Thank Goodness It's Friday (TGIF)....on a Thursday. In essence, TGIF is a chance for Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin to address the entire company on the topical issues of the week. It's a great showing of both corporate transparency and light-hearted celebration for the end of the week, and honestly, it may have been one of my favorite parts of orientation. I found myself filled with a rather inexplicable sense of content at this gathering. Sitting five feet away from two of the most brilliant men in the tech world, I felt both incredibly humbled and honored. And proud--but not of myself. I felt an overwhelming sense of pride in the company whose values are strikingly like to my own. Proud to be a part of something that awe-inspiring.
Last but not least though, we (the interns) hopped on a shuttle for one last event of the day--The Internship! Well, the movie I mean. Dressed appropriately in our Noogler hats, backpacks, and shirts, we attended a screening of The Internship starring Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn. The movie was entertainingly ironic, if nothing else, as a real-life intern.
(security guard took the photo...)
Based on my experience thus far, I would say the actual environment is NOT competitive in a cutthroat sense whatsoever, contrary to what the movie depicts. In nearly every instance I've encountered, it's been almost the opposite. There has been an overwhelming atmosphere of collaboration and positivity. It's true that you don't need a suit to be serious. Call it constructive, or just call it Googley. :)
Day 4 - TODAY!
Today was the first day that interns spent in full with their managers. My day included an early morning video conference with my host and then a variety of research in preparation for my project. I met with a few of my other team members and spent plenty of time familiarizing myself with both the people and place of my office. Since I arrived at work pretty early, I caught an earlier shuttle home. I haven't slept much the past few nights thanks to an awkward combination of adrenaline + exhaustion, so I'm dealing with a slight cold now. In true Friday style, I'm relaxing at 'home' in San Jose and listening to a good dose of Youth Lagoon. Straight chillin', if you will. In other breaking news: as of five seconds ago, I've decided that I'm voting my couch Sexiest Man Alive of 2013.
I'm not 100% sure what the weekend will bring, and I'm rather enjoying not knowing. That's totally unlike me. And also totally welcome right now. :)
Next week, I hit the ground running on my project. Background research, focus groups, storyboarding, and corresponding with a multitude of different Google teams make the bare agenda, but as for the rest?
Well, I'll just have to Google it.