A Year in
I’ve now been in the
I’ve been at Intel for a year now. It’s a very different kind of place. Of course, it’s huge. Intel has almost 1000 times the number of people at my last job! Even at the campus I work at (Jones Farm), there are probably 4,000 people. Intel employs something like 16,000 people here in
So of course it’s very corporate. Intel has a definite corporate culture that they spend a lot of time training you on. Classes like “Effective meetings” and “Constructive Confrontation”. Actually for the most part they are pretty helpful. Everyone has a badge that you have to wear all the time, and that gets you into the building. Most people at Intel work in cubes – it’s one huge cube farm. I’m one of the lucky ones in that I work in a hard-walled lab (badge gets me in there, too), so I have a bit more space and privacy. For the first 4 or 5 months, though, I was in a cube until they finished remodeling our lab. I miss having windows, though, and the great view I had at my old job.
Despite the fact that it’s a big place, it’s really a very relaxed environment. As a salaried employee, I don’t have anyone tracking me nor do I fill out a timecard. The question is mostly, am I getting my work done and can people reach me if they need to? I really appreciate having a flexible schedule, it makes life a lot simpler.
We have a gym at work, with showers and everything. It’s great, because when I skate in the morning I can just come straight to work and take a shower there. There’s a Pilates class 3x/week that I try to attend – it’s free, even! – and it’s a lot of fun and good for my core strength. Besides the gym we have a very nice cafeteria, microwaves, refrigerators… there’s no real reason to have to leave the building once you get here.
I feel like I work a lot harder at this job than I had to at my last one, and there’s a lot of stress. The stress I feel here, though, is mostly “oh my God I have so much to do!” which is probably better than the stress I had at my old job (“oh my God there’s no way we can do all that, and the customer is really mad, and my boss is a jerk!”). I did get a nice bump in pay to come here, though, so it feels worth it. My boss and my co-workers are great, and that helps a lot too. Besides our base pay we get bonuses in January and July (or August).
One of the other advantages of working for a big company is discounts! We get discounts for all kinds of stuff – for example, my Sprint plan is discounted, discounts at my car dealer, at fast food restaurants – it’s great. We also get an employee discount of about 50% on processors, so I’ve taken advantage of that already.
Intel is a very matrixed organization, and everyone works very independently, so I work on a project team (I was assigned to two teams at once for most of last year). The rest of my team is at our facility in
So what do I do? My group puts together Software Development Platforms (SDPs) – basically, desktop/mobile/server systems that offer pre-released hardware (processors, chipsets, etc.) that we make available for people inside Intel as well as some of our partners. My job as an Interoperability Engineer is to test the SDPs from a user perspective – can they use it to develop and test their software? Are there problems? If so, can they be worked around (and how)? Since we are usually the first group putting all these pieces together there’s always something. It’s a lot of fun, though, I’m always getting new hardware to play with and I really love that. Of course there’s paperwork to do L but that’s the way it goes.
On the other hand, Intel is definitely a manufacturing company. Having been strictly a software person for so long, it’s been a definite adjustment. There’s just a very different outlook and approach to things.
I do kind of miss managing people – that was my favorite part of my old job. However, from watching my boss, I don’t think I’d want to be a manager at Intel – it looks like it would not be that much fun. I’m glad to just be an “Individual Contributor.”(Part 1 of several. Crossposted to MySpace too)