I have been an employee of Microsoft for three days. For my first day on campus, all new hires went through New Employee Orientation (NEO), a glorious 9-hour session where experienced employees explained our benefits to us and got us up to speed on the technical ins-and-outs of working at the company. Since then, I’ve just been soaking up as much information as possible, trying to ramp up for the exciting projects I have in the weeks ahead (and which I hope to explain to you eventually, when the time is right).
In the meantime, I present a few stray observations I’ve made during my extremely short time here so far:
The People – Over 45,000 people work at Microsoft’s Redmond, WA campus, well above the number that populate many universities. The diversity of individuals is insane. There are FTEs (full-time employees) and contractors and vendors, recent college graduates and grandparents, people from every state in the U.S. and from dozens of countries all around the world. All types of viewpoints and personalities are well-represented, but there is one thing that everybody has in common: They are all extremely frickin’ smart. From what I heard about Microsoft back when I was at Harvard Business School, the interview/recruiting process is designed to winnow down the pool of candidates to only the best of the best. The intellect of the employees here is palpable, and there’s a really empowering sense that one gets from knowing that one is working with some of the most skilled people in the world.
The Benefits – My colleague at Microsoft described their benefits as “the Mercedes Benz of benefits.” I’m inclined to agree. In learning about our benefits, I feel very much like Alice in Wonderland; just when I think I’ve reached the bottom of the rabbit hole, I continue tumbling down. In a word, the benefits are astonishing. People’s lives can change due to the benefits they receive here. You can finally get surgeries done that you’d once deemed unfeasible. You can lose that weight you’ve been angling to get rid of. Most importantly, you can see IMAX movies for $3 a piece! When I learned that I’d be receiving an offer from Microsoft, I felt like I’d won the lottery. And while I don’t think that sentiment has changed, learning about the benefits here is like learning I just won the Power Play component of the lottery too.
The Cause – Nearly all the people I’ve met are not only more than competent, they’re also passionate about what they’re doing. They love this company. They love what the company is doing, and they love what it stands for. Ultimately, Microsoft is all about harnessing technology to make people’s lives easier. And while we all may struggle occasionally with an Excel spreadsheet or agonize over a Word doc, nobody reading this can deny that their lives have in some way been touched by the work that Microsoft has done over the past few decades (most likely for the better!).
People are doing things here that will change the world. They want to surprise and delight their customers. They want to take technology to its fullest potential.
I can’t wait to jump in.