About a year ago, Michael and I saw the movie The Intern starring Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway. We absolutely loved it! Michael especially, because he is close in age to Robert De Niro’s character in the movie who becomes an “intern” at a tech start-up. All of us are getting older and even if we haven't gone through what De Niro’s character experienced, most of us 60+ can relate to the fear of becoming irrelevant. Here's the movie trailer in case you haven't seen it.
A few months later we found ourselves talking about the movie and I wondered if, after all of our experience as Senior Nomads, Airbnb might be willing to take us on as Senior Interns at their headquarters in San Francisco. Just as I was mulling over how to approach Airbnb, in the coincidence of all coincidences, Carol Franco, our good friend, as well as our literary agent, sent us a link to a story in the Harvard Business Review about “Age, Wisdom, and the Tech Industry” written by Chip Conley, our main Airbnb contact
When we first met Chip three years ago he was the Global Director of Hospitality at Airbnb. Since then he has moved on to a consulting role with the company. So as soon as I’d finished reading the article, I fired off our intern idea to get his response. Chip has always been a big supporter (he wrote the forward in our book) so It was a quick two-thumbs up on his part.
And, as they say, the rest is history.
He pitched the idea of bringing the Senior Nomads in as Senior Interns with Brian Chesky, one of the three founders, and he also loved the idea. Brian and others quickly saw the value of having us as “guests at the table” serving up insights on living in over 168 Airbnbs in 68 countries!
Over the last 6 months, while we were traveling in some pretty remote parts of the world with some challenging internet connections, we hammered out the details for a 10-week internship. Once we signed the agreement, we cut our travels short and at the end of August flew home to Seattle where we stayed with friends. It was a whirlwind 10 days of seeing doctors, dentists, family and friends, plus unpacking (and mostly tossing out) our well worn travel wardrobe. Then it was off to exchange our Keens for loafers and snazzy flats. As for what to wear to work ...should we go jeans and hoodies? Or business casual? Michael dusted off his blue blazer so he could go either way. I just rummaged through the storage unit and found a few things to get started because shopping in San Francisco will be part of the fun!
We fly to SFO today and start work on Monday, September 11th. As you probably guessed, we will be living in Airbnbs. We’ve picked three different homes in three different neighborhoods so we can get a feel for life in the "city by the bay".
We'll be turning up every morning for "work" at Airbnb ready to share not only our experience as Senior Nomads, but also lessons learned from our careers in event promotion, marketing, graphic design and advertising. We also hope to pass along a little wisdom around work/life balance, people skills, goal setting and one of the most important credos in our family: “Attitude is Everything”. The average age of the 2,500 employees at Airbnb Headquarters is 28 (the average age of our four children is 37), so there might be a little parental advice in there, too.
For those of you interested in vicariously living our new “Senior Intern” lifestyle, we will be posting a short video on our social media channels around 5 pm every day featuring a recap of what we learned and what we shared that day. So, like us on Facebook or follow us on Instagram.
I will also continue writing the blog. Wish us luck, and as always, thanks for following along!
Debbie and Michael Campbell
The Senior Nomads