Guest blogger: Nisha is from Intel’s Internal Employee Communications Team
Photos provided by the Intel employees profiled in the article
Can you imagine working across the aisle from your brother? Accidentally receiving your son’s email? Or how about fielding action items that were intended for your sister? For some Intel employees, work doesn’t just follow them home—home follows them to work. We talked to five employees from around the world who shared stories about what it’s like to work at the same company as a family member.
What’s the best part of having a family member who also works at Intel?
Ghery: Confusing people is fun, especially when you have the same name. My son has been a blue badge (full-time Intel employee) since April, but he’s been here as a green badge (contractor) for the last 10-plus years. And I remember one time his manager at the time accidentally put my e-mail address in a distribution list, and I was in Oregon that day, so my out-of-office agent bounced it. And I get a message back from the manager saying, you’re supposed to check with me before you go to Oregon. So I was left with, okay. How do I politely tell him to get lost without getting my son in trouble? No, I don’t have to check with you. You’ve got the wrong one.
Medha: My sister and I get kicks out of confusing people. We’ve got similar first names and the same last name and we work in the same group. People walk down the aisle, and they’re like, oh my God, you are two different people? We’re not even twins, and when we were growing up, we looked really different. So, yeah, it’s a lot of fun. Some bright spots when you’re working so hard.
Bill: I think probably the most fun part is connecting with other folks in the organization. It’s always nice to hear how well [your brother] is doing, or how he’s helped. It’s always kind of fun when I’m in a meeting and someone says “The expert on this is your brother, right?”
And of course that opens up the door to take your pot shots at your brother. To be like that guy, he really gave you a good recommendation? So you get to tease him a bit, which is nice.
Another thing that is nice—because we’re all based in Hillsboro—somebody will catch a Great Place To Work event, sign up, and we’ll end up going to those things as a mini extended-family event, whether it’s at the Coliseum, or the movies. Essentially Intel is paying for your family to go out.
Has there ever been a time when you wished that you didn’t work at the same company, and why?
Medha: I worked for two different companies before I moved to Intel. I avoided coming here for four years because growing up, people treated me and my sister like the same person and I didn’t want that again. But then I couldn’t help it—Intel’s the right place to be right now.
Vishal: With another family member working for the same company, you can’t bluff the rest of your family about how hard you work or how tough your job is. There’s always a second perspective.
Bill: It’s certainly harder to disconnect from work. When we’re at family gatherings, we have to catch ourselves. Our mom and wives and siblings say ‘Stop talking Intel!”
Medha: At one point, until last year, my husband worked at Intel as well. So there were three family members working at Intel, and my poor brother-in-law would be like, okay, now maybe I should just join Intel, so we can all talk Intel stuff.
What’s the funniest Intel-related story that you tell that involves your sibling?
Vishal: Before my brother was at Intel, he used to always tease me about going to the BUM (Business Update Meeting) and ask me “Who’s BUM did you go to today?’ since the word has another funny meaning. But now we both go to BUMs.
Medha: When I first joined Intel, people would see my sister, and they would start asking her about the deliverables, and she would be like, “Do I know you? What’s going on?” I think it took a few months for people to realize that we are not the same person.
Now I’m on the same project as her, and our cubes are close together, so if one of us is talking, and the other person’s talking at the same time, it’s like a stereo effect. It’s pretty funny.
Kathi: My sister and I have different last names so people don’t really know we’re related. I have pictures of my nephew and my niece, my sister’s children. And sometimes people ask me if they are mine and notice that they look so much like the photos in the cube a few aisles down. I say, it’s the same children, but down there is the mom and I’m just the auntie.
Bill: I think there have been times where, given you work in the same organization, you get an email, and you don’t realize that it’s actually not for you. My younger brother took over an area that I used to own, around architecture definition, and so I get replied back to an email I received on the topic. I thought, “Maybe it’s a ‘you never leave your old job’ type of thing.” So I gave pretty detailed direction on what should happen from an architecture strategy perspective, and turns out it wasn’t even directed to me.
Did one family member help the other one get a job?
Medha: My sister didn’t help me get my job, but she definitely eased my ramp-up in this project, because she’s been there, she knows the people. It definitely helped. And I know she’s going to give me advice on what I need to do, what I should be doing, what I could do better, and I’m pretty sure it’s going to continue for the rest of my life. The latest one [piece of advice] was, oh, when you write an e-mail, you may want to change the font, so it looks a little more professional. Believe me, I’m not a junior engineer. But I get advice like that.
Ghery: I didn’t have to help my son get a job, because he was already working here 10 years as a green badge. But when I found out that they had created a [blue-badge] req and he was supposed to apply, I was the typical parent, gave him a good swift kick in the rear end, and told him to get going.
Vishal: I would have loved to help my brother find a job, so that I got the referral bonus [laughs]. He found other friends in Intel to refer his resume. And in a way it was good, because if I were to forward a resume, I would have done it in a biased way and suggested joining certain groups.
Kathi: When I started, my sister helped me understand the acronyms. When you don’t want to ask your colleagues around you, it is just easier to get information from your sibling. And what she also helped me explain how things like SPP [stock purchase plan] work. If you ask someone who works on SPP how it works, the explanation sometimes can be confusing, and if you have no clue about it, then it’s easier if someone you know explains it to you in plain English.
Does it help to have someone else in your family understand all those Intelisms, things like constructive criticism, ARs, work weeks? Do you talk in that language at home?
Bill: Probably more often than we should. I mean, it is nice to be able bounce things off each other. Like if I’ve got a proposal going at senior staff, I can ask them what’s your perspective coming from a different part of the business.
Kathi: It helps a lot. Most of my family all work for German companies, which is very different than Intel. And no one understands the words if I say something about work. No one. It’s just my sister who would understand me, and she would be nodding and saying, oh, yeah, you had a hard day. And my family is just sitting there and looking at me like I’m talking Chinese. So it’s really helpful sometimes.
Bill: Given that me and my two brothers are all in IT now, over the last few years there’s been a lot more inadvertent e-mail coming our way. And so what we attach now in response is just a footer that says, Thank you for using the Giard Routing Excellence And Technical System (GREAT System, or GreatSys for short). We work hard to provide you with a stable messaging system with full redundancy. Our features include multiple email systems for MBC (messaging business continuity), service with a smile, and free car washes from the youngest infrastructure component (aka Mike).