How I Got Into Google With No Tech Background, Part 6

This is Part 6 of a series on how I got into Google as a first generation college grad with no tech background and almost no connections. If you haven’t already, read Part 1, Part 2Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5 before proceeding.

After I interviewed in-person on March 28th, Ben (the guy who referred me to Google in the first place) reached out to me the next day:

“Which of the two roles that we talked about would you want most?”

I gave him my answer, which was the Rich Media role since it didn’t involve as much technology management.

To which he instantly replied: “How about the other one?”

By this point I was feeling antsy and kind of frustrated.

I wanted to say: “Just give me whatever! I just want to work at Google!”

Instead, I went along with Ben’s apparent preference, which was for me to take the Product Ops role that I first applied for. 

Then, on March 30th, Punit (the recruiter) emailed me saying: “We need some more information from you.”

Google wanted to know all my extracurricular activities. They wanted to confirm that I was indeed the captain of my bocce team. They needed my college GPA, down to the second digit. I graduated 16 years ago!

I was thinking “are you kidding me?” I didn’t even know what that number was! I had to call Binghamton University and get that information. 

I also had to furnish several references from past employers that Google could follow up with.

I even had to specify my current salary ––which I stupidly did, again, after having told Punit way at the beginning of the interview cycle. (Thankfully companies are no longer allowed to ask for this information.)

Punit confirmed that he was putting my information through to the hiring committee.

And then I got the news: I had to meet with Anant one more time.

I was asked to come back to Google’s NYC office on April 1st to video conference with him.

(That’s right: my hopes for getting hired at my dream company all came down to what would happen on April Fool’s Day.)

It was slated to be an informational interview. Sort of a “last step” before Google would extend me an official job offer. 

This interview would also determine whether I wound up on Anant’s team (Product Ops) or on Jen’s team for the Rich Media role. 

So I went back to Google’s office at 6pm on Friday April 1st, left at 6:45, and was a little freaked out by how many people were still there that late on a Friday.

(I wanted a step up from sleepy American Express, but this was pretty intense!)

Finally –– on Wednesday, April 13th at 10pm — I got the offer!

$154,190 salary, 20% annual bonus, and $132K of Google stock.

I couldn’t believe it.

For one thing, the fact they were emailing me at 10pm was another “holy shit, they work hard there” wake-up call.

Second, part of me couldn’t fathom the fact that after all these interviews, here I finally was looking at a real, actual job offer from Google. 

To lead a 14-person global team out of that magnificent NYC office with lobster mac and cheese and ice cream trucks on the 11th floor!

Now this is the part where I would love to tell you that I negotiated like a Shark Tank pro and tacked another hundred grand onto my salary. 

(And, in fact, I later learned that I probably could have done just that . . .)

But I was so excited to work at Google that I didn’t push for one dime more. 

Look –– it was a $62,000 jump in total compensation from my job at American Express. That’s a 37% raise. At that time, my attitude was: “I’ll take it!”

(Later on I became a much more savvy negotiator –– I learned how to figure out, in advance, what a department or a hiring manager has allocated for a particular role.)

There was just one step left for me to take before saying yes.

I wanted a final phone conversation with Anant, who would be my new boss.

(And, in fact, I later learned that I probably could have done just that . . .)

But I was so excited to work at Google that I didn’t push for one dime more. 

Look –– it was a $62,000 jump in total compensation from my job at American Express. That’s a 37% raise. At that time, my attitude was: “I’ll take it!”

(Later on I became a much more savvy negotiator –– I learned how to figure out, in advance, what a department or a hiring manager has allocated for a particular role.)

He and I talked on Friday of that same week so I could ask questions about opportunities for growth in the role.

(Remember: this wasn’t my first choice of the two roles Google put in front of me, so I wanted to do at least a little last-minute homework.)

By that point, Anant was trying to close me, and he wanted me to start as soon as possible –– on May 4th. I was going to be in Belize for a vacation with my wife, though, so I told him May 11th was the earliest I could do.

I also asked him some stupid questions about vacation time, which seemed to get on his nerves a little bit. (But I figured hey –– the offer is in, I can ask that stuff!)

Anant wrapped up the call by telling me how to prepare for my start date, and he set up a call with Lindy, who gave me some additional info on getting ready to lead this large team.

After that, I finally emailed Punit to say: “I’m in!”

The next day I gave American Express my notice –– which felt incredible.

They held a going-away party for me that a surprising number of people showed up to. I wasn’t the most popular guy there, so that was really moving. 

(Although, quite honestly, half the people who came ended up cornering me to ask if I could bring them to Google too!)

I remember drinking a cold beer towards the end of the night and feeling proud of myself, like I had truly “made it.”

I won’t bullshit you though: this isn’t some fairy tale story where everything was perfect from then on out.

Was I happy to get hired? You better believe it. Did it change my life? 100%. Did it live up to the hype? Overall, yes it did. 

Google seriously takes care of you. I’ve already talked about the endless coffee bars and in-office food trucks, but they do a ton of other stuff. 

(Such as in-house repairs for any tech malfunction. Imagine your company having its own Apple Genius Bar. Just bring your laptop in, go back to your desk, and someone drops it off good as new. Google had that way back in 2011. And they have even more perks today.)

Still, it was a H-U-G-E step up in responsibilities from anything I had done in my career.

After the first month, imposter syndrome set in, and I had to really dig down deep to get on Google’s level of productivity and performance. 

Honestly though, even that was rewarding. When I look back now, there’s no way I would be where I am today without those six formative years at Google. 

As you can see, it can be a pretty challenging journey (not to mention sweaty.)

But if you want it,  you can do it, and it’s AWESOME when you break on through!

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