Describe your typical workday (what tasks you have to do for your job).
Nothing is “typical” yet, first of all. It’s a 40-hour work week, but definitely not a 9-5 type of job.
This week I am going through New Employee Orientation and shadowing a more senior Tech Evangelist, Martin Schray, so I can get to know the ins and outs of the business. My responsibilities include speaking to user groups, writing apps, blogging and tweeting about Microsoft services, and reaching out to the developer community and students. I help student, community, and start-up developers find success on Windows. I work with them via local user groups, speaking at conferences and universities, and audio-conferencing calls.
Week One has been insanely busy, but also incredibly fun. I keep hearing them bring up the fact that I have built video game apps before, so they may let me go in to the area of building video games for Windows! I am very passionate about games of all kinds!
My coworkers Scott Fuller, Chris Koenig, and Tim Benroeck were kind enough to invite me out to lunch most of the afternoons this week, and that has been very helpful for me getting acclimated to the downtown Chicago area, and let me get a good sample of the “Taste of Chicago.” 🙂
On Monday 7/7, my first day of work, my boss Scott Fuller introduced me to a coworker, Dan Gartner, and said they were preparing for a hack-a-thon (coding marathon where you write new apps and programs and work on projects collaboratively in one location for an extended period of time for fun) this Friday, 7/11. In the five minutes I spent chatting with Dan, I asked if all the participants in the hack-a-thon had already downloaded all the Software Development Kits (SDK) and signed up for the version control programs (code repositories) before getting started on Friday. The guy got that light-bulb moment and said, “Thank you for jogging my memory! You just reminded me that I was going to send out a hack-a-thon ‘cheat-sheet’ for all the things the participants need to download so that we don’t waste hours downloading on the same bandwidth on Friday!” It felt really good to already be making a positive impact on the team’s work on my very first day.
Thursday 7/10: My first day of shadowing Martin Schray while he had a business meeting with a representative of an “early bird” start-up incubator, someone who looks for ways to help people with ideas get their companies off the ground. Writing notes on all the things I didn’t understand while shadowing Martin and Richard’s meeting, and asking questions in private after the meeting was over, turned out to be a good learning strategy.
At 5:30pm that same day, still shadowing, I attended Martin’s presentation on BizSpark to an audience of technically interested people with disabilities. I took the initiative to transcribe notes on my laptop when I discovered we had a deaf audience member but no interpreter. He was so grateful. Then, after Martin’s presentation was over and he had a family to go home to, I elected to stay after the meeting to help answer some participants’ questions about Visual Studio and Azure for web development and mobile compatibility since I had been through the transition from HTML to ASP.NET before.
Brand New Lenovo Carbon ThinkPad Laptop. (Envy of the office laptops.)
Memory: 8192MB RAM
Processor: Intel® Core™ i7-4600U CPU
GPU: Intel® HD 4400 Graphics
Brand New Windows Phone.
Nokia Lumia 625 courtesy of Tim Benroeck! Thank you Tim!
4G LTE Mobile Hotspot, called the Jetpack. Internet wherever I am, whenever I need it!
Brand new MICROSOFT BADGE and the little retractable string clippy thingy that makes me official!!!
How is transit there and back?
Getting to know the CTA train system has been an adventure. The cost of the train is only $2.25 a ride, which is leaps and bounds cheaper than getting a taxi, riding a shuttle, or driving my own car and paying for downtown street parking. Soon I’ll be learning how to ride the Metra bus system from my new apartment into downtown. Having a couple of friends in the area, such as former-high-school-teacher-turned-librarian Mr. Rosenzweig, and my second-cousin on my mom’s side Katy McCortney, has been a huge advantage in helping me find my way around town. Thank you both!
My new living arrangements are fantastic!! I signed a lease in a new high rise building with doorman (so it has good security), a 1 bedroom on the 34th floor next to Lake Michigan and Lincoln Park (so it has an AMAZING view), there’s a laundry room in the building, my room has an awesome new kitchen, heating and AC and water included in rent, gym & party rooms in the building, comfortable square footage, lots of closet space, a nearby grocery store, and an express bus stop right outside my door that runs straight to downtown. 😀
Key Learning: What have you learned from your mistakes?
This week I learned that I need to give myself 30 more minutes of buffer time before I need to be somewhere unfamiliar. I am the new girl in town and I don’t know my way around yet, but I need to account for that, and aim early so I don’t keep anyone waiting.
Have you made any friends yet?
My coworkers are all very friendly and nice, but at the end of the day I’ve been keeping to myself. I have only converted one or two complete strangers into acquaintances/friends so far. A few attractive people have chatted to me in the elevator at my temporary housing, but nothing else has come of it yet. (A neighbor who introduced himself to me on Monday looked like he could run a mile in 10 minutes while bench-pressing me!) My plan for meeting people and making friends when I move into my new permanent apartment: Riding my unicycle up and down the beach and park along the lake!