We sat down with Francisco Verón to talk about his recent trip with the CIL to San Fransisco and what he learned on it. Read on below.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: What are you studying, and what do you do on campus?
My name is Francisco Verón. I am a sophomore from Villarrica, Paraguay, double majoring in Engineering and Mathematics. I am interested in technology, problem-solving, and how the people and culture of the workplace shape and define one’s career path. I am constantly fascinated by how interesting people can be, and how many different “subcultures” there are in the tech industry, such as Google’s quirky culture or OpenTable’s foodie culture. On campus, I am part of SwatTango – something I never saw myself doing – and the Equestrian Club, which I just started this semester.
You recently went on a trip to San Francisco with the CIL to visit tech companies. What was your main takeaway from the trip?
There were many lessons learned during the CIL trip, but if I had to choose one as my main takeaway, I would have to go with the importance of happiness at the workplace. One of the many companies that we visited was Box. At Box, they decorate their walls with different slogans that tell, in a humorous way, what is expected of their employees in their day-to-day. The one slogan that called my attention was “Bring your _____ self to work, every day”. As our host at Box explained, the blank space could be filled with any word that made their employees happy at their workplace: wackiest, nerdiest, funniest, quirkiest, etc. In an industry were “fit” is often emphasized, it was interesting to see a company encouraging their employees not to worry about fitting some mold and just bringing their best self to work, no matter what that was.
At another company that we visited, Stitch Fix, our host told us that she had previously worked at Amazon, Oracle, and Yahoo. I asked her why she had decided to come to a small start-up after having worked at such big, brand name companies. Her answer had a lot to do with the work environment at those companies, and the amount of impact her work had in the final product. Basically, her new job made her happier.
What surprised you most about the places you visited?
What surprised me the most was the diversity there is among companies. Even though I knew that the tech field was a very unique and varied one, I did not know that companies were so different. The way you interact with your coworkers, the amount of time you spend in the office, the number of hours you spend thinking and working on a problem or product, the amount of stuff you learn, and the amount of intellectual property that you get to own is wildly different from company to company. This experience really opened my eyes to a number of factors that I had not considered before that, I think now, are essential in finding a job that you like and where you can do work that is meaningful to you.
What would you tell future students who are curious about the CIL @ SF trip?
I would tell them that, if they interested in the tech field, they should definitely considering applying for the CIL@SF trip next year. Even if they are not into coding or engineering, there are plenty of non-technical positions that are very interesting. During our visit to Google, for instance, we met an alumni who works as the Policy Lead there. I thought her job was very cool, and I never knew such a job existed! The trip was such an educative and informative experience, and I think students interested in a career in tech would benefit from it.