“You don’t know what you don’t know.” I’ve always liked that saying. I suppose I like it because it reminds me of how little I DO know. The past couple weeks, however, have been a case study of knowing something I didn’t know and being pretty glad about something I already did know.Let me explain. I learned four weeks ago today that my wife has breast cancer. I would have preferred that fact remain one of those things that I knew I didn’t know. She’s still in the process of being completely diagnosed but we have a difficult year ahead of us either way. That, I do know. My job is one of those jobs that can be done from almost anywhere. For example, I am at the moment writing from a table on the patio at one of our sites in Folsom, California I have coffee (complimentary for Intel employees) and my laptop (from Intel) and it’s a gorgeous Spring day (attribute that to whatever you like, but not Intel). I could just have easily written this from the Starbucks down the street. I’ve taken meetings in airport lobbies, created presentations on planes, written email as a passenger in a car on long trips, read research papers at a son’s soccer practice, instant messaged coworkers on a deck chair on my patio at home, and, this week, worked a strategy document from a doctor’s office waiting room. It’s not that I have so much work that I do a full day in the office and then work all these other places, too. I have a normal job. But I love the flexibility of working at different times and places so that I can effectively manage my work and the rest of my life. I don’t think of it as work/life “balance” – that’s too black and white for me. I think of it more as a seamless integration of work and life, and I do what I need to do to maximize my effectiveness and my motivation – and to manage the unexpected things – in both work and life. Intel supports flexibility and, depending on your job and your manager’s policies, you can establish an understanding with your manager about work schedule and location. Intel is really unique in this – I know, I’ve talked to lots and lots of people from other companies about it. Intel employees live out one of our Intel brand statements: “It’s not what we make. It’s what we make possible.” When my wife was first diagnosed, I worked several days from home and took time off during the day, making up that time in the early mornings and evenings. All my work got done, as always. I then shared my personal situation with my manager and discussed expectations for work schedule and location for the next several weeks. He was very supportive, so thankfully I don’t have stress about my job during this already difficult time. And this was something I knew that I knew – that Intel’s flexibility policy seeks to enable employees to customize their work situation to optimize effectiveness. But I’ll tell you, I am grateful and proud to work at a company that has enabled me to be there for my family. And now you know it.
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