It Hui’s story at Intel began the same month she graduated—she started as a fresh-eyed engineer ready to take on the world. It seems her involvement in the field of engineering was meant to be: all three of her siblings were engineers, and she had developed a keen interest in physics at school. She joined the company as a product engineer, moving into the roles of yield engineer and product development in a career journey that spanned 11 years before she decided to hit the pause button.
Something’s got to give
At the time, It Hui was working with colleagues across four different time zones, while being a mum to two young kids. The act of constantly needing to balance meetings at odd hours and caring for her children eventually took its toll, and she found herself burnt out. She says that her approach to work and responsibilities in general didn’t help matters.
“I’m the kind of person who digs deep when I work. I stay really focused and immersed and I go all out. And I reached a point where I finally realized that I needed to rest, switch gears, and spend more time with the kids.”
She was given the option of taking a personal leave of absence for a few months to rest and recalibrate, but true to character and being unsure of what lay ahead, she decided to resign and avail herself to her young family unconditionally. During that time, she and her husband welcomed another member to their family.
Lean on your experience
“It was undoubtedly a big step and I wandered if being a stay-at-home mum suited me,” she says. “It does get tiring too—you can’t take leave as a mother and housewife!”
After over two years and multiple calls from her former boss with an offer to return to work, It Hui eventually made her career comeback in the capacity of a product development engineer. She acknowledges that it wasn’t an easy decision given the duration of her absence. But at the same time, her desire to return to work was couple with a newfound clarity on what a successful career meant to her.
“I wasn’t sure if I would be able to catch up. Two-plus years of being away is a long time. But I leaned on my experience and managed my expectations. I’ve learnt that when we try to do it all, something’s got to give—so finding that balance is important. And at the end of the day, nobody else can plan your career journey apart from yourself, so set your own goals and work towards achieving them.”
Vocalize your thoughts
It Hui’s return to Intel Malaysia came at an unusual time—right as the Covid-19 pandemic struck the country. So her first day back at the office was actually in the comfort of her home. While there were initial worries about breakdown in communications, she credits her colleagues and managers for making the return a seamless one, albeit virtually.
“Having a flexible workplace arrangement is important and Intel as an employer is great in this regard, but it’s important that we don’t take it for granted at the same time and make sure we hit our timelines and goals!”
Ultimately, It Hui believes there is no real harm in taking a career break. It offers an opportunity to realign and enrich one’s self—be it mentally, emotionally, or physically. “I feel like I’m in much better condition now compared to when I first left. If you’re considering taking a break or returning from one, don’t be afraid to voice out your thoughts. If you don’t vocalize your thoughts, you won’t get what you want—so be clear about what you want in your career and the considerations that are important to you.”
Looking to kickstart your career or know someone who is? Check out our current open positions at Intel Malaysia here. Together, let’s do something wonderful.