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From Music to Failure Analysis: A Costa Rican’s Career Tale

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Note from the editor: We hear time and time again how finding a career that ignites your passion will be less “work” and more enjoyment, which ultimately leads to a happier, healthier and more successful career and life. But how often does that actually happen? Probably more often than you think. Meet Marco, an Intel employee for 13 years, as he shares his story of how he went from music to failure analysis and all the growth he’s experienced along the way.

13 years seems like a long time, but when I pause to look back at my Intel career, it seems like it went by in the blink of an eye.

I’m originally from Costa Rica and was raised in a family with limited resources but endless love. My father was a musician and my mother is a hairdresser and they worked really hard to give me the opportunity to go to school. I didn’t think I could afford a university degree so I went for a technician diploma from high school, but with some focus and hard work, I managed to get an academic scholarship to cover my first year of college. I started working as a musician, which allowed me to finish my BS in Electronics, and although I didn’t get much sleep during those years, the experience was worth it as it taught me to be disciplined, to stay focused and to make good use of my time. I’m proud to share that I managed to graduate with Honors and at the same time, I was playing with one of the most popular bands in the country! After graduation, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, so I kept doing what I love and kept playing music, waiting for something to come.

A few months after graduation, I was contacted by Staffing team at Intel as part of a program Intel had with local universities. I went to the interview very curious about the types of jobs Intel had to offer, and to test my English skills. I have to confess that my expectations were different from what I found; I ended up interviewing for a Microprocessor Failure Analysis position, a job I didn’t even know existed! But then it happened: I fell in love with the job—it was like a dream come true! In this role I would deeply understand how Intel’s microprocessors are designed, built and tested. Not only that, I would help make them even better and I would have the chance to interact with the architects and designers that created them around the world—how cool is that?!

Over the course of my career, I’ve had the opportunity to relocate twice to Israel and twice to the US with my family. These unique opportunities made me grow a lot as a professional and as a person. I’ve also had a chance to visit several Intel sites around the world, I’ve met and worked with amazing people, and I’ve made friends from all around the globe. Another experience I learned a lot from was when I became a manager for a little over a year. This allowed me to learn more about myself and helped me learn how to better interact with my coworkers. Currently I’m living in Oregon, but this time I’m here to train new employees, which is a different skill that I’m developing and it gives me a chance to improve my mentoring skills.

My personal life has evolved just as much (and as greatly, if not more) as my career has, and it is in part thanks to the support I’ve gotten from Intel at every stage. From the moment I got married to when my son was born to the times we were living abroad and especially last year when my father passed away, I’ve felt always supported by the company, by management, by the relocation staff and by my coworkers, and that makes a world of a difference. I’ve had the opportunity to travel more than I could ever imagine—sometimes business, sometimes on my own. And remember my first love, music? I’ve had the chance to continue developing my talent as conga player and work with great bands and great musicians in my country. We’ve even recorded a few things for some of the bands. Why am I sharing this with you? I want to show you that even with a successful and challenging career, Intel has allowed me to be equally as successful (and happy!) in my personal life. What more could you ask for? Marco

Looking back after all these years, after all of these experiences, I can see how this company has earned my loyalty, by giving me a great and challenging job that I still love (as much as I did that first day 13 years ago), by being flexible and supportive of me, allowing me to balance my work, my family and my music, by allowing me to grow as a professional, by investing in my development and above all, by believing in me.

Confucius said once: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”.  Well, that’s my life.