Culture Shocked – 4 Ways Cisco Surprised This Intern
Land an internship. Move to a new city. Make new friends. Embrace the challenge. Give back. Love where you work. Wake up excited every morning. Never look back.
My Cisco internship has been one adventure after another – one that’s been filled with surprises at every turn – and I’m excited to be along for the ride!
I expected some lifestyle changes during my internship that come with moving to a different state – and a new part of the country! – where I essentially know no one.
But the cultural shock of living in the South for the first time is nothing compared to the cultural shock of working at Cisco.
Prior to moving to Raleigh, North Carolina, for the 12-week long internship, I had heard from previous interns and friends that Cisco is a great company to work for and that Raleigh is an incredible city to live in. Well, they were right about both, but I never in my wildest dreams thought it would be this great.
My first summer internship was so wonderful, and it extended to a year-long internship with one of my dream companies and some of the best co-workers. I thought no internship could top my first, so I was anxious to start at Cisco because I worried that I wouldn’t fit in as well or like the company as much. If only I could go back in time and tell myself that I had nothing to worry about. Instantly, I started to have fun and learn new skills, and in about two weeks’ time I even started to feel at home in this new place.
Cisco’s culture truly came as a shock to me. Being a leading technology company, I knew Cisco would be fast-paced and innovative, but I never realized to what extent. For starters, almost all of my meetings are virtual through Cisco WebEx because my team is located all over the country in California, Boston, New Hampshire, Texas, and beyond. You name it – we’re there! I think that’s one of the coolest aspects of the company—you could work anywhere in the world for Cisco because of how large our global footprint is.
Another big surprise about the workplace culture is how collaborative and helpful the people are. Collaboration is encouraged to the point that people don’t even have cubicles or assigned desks. Every day, we work wherever we want in the open space, whether that’s in quiet rooms, couches, standing tables, stationery bike desks, or even massage chairs!
A third big shock to me is how much responsibility and trust we’re given as interns. Most of our managers aren’t located in the RTP (Research Triangle Park) office, so we’re trusted to manage our own time and get our work done in the method that is best for us. Additionally, the projects and stretch assignments we’re given as interns are incredible in terms of learning opportunities and impact back on the business.
Finally, Cisco is fun. In our offices, we have an arcade room, putt-putt, shuffleboard, volleyball court, tennis court, gym, cabana rooms, cornhole—honestly the list (along with the fun) is endless. And thank goodness for all of these activities considering we get free food so often with weekly breakfasts, “snack attacks,” and complimentary snack stations.
Trust me, Cisco is all about keeping you fueled (through nutrition and fitness) for those future moments of innovation!
It truly was an incredible summer at Cisco here in Raleigh. I loved being challenged by my projects, inspired by my peers, and mentored by the best minds in the business. Not only did I love where I worked, and all the adventures that occurred, but I discovered that Cisco is absolutely a company where you wake up every morning excited to go to work.
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