On 24 January 2022, I started what I suspect is the last stage* of my IT career, at Microsoft. I joined the Database Docs team, one of 8 people (including our manager), together responsible for over 16,000 articles on the Microsoft Learn platform. I am the owner of the SQL Server on Linux and SQL Server Migrations content, along with a small piece of Setup and Configuration content.
Along with the rest of my team, my job is to work with program managers, also known as product managers, who in turn work with developers, to make sure their features are documented clearly and concisely, in (American) English. There’s a massive localization team that translates our words into other languages, both by human translators and machine translation. Although I have a lot of software development experience, I don’t work on the platform itself, and any coding I do is to help me do my job better. Our team gets busy around conferences, but mostly I work my 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, plugging away in GitHub and Visual Studio Code. We also interact with customers, through GitHub, Twitter (though that has dropped off significantly since Elon Musk took over), and at conferences.
Excluding this post, I’ve written about Microsoft 83 separate times on this blog, out of 1,137 posts. That’s about 7%, which is not nearly as many times as other topics, and honestly I was sure it would be more than that. Some of my posts were hard on Microsoft. I own that. I am still deeply suspicious of corporations in general, and when I joined, I made it clear that I’d retain my honest skepticism. Although, I did use “ask” as a noun last week. In writing.
When I first learned that there was a company that people worked for, which made software that billions of people use every day, I hoped deep down that one day they would include me. Not the sales office in whichever country, but the head office, in Redmond. Even through the legal battle years, when the EU sued them, I was rooting for Bill and co., and wanted to be part of it.
My career — if one wants to call it that — has been interesting, to say the least. I made some poor decisions and some great decisions through the years. Some landed me in a debt spiral in which I lost my house, and others helped me build up a consultancy that kept me busy during the opening years of the COVID-19 pandemic.
So even though it’s been more than a year after I joined, I needed to reflect on this, publicly like the old days before Facebook and Twitter. I needed to express how different it has been. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to be working for them. I sit at my dining room table, or in the bedroom at my fold-out desk, and sometimes in the Calgary summer on our balcony, and get to talk to some of the smartest people in the world. I get to read through the SQL Server source code at leisure. There are benefits offered to employees I haven’t even started looking at yet, because we’re spoiled for choice.
It’s all about the team, it’s all about the manager, and right now in my 8-person remote bubble, I’m content with my job. I get to help educate tens of thousands of people every month with the content I help create and maintain. I still get to write software in C# and share it with my colleagues. I needed to take a 20+ year journey to really appreciate what I have.
It scratches a lot of itches. I teach, I learn, I write, I read, and I laugh (a lot) at least twice a week. If “I love my job” wasn’t considered a sycophantic screech, I might say that I do. Instead I’ll say that this arrived at the right time for me (and for Microsoft). I like it here.
* I’m told that if you can survive the periodic layoffs, you can have many careers at Microsoft without ever leaving your desk. I can see why. I know I won’t love it forever, and already I’ve had some bad days, but they’re far outweighed by the good. I look forward most days to seeing what’s in store. I get to work from 10am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, and have weekends free. I get to have my dogs with me even when M is working.