Like every night before the first day of anything, I could barely sleep. I woke up throughout the night many times before finally getting out of bed around 7 AM. We weren't expected at work until 9 AM to begin orientation so I took a long shower and picked out a pair of funky socks in true Gusto fashion. If you didn't know, Gusto is a shoe-less office, so everyone takes off their shoes at the reception, and wears indoor slippers, socks, or remains barefoot.
I picked a new podcast and began my walk over. I live about 1.5 miles from the office so it's not too bad, except for the monstrous hills - which are so steep, there are signs to ensure people park their cars at 90° angles. I made it to Gusto with 15 mins to spare. Some of the other interns and new grads were early too so we introduced ourselves to each other. Unlike many of the other interns, I did my onsite interview remotely so this was my first time in the office.
After grabbing a snack from the kitchen, we made our way back to the couches. By then, all the interns and new-grads had arrived. Because we were a large cohort, the orientation coordinator split us into two tour groups. We walked around both floors of the building. The office had a very open layout and plenty of natural lights. It was gorgeous.
While on the second floor, we took photos for our badges. Roughly speaking, the office is split into predominantly Engineering, Product, and Design (EPD) on the bottom and other roles (think lawyers, business, marketing) on the top. The sales and customer experience effort lives mostly in our Denver office.
After the tour, we did ice-breakers and started our official on-boarding, which would last all week - split into company wide orientation and then department specific bootcamp. Because I, along with the other interns, were part of EPD, our bootcamp would be technical and would include an overview of the tech-stack: Ruby on Rails in the backend and React in the frontend.
The rest of the week had a pretty similar schedule. We'd start the day around 9 AM and then have orientation until about 3-4 PM. After finishing the day, all the interns would congregate around the central couches to hang until dinner. I'm really glad this was the precedent set early on. By being in the same vicinity for a few hours in the late afternoon every day, we got much closer. Some days we'd play board games and other days we'd sift through our orientation to-do list (the mundane must-do items like verifying addresses, bank account information, all the legal forms, training videos, etc.).
The office used to be a shipyard, so though most of the interior is modern, Gusto kept the industrial feel. One of the original cranes is still here.
On the second day of orientation, Eddie Kim, one of the three co-founders of the company and the current Head of Engineering, made an appearance. He introduced himself to us and something that stuck with me was his love of traditions. For the past few years, he has taken a picture in front of a famous monument in the same t-shirt with the same pose - tongue sticking out, 'licking' the monument. The interns were inspired and we decided to make our own tradition this summer: taking a themed photo everyday. I plan to post 1-2 photos during my weekly blog posts and save the rest till end of my internship as a surprise.
Because I'll be talking about everyone throughout the summer, I might as well introduce them all (from left to right): Eda, Xin Yi, Niki, Josh, Jarrek, Zach, Kanishk, and Hector (in Denver). There are still interns to come, but this is the May 20 start-date squad!
After work on Tuesday, Kanishk and I walked over to the UCSF gym in Mission Bay Bay about a mile from our office. I had yet to find a fitness place for the summer so I was interested in UCSF's summer student membership for 3 months. The price and plan was reasonable so we decided to join. We even recruited Zach and Xin Yi.
On Wednesday, we transitioned from company-wide orientation to bootcamp. It was cool that new grads from the previous year were leading the different technical sessions. We learned about Ruby on Rails and began setting up the development environment. While killing time before dinner, we played 31, the card-game I learned from Patrick and his family. Then, we played Smash with some of the other employees.
We finished up the week with more bootcamp. In the midst of all the activity, I got to meet my team, Employee Lifecycle (EEL) and my mentor for the summer, Lisa! Everyone was so nice and they all even signed a card welcoming me.
Way before the internship had started, Lisa had emailed me introducing herself and attached a picture of the team pointing at a picture of me, which warmed my heart.
Thanks to the picture of me on the screen above, I realized I had never changed my LinkedIn profile picture since freshman year. I have now promptly done so. On Friday, in the afternoon, we had a happy hour to celebrate our first week. Lots of employees showed up, including people from EEL, which was awesome. Even Eddie came and sat for a while. Unlike Microsoft which was huge, I'm slowly realizing that at a startup, everyone knows each other and it feels much smaller. Though crazy at first, now it's normal routine to see the C-suite around the office.
There is no dinner on Fridays, so a bunch of interns came over to my place to play board games. To get a true feel for my commute every morning, everyone trekked up the hills with me. The interns got to meet one of my roommates for the summer, Jarrod. Then we played Catan for a few hours, before calling it a night.
The next day was pretty lazy for me. Patrick arrived in the morning and we went shopping for groceries together. We went to so many stores and ended up walking around 5 miles in total. It was a struggle bringing everything back - our hands were full and the hills were steep. In the afternoon, Yash, my former roommate came to visit. We talked for a bit and caught up as he has taken the spring semester off so I hadn't seen him in forever. I showed him around Gusto's office and then he joined me, Patrick, Kanishk, and Jackson (Kanishk's roommate) for dinner at Pancho Villa Taqueria in Mission.
On Sunday, Kanishk, Jackson, and I went to Twin Peaks for views of the entire city. It was a little gloomy and windy but pretty nonetheless. After, we got some Indian food for dinner in SoMa. While walking to the restaurant, we crossed through a really cool-looking alley.
This first week was awesome - I met some really cool people and realized how lucky I am to be working at Gusto and living in SF. I am so looking forward to becoming a better software developer while also meeting and interacting with incredibly smart people. I'm also really excited to fulfill my goals for this summer, which include working out, exploring the city and its surrounding neighborhoods, strengthening old relationships, and making new ones. Cheers!