I get mixed up with my friend Eric a lot. In the picture above, I’m on the left and Eric is on the right. We have similar builds, wear glasses, and although Eric will tell you he’s incomparably more handsome than me, even our close friends will accidentally call me, Eric and Eric, Isaac on campus at UCSD. I thought the peak of our similarities were when we both accepted full-stack internships at UnifyID in San Francisco this summer, but I realized I was mistaken. On Day 1, Eric and I had gone and picked out the exact same outfit for our internship debut. We had black t-shirts, tan chinos, blue shoes, and even opposite desks to really sell the mirror illusion. At a company built upon faith in each individual’s uniqueness, initially, I could not have felt more out of place.
Despite our many similarities, Eric and I do have our differences, and they showed in how we dealt with our first-day jitters. I smiled politely and tried not to get in anyone’s way; Eric dropped the f-bomb before lunch. Having prior experience at a company where that sort of thing wouldn’t fly, I took it upon myself to pull him aside and tell him to rein it in. I thought that I had done him a favor until later that day when a full-time engineer casually slung a string of curses at his monitor with even more gusto than Eric had. It was then that I started to realize that working at UnifyID would be unlike anything I had experienced before.
Looking back, I shouldn’t have been surprised that UnifyID gives its employees the space to be themselves. Our mission is to identify people by what makes them unique–to squash those qualities would be sacrilege. As a result of this, the atmosphere is lighter and the conversations more genuine.
In the three months that I spent at UnifyID, I came to realize that it is this freedom that makes the team work as well as it does. I never felt like I had to put energy into trying to fill the role of the intern I thought I should be. Instead, I could just go in every day as myself. Once I realized this and started to embrace it, my productivity and sense of fulfillment soared. I went on to make significant contributions to our Android SDK, from redesigning our service architecture to developing a full suite of end to end tests. Now at the end of my internship, I find myself a far better engineer than I entered, lost trying to find where the time has gone, and sad to say goodbye to the friends I’ve made.
It’s difficult to describe a summer of my experiences at UnifyID in a few short paragraphs. But in a word? I would say, authentic.