Yesterday was my 1-year anniversary at Microsoft.
The year has flown by. I remember being at a customer site in Toledo last summer when the recruiter called and offered me a job pending a background check. I remember standing outside the speaker room at Dev Connections in Las Vegas when my new boss Scott Fuller officially offered me the job. I remember how hard it was to tell my old boss I was leaving. I remember how excited I was to tell my friends the news. I remember feeling giddy that first day as I drove to Southfield for my orientation.
I had been trying to land a job as a Microsoft Technical Evangelist for years - ever since I first met Josh and Jennifer and Brian and Jeff and saw what they did and how smart they are and how how much good they were able to accomplish and how much fun they had doing it. But this job was only available in other parts of the country and family obligations kept me from moving. But last year, both my sons moved out of state and a Jennifer Marsman told me about an opening in Chicago and I jumped at the chance. A few months (and many interviews) later, I was in.
I spent the first week shadowing Jennifer, watching her work and learning as much as I could. I traveled to Chicago the next week and met with my new boss Scott and shadowed Dave Bost and Martin Schray, learning all I could from them.
Many people describe working at Microsoft as "drinking from a fire hose" and that is an excellent metaphor. There is so much to learn and so much to do and often it's not obvious what you should be doing or learning. My time management skills are honed sharper today than they ever have in the past.
I'm really happy in my role as an Evangelist, which consists of a lot of teaching people how to build apps on Azure, Windows 8, and Windows Phone. I love the opportunity to learn and I love the impact I have on a number of different communities. Coming in, I was focused on the developer community, spending time at user groups and code camps. But I've discovered that startups have their own community and they bring their own kind of passion to what they do. And I've spent a lot of time with student groups on campus and gained a new perspective into the American higher education system. I've met so many people who are passionate about what they do, which inspires me to excel at my tasks.
One challenge of this job has been the large amount of travel. Shortly after I joined, I was asked to cover both the Midwest and the Heartland Districts - an area stretching from Wisconsin to Tennessee. I'm proud to say that I scheduled multiple events in each of these 7 states. But it did involve a lot of driving and more than a few nights when I did not get enough sleep. I’m writing this article from a hotel room in Edina, MN. In a few minutes I’ll drive to Madison, WI to speak at a user group before driving down to Chicago tonight where I have 3 events planned for tomorrow.
After a year, I can say that I've learned a lot, I've done some good, I've lost some sleep, I've made some friends, and I've loved it.
Now I have a new boss, new metrics, and a new home (I've moved to Chicago). The future is filled with challenges. But it's very bright. I'm excited for the next 365 days and beyond!