Imagine working at the same company for over 40 years. Well, turns out that here at Intel 37 people have done just that.
As we prepare to celebrate our upcoming 50th anniversary, we met with two of our longest-serving employees from around the world and asked them to share memories of their first day on the job, their favorite memory, and their advice to those just starting their careers here.
Leslie – Fault Isolation Technician (Santa Clara, California)
My hire date was April 1st, 1974. I was almost 19 years old. The first day I came in, I didn’t know anybody and all these people were playing April Fool’s jokes. I joined Intel’s Microma group at a starting salary of $2.55 an hour, a 15 cent raise from my last job at a watch company called Timetron.
When Microma decided to shut their doors in 1977, Fab 2 employees sent some jobs over, and we could apply for a job at Intel. We would keep our length of service but we would have to get a new employee number. I went for an interview, and I got that job. That’s when I moved over into Intel wafer fab.
There are so many memories. I remember my manager, an engineer with a Ph.D from Stanford. We were working on some project and since I didn’t have a lot of college or an engineering degree, sometimes I felt kind of like, “Oh, I should do more.” He says, “Leslie, you do so much. If anybody makes you feel that you are not qualified, it’s their problem! You pay such great attention to detail.” That was a very proud moment for me, when he said he couldn’t have done the projects without my expertise. That would probably be one that really stood out.
I had bad days…but never wanted to quit. I always enjoyed the work and I enjoyed the people and I felt that I was contributing. I always want to be contributing and feeling my worth at Intel. I guess that always kept me going. Different managers, learning different tools, different products.
Secret to success? I would say learn as much as possible and just listen, probably more than speaking, because there’s so many talented people here. I feel like I’m always learning even after 44 years. I’m still learning and hopefully teaching people that come in.
Arik – Principal Engineer (Haifa, Israel)
My first day at Intel was November 5, 1978. During my studies, I remembered reading an article about a crazy company in the States that invented a computer on four chips, and one is the 4004. After my army service, while preparing for job interviews, I took a course on microprocessors at the Technion and that was the first time I saw screens, keyboards and microprocessors. I heard the name Intel, Intel, Intel.
I didn’t know Intel existed in Israel. So, I went to interview for a job for the Israeli companies, Elbit and Elscient, in Haifa’s scientific park. At the end of the interview, I asked where I could see a friend of mine who worked for them. I was told “he sits behind the red door in the outside warehouse building.” They ran out of space in the building so he sat elsewhere.
Walking to that red door, I stumbled upon a blue door with an “Intel” sign above it. I had heard this name, so I opened the door and asked, “Are you looking for people?” The secretary who sat there, Maggie, asked, “What do you know how to do?” I said I was an electronics engineer. “Hold on here,” she says. She disappeared in the corridor and here comes Rafi, who later became the manager of the design center, and he throws me into a conference room, and he gives me the first interview.
People tell me “You’re working at the same workplace for 40 years? Boring!” I say, “Are you crazy? It’s the same name, same shell outside, but have you seen what happened inside?” Many times people ask me, “Why didn’t you go to study for your masters?” And I said, “Come on, do you know how much I learned inside [Intel]?”
I was just trying to have fun and look for the most interesting things, so I didn’t work on my career. It took a long time for me to become a Principal Engineer. But I had so much fun along the way, which meant I just let the career manage itself.
I remember the first time we had a central computer for all–a VAX 780 which had everybody connected = with terminals. So, emailing and word processing became a reality and then I remember coming in one day and seeing a note on my desk “Intel connected to the Internet.” I mean it’s amazing. It revolutionized our work. We revolutionized the world. It’s just an amazing journey.
My advice to others? Go after the things that you like to do and be respectful to everybody, and be a good friend, a good peer to people around you. Share your knowledge. When you teach something, this is absolutely the best way to learn it. You teach it, and then you know it intimately, inside and out. So teach as much as you can. And everything then falls into place.