The Playlist Project

In order to help our interns get the most out of their time with us, we challenge them to work on a “pet project” of their choosing during their time at BOF. Our two-time, back-for-another-round, please-never-leave intern Kylee explains her project below:


For my intern project, I chose something a little offbeat. I was building a personal playlist and realized that my musical preferences depended almost entirely on my mood. I started to wonder what everyone else listens to at work, and if their choices are also tied to their moods. Instead of asking around, I decided to take the idea a step further and do some research.

I found a study that helped me build out and establish parameters for the project:

Emotions at work: What do people feel and how should we measure it? by Cynthia D. Fisher, 1997. Fisher attempts to measure what people feel in the workplace and establishes that some emotions are more frequently felt than others. She also found that men report more frequent and intense emotions at work than women, despite misleading stereotypes. (Yeah, you read that right!)

Using some of the emotions Fisher identified, I made a survey to explore the most common feelings the team at Brains On Fire experiences during the workday. I then used the results of the survey to group our feelings into five categories: happy, focused, proud, frustrated and calm.

I sent out a second survey asking everyone to submit songs they listen to when they’re feeling each of those five emotions at work. Then I made five playlists and populated each with the music suggestions received.

The playlists are certainly unique. Some people listen to Kanye West when they’re frustrated, while others listen to Beauty and the Beast. Some listen to Beyoncé when they’re feeling proud, and some listen to bluegrass. If you’re looking for carefully curated playlists, these might not be for you. However, if you’re looking for a chance to peek into the minds (and headphones) of Brains On Fire, here’s your chance:


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