People & Process

Six weeks in the life of an intern at Multitudes

5 min read
Multitudes interns Hazel and Greissen are shown on a cerulean postcard that has a Multitudes logo as a postmark

Over the past few months I’ve had the privilege of working as an intern at Multitudes. I joined alongside my fellow intern Greissen in November last year. Together, we became a part of a team that fostered our growth every day. I’ve had so much fun working with Multitudes, so I thought I’d share a bit of my internship experience with everyone.

If I’m honest, we both expected to get given some project and put in a corner, as per the usual internship experience. However, as soon as we were up to speed, Greissen and I were in the thick of it, being assigned to the team’s tasks and shipping features at a comfortable yet stimulating pace. This hands-on experience taught me something new every day, and it also made me feel like part of the team instead of like a passing satellite. My work felt worthwhile and my time felt valued.

Multitudes made sure we didn’t just feel welcome as employees, but as people too.


During our internship we got thrown in the middle of cycle (a.k.a., sprint) work, but also in the middle of team culture and bonding activities - in a good way. Before we had even started we all had a team picnic. I remember sitting down in a park with a bunch of people I didn’t know yet, eating pizza and chatting about everything from our favourite colours to the hardest challenges we’d overcome that year. The team connection was instant.

Team picnic! 🍕


Overall, the summer was filled with as much fun as it was work. Board games came to define Friday afternoons. Greissen always seemed to come out on top, winning both the legendary Throw Throw Burrito standoff and the explosive fishbowl game. Anyone else based at GridAKL (our co-working space for the Auckland-based team) will also be familiar with the abundance of free ice cream dished out this summer; our team made sure to capitalise on that! We also scattered team meals throughout the past few months, which were great opportunities to just chat and hangout.


Jenny, Greissen and Hazel make Lebanese flatbreads at the Multitudes end of year gathering
Jenny, Greissen and Hazel make Lebanese flatbreads at the Multitudes end of year gathering


My top 3 things about working with Multitudes

Greissen and I often hypothesised that we had hit the jackpot by getting an internship with Multitudes. There are so many aspects I’m grateful for, but if I have to pick a top 3, it would be these: The discussions, the care, and the excitement.

Discussions

I love the discussions at Multitudes. Everyone openly shares their experience and knowledge with the rest of the team. I’ve learned so much from derailed peer programming sessions turning into impromptu architecture lessons. Conversations around ethics have broadened my thinking. It’s so cool to be in a team where everyone contributes their perspective and adds framings to topics I never would have thought of.

Every discussion has built my confidence too. At Multitudes, everyone’s voice is valued. Imposter syndrome sucks, but being constantly consulted slowly convinced me that my opinion was worth sharing. At the end of our internship, Greissen and I gave a presentation on our experience. Despite having a long-standing fear of public speaking, the space Multitudes had created and the confidence they had built meant I wasn’t scared at all. Instead, I didn’t hesitate to share the blind contour doodles I had done of my colleagues during meetings. All it really took was asking for our opinion and input during discussions, but the impact it had on my feeling of psychological safety was immense.

Blind contour doodles of the Multitudes team - can you tell who is who?!

Caring

Multitudes is a startup that truly lives its values and cares about its team members. As mentioned above, they make sure everyone’s voice is heard, but they also care about what you have to say. That care goes beyond your technical contributions. At group hangouts, Lauren or Jenny can always be trusted to break out the deep and meaningful questions, and everyone always listens attentively to each answer.

Care is also given to how everyone is included. For example, Multitudes is a partly remote team. If we have an event or change a process, consideration is carefully made to avoid excluding remote people. It would be easy to write off dis-inclusion as a consequence of remote work, but the effort Multitudes exerts shows just how much they care about every team member. 

Exciting

It’s easy to get passionate about the product we are creating. Multitudes addresses a real need in the software engineering community. I love that I get to try so many new things while doing rewarding work that helps others. 

For instance, during our internship we worked on creating a glue work feature. Glue work is work that facilitates others’ output work or improves the quality of everyone’s work. Unfortunately, this often goes unappreciated due to low visibility, so we wanted to create a feature that celebrates glue work. This helps people by getting them the recognition they deserve, but can also highlight when someone is taking on more glue work than others on the team. By making glue work visible, we can allow teams to identify any patterns and take actions to correct the underlying issue. I’m excited to hear the user’s stories about this feature’s impact when it is launched.

The product has so much potential. My time as an intern gave me a behind-the-scenes-peek at what's coming up and, no spoilers, it’s all very exciting.

The Multitudes team on Hazel and Greissen's last week


My Biggest Learning

My biggest learning from the internship were the standards to have for a workplace. There is a lot of work still to be done in the tech space for diversity and wellbeing. I tended to just brace myself for the knowledge that sexism or other barriers would just be a part of my professional life. But working at Multitudes has shown me that a truly inclusive, equitable company is possible. Now knowing that companies can do better, I can champion healthy and inclusive workplaces in the future. 

A big shout out to the Multitudes team for making my summer so fun and facilitating so much of my growth. With my internship now over, I'm delighted to be sticking around as a junior. I can’t wait to watch Multitudes grow and see what I will learn next.

Contributor
Hazel Williams
Hazel Williams
Junior Developer
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