Cisco is the best thing that ever happened to me, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks that! Right after graduation, Cisco was my very first company, and while I wouldn’t say every phase has been a bed of roses in my time here – I am still filled with gratitude for a company that has challenged me to grow and become the best version of who I am.

Of course, there have been happy times over the course of my eight years here (many of them, in fact) but those times have been accompanied with periods of struggle and moments that made me question my own capabilities. Yet, through the support of my co-workers and our culture at Cisco – I’ve started to learn how to overcome my fears and all those insecurities and doubts.

From intern to Manager (Employee Services HR Support APJC) I have quite a Cisco story! Our culture of “being yourself” is one of the major motivating factors for me to develop sense of belonging towards the company.

Yet, there was a journey to get to where I am now.

I am someone who is straightforward and have always displayed my strong personality. Early in my career, however, and due to lack of experience – I was very vulnerable to people’s emotions (my own included) at the office. My strong headed traits made me come across to others as aggressive and thus I was subjected to negative feedback.

Which is not something any of us truly want or like, right?

I was frustrated and confused so I decided to speak to my manager. (Another great quality about working at Cisco is that we’re supported by our leadership!) We had a great conversation and I was advised not to change who I was, that’s not what Cisco wanted. But, rather that I should pay attention to how I express myself with others. Communication is key!

It sounded pretty simple – but we all know being our true selves can sometimes be difficult. To help better understand what my manager had advised, it was recommended that I take some emotional intelligence trainings. (Leadership at Cisco follows-up on their recommendations and has your back!) This was a great step in my learning how to communicate better – and after this training I was better able to manage my conversations with people without losing my sense of perspective.

Introvert or extrovert, there’s no right or wrong. Direct or indirect, it’s all about the way of communication. I’m happy that Cisco and my management supported me in learning this.

In more recent years, I have been trying to explore a lot of things that will help to make my personal life more colorful as Cisco believes in supporting the WHOLE person – not just the person behind the computer during work hours!

Here’s a few ways I am growing and becoming more myself through Cisco:

1. I am a big fan of personal travels. Due to Cisco’s efficient Leave policy, I always have enough PTO to plan long trips and my manager is always supportive of me taking a break! There is no pressure and I am able to disconnect from my work for a bit so that I can relax and recharge. I always know my team has my back and supports this as well.

2. Developing my passions! I’ve also been able to work on Karate for the past 3 years (I have my yellow belt) and drawing, which is a peaceful activity for me that relaxes my mind.

3. Work/Life Balance. Because of these experiences, I’ve noticed that people admire me more because I am able to manage both my work and personal life I love that Cisco supports us in this!

At one stage or another in our lives we all question our capabilities, especially when we face challenges that (in result) help us to grow. It’s important to keep the real self throughout these challenges, as that’s the foundation of our energy level every day. It leads us to the highest satisfaction in our lives, and helps us to be more complete.

After all, as I’ve heard (and consider true) – ‘its hard work being someone else’ and ‘no price is too high to pay for the privilege of being yourself!’ Thank you, Cisco, for encouraging me to by who I truly am!

Want to be you, with us? We’re hiring. Apply now.


Olina Bi

Manager, Employee Services

HR Support - APJC