Friday, March 09, 2007


Some changes are taking place that I thought were worth mentioning. I've gotten several "I'm leaving..." notes from Intel people over the last week. Perhaps I wasn't paying attention, but it seems like we're either at the beginning or the tail end of another round of layoffs. Assuming people had about 2 months to find another job this would mean that they were given notice in early January. Or they just got laid off. The notes I've gotten are more from professional acquaintances rather than close friends, so I'm not asking about their circumstances. All of them seem to have landed good positions elsewhere, and their messages sound positive. Some genuinely good people are leaving us, which is inevitable with layoffs. What's odd is that I'm not hearing anything about these people leaving beyond their goodbye notes. I wonder if we've all become a little numb or accustomed to people leaving?

Our CIO has reset his expectations for monthly status reports (MSRs). He now wants us to do a short update for each quarterly deliverable we have, and then mention anything else we worked on. We should see more succinct MSRs with less marketing spin. I'm not quite arrogant enough to presume that my post on this topic was the reason for the change. But maybe I was able to influence someone who mentioned to JJ that writing long MSRs was not a good use of our time. (It's my blog, and I'll have delusions of influence if I want to.)

I just recently noticed another, more subtle change that's been taking place over the last 2-3 years: Intel people don't hang out after work the way they used to. I still have my circle of Intel friends, some of whom are in my smaller circle of close friends. We don't socialize outside like we used to. It could be that we're all getting older and other obligations keep us from stopping for a beer after work. But the old stomping grounds aren't full of Intel people they way they used to be. I'm not sure why this is, or what it means.

I also notice that people are generally working less than they used to. Don't get me wrong - I think this is a good thing overall. I used to get emails from many people well into the evening. Now it's rare that I get e-mails very far outside of business hours, except from people in different time zones. People used to work long hours for two reasons: the first was that they had to. This seemed to get increasingly common in IT and eBG as we were trying to roll out bigger, more complex solutions. But before that and until the last few years many people wanted to work long hours to get their jobs done better. Some were workaholics, but many just wanted to get the work done and appreciated an hour or two in the office when it was quiet. I still see people at work early and late, but far fewer than previously.

Part of this may be due to telecommuting, but if that were the case my inbox would still be getting hit with mail in the evenings. I'm guessing this is due to a combination of the depressed and flat stock price, and more recently the environment of layoffs. It could also be that Intel is driving people less hard to feel competitive every hour of every day. Do you see the same thing?


Anonymous said...

I am from Intel Malaysia and I agreed with you that fewer people nowadays working beyond normal office hour. Working long hour has 2 meanings. Either there are too much work to catch up and force you to work overtime, or they are so passionate about their work and they wish to improve and roll out their codes. From the 3 years I am here, I hardly see the latter.

I think Intel no more hiring the best and brightest people out there on the market. This is a same dilemma to company like Microsoft. I am not saying there are no smart guys in Intel, as it can be seen from our technical leadership in C2D. But are the people we hired in IT the best? Frankly, if you are a great software engineer, software companies like Microsoft and Google are better choices instead of working for an I.T. dept in a hardware company. What we worked on everyday are more like fire-fighting. All those managers ZBB their own agenda over the company agenda. That's where political game starts to kick in. When I first joined, I am passionate and fully fired up. But for the past one year, I am more and more demotivated with all these re-org. I do agree change is constant, but how can a IC focus on his work when the project team change 3 times in 9 months?

All said, I am not sure how long I will want to stay on. I am actively looking for jobs currently. Wish me good luck.

Anonymous said...

I like your blog very much. thanks.

Anonymous said...

Should some marketing folks and higher-ups be fired for the failure of Viiv?

Anonymous said...

I don't know about any new layoffs on the engineering side of things, but I know a hell of a lot of people there (mostly at the RA campus in Hillsboro) that are planning their exit strategies right now. A lot of them are foreigners on H1 visas who are waiting for their green cards to be approved...

