What’s the best way to describe my first 30 day whirlwind at Cisco?
Fearful? Hardly. Uncomfortable? Maybe. Successful? Absolutely.
I understand that not everyone defines success in the same way, but my first 30 days at Cisco were filled with small victories. By far the most important may have been how not to be that employee that burns popcorn and stinks up the entire floor. Office Life 101!
It’s from these tiny mishaps, however, that I’ve learned that it’s important to recognize small accomplishments when first starting a job.
My journey at Cisco did not start on my hiring date. But 2 years prior to that at the NC State Career Fair. Thankfully the years of networking, researching, and interning all paid off on February 8th when I started my full time role as a Human Resources Representative on the Talent Brand team.
My first day brought me back to an excitable 5 year old version of myself. You can bet I made my roommate take a picture of me with the caption “I may be too old to take a first day of school picture, but I’m not too old to take a first day of work picture!”
I loved coming home during the first week to brag to my friends about my team taking me out to amazing restaurants (yes plural), and how cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory was brought into one of my meetings to welcome me back. There was even a game night that my coworkers held so we could all hang out as friends outside the office!
Another small success: not getting stressed out by the onboarding process. Of course as with any job there was technology to set up and a few hiccups to solve, but going through it with people that cared about my success made the process – dare I say – exciting!
Week 2 was when the real action began. During my first team meeting, I even had an opportunity to contribute when someone asked for my opinion on their work. To be honest it caught me off guard to the point that my face turned red – but I was extremely grateful that they valued my opinion so early on!
If there’s one thing I learned early in my first 30 days, it is that being successful at Cisco always involves an important trend: teamwork.
This clicked when I had the chance to participate in the HR Breakathon. My team was just a fraction of the hundreds of people around the world, working together to propose new ideas about our current HR systems. What a fantastic way to really grasp Cisco’s innovative culture!
Three weeks in and I was looking to take full advantage of the opportunities Cisco provided me. The most impressive benefit to me is Cisco’s Wellness Center. They have a beautiful gym that they encourage employees to use by contributing $5 a day into their health savings account…simply for exercising. Hello?! Yes Please!
Mini success for week three: getting paid to workout.
I’m also blown away by their medical benefits. Maybe I’m naïve, but I don’t know many other companies that have doctors on campus for almost all your medical needs! Again, my frugal college student mentality came out when I learned that Cisco contributes $300 into your health savings account when you go for a free health screening. I signed up immediately.
All benefits aside, the real Cisco perk is the ability to advance my career with a diverse, hardworking team. In addition to the Global Talent Brand team that I work on, my fourth week at Cisco offered a chance to meet people from other functions at New Employee Orientation or NEO as they call it. (Cisco loves acronyms!)
Spending two full days with other new hires throughout the company was a great chance to network. Although we come from different experiences and expertise, we were able to bond over our common encounters as new full time employees.
Hearing from other NEO participants and reflecting on my mistakes and accomplishments as a new employee, I realize that there is no way to come to Cisco fully prepared because everyone has a different “First 30 Day Challenge”. With that in mind, my biggest piece of advice to anyone approaching their first day at Cisco, is to keep everything in perspective.
Your first day of a job is almost always a memorable experience, good or bad! I think it’s important to perceive each week, each day, and each meeting in that way—as a completely new opportunity for it to be memorable learning experience on your path to success at Cisco.