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Meredith Lane

6.30 AM

Finally get myself out of bed to start getting ready. I gather up all my things and head to the gym for a session before work. Normally I'd go to the gym earlier than this, but I was up late last night reading so I needed the extra sleep. It's okay though, because I know I'll stay at work a little bit later today so will make up for it.

8.30 AM

Finish up at the gym and skate to work. In the lobby at work there are a bunch of excited students, today is the day the interns start! There's a few of my former uni friends and students that are doing internships this summer, so I have a quick catchup before heading upstairs to grab breakfast. That's one of the best perks of working at Google, the free food, and the baristas to make you coffee!

Day in the life Meredith Lane at Google Australia

9 AM

Get to my desk, ready to begin the day. The first thing I do every morning is clean out my email inbox. You get so many emails at Google (everyone calls it "The Firehose") that it can be overwhelming. I find the only way to deal with it is to be super disciplined and dedicate my first 15-20 minutes of my morning to cleaning it out and organizing everything. I use filters, labels and multiple inboxes in Gmail to make sure it stays organized. I even use my email to track my TO-DOs.

9:15 AM

Mondays are actually my favourite day of the working week. Because it's still Sunday in the US, that means less of the day is punctuated with meetings and I can get some solid work done in front of my desk (hopefully). I remember I haven't showered after the gym yet, so that jumps to the top of my priority list and I go do that. Luckily, the dress code at my work is super relaxed so I can wear activewear all day if I want.

Day in the life Meredith Lane at Google Australia

9:30 AM

When I get back to my desk, one of my teammates has arrived so we spend some time catching up, talking about our weekends, music and video games, along with some work things. My team is really small, only three people on it in the Sydney office, so I'm very close with my teammates.

10 AM

Once I'm ready to finally begin actually working, I check my calendar to make sure I'm not forgetting a meeting, and verify that I have a good chunk of time to start working. I start by going through the TO-DOs in my inbox. I work on the Chrome Accessibility team, specifically on adding support for accessibility features to the Web Platform, making sure it caters to the needs of people with disabilities. This means my work is all open source! 

Day in the life Meredith Lane Google Australia

I uploaded some code for review on Friday of last week, and now I have some comments that I need to address. Basically, when I write code, there are various "experts" in the company that have to review my changes and make sure they are up to standard before it is accepted into the project repository. A lot of the comments are trivial changes (adding new lines, conforming to coding style guides) and some are questions about the expected behaviour of my code under different circumstances. It is extremely rare to submit code and have it accepted straight away, there is always a lot of back and forth, and while this can be frustrating at times, it does ensure that the code is of the best possible quality.

10:30 AM

I take a quick break here to play with my co-worker's dog who has just come into the office :) Back to work!

12:00 PM

I've addressed all the review comments and ended up adding some extra tests to make sure I captured the edge case my reviewer pointed out. I upload my changes to the test server and review site and set them to run all the available tests. This can take quite a bit of time, so my teammate and I decide to break for lunch, so we head downstairs. Hopefully, I'll have some results once I get back!

Day in the life Meredith Lane at Google Australia


Myself and my teammates' head downstairs to the cafe. Normally I have lunch on my own, or with my very small team, but today I was with a big group. A team close to mine have a new intern starting, and they came to join us at lunch. Slowly, more people joined us until we had a huge group, and it was really great to get to chat with other Googlers I don't normally socialize with, but it did mean lunch went very overtime.

1:15 PM

I got back to my desk and had a quick look through the results of my tests, and alas, there are some failures :( This means I'll have to take a look at what specifically failed and try to reproduce it locally so I can work on a fix. I don't have time for that now because I have a meeting!

1:30 PM

Now I have to go and formally be introduced to all the interns and introduce myself as one of their resident advisors. For the next 12 weeks, myself and some other former interns will be acting as an extra point of contact for the current cohort, to just advise on anything that they don't feel comfortable talking to their direct manager or team about. Today's session is just an opportunity for the interns to see who I am, and we'll be organising a meet and greet lunch for later on in the week, as well as office hours for them to come and chat to us. This is a voluntary role, but I'm excited to contribute to the internship program, as I had a great experience when I was going through it. I think it's important for me to do my part in fostering a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere, and contributing to company culture is something I prioritise.

2:00 PM

Back at my desk again to fix those failures. Some of the failures do look like they might be related to my change, so I get stuck in. This involves running the test locally to make sure the failure reproduces. It does, so I start sprinkling in some logging statements to try and diagnose where the specific issue is. Once I've fixed the failures, and also addressed a few minor review comments, mostly relating to formatting and commenting, I submit my changes again and wait for the results of another test run. I take the opportunity to clean out my email inbox again to make sure I stay on top of it. I clear out some easy TO-DOs, and since I'm still waiting on tests to run, it's time to start working on something new!

A lot of my work is experimental, so it involves a lot of white boarding, discussion and actually very little code. I open up a fresh doc to put all my thoughts and design ideas into and start doing research. I spend a lot of time reading the existing code base, making notes on things that are interesting or important, and sprinkling lots of print statements to try and understand the flow of execution.

Day in the life Meredith Lane at Google Australia

3:45 PM

My tests have finished running, and I have some comments from one of my reviewers. They've raised some concerns about a possible timing issue with some of the code I've submitted, and so my teammate and I chat about that. I find talking things through with other people to be one of the most valuable activities when trying to solve hard problems. I make some minor changes as a result of this conversation, but without further information, there's not much more I can do, and my teammate agrees. I ask my reviewer to clarify some of the behaviours they are describing, and while I wait for a response I get back to the research I was doing. Since Google is a global company, that stretches across multiple timezones, I work with people on the other side of the planet. Unfortunately, that means waiting for a response a lot of the time, so I normally try and work on things in parallel so there's not too much of a bottleneck. I have to be really organised to make sure I'm not getting blocked on things, and also not forgetting about things I was working on and spreading myself too thin.

Day in the life Meredith Lane at Google Australia

5:30 PM

Before I know it, it's already 5.30. I do one final check of my email, make sure I don't have any last-minute code reviews to respond to (still waiting, my reviewer is offline in the US by this point so I won't hear back until tomorrow). One of my dear friends from back home has just started his internship, so we decide to head out to grab an after-work drink to celebrate! This is someone who I actually referred for the internship, so I am super excited to have them around the office for the next three months!

7:30 PM

After having an excellent time catching up with my friend, we part ways for the evening. I realise if I rush I can make it for the second round of my local pub's quiz night, which myself and a few other coworkers frequent on Mondays. We actually end up winning a few bar vouchers before the end of the night!

9:30 PM

Finally get home, pretty exhausted. Today was a very social day with all the interns starting and I am knackered. I play a little bit of guitar to wind down, and then get myself ready for bed. I stay up far too late reading, again.