There’s no denying it, sometimes your career path has a lot of twists, roadblocks, and detours. I’ve heard a lot of stories, so this is what I fully expected to experience. Due to past experiences, I know that this is not just a metaphor for one’s career journey – but also life in general.
I grew up in a low income home and was the first in my family to attend college. I started this adventure by taking a non-traditional path and went to community college first, where I also worked two jobs. This path allowed me to transfer to the University of California Berkeley after completing my two year degree – which gave me the opportunity to get a world class education and career.
Some people knock community college, but I’m here to tell you that it landed me exactly where I needed to be – here and now.
During my first semester at Berkeley, I decided to attend the career fair with one mission in mind – landing an internship. I began to converse with recruiter’s – most of whom focused on my non-traditional path to attend a university, but Cisco had a completely different approach! They surprised me and started our time together by getting to know me and tried to see what value I would add to Cisco as an individual. Only after this they began to ask me questions about my prior experience. This made me feel instantaneously connected to the company – instead of feeling overlooked!
After going through two rounds of interviews I eagerly waited for a callback – and that’s when the phone rang! I was chosen to be a part of the HRUP- Rotational Program Internship. Before I had even stepped foot into the Cisco world, I already loved it.
Here are my Top 4 reasons for loving Cisco so far:
1. Big Corporate Company, With Small Company Vibes: Those who recruited and interviewed me introduced me to this unique idea of Cisco as a big corporation that cares about each of their employees while promoting flexibility, innovative thinking, openness, and opportunity. The culture they described stuck with me, mostly because it fulfilled the values and wants I dreamed for my future career.
And as I finish my fourth week as an HR Intern, I can tell you that Cisco turned out to be everything I dreamed of and more. I am currently working with the Talent Brand team (follow our @WeAreCisco channels on social media to see what life at Cisco is all about!) which was chosen for me based on my skills, personality, and wants within HR. I feel like a perfect match here, and am truly a valued member within this team.
2. A Cisco Internship is More Than Your Regular Internship: As an Intern at Cisco I am getting to work on projects that are important, challenging, strategic, and that make an impact within Cisco and my team. I have found that the managers, leadership, and employees truly care about each other and truly are all those qualities the recruiters and interviewers introduced me to – and so much more!
3. Loves vs. Loathes: One of my favorite tools that Cisco uses is a platform called TeamSpace where managers check in with their teams each week to ensure that each employee feels they add value, use their strengths, and love what they do in their roles. I also love how Cisco stresses the importance of your life by giving the best work/life balance opportunities – such as working remotely, and focusing on work you’re passionate or excited about.
4. Be you, with us: Within Cisco I have been challenged to develop my skills while being myself and I am encouraged to include my unique input. I am always asked to share my thoughts on projects or the strategy that will best help us achieve our goals. I am sometimes even pushed out of my comfort zone to work on new things, but I am constantly supported by my manger and team.
I am not a fan of the corporate cube environment so I was pleasantly surprised by Cisco’s revamp of their buildings to open work spaces. I love this because even though I am in a corporate environment I am allowed to bring my social personality to work. This has allowed me to build relationships with other employees within the office from different teams.
So perhaps all roads on your career path aren’t paved perfectly, but – perhaps, it is also possible to find your career and know where you are meant to be fairly early on. I hope, for me, that I get to take the scenic roads while here at Cisco and have an extended path for my career right here in San Jose.
Do you want to join a company that encourages you to be yourself? We’re hiring interns!
Love the article Janell! Thank you for sharing your path to Berkeley. I started at a community college as well, so I loved you talking about that. We hope to see you back at Cisco!
Thanks for sharing a piece of you with us Janell. I love that you’re proud of your journey and how you’ve come to where you are. I attended three different universities before finishing my undergrad degree and learned valuable lessons from each experience. Thanks for being you with us!
What a great story of your Cisco experience! Most impressive are the personal connections, the support and friendships, and the fun and challenging work! We’re thrilled you chose the Cisco journey!
I loved your blog and am so thrilled to hear that you have had this experience with our HR and TA teams. We love having you here at Cisco and look forward to hearing more of your unique voice.
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