This week marks four years that I have been working at Microsoft. It’s been an incredibly fun & humbling journey so far!
In thinking about the past four years, I wanted to share some insights about my experience aimed at those new to Microsoft (or considering joining). These insights (tips?) would have helped me in my first year to better navigate the role and the company.
The only thing constant, is change
This is what my GM (at the time) told us during our first re-org. And boy was he right! Coming from the small business world, I did not expect such a large company to re-org so often. Depending on the part of the company you are in, Re-orgs can happen once a year, if not more. The biggest downside is that you may end up having multiple managers in the same year. For example, in the four years at Microsoft I’ve had 6.
I’ve come to learn that this is normal and how we stay agile and can adapt to our customers needs. That doesn’t mean I like re-orgs, but I understand why they happen so often. So don’t be surprised if this happens in your first few months in.
Build your internal network
Microsoft is a very, very large company. Make a dedicated effort to network with those in your immediate org, related orgs and in also your local community. This is especially important for those who are not located in Redmond like me who is based in Miami, Florida.
Over time this network will help you navigate re-orgs, find other opportunities, or leverage great work other people are doing.
Additionally, it’s always great to meet new people and learn about all the different roles.
Find a mentor
Having a mentor has been invaluable for me in so many ways. Being able to talk with someone who has been at the company a long time and offer their wisdom has helped me with important decisions. Additionally, mentor others! You can learn a lot about your peers (and yourself) by mentoring and you are indirectly contributing to the success of others.
Not happy in your current role? Do something about it!
There are so many different roles available within the company. If you are not happy, passionate about the work you do, or just want a change then it is up to you to actively seek out a new role.
The most important piece here is that you must take the initiative! Your manager is not going to be proactive in finding a role for you. Although, I would absolutely be transparent in your search for a new role so your manager can help support the transition.
It takes time to build a foundation
Most people describe the first few months as ‘drinking from the firehouse’. I think this is an accurate analogy. It takes time to understand your role, learn your org, and really get comfortable with the work you are producing. Most people I’ve spoken to don’t feel like they have hit their stride until 6-9 months in role. And that is ok!! Take your time, work with your manager & peers and ask the questions you need to clarify how you can make the biggest difference.
Overall, I enjoy Microsoft’s culture and the amazing people I get to work with daily. I’m proud to work here and plan on being here a very long time.
Please feel free to reach out with any questions if you are looking for more information regarding working at Microsoft. You can reach me on twitter @joescars or email, joe dot raio at microsoft.com.
Hope you found this post helpful.