Barbara Fusinska

Strategic Cloud Engineer - Google

What is your role at work?

I find out about my clients problems and then it’s my job, as the engineer, to help solve them using Google cloud.  

Has there been a turning point in your career?

There have been a few moments in my career when I realised that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. Whenever I talk to a customer and I talk about the technology or the way I can solve problems, I feel like I’m having real input and helping them. Because I’m very self-critical, I wouldn’t say I am an expert in the whole field but when I realise I’m an expert in whatever I am talking about at that moment, it’s amazing! I wish for everyone to feel that at some point, it’s like realising you are falling in love.

Have you faced setbacks throughout your career?

My whole career has had a lot of struggles and this is normal in every career. We don’t always talk about this and a career path is often romanticised – probably by Hollywood movies – with the false idea that you’re always good at something and you will do it for the rest of your life. That’s not what it’s like, especially in tech, when things change so rapidly. You have to learn new things every day and you’re constantly faced with new challenges. We have to solve real problems and its a constant struggle.

How do you feel about doing things differently?

I used to call myself the queen of the comfort zone until I just stopped being that person! I made the decision to move from Krakow, where I lived for 14 years, to London.  London has a very big tech scene and yes, finding an apartment is tough, but finding a job in London is easy. I would say the struggle was more about it being a new country with a new language. The world is a big village and if you’re not doing things in different ways, if you aren’t constantly changing, you will stay in the same place and this means going backwards. You won’t find job satisfaction if you are just standing still.

 

What’s ambition? To be the best? To compete? Or is ambition to make a better version of yourself?
What does ambition mean to you?

Often ambition means competition and at one point in my life I was very, very ambitious in this way. I had to be the best, and it was ridiculous. Even if there had been a contest for synchronised swimming, I would’ve wanted to be the best at it. I then realised how stupid this was, and I started to question: what’s ambition? To be the best? To compete? Or is ambition to make a better version of yourself and to get better at what you’re doing? Sometimes ambition is just having a go and being persistent enough to pursue it.

How do you gain confidence?  

Women tend not to be confident in their achievements. A man will apply for a job even if he only fits 40% of the requirements, and us women think we have to hit 110% – we think we have to be better at a job to even consider applying. That’s why I should be saying more often that I am an expert! Being the new person at Google, I’ve been introduced as an expert of machine learning and my first thought is that I’m not, but then I try and override this.  I really try to push myself because I know this is a thing that our gender struggles with. 

How do you feel about your success?

People define success very differently. Until recently, you’d hear about success being related to money, power, having a proper position in the hierarchy, but now more and more it’s about passion and doing what you love. Success is your whole life and not just your job. If you’re successful in your work but are failing in other parts of your life then that’s not a success for me. For me, success equals happiness.

 

Can you tell us about the significant object that you’ve chosen?

I’ve chosen scissors and a knot because the knot represents a problem that needs solving and that is something very important to me when it comes to my career and professional life. My boyfriend said I was cheating to include scissors to undo the knot, but I think it shows thinking outside of the box! Alexander the Great first came up with this idea when he cut the Gordian knot.