Best kept secret about working at Microsoft

Someone recently asked me about the best kept secret about working at Microsoft. Gosh, that is hard...there is so much on the Internet about working here. But here are the things that surprised me:

First, I was truly shocked at how incredibly nice people were. Very welcoming and offered to meet with me when I first started to help me ramp up.

Your co-workers become your Friends. This is good news for the folks that relocate. Many of my co-workers have become my friends outside of work. At previous companies, I couldn't wait to get away from some of the folks I worked with (sorry, it's true...but I don't mean my old friend and co-worker Valerie S).

You do get sick of free t-shirts. I think the men here like them  more. I just don't really wear that kind of stuff usually and you only need so many to sleep in. Similarly the novelty of the free soda wears off. It becomes less about being free and more about the convenience of having it there when you want it. I'm down to one diet coke a day but lots and lots of fizzy water.

The entrepreneurial mentality here also surprised me. Each group is run like a business and sometimes we feel like the underdog.

I have to admit that I feel a little spoiled sometimes. I feel pretty lucky to work at a company with adequate resources and really nice office space. It's easy to forget what it was like before you got here.

People really do have whole conversations in acronyms. Sounds like some kind of secret code. As a new person, you just have to write them down, deal with the fact that you aren't part of the conversation, and ask someone later. Sometimes if I hear one of these conversations and it's technical, I will jump in with "bleep, zork, xibbet!". I'm sure they think I am hilarious.

Oh, here's a good matter how smart you think you are, you work with someone smarter here. That takes a little getting used to for anyone accustomed to being the smarty-pants (no unsolicited comments from my mother here, please). But for me, being around smart people makes me perform better (hmm, think I am a little competitive? a good way though).

I'm not sure if any of these are secrets or even surprising to anyone. I'm trying to remember what I felt like my first few months at Microsoft and I guess I just felt like the dorky new girl (former miss smarty pants).

I'm going to try and resist signing off my blogs with former Miss Smarty Pants now ; )


Comments (12)

  1. John Walker says:

    Cool post. This is the type of peek inside MS I like to read.

  2. I think it’s fantastic that no matter how smart you are, you end up working with someone smarter. Some of the best professional experiences in my life have come from that sort of scenario.

    Add in the fact that there are different tpes of smart, and you’re looking at an incredible work experience. Bravo for bringing that up, Heather.

    I, too, am familiar with the "bleep, zork, xibbet" paradigm, as well as the "shizzle gizzle plizzle dazzle" theorem. Is that sufficient to land a PM job? 😉

  3. Nathan says:

    "But for me, being around smart people makes me perform better"

    I had an interesting set of roommates in consecutive quarters in college. The first was very bright and studious, and he had similar friends. The second was a theater guy, the only roommate who ever pulled the tie-on-the-doorknob signal on me. My study habits were noticeably better with the first roommate. Be careful who you associate with, I guess.

  4. gretchen says:

    Great post! Your "bleep, zork, xibbet" is my "Pixels!"

  5. Pradeep says:

    you know what Heather –

    I think a whole thread dedicated to the "conversations in acronyms" would really be cool!!!

    "bleep, zork, xibbet!"…. reminds me of Spaceman Spiff! Do i see calvin-fan in u?

  6. Ian says:

    I think some people like acronyms even if they’re not computer-related. I’m usually pretty good, but during my first week at Pratt, someone came up and said something like: "The ASR for RAC has informed us that the EIS for their new VTOL UAV is about 2095. They also say the HSIs are needed less frequently than most of the AC on the market." Huh? I wrote everything down and asked for the meanings immediately after the meeting! I had quite the laugh when I found out HSI meant "Hot Section Inspection"! 😉 Don’t worry, they’re referring to inspecting an aircraft engine! 🙂

  7. Heather says:

    Nathan-your second roommmate…gross. ; )

    Pradeep-is Calvin a comic strip?

    Ian-that stillo doesn’t make sense even after you spell it out but it sure sounds funny!

  8. Mike says:

    Sick of free t-shirts? I didn’t think it was possible… O_o

  9. Heather says:

    Mike-they are men’s t-shirts (interesting how few mediums they even order). I don’t think I know any females that wear those kind of t-shirts…I think I got over them in college. The first few at MS were novel but now, I don’t really take one when they are offered (or I give them to relatives). Not really part of my fashion sensibility 🙂 There is some other good swag though…drink bottles, laptop cases, etc. That stuff is good.

  10. Pradeep says:

    But how many laptop cases can you change for one laptop without earning the wrath of jealous neighbors???

    with your qn on "is calvin a comic strip" u pretty much answered if u were a calvin fan!

    You should read calvin-and-hobbes the kid makes dennis (The Menace) sound meek and unimaginative in comparison! if you want to give it a read.

  11. Best kept secret at microsoft? Augusto Pinochet works at there. For real. And he shops at Safeway.

  12. keeper says:

    Very entertaining issue. I haven’t heard of this one. It will be necessary to visit you on a thicket!

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