Want to boost your work life? Former Googler Sarah Cooper can help with that...
Let's face it, Google is one of the world's best firms to work for. From free meals and laundry to massage credits and access to groundbreaking lectures, this is a fun and super-productive workplace. During my four years there as a user experience designer, I learnt loads - above all, how to be myself and get ahead. I left last year and those lessons have stuck with me - and you don't have to work at the Googleplex for them to help you, too.
<p class="p9">The Google recruitment process is intense. Think
phone screens, a take-home project, two days of interviews and a
presentation. At one stage, I sat in a conference room with five
equally nervous strangers. So, I announced I'd be presenting my
design portfolio as an interpretive dance. It was a silly joke but
it broke the tension and, more importantly, I was being myself.
Being comfortable in your own skin shows confidence and leadership
<p class="p9">We could block off between 30 minutes and two hours
in our work calendars for personal time as needed. Google trusts
employees to do this whenever it feels best for them. The aim was
to prevent back-to-back meetings - and this made a big impression
on me. I still schedule time for a walk or meditation, knowing it
will make me more productive.
A few weeks in, I was working one-on-one with a product manager. He asked me to look something up on my laptop but I clearly wasn't fast enough, as he took my laptop and did it himself. I quickly realised Google moves at a mile a minute and I felt pressure to share an instant opinion on design or strategic direction. However, my knee-jerk reaction often differed from the (better) opinion I later had. Taking time to consider options gives you a greater chance of making the right decision from the start. In short: don't be afraid to say, "I need time to think about that."
<p class="p7">I worked with incredible leaders, but there was one
in particular who I really admired. When he was in a meeting,
decisions were made faster and, best of all, we had fun. But it
wasn't that he had the best ideas - he just did an amazing job of
listening to what everyone was saying, and making connections to
bring us closer to our goal. Being a great leader is not always
about wowing with your creativity - sometimes it's about exposing
the creativity in your team.
Sarah's book 100 TRICKS TO APPEAR SMART IN MEETINGS is out now (£10, Square Peg)