Till we meet again

That’s it for this blog, thank you for reading about my experiences! If you have any questions or want to chat, leave a comment and I’ll shoot you an email.

If you’re new, check out the About page for information. Happy reading!

 

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Wrapping up

I could discuss a lot about my final weeks at SIG. There was no dearth of events towards the end: from our tech intern dinner with higher ups (and unlimited food) to the Phillies/Union games, the intern-only poker tournament with awesome prizes to hours of PowerPlay at D&B… to more excitement that this run-on sentence simply can’t handle.

Over the past 10 weeks, I’ve spoken to the abundance of tangible benefits at SIG — plentiful food, generous housing, and diverse events. These events don’t make SIG a fantastic place to work. And yet, according to Forbes, it is a fantastic place to work. More than that, it holds the title as the best employer in the financial services industry. Why?

In this intern’s opinion, the answer lies in the value of SIG’s intangible benefits, which I’ll group into 3 categories: autonomy, compassion, and ‘the people’.

Autonomy

Employees are given a lot of freedom at SIG. As long as you complete your work, you shouldn’t expect to get chastised for leaving your desk for 20-30 minutes at a random point during the day. Ah, but the caveat: “As long as you complete your work.” While some may consider this liberal culture an incubator for underachievement, the opposite egregiously holds at SIG. Not only does the average technologist handle all of their assigned work, they utilize extra time on numerous side projects to further develop their product or company technology in general. In this way, autonomy still allows for traditional hierarchical productivity, while encouraging the individual’s creativity to flourish unfettered.

Compassion

As I’ve written before, SIG’s employees are its primary asset. Thus, from a business standpoint, it makes perfect sense to give us all these perks. The healthy food, expansive gym, and exciting events are meant to keep the asset physically and mentally refreshed. Beyond this, though, there’s this intangible sense of camaraderie between employees. On my last day of work, as I was getting ready to leave, I was approached by a senior technologist on our team whom I’d seen at our weekly wrap-up meetings but never before spoken to. He told me that he didn’t quite understand some of the details of my project and asked about the design and usage of the software I had written. He listened very intently and asked detail-oriented questions, making sure he clearly understood everything I told him. About 20 minutes later, he wished me safe travels and good luck for the coming year and headed out. Random act of kindness? Perhaps. But with the trickle down of compassion from the top, these occurrences are more normal than one would expect.

The People

The interview process at SIG is technically challenging, and for good reason. If your employees are your assets, no matter how much you plan to groom them, you’ll want to start with the best ones. ‘Best’ is a broad word though, and in this context, it doesn’t just mean ‘most intelligent’. It means most adaptable, most open to sharing and receiving knowledge, most comfortable in communication. It qualifies someone who is autonomous and compassionate, a person who can trust you, an intern, with a vital project and who will take the time to groom you to utilize that trust responsibly. The network of people you develop at SIG is invaluably the best benefit the company has to offer.

If it sounds like SIG is the idyllic place to work… well in some sense, it is. At least, for the kind of person that fits what I’ve described above. If you’ve liked what you’ve read, I highly recommend applying; judging by the high employee retention rate, the interview does a great job of determining your fit with SIG. I know it did for me.

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Picking up spares

This Thursday, SIG hosted an outing for the interns and some new full-time employees at a bowling alley about 6 miles from the office.
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Atlantic City: Gambling, food, and comedy

For the past few years, SIG has hosted an intern trip to Atlantic City (miniature version of Vegas in New Jersey). From what we heard, interns usually went to the boardwalk and the infamous Jersey shore. But this year, our day trip to AC was wrought with higher stakes…

…we were going to the casino.  Continue reading

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Keeping busy

tl;dr: Idle hands are the devil’s playthings. Recognize when you fall into a pattern of apathy and realize that there are plenty of ways out and things to do in Philly.

I apologize for the delay since my last post — I’ve had a busy couple of weeks. With the 4 day weekend for Independence Day, I’ve had some down time (actually, not really with my parents visiting). With my internship half done, I can’t help but wonder how the time has flown. Yes, I’ve had a pretty productive 5 weeks here and I know I won’t get an experience like this again — a paid, experiential, free ride in Philly with an exciting project. But there are still those days in which I struggle to extricate myself from the trap of apathy without something concrete to do after hours. Here’s what’s worked for me:

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Aggressive learning

tl;dr: When you’re paid to learn, go out of your way to do so.

There were several points during my week where I just pressed the pause button. I took my fingers off the keyboard, capped my marker, closed my notebook… quite literally dropped what I was doing. I just needed a break, and why shouldn’t I? I spent the week reading/writing/testing programs from 7:45 to 5:30. Aside from the 2 hours of intern events throughout the week, I’ve been glued to my four terminal prompts. Even breakfast and lunch were spent at the desk. Who the hell does this 9 hours a day without pressing the pause button once in a while? Looking around, I immediately found my answer.
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Hot breakfast Fridays

Happy Friday everyone!

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