June 23, 2004 by Allen George
It’s time for me to let everyone in one a cherished intern activity at Qualcomm:
The Great Food Hunt
Knowledge of this activity is passed down from intern to intern, and as far as I know, I’ll be the only one to actually document this ;-) There’s something very refreshing in being the first.
As you can imagine, a company of Qualcomm’s size has a large number of employees. As a result, every floor has areas that are available for refreshment. There are:
- Small break cubbyholes. Stocked with cocoa, coffee and what is supposed to be tea. Break cubbyholes are integrated into a block of offices and are really a niche in the wall.
- Larger break rooms. Again, stocked with cocoa, coffee and Brisk, these have additional facilities including a fridge, vending machines, microwaves, taps, tables (usually two) and if you’re fortunate – chairs.
- Cafeterias. Where ‘subsidized’ food is provided. If this is the price of subsidized food I have no wish to find the real cost… Cafeterias attempt to be full service (with a grill, entree, muffins etc) and vary depending on the building you choose.
Now, since Qualcomm has such a large number of employees, it must necessarily require meetings to discuss the latest product, problem or whatever. It is on these meetings that interns focus – especially lunch meetings.
You see, as far as I can tell, its a custom in Qualcomm lunch meetings to order some form of food for the employees who are being ‘forced’ to stay in. Items can vary from generic ‘American’ cuisine to sandwhiches, Indian, Chinese, Italian or Mexican. In other words – a good variety. No one can finish all the food that they serve, so custom is that the administrative attendants will cart all the leftovers to the larger breakrooms.
And here comes the fun part. Lunch meetings usually end at around 1:00PM. If you’re quick (and you have an inkling where to go/where meetings usually are) you can make off like a bandit :-) In fact, if you happen to keep some form of schedule, you could probably get by without having to buy lunch or make your own lunch. Quite the goal!
Any food is appreciated, but sandwhiches are a prized item, since they can keep for a good bit and are suited to eating while at the computer. Especially ahem…if your office mate bought a fridge for that exact purpose.
Speed is of the essence when hunting down Qualcomm food. Coming even five minutes late can guarantee you empty trays and a few crumbs or rice grains scattered around the table and floor. You almost feel like a scavenger, hunting through the last few bits, hoping to find something edible in the ravages.
Of course, one must see the humor in all of this. There’s nothing quite so refreshing as working for X hours, (where you’re basically staring at a screen and typing) to moving around from lunchroom to lunchroom if you’re so inclined. You’re like a predator…and you’re hungry, which makes you even more determined ;-) You learn to laugh at yourself (when you miss food) and be shocked at the coders who stack plates with 3 or even 4 massive sandwhiches. I mean come on people…didn’t your Mom teach you to share?
<chuckles>All in all, a good way to move for 10 minutes in a day…