July 7th, 2003

spring

How I Got Here

I belong to a blogging discussion list here at Msoft that periodically posts "blogging homework" - suggestions for posts. The latest one is how we ended up at Microsoft - what attracted us to the company. If I could say that I'd always yearned to work here, and was thirsting to drink the corporate Kool-aid from Day One, it might be a more meaningful post, I think. Actually, it was all circumstance.

When I moved to NYC, I went looking for a tech job. It was the height of the dot-com craze, which is how someone with some limited Unix, Macintosh and HTML got hired as tech-support for a network security software company. They flung me at Novell and Windows, and I picked it up and, as time went by, started doing some tech writing for them. The company was Intrusion Detection, started by an entrepeneur named Robert Kane, who kept the company going by basically promising us we'd be the next Microsoft, thereby encouraging us to work insane hours for crap wages. Serious crap wages.

Of course, Robert sold the company, and no one got jack shit. Except for Robert, who made 50 million or so off the deal. The acquiring company was Security Dynamics, who came in, saw the state of the wages and went Ohmigod, these people need raises. The raises weren't great, and by then, all of us - a group of six people, were pretty disgruntled. We agreed that either they made all of us happy, wage-wise, or we all walked as a group. It worked, but I think we got a name for being a little surly at that point - even more so when we had "My company got acquired, but all I got was a lousy t-shirt" shirts made up.

A year of relative bliss followed. All of us did a lot of traveling on behalf on the company, there was a budget for training, I got made Research and Development Coordinator. All good things come to an end, though, and Security Dynamics, who'd sworn up and down that they had no intention of closing the Manhattan office did, in one of those arrive at the office to find them packing up the computers moments.

I sent out, by my count, over 150 resumes. I ended up at a company called Optimark, which was in NJ. I'm pretty sure I still can't explain what it was they did.

And then a Microsoft recruiter called, after I'd been at Optimark a couple of months, and asked if I was interested. I wanted out of NYC badly. I wanted to see what the Pacific Northwest was like, and I fell in love with it when I came out to interview. So they made an offer and I said yes.

It was only after I'd accepted and started working that I started to realize what a good place it was. The work is interesting and challenging. They treat their employees well. And there are very very few stupid people out here. I don't intend to leave anytime soon. Unless we get acquired by Security Dynamics.

And there you have it.