The Two Jakes, Part 2: The Highs and Lows of Life as Summer Hires

After our first couple of weeks at Something Digital, we’re starting to get the hang of things. We have more company knowledge, understand more about our daily assignments, and need less help from our respective managers. Since we’re finally in the groove, we thought it would be compelling to convey our favorite and least favorite things about work at SD. To organize the topic, we put together Top-3 and Bottom-3 lists. Here’s our insight into being an SD summer hire.

Top 3

1. The Company Culture and Structure:
Even though SD is a small company, there are many benefits to working here. Whenever we need assistance with anything, we receive it quickly or rarely wait very long. Another benefit is the overall trust in an employee’s ability to get their job done. It creates an awesome community. Colleagues always have time for others and seem to enjoy helping one another. Because of this culture (reinforced by a work area without walls), we regularly interact with the team and now understand everyone’s role. We’re guessing that the openness of the staff goes hand-in-hand with the trust factor. As a result, even as summer hires, we participate in meetings every day and often learn about the business from the bosses themselves. Lastly, SD values long lasting relationships with clients, and we can tell that they have the same values regarding their summer hires. Lots of the team gives time to help us, which has supported our growth and development.

2. Learning:
For us, SD is a place to learn. We get hands-on experience with coding projects that serve the rest of the team and even clients. Since our first week, we have learned and applied new skills, interfaced with clients, and gained insight into the retail and ecommerce industries. This real-world experience is a perfect departure from our academic work. We basically get paid to do awesome stuff and learn things that people can’t learn in the classroom!

3. Location:
If you don’t believe us when we say that SD’s location is awesome, just look out the window! On one side of the office you see the top of the Empire State Building and on the other you see the entirety of Bryant Park. We’ve realized that the park is a great place to hang out during our lunch break. It’s one of the city’s most beautiful spots and we constantly find ourselves there eating, enjoying some shade, and avoiding standoffs with the usual gang of street pigeons. Furthermore, when it comes to dining in the area, there is an incredible selection. We can pretty much find whatever we’re in the mood for each day, whether it be fast food or sit-down options for whichever cuisine. In fact, some places have such good dishes that we keep going back. Lastly, the SD office is only minutes away by foot from both Penn Station and Grand Central, which certainly saves time for commuters.

Bottom 3

1. The Commute:
Since we’re from Westchester, both of us have obviously taken Metro North into the City many times before this summer. However, these relaxing off-peak trips with friends or family do not compare to the crowded peak trains going to and from Grand Central. In both directions, we’re extremely exhausted either from sleep deprivation or from a hard day’s work. And it’s especially rough when you’re unable to find an open seat. Furthermore, rushing to Grand Central in the summer heat after work, dressed in a button-down and slacks, doesn’t exactly result in a comfortable 45-minute ride when you’re on train with no working air-conditioning.

2. Sleep (or lack thereof):
As we discussed in last week’s post, we had both been home from our universities for around a month before we got started at SD for the summer. During that period, we consistently stayed up late and slept well into the afternoon. As a result, when we started at SD, we were not prepped to wake up early or deal with the stress of working hard on limited sleep. Unfortunately for us, even after a couple weeks on the job, we don’t have the self-discipline to abandon our late nights with friends or video games. And sleeping in on the weekends totally messes up our sleep schedule. Additionally, working in the SD office is different than attending a large lecture at our colleges. There is never a time to subtly doze off and catch some z’s (don’t tell our professors). We also take a financial hit, since a big chunk of our paycheck is spent on coffee each week.

3. Working Part-time:
One of our biggest gripes with SD is the limit on how many hours we’re allowed to work. As part-time employees, there is a legal limit to the hours we can work each week. We wish we could work here full-time and continue on our projects, even after we have to leave the office. Jake and I can’t wait to graduate and become immediate partners. See you soon Jon!

The benefits we’ve experienced thus far at SD totally outweigh the negatives we’ve had to power through. Additionally, we’ve noticed that the lows are really just the normal difficulties associated with work life in general (we’re guessing we have a lot to look forward to). All in all, we still have much to learn this summer, and we undoubtedly will experience more ups and downs, but we’re excited for what’s next!

Be sure to stay tuned for Part 3 next week!

Written by: Jake Berkson and Jake Reifer