Having fun and working hard at LinkedIn

July 20, 2012

Editor’s Note: This is part of a series of blog posts by LinkedIn’s awesome summer interns. Today, we hear from Maverick Lee who is currently a student at the University of Waterloo.

When I started my internship at LinkedIn two months ago, I was promised a summer full of fun and exciting professional opportunities. LinkedIn has delivered on both fronts. As a summer intern, I hang out with hundreds of other like-minded people and engage in planned shenanigans every week. As a developer on the Cloud team, I work with the "graph" of LinkedIn, making sure the system to find and build new connections is always working.

With hundreds of interns in a company of thousands, you would think it would be hard to meet every intern. Luckily, this has been taken care of for us in two ways: interns take up a giant table through the lunch hour (you can find us by our tshirts) and there are planned weekly intern events. I always meet and re-meet new people while having lunch (mileage varies depending on memory). The intern events are almost always on Fridays, so we end the week with some fun activity. Last week we had sushi making class, where we all learned to make California and caterpillar rolls. I ate all of mine right after making them, but most people had sushi for dinner. At the end of the class, we competed with each other making sushi using fruits and other wacky ingredients. Other past events include trampoline dodgeball, karaoke, and brown bag lunches with senior executives.

Of course, having fun isn't restricted to interns, full-time employees get access to some fun things as well. We get the usual goodies: free lunch, arcade games, yoga classes and more. The two perks that stand out to me are Food Truck Fridays and inDays. Food truck Fridays are great, but my favorite truck Eat on Monday doesn’t come every week so I’m forced to try new food. I’m told that this is called a first world LinkedIn problem. inDays are a day each month where LinkedIn employees are given a day back to invest in themselves. It’s also the same day as our hackdays which a day we can drop our usual projects to play with any part of the site and show off our projects to the whole company. Hackdays are pretty standard at tech companies, but inDays always incorporate some sort of fun factor. Last month's theme was Play so we had rock climbing walls and bouncy castles. Needless to say, I got less hacking done than expected.

As for actually working (interns do that too apparently), I had a lot of input into which project I eventually ended up working on. On my second day, my manager sat down with me and talked about a wide variety of projects and I got to pick the one that interested me the most. I started off alone, and was given free reign on what to do and how to implement the project. I've worked with an awesome designer and product manager, and I'm on my way to getting my product shipped out to millions of people. On the side, I'm helping out across different projects so I can get a feel for everything on my team.

tldr: I work and have fun