Five Things I Learned in my First Week at Facebook / by Nadia Fallahi

In case I haven’t told you (a million and one) times, I was so beyond lucky (okay, not exactly "lucky," in lieu of *that one* poster on campus that says, “You are not an imposter. You belong here.”) to land the most incredible internship at Facebook this summer with the content strategy team. I started on early on a Monday morning, anxious and wide-eyed, ready to take on the summer. Facebook, for anyone who doesn’t know, connects almost 1.65 billion (yes, BILLION) monthly active users worldwide and owns other companies like Instagram (yes, again, Instagram) and Oculus (the brilliant world of VR!! the future!!).  

In the months leading up to my arrival at the Menlo Park headquarters, I was feverishly researching the incredible opportunities at Facebook. Facebook’s main campus in Menlo Park, CA reflects the company’s focus on connecting people and building community through the various areas on campus such as a sweet shop, health center and bike repair shop and different cafeterias, just for starters. These areas are where employees come together, and and connect with one another whether it’s over a meal or while biking to our next meeting. You can either hop on a tram, grab a bike or choose to walk across the way over to their new building, which is where I work. 

I have learned so many valuable lessons that I will carry with me the next eleven weeks and later on in life.  Here is a list of five things I learned during week one.

 

1. YOU SHOULD WAKE UP EVERY DAY EXCITED TO GO TO WORK

Facebook is so exciting. Thinking ahead to post-grad, I could not imagine working somewhere that I did not think was incredible. I may not have had a serious career or "grown up job" yet, but from my fair share of internships, I know what it has been like to be enthusiastic about what you are doing and when you could not care less. When my shuttle pulls up to campus every day, I’m excited and ready to start the day. I'm sure there will be days when I'm a little less excited than others, but overall, it is amazing feeling to not really feel like you are going to "work." It feels amazing to be surrounded by incredible people who are working together and challenging one another to help make the world more open and connected.  I love being able to work on projects that end up having global impact, and I don't think many people my age can say the same, which I am so grateful for.  The work never feels menial or like busy work; I really feel like part of the team.

 

 

 

 

2. WARM GREETINGS CHANGE EVERYTHING

Every single morning, I am overwhelmingly (in a good way) welcomed to Facebook, no matter if I do or do not know the person saying hello. I feel like I wake in the morning and kind of go to my desk with tunnel vision, but the warm "Hello!" or "Good Morning!" really wakes me up more than my morning matcha could alone (#matchahadme turning my morning frown upside down). In addition, whenever I see other interns, people on my team or others that I know, everyone is genuinely excited to see you and their greeting is only the beginning. One reason why Facebook works so well as a company is because everyone is open and sincere with one another. Seemingly simple, yet so important!

 

 

 

 

 

3. DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP

In most of my internships, I have been so scared to ask questions, whether I think they’re simple and "dumb" or a bit more complex. Facebook never wants you to feel like you are alone.  No matter what I need or want to know (i.e. Where's the gym? Why does Zuck wear the same thing everyday? Why are we trying to do this?), I feel like I could comfortably ask someone about it. When it comes to more technical questions or problems I am having, I know that I can always reach out to my manager for some support or guidance without a second thought. Beyond that, I know that there are so many resources and amazing other people here that are (more often than not, I feel) ready and willing to help.

 

 

 

 

4. YOU NEED TO TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF

Obviously, work/life balance is essential in any work environment. It is also important to know when you need to take a step back and take a breath. At Facebook, we have so many ways to do this. I usually opt for a stroll around the roof of my building, but we also have access to a bunch of other facilities -- think music rooms and rock climbing walls -- that we can utilize if we need to destress a little. The Facebook culture celebrates different work styles, so not only are there areas built in around campus for people to get work done, but they also respect when you need to take time to chill out in your own way. It is so easy to get caught up in projects and meetings, so being able to take a break and recollect yourself can improve the workflow greatly.

 

 

5. DISCONNECTING IS KEY

You must be thinking, what the... -- but stay with me here. This is the last thing I would have expected to learn at a technology company -- Facebook, nonetheless -- but it is something I will carry with me forever. In school, I feel like we are all franticly trying to jot down every last word on slides (also, the American schooling system just needs work overall, as I learned in London), yet we will almost never really retain about 85% of that information. In meetings or lectures here, almost no one, for the most part, is on their devices. Everyone is genuinely paying attention and staying engaged with the material. Aside from this, teams are also taking time to really get to know one another, away from actual projects. I do believe that teams work better when everyone knows each other well, so I am so glad that Facebook instills this.

 

 

Matcha Had Me...beaming with excitement and passing out for bed...at 10 PM, sharp!