A few weeks ago I had my last day at Google. I had started with the company in 2009 and made the (difficult) decision this year to move on. I was sitting in my last team meeting when my manager asked me to share some thoughts and reflections from the last ±6 years.
I should have seen this coming, but I hadn’t … so the question really put me on the spot. I was scrabbling to come up with a compelling list of three things, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that there was only one thing I wanted to share with me team. And it had to do with time.
In those 2,000+ days, there was not a single day that I would look at the clock. Not a single day that I would be at work, yet want it to be time for me to go home. I made that realization because this used to be the case in all the other jobs I had. From consulting gigs to private equity advising – I remember watching the clock and wanting the day to come to an end so I could go home. But in all those 6 years, this has never been the case at Google.
I found this to be a powerful realization. I’m not saying that I wanted to work 24/7 and I’m not saying that there wasn’t any separation between work and my off-work life (even though there were times when that line was very blurry). That's not the point. The point is that I was doing something that give each of these past 2,000 days a certain sense of purpose. Even though there were days at which I didn't like my job, I wasn't dreading them because I knew my time in the office was well spent doing something meaningful.
At Google I felt that no matter if I liked or didn't like what I was doing (my actual enjoyment of the work), I knew it was something worthwhile doing. That's why I never felt the urge to run away from it. While I don't know what job will be next in my life and after school, I will try to find something that won't make me want to watch the clock and thus the work day to be over. And with that, I encourage you to ask yourself how you feel about your job based on this very simple idea: are you looking at the clock and hope the work day to be over? If the answer is yes, you might need to rethink what you are doing.