Let me set the scene. I had known since about December that there was a high likelihood of me working in Silicon Valley this summer. Now the astute among you may realize that means that December is when I should have started looking for a place to stay. I however didn’t. I was able to find a place in Houston in only a few weeks so “I have nothing to worry about”.
So December turns to January and before I know it the semester is almost over. I still don’t have a place to live. Dead week comes and goes. I still don’t have a place to live. Now it’s not like I had been entirely lazy this whole time; I had been looking at places online and doing minimal effort. But I didn’t do anything major or set my rent range to desperation mode. This changed after finals week. I moved home and I started work on the other side of the country in 13 days.
I have been known to joke and to cope with the stress of finals by saying that I am imminently homeless. But that’s the thing, it was always a joke. All of a sudden 13 days turned to 6 days. I had been raising my rent range on craigslist every evening as I got more desperate. Out of probably 50 emails to listings I got 2 good opportunities. One of them I actually talked to during the end of the semester.
They scheduled a “roommate interview” with me. I thought that this was just a fact of life in the bay. Engineers are weird. The rent was a great rate as well. I believe it was $800 for the top floor of a townhouse within walking distance from my office. This would’ve been amazing. There was a beautiful kitchen, deck, living room, and human beings to interact with. But I was not the only candidate of the interview…. Or the best for that matter.
So it’s now 4 days before My first day of work. I have plane tickets set to fly out there and no where to go once I land. Then I get a reply from a listing saying that although they weren’t looking for a short term lease, they know someone who is.
Okay, so lets go into a bit of an aside here. WHY IS IT SO HARD TO FIND A PLACE TO LIVE FOR AN INTERNSHIP? It’s not even that everywhere in the bay is too expensive. Companies pay you enough to make it work. But even the super expensive and nice places that you would never even consider are only taking applications for 12+ month renters.
Maybe it’s just because I am not a landlord and I don’t know the struggle of finding a new person every few months. And maybe having primarily long term leases makes sense somewhere like the middle of Nebraska. But this is THE Silicon Valley. This is the place where interns for decades passed and for decades to come will work for 3 months and will leave. THIS IS NOT NEW. When the Valley became stupid expensive, interns started coming for a few months at a time. So why is it so damn hard to find a 3 month lease near tech hubs. This isn’t just my salty take either. Ask anyone interning in a major tech hub. They will tell you that it is a pain in the ass to find short term leases.
So what is the bay known for? Startups! And do you know how you can tell this is an actual problem? Because I personally know people trying to make startups to solve this exact issue! Tech hubs are in serious need of a platform for connecting interns to housing.
I have overlooked something major in my rant though. The really big, awesome companies like your FAANG companies will just set up housing for you. But if every one in the bay worked somewhere like that, it wouldn’t be a metropolitan area, it would be a dystopian novel. So for everyone else, we just fight over craigslist ads from half a country away or even an ocean away while trying not to get immediately mugged when we get out of our ride share form the airport on the first day. So if you’re looking for an idea for a hackathon then take on this challenge. Maybe if we throw enough startups at it then someday students will find the one that stuck.
But whatever, maybe this is all just me trying to rationalize my anger at myself for causing so much stress while I was home.
So now that my blood pressure has lowered a tad, I had the email of someone who may be able to help me. I forwarded them the response that I had been blasting out like a college freshman with their resume full of high school accomplishments. It’s not like I’m a bad roommate. I prefer to think that I am actually an exceptional roommate. But apparently, like those poor freshmen just trying to get a job, I’m just not good at communicating my strengths.
Okay another aside here. Maybe I just feel this way because I don’t have enough real accomplishments or cool projects. But I have trouble relaying my strengths on a resume or even talking at career fairs. I feel like if I could just sit down and show recruiters the things that I’m good at then they’d want me. No one cares when they see “fumbled around with a new technology for 3 months at xyz corp”. But if only they knew that what I really meant was “fumbled around with a new technology at xyz corp, became the resident expert in it on my team, and have still been answering questions about said technology from former colleagues a year later”.
My best guess is that the “bigshot recruiter from FAANG inc. who won the intern presentation contest and interned for 4 summers then started at six figures” will only see the name of the technology and go “wow… I knew how to do that from high school because I had 6 years to learn to do it”. If only they would give me a chance. That’s how I landed my current job, the guy took a chance to talk to me more and realized I was worth emailing back. (I’m still waiting on a rejection from Microsoft from last Fall)
So the person whose contact info I was given got back to me. They were a former intern at HP and understood my struggles at finding housing and recognized how stressed out I probably was. 3 days till my first day. Housing secured. I fly out the next afternoon.