Retrospective: Leaving Microsoft
27 March 2012
Tuesday, March 27th was my last day at Microsoft. After 8 years I am finally taking the plunge and switching companies. I have been doing a lot of reflection about my this job, and wanted to share my conclusions.
- I love to work with smart people; I am always be learning, if only by osmosis.
- A strong engineering group has effective mentors. Lose that, and we’re doomed.
- I can never know enough smart people.
- I take pride in my work. It is a personal thing; I have private standards of quality and performance that I am not willing to compromise.
- The colleagues I trust most take pride in their work, also.
- I try to admit when I make mistakes. I don’t try to play politics. I am proud of this, because doing this requires a constant struggle to stay honest with oneself.
- I always need to learn something new. If I am not learning some new trick, best practice, or language, then I get restless.
- I like to play with my work. I like to experiment. I am not happy if I don’t have the time to do that, and be recognized for it.
- Trust is my ultimate currency. I have a very hard time working with people I do not trust and respect. A good software and IT team will have professionals that trust each other to do the right thing.
- The best technical people I know have a finely tuned BS meter. They recognize spin and buzzwords instantly. You can’t fool them.
- Work-life balance is critical. I am taking a 30% pay cut in order to work 35% less, because the hours were so long. It seems a wise trade.
- A study has shown that the #1 regret by seniors was they had worked too much, and didn’t spend enough time with their friends and family. I do not want that to be me.
- Other studies have shown that working your staff more than 40 hours a week doesn’t improve productivity, and in fact harms it in the long run. A smart business doesn’t overwork its employees, because it knows that doing so makes no business sense.
- Email, Visio, Powerpoint, meetings, planning documents, etc…the overhead is necessary in any company. But it should be kept to a necessary minimum. Customers don’t pay us to be in meetings all day.
- I like to celebrate victories. Especially my teammates’ successes. I want to be happy for them, and not jealous.
- I like to work in an environment that’s fun. Ideally one with NERF gun battles
- If possible, I like to work with colleagues that have a complementary sense of humor.