Conference room couches are not beds: A true story

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Mariam in the roof garden at Facebook

Working at Facebook is definitely filled with the amazing challenges of building new products quickly that can reach over two billion people globally. Every day I walk into the office, grab a cup of fruit, and get to coding (#GirlsWhoCode am I right). And despite the occasional stress that every employee undergoes at any job, I’ve had my good share of intellectual surprises, growth in technical ability, and friend-making.

Of course, I won’t forget the small, embarrassing moments that strengthen the core of any relationship. There are times that you goof up on your code and your manager shoots you with that “?” or when you see a fellow intern in the hall and only do half a wave because you haven’t spoken since orientation. But If you’ve ever wondered what spending 36 hours straight at the workplace is like, I’ll tell you.

It’s not the greatest.

My friend and I decided last month that we just had too much work to go home. Of course, in actuality we just thought it would be funny to spend the night at work with unlimited snacks and comfy couches. We’d talked about it last summer when we interned together but never got around to it. This year, with our increased levels of maturity, we decided to give it a shot. I mean I spent most of my day at work anyways, what’s a few more hours?

Never did I realize that there are other people who never leave (and they’re not just staying for kicks and giggles). At 11pm, I walked around and noticed a few engineers still hard at work. Obviously, this isn’t really the norm since we are all encouraged to balance out work and life.

While my friend and I had planned to get loads of work done–which we actually did–we got Netflix-sidetracked. A cereal addict, I spent most of the early night munching on my cup of cheerios. My friend spent some time scouting the building for the perfect room to code in and watch Friends. We found a cozy conference room with comfy seating and pillows which we fell asleep on.

I never realized the extent but the custodial staff and security also work long shifts and, I have to say, it is quite embarrassing when one of the cleaners walks into the room at 2am and sees two girls asleep on the couches. A security guard, too, glanced at me (probably confused) as I walked down through the building to the bathroom at 4am. If you’re wondering why I was up at 4am, it’s because the lights in the meeting rooms are motion sensored. That means every time I stretched my leg the lights would flash on.

At 6am, I decided to change into the extra pair of clothes I had brought. Yes, that’s right. I’m always prepared. Mostly because I feared that my manager would think I was crazy for never leaving...she frequently encourages a work-life balance and I’d hate to disappoint.

Overall, I would not do this again. And I am very happy that there are no beds at work because, let’s face it, employees should go home at some point (shocking!). But it was a good experience. I now know what type of place I work at both when employees and visitors are scurrying about and when it’s quiet and past midnight.

To me, the hesitation to leave Facebook when work’s all done is a beautiful testament to the type of setting nurtured here: educationally stimulating with a transparent environment that allows for collaboration and love of the very walls that house production. Honestly, I think this is a wonderful place to be 24/7, despite the motion-sensored lights when you’re trying to sleep.

Mariam Sulakian
Class of 2019
Majors: Computer Science and Political Science
Minor: History
Internship: Facebook