Now, I’ve previously discussed with friends our collectively weird requirement that the TV volume be on an even number at all times. In some ways, this quirk became apparent in my need to set the alarm for exactly 7.11am, not 7am or 7.30am like most people would do.
I’ve seen lots of writers preach about the “morning routines you need for success”. But other than my alarm, the only morning routine I subscribed to in New York was a lack of routine.
Wake up, jump outta bed (usually 5-10 mins after the alarm), shower, brush teeth, change clothes, voilá. No meditation, sit-down breakfast, not even light reading. I NEVER had time.
When I didn’t quite have time to get coffee, an apple was the next best thing: it gets rid of appetite and supplies surprising energy. Down some water, fill a bottle up, and I’m good to go.
I did my best to leave the apartment by around 7.45am. The stroll from my apartment to the 181st Street Subway Station was only five minutes, but New York at morning rush hour is a chastening experience.
The often-criticised subway can be delayed at such times due to people traffic and train traffic, so I made it my business to catch the subway slightly earlier than necessary just in case.
My commute was straightforward: catch the ‘A’ train as far as 34th Street–Penn Station and then walk through the station as far as the Sixth Avenue exit.
My stroll to work every morning brought me past landmarks such as Macy’s Herald Square, one of the world’s largest department stores. Its scale reminds me of a certain Father Ted episode.
I usually arrived at the office before 9am. One of the aspects of working at a tech startup is that work hours can vary. Many folks arrive at 10am and finish at 6-7pm, whilst others always arrive for 9am and leave around 5pm. It’s an interesting flexibility which I often availed of, especially if the subway was acting up (again).
As I skipped having breakfast in the apartment, I usually grabbed an apple, banana and cup of black coffee from one of the kitchens. Some mornings, even catered breakfasts were delivered to the office by local food businesses. These could range from breakfast burritos – which are unbelievable – to typical American breakfasts with French toast, scrambled eggs and so on.
The first half-hour at the office was usually pretty serene, but thereafter you’re expected to get down to business. If I was working on an article or content performance report from the previous day, I’d pick up where I left off. This would involve logging onto the company blog and social media websites, as well as the company’s Google Analytics and Sprinklr Business Index (SBI®).
If I was working of my own accord, communication with the content team would largely take place via Slack. Luckily, I possessed a MacBook Air laptop during my time as an intern. It’s a truly unbelievable laptop with everything you need to get by at a tech startup.
Usually once a week, I’d go for a morning coffee with my mentor. At the start of an internship, every intern is assigned a mentor, an experienced employee (usually from a different department) whom you can talk to about life in general, work, and, in my case, a shared love of coffee.
Our usual destination was Hole in the Wall, an Australian-run coffee house in the 420 Fifth Avenue Condominium Complex.
Not only is the coffee great, their sandwiches are also sensational. In true Millennial fashion, I liked the avocado smash. Lovely stuff.
After some further work, it would soon be lunchtime. The same flexibility on work hours applies to lunchtime, meaning that you could take lunch at midday, 1pm, or 2pm. Basically anytime.
Every Friday the entire office enjoyed a catered lunch from a local food business. This could be anything from BBQ to Indian, Italian to Shake Shack. My mouth waters just thinking about it.
Most days, I either brought lunch from home or ventured to Dig Inn, a truly glorious chain of locally farm sourced restaurants. Its only been around since 2011, but it’s already making waves, largely thanks to its nutritious and, in New York terms, inexpensive menu.
One of the traits you need when working at a tech startup is flexibility. As is the fast-moving nature of tech, I would often be asked to see after a task at relatively short notice. I welcomed the unpredictability because it keeps you on your toes and maintains high levels of concentration.
Therefore, my afternoons at work varied:
- If I was finishing off my latest article or updating content performance reports, I would often be left to my own devices unless something truly urgent came up.
- If asked to help out with research efforts on a project, I would drop everything I was doing and work until the task was complete and of sufficient quality.
Usually, I would chat with my manager or other members of the content team about what’s next on the content calendar. If there was some space free, we would brainstorm new ideas, which I would then pitch to the team.
This collaborative element ensured that everyone was on the same page and, if necessary, could turn their attention to other tasks.
The fact that new ideas were encouraged and always welcome meant that I was never ever bored. There’s always something you can bring value to, whether it’s research or writing.
As I’ve outlined previously, we were never left hungry at Sprinklr. When I started at the company, I was warned of the infamous ‘Sprinklr 15’, unavoidable body weight brought about by the abundance of delicious food.
However, I stayed active by getting up for water regularly or strolling at lunch and on weekends, avoiding ballooning at all costs.
Afternoons at work usually went by really quickly due to being so busy and caught up with work. Before I knew it, it’d be hometime.
Some days I left work around 5.30pm. However, most days I would finish around 6pm.
Every couple of weeks, us interns would go for a few drinks on the 5th floor social area or in a nearby bar with colleagues. Also, the company held monthly happy hours and, occasionally, table quizzes with light bites and drinks.
However, I was usually wrecked tired at the end of the day. Plus, evening rush hour in New York is at times worse than morning rush hour. Therefore, I usually made a beeline for the ‘A’ train and headed home for the night.
Unless it were a Friday, I’d usually make dinner in the apartment and chill out, listening to music and podcasts or catching up on sports on the laptop. Over the course of my time at Sprinklr, I learned to appreciate my free time. It’s important to look after yourself outside of work and avoid any risk of burnout.
Some weeks I did push myself to the limit caffeine-wise and work-wise, but often I achieved a good balance.
My bedtime on ‘school nights’ was much earlier than my usual bedtime. I’d be so exhausted from work that I’d be in bed by midnight, quite the feat for a recovering night owl!
Then it’s just a case of getting a good night’s sleep and prepping for the busy day ahead.
The typical working day in New York City is demanding, hectic, stressful at times, but ultimately rewarding.
The unpredictability of the day-to-day was exciting and taught me more than any monotonous job ever could.
Having said all that, it is nice to sit down and enjoy a bowl of porridge and a cuppa coffee in the morning once again. It’s the little things eh?