Sunday, September 25, 2011

Top 5 list

The longer you survive at Microsoft, more you benefit! Your stock awards vest in 5 years and you have to learn a way to outlast that. Many people won't last at Microsoft if they don't follow these simple tips. Working at Microsoft is very different and here is how I survived more than 5 years at Microsoft.

These tips are not perfect and it depending on your role, but in general this will help you if you're new to Microsoft.

  1. Learn how to play the game
    • Know how you're measured and beat the numbers. At least show how you're on top of this.
    • Come April, if you think your performance review is suffering, look for a new internal role
    • Know what's important to your manager and focus on that more
  2. Make friends and know people
    • It is very common that employees jump around every couple of years and take on different roles. This is encouraged by your manager and is NOT viewed as a bad thing. So more you collaborate and know more people,  easier it gets for you to get the next role. 
  3. Express yourself positively 
    • Be vocal and don't be that silent personality type. The mantra of , "I'll let for my work speak for it" does not work. You have to create your own brand, which will help you with your next career move within Microsoft. Remember, the goal here is how to survive as many years as possible.
    • At Microsoft you get to rate your manager. This is done in privacy and anonymously, however, you have an option to declare yourself.  When you do these reviews, don't do it anonymously and give your manger the best review he dreams of. This way, if his rating is bad, he at least know that it's not because of you and he is your next best friend! 
    • In meetings always express your thoughts and leaderships, but do it in a positive manner. Unless you're a product developer, you're less likely to be in that role for a long time and your objective is not to make too many enemies.
  4. Learn how to handle the email volume
    • You have to get used to receiving tons of email. During orientation, they teach you some of the tips. Don't ignore it! Almost everyone has a system to manage their email volumes.
  5. Work hard and collaborate
    • Be active on the distribution lists if you have the time and bandwidth. This will help you create your branding.
    • Cross teaming is viewed very positively and helps you with your next career move.
    • If you get a chance to be a speaker at TechReady or MGX events, take it. It gives you the visibility and show off your knowledge and leadership skills. May be a manager in the audience already has an eye on you!

Let me know your thoughts and we can update the list moving forward.

Btw, get really familiar with how the new rating system Microsoft introduced around 2011. Read more about it here.


  1. This is so useful! I look forward to similar suggestions from others in the future.

  2. Good article and tips.

    btw - the bump due to staying 5+ years is due to stock awards and vacation. This annual review, stock awards have been partly converted to cash in salary.

    Similar to dealing with email volume, its important to manage your precious time. Reading books or taking courses about time management should help. Which meetings and events to attend and which ones to skip.