Our roommates for the week were lovely. One was Jessica from Barcelona. The other was Glorybell, from nearby Northern Cali. We shared a bottle of red wine and eagerly discussed what the week in front of us was to hold. Time for sleep…
By the time we awoke the next morning we were absolutely tingling with anticipation! What would the office be like? What would the people be like? What would the job be like? After two confusing-ass buses and over an hour we finally came upon the office. The building was located downtown, surrounded by companies like Zynga and Adobe. We greeted the door man and said “Airbnb please!” He led us to an elevator that required a special card to gain access. That’s right, we’re pretty important. When we arrived on the 2nd floor Agnes and I practically had to hold our jaws from hitting the floor. Seriously….HOLY SHIT! The office was brand new and immaculate! I’m talkin’ 20,000 square feet of white, modern, angular design. It was an open floor plan and each desk was completely bare with brand new silver iMacs just waiting to be used. That’s right. Not a file cabinet, nary a file folder, in sight! Far different from the days of old. We had arrived!
We hurried to the breakfast area, where food prepared by Chef Sam (yep….he’s in residence), was waiting along with our other classmates. Including us there were 15. It was clear to see we all those obligatory first day of school jitters. Was my backpack cool enough? Would Agnes’ Golden Girls lunch box fly? You get the point. Promptly at 9AM we were led into the conference room we’d call home for the week. The doors opened slowly to reveal a scene that was as if it were Christmas morning…and we were all on the “good” list this year. Sitting atop the long white tables were brand new, still in the shrink wrap, macbook airs with brand new mice and headphones. To top it off they had our names on them. As we opened our macs and tried to acclimate ourselves with this decidedly ‘too good to be true’ atmosphere, we were reminded that it was Mustache Monday and that we were required to don the lip art as they passed it around. Could this really be work?
The first day was a lot of setting up, password entry, email access, questions, nervous laughter, mustaches falling off… By the second day it was old hat. People began to come out of their shells. Personalities emerged. Jokes began to fly. By the end of day two we were all BFF’s. I mean, we’ve never been in a room with so many like-minded, bright, clever folks. Everyone loved travel. Everyone was well-educated. We were informed that among hours of study and q+a the week would offer a ton of surprises, 80’s day, formal day and a third year launch party that was to span 9 hours and feature a little “DJ’ing” by none other than MC Hammer. WHAT!? I’ll take this time to add that the last job Agnes and I had featured torture day, purple t-shirt day, and the only DJ equivalent I can think of would be Rush Limbaugh. Paint a picture?
So here we are, in this amazing city meeting amazing new friends/co-workers, redefining the office experience. Near the end of our week we had tons of laughs, hardcore training, an urban safari tour of where it all started (thanks Joe, Brian and Nate) – it was all too surreal. I’ve heard others tell of wonderful places to work (Google, Bloomburg, Oprah) but never did I imagine I’d stumble across some such place. My idea of benefits to date has been a Keurig coffee maker that I had to purchase and replenish myself. Not at Airbnb. At Airbnb, the streets are paved in gold! At Airbnb, there’s color coded fridges stuffed with healthy snacks like Greek yogurt. At Airbnb they handed out American Apparel Sweatshirts (with our logo of course) because MC Hammer and My First Earthquake (amazing San Fran band…check them out!!) were playing on the roof and we might get chilly. Yep…I tasted the Kool Aid…and I LOVE IT!!!
still more to come?