Forgive me this indulgence.
Today is my 12th Anniversary at Microsoft. I actually started as an electrical engineer hired to build a super computer to do video on demand. Strangely, the whole, "Microsoft builds a supercomputer" thing didn't go very far. In fact they canceled the project a few days after they hired me--before I actually started. Thankfully, they were kind enough to let me keep the job. On my first day here, they said, "We want you to learn to write software." I've never looked back.
I've been in the organization that made Windows CE since before that OS existed. Back in the day, we were called "Advanced Technology," which was a far sexier name than the current jumble of letters we're currently known by. Of course, the cool devices I carry as a regular part of my job do a fine job of compensating for the lackluster division title. Have you ever tried to put a video on demand supercomputer into your pocket? Not a pretty sight.
I'm what we call a "Development Lead." That means that I manage developers, but I'm still close enough to the trenches that I do technical work. Twice in my career I've moved up to the next level of management, and both times I ran away screaming when they scheduled the lobotomy.
Now, one aspect of being here for 12 years is that I get a fair amount of vacation. And one aspect of being a Type A personality who works really hard is that I rarely use that vacation. Last month I got a mail from HR saying that if I didn't take 90 hours of vacation by the end of the year, I'd lose it. We can only carry over so much vacation from year to year, and I was over my limit.
So I'm taking the month of December off. If you post a comment on one of my blog entries and I don't respond, it's not that I'm ignoring you. It's that ... well okay, I'm ignoring you. If you sign in while on vacation, you're not on vacation. But when I get back in January I'll try to catch up.
We're not going anywhere for the holidays. I plan to do a lot of skateboarding with my son. Rain, snow, freezing temperatures. Minor setbacks. We enjoy skating too much to let such things get in our way. He's getting to the age that we might try snowboarding this year too. For the few weeks that I'm off while he's still in school, my wife and I are going to go out to breakfast and the movies, etc. Hey, 2nd grade is a great baby sitter. Might as well take advantage of it. In my off time I'll play some video games. I preordered my XBox 360 in early October. Maybe I'll get it before my vacation is over. <sighs> And I'm sure I'll do some writing (in my off time, I'm a Science Fiction writer). But no crazy holiday travel. I plan to come back in January very relaxed.
If you celebrate a holiday in December, I hope you have a happy one. If you don't celebrate any December holidays, have a happy December anyway.