As for as hours go, I haven't seen much of a change in the groups I know of and given that most engineers are on call 24/7 anyway, they tend to live and breath their work 24/7 as well and will happily send emails at midnight and on the weekend.

Intel IT Guy said...

Anon #1, good points. I'm not sure if Intel is hiring the best IT people, but there are some really good people here. My concern is that many are not challenged or empowered enough to stick around.

Anon #2, thanks. Glad you like it.

#3, Good article, thanks for the link. I have far too much to say about Viiv to write as a comment. I don't have an inside info, so I only know what I've seen and read. I doubt anyone needs to get fired, but appears to be an issue with Intel just not understanding the markets we're trying to penetrate.

#4, good point about engineers working long hours. It comes with the job for them, and it's clearly the heart of the company. I don't want see everyone in IT working 80 hour weeks, but for much of IT the drive and passion that made us want to work long hours voluntarily is gone.

Anonymous said...

It seems like one of the most respected person at Intel is the "blogging legend" Jeff M. Ever wonder if that is a good thing for Intel? I don't personally know this Jeff M, but I wonder how his manager feels about him? With the amount of time he must spend on his internal blogs as well as external blogs, how does it affect his real job at Intel? Does his blogging skills get factored in during Focals?

Intel IT Guy said...

I don't know Jeff either. I can't believe that his internal blogging is helpful to his focal or his reputation with management. I can think of one or two people on IT staff who like or appreciate what he does. I'm 90% sure the rest would prefer to see his blog go away. He probably does get some credit for his external blog.

For me there is no question that Jeff's attitude and blog are good for Intel. The last year has been difficult for most employees, and Jeff has been the voice for our frustration and angst. He provides and outlet for everyone to feel like employees can speak out and comment openly about what's happening. The fact that he is hysterical is a bonus. I have no doubt that he is directly responsible for raising morale at Intel, particularly in IT.

If his management is smart, they will do everything they can to keep him blogging.

Anonymous said...

What is the internal link to Jeff's blog? Does it still exist?

Anonymous said...

I will give you an email address if it exists but would choose to protect my spouses identity since he still works for Intel.


Anonymous said...

Re: "it comes with the job" - there's no engineeering stipend on top of the normal salary, it's the same pay by grade whether someones doing 24/7 in engineering "that came with the job" or filling a function in IT or marketing. It's unfortunate there's no readily accessable stats on how grade distributions shape up across orgs.

Anonymous said...

I think the leaving notices you, and I are seeing are probably the result of people starting their job search during the extreme uncertainty in the latter part of last year. It can take several months to find the right position but once you start looking your head is already walking out the door. I fully expected this hangover effect given the way the actions of last year were handled. Unfortunately this often means the best people are walking. Good luck to them!

Intel is the least social work environment I have ever experienced. There may have been more post work socialization in the past but it's almost non-existant today. I think years of pitting peers against one another in focals and redeployment actions takes it toll. Noone trusts anyone else which doesn't make for much of a social environment. I've also never experienced a workplace where staff share such strong, often negative opinions of their peers.

As far as noone working late. Unfortunately I think this is another symptom of the general lack of moral in the Intel workplace. Motivating people can be simple. If you feel the company is treating you fairly and honestly and that your extra effort is somehow reciprocated, even in non-financial terms, you begin to enjoy work more and are less likely to bolt for the door at 5pm. The intangible cost of creating a depressed work environment is that people no longer feel connected or loyal to the company. Options flatlining for years, numerous redeployments, site closures,offshoring, reorganizations with forced assignments don't help. More than anything Intel needs to bring the fun back or the exodus will continue. Goodness knows the compensation isn't going to do it.

This sounds like all doom and gloom. On the positive side I think Intel has one of the most talented workforces in the industry. The company needs to recognize that and pay more than lip service to maintain it.

Intel IT Guy said...

Re the "it comes with the job" comment, I didn't mean to imply that it was offset by increased salary. I would hope this is true, but it sounds like it isn't. My point was that those working on getting processors designed and built still work crazy hours, and I don't see that much across the rest of Intel any longer.