After spending an incredible year learning about Politics & Government in the EU at the LSE, I didn’t imagine that I would turn that experience into a career in the technology industry. Yet, today, the work that I do at Google ensuring Global Election Integrity wouldn’t have been possible without the critical thinking skills that I learned in the EI.
Like many of my colleagues, I harboured ambitions to pursue a career in my national government. However, the Great Recession forced me to entertain career and job prospects outside of what I wanted at the time. To my great surprise, I found that the skills that I had developed at the LSE were needed in the technology sector, and more than ever. As well as giving me a deeper understanding of European politics I realized that the LSE had, more importantly, pushed me to think critically, deeply, and not just settle for the “surface level analysis” (thanks Professor Economides!). The issues facing the technology sector, combined with its size and complexity, demanded a person that had these non-technical skills.
At Google, I have worked on issues that are critical to modern 21st century society, such as combatting mis/disinformation, advocating for privacy protections, and protecting Google’s billions of daily users from fraud, spam, or other abuse. The work of Trust & Safety professionals is a constant challenge that I find meaningful and draw a huge sense of purpose from. Initially I was disappointed at not being as involved in politics and governmental intricacies as I had hoped, but I realized a few years into my career that how I worked mattered almost more than where I worked.
Pre-COVID, I was a regular at the local Bay Area alumni meetings. Through these meetings I helped many others navigate their initial career steps that can be so incredibly overwhelming. As a culmination of those efforts, during the initial lockdown in early 2020, I began working on a nonprofit organization with two other LSE graduates. Here we attempted to answer the questions we had asked ourselves, or heard others ask us, along our journeys to our own careers. These were thoughts and questions that might not have been addressed during the busy and hectic school schedule, yet were still just as fundamental. “How do you find meaning in a career?” “What are the best ways to demonstrate your skills to an interviewer?” or, “How do you balance your life and personal well-being with your strong desire to work hard and kick off your career?” We tried to address all of these concepts and provide our insights, free of charge, on a site we created: www.thedartmoorgate.com.
For all of you, beginning or looking to make a change in your career, I’m humbled at the opportunity to pass along these other words of wisdom that have sustained me: think about the purpose and meaning you find in the work that you do. As they say here in tech, “don’t just trade your time for money”.