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1 person found this helpful  

Microsoft Forever

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Career Opportunities
Current Employee - Senior Program Manager  in  Redmond, WA (US)
Current Employee - Senior Program Manager in Redmond, WA (US)

I have been working at Microsoft

Pros

Microsoft is a place where you can literally spend an entire career at, doing different things, growing and changing in accordance with what you want at any given time. Want to work on servers? Microsoft has it. Want to work on portable media players or console games? Microsoft has that too! Search, databases, communication, operating systems, distributed technologies, office productivity, hardware innovations, you name it - if it's software, someone at Microsoft is probably doing it! And if no one is doing it, you can start your own Startup at the Microsoft Greenhouse project. And that's only the technology side. You can change your career path - e.g. from a technical maverick to a marketing wizard - with Microsoft's full support and encouragement. Training is part of the culture. Microsoft offers relocation opportunities, which means that if you want to live in another country for a few years you can do that without leaving your workplace. There's even a program that will send you to China for 6 months if you're interested. When life changes for you and you want to slow down a bit, there are even part-time programs. And if you read until here, you probably noticed that I did not mention the Microsoft recruiting mantra of “come and build software that will change the world”. That may be true, but for me it’s all about the company and more importantly the people that work there. Most of the folks you’ll meet at Microsoft are nice, passionate, honest folks that are just a pleasure to work with. I have looked at jobs outside of Microsoft several times, and have not yet found anything that made me want to jump ship.

Cons

Much like how the moss in Seattle can easily take over an entire lawn, if you are not careful, Microsoft will take over your life. Work is really addictive, and people tend to work very long hours, work from home, work at night and over the weekend, and let work fill up most of their lives. It’s hardly ever the case that a manager would ask you to stay late and work on something – you’ll do it yourself, because you are passionate about the things you are building. This is a very hard habit to break and you need to be able to set strong, clear boundaries for yourself so that you do not sink it too deep.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

No advice, really. I think they are doing a good job, and as long as they keep sane, keep listening to the folks that work for them, and keep to the Microsoft values, everything would be just fine.

Recommends
Approves of CEO

Other Reviews for Microsoft

  1. 5 people found this helpful  

    Only good for parents' bumper stickers "My child works for Microsoft"

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Operations Engineer  in  Redmond, WA (US)
    Current Employee - Operations Engineer in Redmond, WA (US)

    I have been working at Microsoft

    Pros

    Microsoft is this world's largest software development company, this looks good to future employeers. Employees receive discounts when purchasing normally overpriced software.

    Cons

    You have to pay for food and snacks. Not a comfortable work environment, they discourage peaceful and collaborative working. They do not promote based on quality of work instead they promote based on popularity and their review system. Hard work is NEVER rewarded here, instead employees are promoted when they do less work and leave early. At Microsoft, if one person in management, regardless of their direct connection to you, doesn't like you, your next review will be damaged. I've received only one 0.5% raise in nearly 5 years of service. Microsoft has horrible retention of long term employees. Management is free to ridicule employees. They 'claim' raises and promotions can happen any time but I have never seen anyone recieve a promotion or raise outside of once a year.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Pay attention to the survey feedback provided by employees, not just the management feedback. Attempt to correct salary and level mistakes as soon as possible. I have seen many highly talented people leave Microsoft after a couple years because Microsoft fails to appreciate employees.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 2 people found this helpful  

    Post-BillG Microsoft is great employment - for HR and Lawyers

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Lead+ Program Manager  in  Redmond, WA (US)
    Former Employee - Lead+ Program Manager in Redmond, WA (US)

    I worked at Microsoft

    Pros

    Microsoft is the new government job with better pay, better benefits, nicer offices, free starbucks coffee, flexible hours and fewer hours overall ... as long as you don't actually want to build software that serves a purpose, or make it work for customers. If you really just don't care about software or customers, this is the software company for you.

    Microsoft today is an exercise in political correctness run amok, with leaders desperate for approval and well-sold (note I did not say GOOD) ideas and happy to throw money at them. If you understand that kind of environment and want to either run at the new-style Brass Ring or simply surf along the edges - this is the company for you. Go for it. If you can sell it, Ballmer will buy it. (If you need a primer, buy a copy of "Big Blues, the unmaking of IBM".)

    Now, if you are a marketer and believe that actually building product is "someone else's problem" then this is absolutely the right place for you. Because Mr. Ballmer and all of his directs - believe the same thing. (unfortunately all the "someone else's" left with Bill). It's also a fantastic place for HR and PR, with it's high turnover and need to pretend to be an upscale software company and a great place for technical people to work, and nirvana for corporate lawyers. Check out the close links between Microsoft and Odell Guyton - the lawyer trying hardest to make "ethics" mean "legal compliance". (ie, if you're not actually breaking a law - right now, exactly - it must be ethical, right?)

    To recap, MS is a great place for anyone in the business of PRETENDING to build software. Sad but true.

    Cons

    What? You actually have to build the things you advertise and make them work?

    If you're a technologist and can't get hired directly into a research group - you really don't want to work for Microsoft today. Microsoft has suffered horribly since Ballmer took over. He's a marketer. He was always the guy who'd come stomping down the hallway going "I WANT WHAT I WANT". We'd explain that the products couldn't actually do that and the reaction would be along the lines of "AND WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH ANYTHING?" If it was important, we'd take the technical facts to Bill, and Bill would intervene and shut him down. It was a decent balance of power. Ballmer's drive to do the impossible would get Bill to do things he wasn't inclined to do, but only if they were POSSIBLE. Yes, there was a time when I loved Microsoft and worked with great enthusiasm in that niche of the "not technically impossible". I did a lot of risky things knowing that I could always count on Bill to rein things in when I could prove they weren't technically possible, or so difficult they simply weren't practical.

    But Bill is gone now. Since taking over, Ballmer has promoted other similarly-minded marketers around him, so now he's completely cocooned in layers of marketing fluff with absolutely no basis in reality. He doesn't know the difference between an actual product and a picture of a product. And just to improve the whole customer-focus and employee-focus thing - he's imported old IBM (Kevin Johson) and legacy Wal-Mart (Kevin Turner).

    The company used to be better and simpler. Everything asking for millions of $$ went in front of Bill, who would look skeptically at everything at a technical level and go "um, I don't understand how this actually gets built at all, never mind on time or on budget. SHOW ME. CONVINCE ME." People dreaded Bill's reviews but he weeded out the crap and he fired the liers. Ballmer's a marketer. He believes the crap and promotes the liers.

    After 8 years of Ballmer, you get Vista, Office 7, and Yukon (SQL2005) ... a suite of products that took 5-6 YEARS to release and on seeing them, users are waiting for the next releases on the feeble hope that they'll be better.

    If you recognize this environment and you know how to manipulate it - you'll be in your element. But if you wanted to build software or do something positive, look elsewhere.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Bring back the harsh technology reviews (and the people who could do them). Let the managers and marketers lie. Then take every $$ they put on their slides and put it through review, and just fire the people who clearly didn't even try. You can start with the people who didn't even hire staff for projects they never intended to even start. Yes, it's that bad.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
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