Job Training: Tour of Google HQ

A Guest Post by Amaya Contreras Driggs, Social Media & Marketing Coordinator

Earlier this month, high schoolers participating in session two of Fiver’s Summer in the City job training program had the amazing opportunity to visit the Google’s New York headquarters. Our incredible host, Leah, led the tour and taught us all about Google.

Leah has been working at Google for seven years in the sales department. As we know, Google offers a variety of free products such as Gmail, Youtube, Google Apps, Maps, Video, Drive, Search… But for Google to offer this to the general audience without a price tag, they need to also generate income.

Leah started the tour by taking us back to when Google was first created. Larry Page and Sergey Brin, two PHD students in Stanford studying Computer Science were trying to determine an easy manner to find information through engine searches. They came up with PageRank, which determined a website's importance by the number of pages, and the importance of those pages that linked back to the original site. They named their new search engine the BackRub, since the system would check backlinks to estimate the importance of a site. You were able to pull out relevant information from links. For many reasons that name did not stick and the name changed to Google, inspired by the word for the number 1 followed by 100 zeros, googol, symbolizing the endless amounts of information the search engine could provide. The company’s first office was a garage in Menlo Park, California. They have come a very long way since then, but there are various signs around the NYC office that pay respect to those early days.

Afterwards we were shown the playroom, where Googlers (Google employees) can recharge their creative juices and relax in order to maximize their productivity and creativity. This room was any child’s dream. Ping pong tables, video games, foosball, arcade machines… it had it all. Following, we saw computers dating all the way back to the ‘50s. Many of them were still functional, and Fivers got to operate them.

Google really seemed like the perfect workplace. The office space is equipped with nap pods, access scooters, free breakfast, snacks, lunch and dinner, numerous restaurants around the office, smoothie and juice bars, coffee baristas, permission to bring pets, and of course, exposure to passionate, intelligent thinkers from all around the world. Aside from these fun perks Google also has maternity and paternity, free fitness classes, gyms and intramural sports, 24/7 tech supports… Google really cares about employee wellbeing, and they make sure they have the tools for success as well as healthy mind and body.

After the office tour, we had the chance to speak with Mahale who works at YouTube and Megna who works on the global business side. They explained that arriving to Google was a journey, not a straight line. Megna was planning to be a doctor, and studied pre-med in college. Soon, she realized she was just not passionate about the subject. When she graduated in 2008 the financial market was not doing well, so she had to be flexible about the jobs she could get. She did not know what she wanted to do exactly, but she did want to work for a company with opportunities for growth. She advised us to follow our goals. At Google she got what she was searching for, learning something new each day through her work, as well as through interactions with colleagues who specialize in different fields.
Leah, Megna and Mahale also explained that one must not fear rejection. Before being hired at Google, Megna had twelve interviews over the course of the year, and was rejected several times. Leah was rejected three times before landing the job. Mahale moved to NYC and built her resume with different professional opportunities such as Groupon until she made it to YouTube.

All three women appreciate that in Google you get to work in many different fields within one company. They love to work there, and for them, their quality of life at Google is so much more important than any salary.

- Amaya Contreras Driggs
  Tufts University, Class of 2018