Hopefully, you won’t find yourself typing this phrase in Google when you start a new job (although it’s not the worst thing in the world). This prompt does, however, draw attention to the utility of Google – not only in our personal lives, but our professional ones as well. As members of the generation the public has dubbed “millennial,” we utilize this technology like no generation has before us. At the same time, our appreciation for its power has never been smaller.
Indeed, while our generation’s immersion in technology gives us a considerable advantage over the current workforce, it may not seem like much of a benefit for people who do not work in Information Technology, Computer Science or Engineering. Students often say, “I just waste my time on Facebook and Instagram all day. How will that help me get a job, unless I work in social media?” Likewise, employers may think, “Kids these days all go on Facebook and Instagram. They are lazy and don’t bother learning real skills.” These perceptions were among the first things on my mind when I was hunting for jobs back in 2013. With experience, though, I learned how to mitigate these perceptions and convert them into a strength.
As Manager of Clinical Performance Data at Weill Cornell Medicine (WCM), and previously, through my role as Data Research Manager at North-Shore-LIJ Health System (NSLIJ), I have encountered technological issues regularly. In my current role, I deal with data analytics to support pay-for-performance healthcare reimbursement models and negotiate contracts with health insurance companies. At NSLIJ, my position dealt with managing clinical cancer trials by working with stakeholders throughout the NSLIJ Cancer Institute. Despite being healthcare positions, my roles have required me to help my colleagues with technical problems on a daily basis.
For example, coworkers have often asked me to help them with issues on their desktops and iPhones. While problems like these are often simple to troubleshoot, being able to fix them made me a great asset to my employer. And when I didn’t know how to fix something, I could always say, “Do you mind if I get back to you in a few minutes?” and then go back to my computer and Google a solution to the problem. Nine times out of ten, someone else encountered the error before me, with people providing helpful suggestions on how to fix it. And so within 5 minutes, I was able to figure out how to fix the error that had a coworker struggling for the last half hour.
By combining critical thinking skills with my capacity to problem solve with Google, I was able to prove myself to be a valuable asset to my employer. At my current job, I started with trying to figure out how best to show where patients are being treated throughout NYC. After going down the rabbit hole for two hours, I figured out how to create a heat map using data in an Excel spreadsheet and Google’s map of NYC. Then I found free software to develop sophisticated choropleth (Google it) maps for future analyses. These data-mapping skills weren’t things I learned in school, and they weren’t taught to me by someone else; I learned them using information open to the public domain. Thanks to these findings, my director asked me to present the report before senior hospital leaders at their next meeting. Now that’s how you make an impression.
Even during the job hunting phase, Googling for nuggets of information about a company puts you on a stronger footing than your competitors. Don’t be shy in putting down every computer program you had learned on your resume, either; even if it’s not at the advanced level, you teach yourself what you don’t know using Google.
As college-educated millennials, we have a unique combination of critical thinking skills and technical-savviness. With this synergy, the possibilities are only limited to a googillion; and for those of you who are looking for a job, that may just be enough.
— Michael Yen ’11, ’13
Michael Yen is currently working in Weill Cornell Medical College (WCMC) as the Manager of Clinical Performance Data for the Division of Managed Care. In this role, Michael utilizes analysis of financial, quality, and clinical data to move WCMC towards pay-for-performance. This role also entails maintenance and negotiation of value-based and shared-savings contracts with commercial and public insurers. Michael has worked in the healthcare world at a variety of strong healthcare institutions, including North Shore-LIJ Health System, Stony Brook University Medical Center, Westchester Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital, and Suffolk County Department of Health Services, since 2006. In addition, he worked as a healthcare management consultant for a NYC health technology startup that further rounds out his business and strategy experience.
Making educated career decisions can be difficult at any stage of career development. The ASK (Alumni Sharing Knowledge) Blog is intended for Stony Brook University students and alumni to learn career knowledge and get advice from experienced alumni, working in various career fields, about lessons learned from their career experiences.