Microsoft: Week 1 Review

A lot of people have asked how my first few days went at Microsoft, so I thought I'd write a bit about my experience.

Monday
The first 6 hours of the day were spent in New Employee Orientation. This whole process runs like a well-oiled machine. I imagine with the amount of hiring that goes on at Microsoft, it ought to be an efficient process. I was in a class of about 90 other people, although they admitted it was a fairly large group of new hires.

There were several stations for filling out various forms, getting a picture taken, etc. Fairly normal stuff, and each "station" went fast enough that I didn't feel like I was waiting in line.

There was a wealth of information about the company, the benefits, and some of the intanginbles like company vision and philosophy. Kudos on the material and presenters: it was enough information that it was helpful and inspiring, but not too much that it dragged on. Besides, since so much information is coming at you, it's likely you'll need to go back and review it at some point.

I'm impressed with how wired (in the virtual sense) everything is. Everything is online -- and more than that, it works. The resources are simply unbelievable.

I called my manager on one of the late morning breaks, letting her know I'd be heading over around 2:30 or so when the orientation completed.

At lunch I talked with a really nice guy from New Zealand. After hearing his relocation story and trying to be in his shoes, Seattle doesn't seem like such a distant and unfamiliar place. It's all relative. Around this time there was a meet & greet with representatives from HR regarding benefits set up in various booths, so it was helpful to get some questions answered about which plan to enroll in 401k, health clubs, etc.

The orientation finished up with everyone picking up their badges, and with that, I headed to building 40. I met my manager, and she introduced me to the team and showed me around the floor. Most people have their own office, I'm currently sharing one with a guy named Tom. I admit I'd prefer to have my own office (as I'm sure he would, too), but I've found it helpful to have someone right there to answer my questions and help get me going.

The rest of the day was mainly spent setting up my machines and getting software installed.

Tuesday
I had a lot of meetings on Tuesday, mainly getting up to speed on some of the projects coming up. The Windows Hardware and Driver Central team is part of the Windows Platform Hardware Evangelism group, responsible for the WinHEC and Driver DevCon conferences occuring at the end of April.

As I got up to speed on some of the projects, my plate began to quickly fill up with work. I have a lot of leeway in how I go about developing some of these projects, so I'm pretty excited about the opportunity.

Wednesday
I continued installing some software today; while that was going on I completed most of my benefit elections, registered my vehicles, etc. I started diving into some of the projects I'll be working on.

I also got involved in a lot of the online developer communities to start networking.

Thursday
Thursday was likely my most productive day in terms of development work: I was able to get a lot of database work done for the foundation of my first project, and began looking into some the assigned bugs and feature enhancements on my list.

Friday
This was a fun day. Early afternoon, I had scheduled a tour of the Pro Club in Bellevue. The club is a short jaunt off the campus, but unfortunately for me it's the opposite corner from my building. Outside the facility really isn't too impressive: cramped parking, the building almost seems awkwardly crammed between some housing complexes. Good thing for wide angle lenses -- but, the inside is amazing; you can't ask much more from an athletic club.

After the tour, I headed over to the nearby company store to buy a few things. Software is offered at a great discount -- can't complain! I was surprised some of the hardware, apparel and gadgets were as expensive as they were. Nothing outrageous, but it's funny to see a labeled pen for $10 and a copy of Windows for $20.

After work, I walked over to the building 9 cafeteria to play some chess; a group meets there every Friday. I was amazed how many people were there! I met a few people; Greg, co-author on some cool software I'm now downloading called Chess Position Trainer (http://www.chesspositiontrainer.com/). I also played a G60 (60 minute game per side) against Bruce. What a close game! (I'll post it in my personal section soon.)

So there it is -- my first week in a nutshell. Overall a pretty good first week -- some things need a bit of time to sink in, of course, so maybe I'll follow up with this on a monthly basis during my "onboarding."
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