Rule #1: Always carry tennis shoes

Post by: Celine C. – Engineering Intern – San Francisco

It’s safe to say that I wasn’t exactly prepared for my first day.

After work, I found myself on a gym court wearing jeans and a pair of flats, not-so-stealthily avoiding the foam balls hurled through the air and headed directly towards me and my new coworkers.

There were many possible first-day scenarios that ran through my head during my commute to work that morning, but I can’t exactly say that playing dodgeball was one of them. During lunch, I learned that some of the office was part of a dodgeball league and I was invited to join their game that evening.

Sure, I thought. I don’t have the proper attire or skills, but having never interned at a startup, or any tech company for that matter, I knew that I had a lot to learn this summer. Why not start by learning to dodge and catch brightly-colored foam balls?

I soon found my Monday evenings occupied by dodgeball tournaments, and quickly felt that I had become part of a team, both in and out of the office. Before this summer, I had heard of many perks associated with startups, like free snacks and video games in the office (for the record, yes, we do have catered lunches twice a week and, yes, I have played “Dance Central” in our main conference room). But I didn’t realize the biggest perk – the sense of camaraderie that develops when working in a small team, especially at Redfin.

Because of Redfin’s small size, I felt like I was given a lot more responsibility than I would have at a larger company. In just my 2nd week, I was assigned to test the major re-branding of our iOS apps, and by the end of the summer I was writing automated tests for tour scheduling widgets. I worked with both the Mobile and Customer Engagement teams, developed a broad understanding of our products and interacted with people from a variety of positions. Events during the summer like Redfincubator and the company-wide Hackathon allowed me to learn about pitching product ideas and building a feature in under 36 hours.

But beyond the work, and you’ll hear this a lot about Redfin, I learned what a huge difference attitude makes in a workplace. Before this summer, it never occurred to me how important it is to work with people who truly believe in the products they’re building and who are generally just a lot of fun to be around. Everyone in the office believes in Redfin’s mission to reinvent real estate, and it shows. I could instantly tell that people were excited to be in the office and they were always willing to help me out, both on and off the (dodgeball) court. Between the lunch conversations, after work happy hours and weekend rafting trips, I truly feel like I’m part of the team.

The summer has sped by much faster than I expected, and I’m sad to leave this office and people I can now call my friends. But I know that I’ll be returning to school having learned how to be a better coder, how startups work, and to always carry an extra pair of tennis shoes.


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