19 Years of Data Center

I woke up this morning and realized that yesterday marked my 19th year at Intel.  Just as turning 29 and 39 freaked me out more than the actual decade birthday  in my life, year 19 at Intel woke me up that soon I’d be 2 decades into a career and quite honestly, most of it went by so fast  that I can’t quite say how I got here some days.  Should I have tried other companies/industries, should I have tried other paths than marketing or should I have ventured beyond the data center ?!

So, I did some deep contemplation during my [very long] commute this morning and here is what I came up with….I love my job, I am proud to work for Intel and despite the [very long] commute – one couldn’t ask for a better employer and career than with Intel’s data center group.  But, I also realized that there were a few things along the way that helped me stay “me” as I’ve gone through it.  Listed in increasing or of importance:

  1. I will not wear a "logo’d" polo shirt, or for that matter any logo’d apparel, as I work.  Polo shirts make me look like a teenage boy and quite honestly, high tech logos really aren’t my style.  I will also not wear a sweater set or sensible shoes to work.  If I am not meeting with a customer, I wear jeans.  Period.  Even better when paired with 4 inch heels. And don’t even get me started on the “lanyard” concept…
  2. I will not apologize or make an excuse why I have spent most of my career in the Enterprise / Data Center domain.  If you think consumer, tablets, phones, etc are “sexier”…well you obviously haven’t really looked into the big cloud service providers, rack disaggregation or what is powering the voice/gesture recognition technologies on those sexy phone and clients.  Game changing tech trends that are rooted in the data center
  3. I choose my manager as much as I choose my job.  During my 19 years I have had some exceptional managers.  The commonality across them – I honestly believe they care as much about me as they care about my output.  They’ve had my back and in return I will always have theirs.  They also build their organizations with that culture – respect, no tolerance for politics, investment in career development and support for work/life balance.  I am now a working mom with elementary age twins and I travel too much.  Did I also mention the very long commute?  That means I only have time to work on real work.  I couldn’t do what I do at home and at work if I had to worry about watching my back or battling bureaucracy. 

So although my life has dramatically changed over 19 years, and Intel with it, I am glad to say that I have landed in a highly relevant, fast paced, super cool technology space where I feel supported to be ME – data center junkie,  lover of new tech, Intel loyalist and devoted mom who never wants to miss a talent show or soccer game. 

Question to you –

How have you struck balance and kept interest in your career over one, two or more decades in the data center business?