Inês Paler, Coach, Mom, Traveler
“We don’t need light to talk”. This was the winning comment I made for an interview at Google. I was in the basement of a hotel, where there were a couple of rented rooms to interview several candidates. I was not expecting an answer to my CV; there was no way I was going to get the job. But, still, it was an excellent way to practice interviews and do something about changing positions.
So, there I was, waiting for my turn. I had interviews with different people that day, from different teams and HR. The idea was to see if I was a good candidate but also which team would be the best fit. In one of the interviews, there was a power cut. Because we were in the basement, it was pitch dark. The person in front of me was embarrassed about it and apologising profusely. It was also late in the day, so there were some doubts about how long we could wait.
I didn’t miss a beat and uttered that we didn’t need light to talk. It´s funny how in my memory I see the person smiling with a sense of pleasant surprise – which, naturally, I couldn’t have seen it. But I must have sensed it right. Later on, I found out that at that point I had landed the job; the rest of the conversation was to follow protocol.
But there was more to that meeting. I also said that while I was very interested in Google, I would only join if it was to do Marketing – that was my thing. At this point, things get extra interesting. I have no doubts that I heard something in the lines of “Of course, that’s what you´d be working on”. And I have no doubts the person would not lie to me. I got the offer, packed my bags, quit my job, convinced my school to finish the studies remotely and said farewell to family and friends. Dublin, here I come! I was on my way to a new life.
I was on my way to Dublin and to a new life.
The first week was unbelievable: the on-boarding was spectacular, and everyone seemed terrific. Also, the office was ridiculously smart, fun and big. On one of the first sessions, they played an introductory video with “There ain’t no mountain high enough” music in the background. At that point, I couldn’t believe it anymore. Was this part of a movie? Was there some joke or mistake? Clearly, I did not belong there – it was just too good to be true. I was thrilled.
After a few days of intensive training and mind-bending, I started wondering: when does the marketing part start? For sure, it made sense to talk about AdWords (Google’s advertising service) as it’s the company’s source of income. Yet, shouldn’t we start having some marketing training at this point?
I waited a bit longer. No matter how much people said we all had the same voice and space to speak up, it felt awkward. I didn’t want to come across as difficult. Eventually, though, my curiosity won, and I asked my manager. The answer, dear reader, couldn’t be more clear: “Marketing? There’s no Marketing in Dublin.”
“Marketing? There’s no Marketing in Dublin”
Fortunately, it was too late. I was already in love with the company, the job seemed terrific, and Dublin was delightful. Because of that, it didn’t cross my mind to quit. But that day, I felt stunned, and that feeling remained for a while. I had invested a lot to make “this” happen and, it turns out, “this” was something very distinct.
It took some soul-searching, a lot of time wholly looking at the wall (and the sea!) for the answer to come. While this was somewhat unexpected, it was not necessarily bad. This was an opportunity and an amazing one. Had this mistake not happened, I would have refused the job. And then I would never discover all the things I was already experiencing in my brand new life.
So, I adopted a new perspective: it was, for me, not about Marketing. It was about testing my limits, learn a lot and do amazing things with great people. And there was no better place to do all this than right there, at that very moment.
In this way, my career at Google started. And what an excellent adventure. Of course, I didn’t abandon Marketing at all – but that’s another story.
Always check your work contract in detail and ask questions when in doubt 😉
Things will often go very differently from what was planned or expected. It is worth taking a step back and looking at it from multiple perspectives. It might be better than what you could have ever imagined.
As a manager, take your time to explain the expectations clear. And, just as importantly, to listen from the very beginning what your team members want and expect from their roles. Even if you can’t match both perspectives, it will help you to grow these people and their career.
If you are going through big changes, coaching might help you get through it. I would love to help you so if you are interested, visit me at Coaching for Me or just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org