Last Friday I completed my three-month dream internship at Google. Applying for internships last year felt like an endless sea of rejections. So much so, I stopped opening the emails and didn’t believe I was good enough. I didn’t let those rejections define me as a step back was most definitely a step in the right direction.
Working in Google Hardware – a relatively new area – was high pressure but incredibly exciting. The amount of responsibility given to me does not come close to what other companies offered. It was not all roses, I failed at many points and made some major mistakes but I failed fast and took learnings from it.
Google trusted me to manage agency relationships, budgets and organise events on a large scale. I am incredibly grateful and lucky to have been able to learn and grow in that environment and will cherish the opportunities given to me.
If I could summarise my learnings from Google in four short points, they would be these:
1. Confidence comes from discipline and training
Before starting my internship I was PETRIFIED. I often feared that going into such a fast-moving, highly intelligent environment I’d get lost in the crowd and fall short of the expectations. I read LOADS of those articles by former interns and really psyched myself out. I didn’t believe I was even good enough for a Google internship.
However, there is no generic intern experience and context is very much key. People only write about their successes and not their failures. I’m here to let you know that interning at Google was far from easy but my manager and team constantly reminded me that my three months were a learning experience and I would become more confident in my work with greater training. All I had to do was discipline myself and this was very difficult to do in one of the most exciting companies ever.
I did struggle but I created a healthy balance by figuring out what it was I wanted to achieve alongside delivering my work objectives. I knew I was passionate by diversity and inclusion and I made my Google internship by finding ways to…
2. Be BOLD – It is better to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission
During my induction process at Google, the speaker stated: “At Google, it is better to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission.”
This is a running theme through the company. The staff and environment at Google are conducive for growth. If you have an idea you want to pursue you have the resources around you. All you need is the boldness to ask for help and whatever happens next is nothing short of a learning experience. At Google, I was able to host my own event with students from the Aleto Foundation and the support of the Black Googler Network. I had the idea, all I needed to do was connect the relevant dots to make it happen. And it did, and boy it was great!
Of course, there are limits to what you can do but whilst you’re in a space with many amazing people you should really make the most of it.
3. Details create the bigger picture
Managing large scale/budget projects at Google was an entirely new world for me. It was easy to get overwhelmed with the vision and not the building blocks. I often fell down on minor details but soon learned that building up was a core part of the way Google worked and managed relationships. Google is a very cool place
4. A lot of people never use their initiative because no-one told them to
At Google you HAVE to be a self-starter. There is very little micromanagement and that is often difficult to adjust to especially when you are handling such large projects. At Google, your success and your career trajectory are in your own hands. Google provides you with the resources and environment but you have to make the arrangements.
My internship was an amazing experience because I made it my own. I pursued the avenues I was interested in and found ways to make my experience meaningful. Whether it was learning how to make pasta or organising panel events, I enjoyed every part of my internship because I made it unique to me.
Don’t believe the hype. Your future is in your hands. You need to create your OWN hype.
Chanté Joseph is a 21-year-old undergraduate at the University of Bristol. She is the founder of Bristol is the New Black, BME officer at the University of Bristol Students’ Union, co-chair of Bristol Uni Labour and a writer for Gal-Dem.