Monday, November 13, 2006

Why I Liked My Job at Intel Corporation

Last September, after seven good years at Intel Corporation I was, ahem, downsized, as part of a broad corporate restructuring. I am not bitter about this. On the contrary, I will miss my job.

I often read the posts to Intel internal web pages as well as many of the company blogs. I was always dismayed by the number of people around the company who appeared to be very unhappy. They are unhappy with their management, their co-workers, and their work. Some cross the line between just venting and become cynics. Frankly, as a manager, I think cynicism is a firing offense. A cynic will undermine anything a group is trying to achieve. Nothing anyone does satisfies these persons. All decisions made are candidates for revisitation and undoing. Cynics are a pernicious virus in any organization that should be eliminated. How do you know you are becoming a cynic?

I left work every day frustrated. I was frustrated that I didn't have enough hours in the day to do everything I would have liked to do. I was frustrated that I sometimes have to get out of the zone and put down my laptop to tend to the other demands of life, such as eating, running errands, and working around my home. My frustration was a positive outgrowth of my excitement for my job at Intel. It was a job that challenged all my mental faculties, forcing me to immerse myself in new domains daily, and I had the privilege of working with (and managing) very bright individuals. Sure, I had complaints, but they are mostly related to keeping me from being more effective. And yes, my boss and I clashed from time to time. This was more a symptom of two individual "take no prisoner" work attitudes repelling one another and not from some personal dislike.

To answer the question posed above, when you find yourself leaving work each day mad you are on the slippery slope towards cynicism. I sensed this in the many of the items I had been reading from others. These persons are mad at everything around them and don't mind telling anyone who will listen. To those individuals I would counsel, when you find yourself in this situation, the time has come for you to either find a new job within the company, or start looking elsewhere.

Leave work frustrated, not mad.

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