It was roughly one year ago that I wanted to work abroad. I eventually talked to one of my closest friends. She froze, stood silent for maybe 10 seconds and then she said a quote from one of girls’ most beloved movies, Legally Blonde: “Can’t you just take a Percocet?”. I had her blessing.
It started with the AIESEC organization. The best offer that caught my eye was in Belgium and it had almost 4,000 hits and as impossible as it seemed at the time, I applied. That’s how my journey as an intern at Nokia Bell Labs began.
To be honest, I didn’t realize at the beginning how great of a deal and what an amazing opportunity it meant. Some of the biggest technological inventions over this and the past century have been made by Bell Labs people. Things that have radically improved our daily lives and have disrupted the way we live and communicate with each other, such as the CCD Cameras – which is the basis of the selfie, I mean, cellphone camera – the transistor, which is the basis for every digital processor – wireless communications, solar cells, Unix, C++ and lasers, just to name a few. Owners of Nobel Prizes, Oscars and Emmys have roamed the corridors. History has been made here, and now I’m part of it.
My team is formed by friendly, dynamic and clever people who understand each other and live the meaning of “complicity”. I’ve assisted some state-of-the-art projects and learned a great deal from them. From working with a very talented fashion-tech designer who can make her garments light up with her mind – literally – to collaborate with the Virtual and Augmented Reality team and transforming me into an AR avatar. I’ve seen how the digerati’s minds work when trying to solve some of the most complex and complicated engineering problems to break the barriers between humans and technology and re-invent communication. People are continuously learning, perfecting their skills, and going to high-tech conferences and events abroad.
For the “Bob the Builder” engineer type, there’s a special room called “The Garage” where engineers are challenged to build from an in-house-made 3D printer and scanner to a self-balancing robot. Within the Bell Labs floor there’s my favorite room where I can take a break from reality and fight futuristic-evil robots or cowboy-zombies by just putting the headsets on. But my favorite one so far was when we took a trip to the Netherlands to visit a VR center and practice our bow and arrow skills. It was an “out of this world” team building experience.
I’m a millennial. For me, one of many of my generation, making an impact and finding meaning in what I do is vital. To work with a flexible company with a sense of responsibility and dedication to solve some of the greatest human needs challenges – while fighting a futuristic robot rebellion – is where I find purpose.