As one of the Rotational Engineers(REs), it is my prerogative to, well, rotate. Having recently transitioned into my second position here at Intel, I’d like to share that experience with you. But because when I’m done at the office I go and do fun things, I’ll also tell you about a unique and exhilarating night I had recently with some of my fellow REs .
So the main feature of the REP is the trio of rotations that all participants enjoy. When you’re hired on, your first rotation is given to you in the form of a job description and a desk where you’ll be doing all your work, meaning it’s exactly the same as the traditional direct-hire college graduate path. A few months into your first rotation, however, the REP PR sub-team issues the semi-annual “CG Availability Newsletter”. And every manager on that email list goes crazy, climbing over each other to get one of these REs into their group.
Why would this be? Well, it has to do with payroll. Because the REP is a program to increase the desirability of employment at Intel, and thus grow our workforce, its funding comes from human resources. That means that my paycheck comes from the HR budget, not any of the engineering teams. So to any manager, signing on an RE is a guarantee of high-quality labor at zero headcount cost. Free headcount, it turns out, is a powerful motivator.
And that puts REs in a very advantageous position. Between requests that landed in my inbox and connections I made through my own research, I chatted with about ten managers who wanted to bring me on board. And at the end, I picked what has become my second rotation, an interesting gig here in Intel Labs. So a few weeks ago I packed up my desk, loaded my stuff into one of the self-move carts, and moved to another desk at the same Intel campus. I’m excited about the new work I’m doing now and am already knee-deep in simulations and test results.
But that’s enough business for now. A couple of weeks ago, my friends (met through Intel of course) and I drove to a place called Sky-High Sports, where they specialize in owning a huge quantity of trampolines. I’m talking all-trampoline floors with all-trampoline walls. A grid of square trampolines as far as the eye can see. It’s so awesome. After spending just ten minutes on the grid, I was out of breath and normal floors felt curiously unforgiving beneath my trampoline-acclimated legs. It’s a feeling not unlike when stepping off a treadmill and realizing how fast I walk.
But as great as the open grid is, it gets even better with the trampoline/dodgeball room. Here, we faced off against kids one third our ages and discovered a formidable set of dodgeball opponents. After an hour of soaring through the air, launching foam balls at each other, and generally having a blast, we retired from Sky-High for some supper.
Based on a recommendation from a friend, we headed over to a place called Montage on Portland’s quirky East side. Montage is a fun little bastion of down-home Southern cooking, transplanted to the temperate rainforest that is Portland. I had the alligator jambalaya, and it was delicious. Had I succeeded in not eating everything on my plate, I would have experienced one other key element of Montage’s shtick: they wrap your leftovers in tin foil, and then sculpt that tin foil into animals or plant shapes. It’s pretty impressive, really. As we were packing up, we had a giraffe containing étouffée and a snail filled with jambalaya. It’s a fun gimmick, great food, and a perfect end to an exciting day.
Also, I’ve gotten a lot better at snowboarding, but that’s a tale for another day.