April 25, 2003 spout

My First Week @ MS

Friday, April 25, 2003

After my first week at Microsoft *everyone* wanted to know how it went, both internally and externally. I learned some things:

  • I learned that folks at MS will call a meeting for lots and lots of reasons, including at the slightest sign of confrontation or hurt feelings. For a guy that hasn’t really attended a meeting in the last decade, this is quite a switch : )
  • I learned how to schedule a meeting w/ multiple people and a conference room (listed as conf room <bld>” in the address book), all with conflicting schedules and all remotely using Outlook Web Access and without a SmartCard (I was pretty proud of that one, actually : )
  • I learned that no one uses the phone for anything — instead, they schedule meetings
  • I learned that it’s the person that wants something that does the actually scheduling of the meeting
  • I learned that it’s OK to open your laptop in a meeting, otherwise when would you get any work done?
  • I learned that it causes quite a stir when you disagree with the technical lead of one of the major pieces of technology that you’re supposed to be taking to the world
  • I learned that it’s darn hard to find out who to talk to your first week, and that you should take your boss to most of your initial meetings so that s/he can make sure you’re getting what you need to get from them
  • I learned that you can mix Exchange and POP3/SMTP to keep your new and your old email addresses going, if you use Office 11 and if you are willing to give up calendar and follow up notifications on your POP3/SMTP account (have I missed something?). I also learned that internal MS support doesn’t help w/ such things.
  • I learned that internal MS support is the greatest support in the whole darn world. These people don’t let you off the phone til everything works. They’re amazing
  • I learned that you can volunteer for absolutely anything you think is cool or important so long as you get everything else done, too
  • I learned that it’s not good to ask for NDA access to super-secret bits for your friends the week before you start working there (OK, I’m pretty sure I knew that before, but I had to try… : )
  • I learned that the right folks hanging out at lunch can make all kinds of interesting things happen
  • I learned that MS and it’s employees is the most charitable company in the country (world?)
  • I learned that the internal resources for MS employees are unbelievable. I could work their my whole life and never take advantage of all of them
  • I learned that it’s important to sign up for your benefits immediately if you’re going to be remote w/o a SmartCard for a while, otherwise your son may wake you up in the middle of the night with a hard toothache and when you take him to the dentist the next day, the dentist won’t be able to confirm your dental insurance (as one example : )
  • I learned that most everyone at MS is very nice (even when they’re telling you to f-off)
  • I learned that everyone (and I’m no exception) has a hard time fitting in at first. One interviewer told me that his first 6 months at MS were the worst of his life. I pray that it doesn’t last that long for me
  • I learned that after the initial period that few that survive it would ever think of leaving. I absolutely see how that could be