Not Taking Your Dream Job Isn’t The End of The World

Google is considered prestigious to most, but accepting a job offer from them may not always be in line with your personal goals. It all comes down to what you specifically want out of your career.

I was given the opportunity to interview with Google for a summer internship. It was a vigorous process, comprised of a design challenge and several interviews. The surprise was receiving an offer.

The moment that decided everything

The internship was in Google Singapore. I would be their first UX intern in that company location.

This sounded amazing, even life-changing, especially for a junior designer. I may have been junior, but I wanted to do big things.

Google shouldn’t be a metric in which people strive for to be considered the “best”.

When I found out I got the offer, I was beyond ecstatic. Google has been a dream company of mine for years, but after much thought, the internship itself didn’t quite fit my personal and career goals for the summer. This, along with other reasons, led to my decision to intern at Intuit. It was an equally interesting opportunity that rivaled Google’s, but in different aspects. I would learn how to design with an emphasis on research first over concept exploration and building, something that this Google internship emphasized on, and I would have the opportunity to communicate/work with customers on a daily basis.

Besides the work, the culture and environment played a big part as well. I was drawn to the design-driven culture throughout Intuit that existed beyond the design team. Prior to working, I met with the team and the VP of design during an onsite interview. I was inspired by their passion, emphasis on design strategy, vision to grow and to constantly learn which was something I needed to keep doing. I had a good feeling I would fit in with the team.

One missed opportunity shouldn’t stop you from seeking out more opportunity

Along with differing career goals, there was another problem. I was so focused on the positive things people said about Google that I wasn’t thinking about how I could continue to grow from there. I was using Google as a metric for success.

Working for Google isn’t the end. It’s the beginning.

If I stopped when I got hired by Google, how would I continue to improve? The mindset I had was detrimental and wasn’t going to be beneficial to anyone.

It made me realize I need to continue working hard to achieve bigger things, no matter where I am in my design career.

Getting a job at Google shouldn’t be the end of the journey to become the best

What if I had the opportunity to work on a product while learning about a business unfamiliar to me in a short period of time?

To grow, you need to get outside your comfort zone.

I tend to be too comfortable with familiarity. I felt a change would increase the breadth of work I did and how I communicated value to people.

Choose a different path, rather than going with the norm

Don’t stop at “success”. Stopping results in complacency and complacency results in laziness.

This summer I wanted to be a part of a company that has lots of potential to grow and become global versus a company that had already reached that point. I wanted to take part in envisioning the future of Intuit, what it could become and where it could go. I wanted the kind of experience beyond the latest technology.

Learn to design to the top instead of designing from the top

Intuit is a growing company specializing in financial products like TurboTax and Quickbooks. These products empower consumers and businesses to handle finances easily and with confidence.

Could existing design skills make things better for accountants and small businesses? Could I learn new skills and develop solid rationale to solve problems? Could I bring all this to a company as big as Google to solve bigger problems?

If I could do that, then I could work anywhere I wanted to.

This was my goal.

I wanted to explore where I would want to work before settling down. Then, after a while, the cycle to find meaningful work would repeat again.

If I set my mind to do something, then I can do anything.

Google is a huge company with lots of opportunity and connections. I might have missed out on an amazing opportunity and a greater network, but that doesn’t take away the experience I had with Intuit which offered me just that.

Intuit is a rapidly growing company that has the potential to become big in the next few years. They are currently in the stage of hiring top talent, making their hiring process, at least for designers, just as challenging as a company like Google. Opportunities to make a difference to the work and culture are huge at this time.

I made a decision that I think would be good for my growth and what I want to do in the future. Not saying that Google wouldn’t have been good for that, it just wasn’t the time now and it didn’t fit with what I wanted to accomplish this summer.

Just because you don’t accept an offer from a big tech company doesn’t mean it’s the end of your career. You can always apply again in the future.

Google wasn’t at the top to begin with.

Regardless of the places you have a choice to work at, big or small, if it doesn’t align with your goals and how you see yourself fitting in, then go with what you think is best for you.

There are a lot of amazing opportunities out there, so don’t feel blindsided by what is at the top. Pick a company that will help you excel, not just on a resume. Chances are, if you are exceptional, you’ll excel wherever you go.

To summarize the above…

  • I learned that my goals played a big part with where I wanted to go, not the other way around. You are in control of your career, not someone else.
  • It’s not about the brand name alone. It’s about how you’ll fit in with the people, work culture, environment, and whether you’ll enjoy doing the specific job responsibilities in the specific job you applied for.
  • Be honest about why you are turning down the offer and be open to future opportunities.
  • Don’t lie or ignore the recruiter. Since the design industry is so small, it could come back to bite you later.
  • You’ll still grow in your career even if you don’t work or turn down an offer at Google. It comes down to whether or not you want to grow, not just where you work. Make the most out of whatever path you take.
  • The design industry is still so small; there are world-class connections everywhere, not just at Google. It’s all about going out and building relationships regardless of where you are at in your career.
  • It is a great achievement to get into Google. There are amazing people working there and I admire everything they do from creating an open culture to providing lots of opportunity to grow. I am not trying to downplay the process or Google itself in any way. There is a reason why their process is so vigorous; they strive to hire the best, brightest and talented people.