What a last-minute interview for APM at Google taught me about failure

An image of the company Google’s logo.
An image of the company Google’s logo.
So close, yet so much character built.
An email from Google saying “Update on your Google Appliation”
An email from Google saying “Update on your Google Appliation”
This was literally all I had to look at for 7 hours.

Reader, to say I was ecstatic would be a vast understatement.

I had an uneasy feeling interviewing for one company after accepting a job at another. It burns bridges, and is not a great reflection on mindset, integrity, or priorities.

Pause.

I could theoretically write multiple articles on the interview process. And boy, do I remember it like it was yesterday. Given there’s an NDA, and that’s not the point of this article, I’ll just plot my levels of excitement over the few weeks it took place.

A graph mapping my excitement levels, high and low, during the interview process.
A graph mapping my excitement levels, high and low, during the interview process.

1. It’s okay, and human, to get your hopes up. Just don’t let disappointment ruin your goals.

What was I supposed to do, not be excited? This entirely human reaction wasn’t wrong, unfounded, or misplaced. But in a career, what goes up must be prepared to come down. I was prepared this time. Failure had taught me that I emerged smarter and more persistent. I could regroup, learn, and adjust goals accordingly.

2. Always be prepared for whatever opportunity might come up.

Yes, even if it’s right after a backpacking trip to Europe. Had I not been prepared, I wouldn’t have made it past the first screen, and I would have been filled with “what-if’s.” Being prepared, and keeping skills sharp, is half the ingredients list of those who you might call lucky. The other half is timing, and timing awkwardly aligned for me right before I started a job.

3. Reflect hard after a failure, and learn from it. Don’t let a learning opportunity go to waste.

There was a reason I got invited to interview.

4. You cannot. Cannot. CANNOT. dwell on “What if?”*

*with one small exception.

5. Finally, sometimes just be proud you gave it your all.

No matter what happens in my career, I can walk away proud from each interview knowing I did my absolute best. If you leave every opportunity without that doubt, you’re going places.

Machine Learning Engineer, writing about the intersection of technology & fashion.

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