Friday, December 23, 2011

last day at Cisco

So my one-year contract at Cisco ended. I wasn't let go for performance, but for lack of funding. Though the contract was supposed to expire mid-November, my manager Bing was able to find last-minute funds to extend it to the end of the year. I'm truly grateful for her help.

The departure from Cisco wasn't without fanfare. For a start, my supervisor Min organized a farewell lunch for me two days ago. She says it's an honor rarely given to people that leave the team. Bing and Min ordered tons of food, all of which was delicious. You can see pictures from the meal here.

Another nice thing is that I got some Christmas presents: Bing gave me an iPod Shuffle while Vicky gave me a pocket watch. I also received a gift bag from Christine, my relationship manager at Armada. There are no words to express my gratitude. It was an awesome end to an awesome career. I'm blessed to have had the chance to work with such wonderful people.

Looking back

A disadvantage of being a contractor is the limited benefits package. We get paid slightly less as the staffing agency has to take a cut. While salary wasn't a big deal to me, one of my grievances is that some events were restricted to regular employees.

The biggest downer is not being able to attend TechZone, an internal conference for engineers to demo their projects. The fact that the executives were constantly pitching the event didn't help. People couldn't even share pictures because of an NDA. :-(

On the other hand, I got to attend some of the Armada Group's events in addition to those at Cisco. Case in point, I really enjoyed the family picnic in October. That was my first company picnic in over 11 years and no doubt exciting.

Every job is a learning experience. Having learned a lot during my time on the TelePresence team, I hope to put my newfound knowledge to good use. One thing for sure is that I'll miss my co-workers at both Cisco and Armada.

As graceful as the exit from Cisco was, becoming unemployed right before Christmas sucks no matter how you look at it. The whole day was somewhat bittersweet. On the bright side, I get to enjoy a very long vacation. :P

Currently listening to: "Hey Santa!" by Carnie & Wendy Wilson

Thursday, December 8, 2011

one-year anniversary at Cisco + holiday party!

"Looks like this party is for you." -- Lakshmi

Today is my first anniversary at Cisco Systems. I can't believe it's been a whole year since I joined the team. It still feels like I just started working. Time certainly flies.

The cool thing is that our business unit had its annual holiday party at a nearby hotel tonight. The event was lots of fun; there was music, lots of food, prize drawings and even a photo booth. You can see my pictures from the event here. Some of my colleagues knew it was my work anniversary and joked that the company was throwing this party just for me. :-)

I wish I could say all is well, but that is unfortunately not the case. From what my supervisor told me last month, my manager is letting me go at the end of the year due to insufficient funds to renew my contract. Though the Armada Group is treating this as a layoff so I could get unemployment benefits, losing my job just before Christmas still kind of sucks.

As for the next steps, I haven't decided whether to continue my job search or try to go back to school. Decisions, decisions.

Currently listening to: "Beat It" by Michael Jackson

Thursday, December 1, 2011

finally jumping on the iPad bandwagon...

Our new iPad 2 just arrived. Dad had ordered the model with 3G and 64 GB of storage. He also bought a cover for the iPad as mobile screens tend to be easily scratched. One thing for sure is that the 3G will be useful on long road trips.

The iPad needs to be charged first; this will likely take a couple of hours and put my patience to the test. In the meantime, I'm going to check the App Store to see what apps are available. :-)