What I Learned at Google
By Scott Westerman
“Give your dreams all you’ve got and you’ll be amazed at the energy that comes out of you.” – William James
The Essence: The key drivers that can get you hired at Google can help make you successful and happy, whatever you decide to do.
This week I checked something off of my bucket list. I got to spend the day at Google HQ in Mountain View.
I was officially there to build a tighter bond between the 500 plus Spartans who work at Google and to learn how we can better prepare our alumni to get hired and be successful at the world’s coolest company.
What I discovered along the way a was a good set of guidelines for chasing your own brand of happiness wherever you are.
Have a thirst for knowledge – MSU President Lou Anna Simon recently told Megan Gebhart that we should “Keep learning”. Google hires inquisitive people who are addicted to learning new things. If you develop this healthy addiction, you will always see everything as an opportunity to enrich your mind and expand your understanding.
Get good grades – You won’t get to first base at Google without a stellar academic record. Education and success in life are inextricably intertwined. Prioritize accordingly.
Demonstrate Leadership – Leaders deal with big challenges. make tough decisions, work with a greater discipline, risk failure and ultimately have more control over their destiny. Google is always pushing the edge of the innovation envelope. This is where leaders thrive. Stretching beyond the conventional is a good idea, whatever you’re doing.
Build a Track Record – Google seeks people who have a demonstrated work ethic. Your resume may include a failure or two, but it should also show that you learned from it, profited from it and didn’t give up.
Be Multidimensional – It’s not just about what you do at the office. Some of our best ideas come to us when we are in the middle of expressing some other joy. What you learn on the ski slopes, at the dojo, building a new skill or volunteering for that non-profit you love will most likely strengthen your professional value.
Stay Fit – A healthy lifestyle directly translates into more energy and better productivity. Google has all sorts of fitness inducing opportunities on it’s campus. Incorporate exercise and good eating habits into your routine. As George Sheehan used to say, “You many not live a day longer, but you’ll live a longer day”.
Play Well in the Sandbox – Google builds teams that work well together. They may be incredibly diverse, but they have a magical chemistry that generates cooperation, mutual accountability and superior results. Choose your work “playmates” (and your friends) with care. We become who we associate with.
Live Passionately – The intensive interview process at Google seeks out individuals who attack each day with the excitement of a kid on Christmas morning. Well, maybe not quite like that, but you get my drift. Since many promotions come from within the family, Googlers are encouraged to continually explore, bracket and re-define what turns them on. It turns out that joyful seekers who refuse to box themselves into one particular career path, hobby, geographic area or group of friends grow in both ability and achievement and have great fun in the process.
Everything about Google, from it’s campus to the exuberant expressions of it’s culture are designed to attract and retain the kind of people who are dedicated to creating a sustainable life that they love. Yup, there are some bad days and setbacks, but overall Googlers get up every day excited about what that new day may bring.
I may never work at the company, but I came away determined to create exactly that environment in my world.
Digest all of the above and you’ll discover that there is absolutely nothing stopping you from doing exactly the same thing.
Have a great week!
Scott Westerman has been a broadcaster, cable television executive and entrepreneur. In 2010 he joined the MSU Alumni Association as Associate Vice President for Alumni Relations & Executive Director. He is a 1978 graduate of Michigan State University.
This blog post was originally featured on http://www.scottwesterman.com and has been used by the author’s permission.