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  • Felice Cohen

Google This and That

“Let me ask you this,” said the head counselor running the interview. “If your summer campers don’t want to swim because they don’t want to wear a bathing suit in front of their peers, what would you do?”

The interviewee, in her mid-20s, nodded, as if thinking, then said, “I would probably Google it.”

She didn’t get the job.

Google, since its inception, has been amazing. I live on Google. It has the answer to everything. Can’t think of an actor’s name from that movie? Google it. Want to know when the fireworks start? Google it. Need to know how to insert page numbers in the middle of your book? Google it.

GoogleGoogleGoogle.

Google is a resourceful tool when the answer is not readily found in your own head. And while it can be used for almost anything, there are times when the solution should come from the knowledge already in your head. Say on a final exam or, you know, like on a job interview.

What did we do B.G., Before Google? We were, believe it or not, ourselves Google. We found the answers by asking questions (yes, by interacting with real people), looking back at our own experiences or figuring it out by trial and error.

When I was 32 I was hired to be the Chief of Staff to a College President because I knew how to organize and run an office, and had experience in how to manage a crisis. I didn’t use Google. I used my noodle. Instead of typing in, “How do I handle students occupying the President’s office?” I figured it out based on the fact it happened to me when I was a student and an employee at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Maybe this interviewee would have, eventually, on her own, come up with a solution, say give T-shirts to wear over bathing suits. But to her credit, maybe it’s not her fault. As a member of the Google Generation, perhaps she thinks it’s acceptable to find the answer by Googling it. And often it is. The real issue is not that this young woman must depend on Google, it’s that she didn’t realize admitting her dependence on it was a problem. As for find the solution to that problem? Well, maybe she can Google it.

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