Well, I now have my blue badge – my microsoft full time employee id. That means I am now part of the big machine. Let me tell you all about it
Oops that’s right – I am now in command of dangerous corporate secrets! But let me tell you a little to give you the flavor of the first couple of days.
The first day and a half are spent on orientation. I expected this to be a big lot of propaganda type stuff, but actually there was very little of that – a three minute video to open each day. The rest was quite useful information. Orientation, by the way was huge. There were more that 200 new employees there, and they hold one of these things each week (although our group was apparently a record size). About half the people there were foreigners (non americans), and a little less than half were engineers (the rest were lawyers, admin, managers, etc). I won the prize for being the person who relocated from the furthest away 🙂
The entire thing is run like a big conference. A big registration line (where employment permits are finalized, id photos taken, etc), coffee breaks, sessions with speakers, the works. During the first day, the big thing was benefits – what medical coverage you get, holidays, etc (and wow, the benefits are awesome). The second day, the big thing was legal and ethics. This may sound boring, but the guy who ran it was a very senior trial lawyer, so he was very entertaining with lots of anecdotes and so on. Can’t talk about most of what he said, but working at microsoft, because of all the lawsuits, can be a bit complicated.
Then, after all that, I went to get my learner drivers permit (the test for which is dead easy), and applied for my social security number (I will collect that on thursday, and then I can get my credit card woohoo!). Then I finally got to go to my office. I am sharing with a nice PM from another team (he also arrived at exchange recently), and because we are the new dudes NO WINDOW FOR YOU – solo windowed offices are for those who have been there longer. Turns out not everyone gets to live in a world without walls, eh? 🙂 . Nonetheless, the desk is very large, the chair is very nice, and the computer is TEH MONSTER – quad core, ram up the wazoo, two 20″ monitors, the woooorks. I spent the rest of the day setting it up (you get it in the cardboard boxes, so you need to unpack and plug in, etc). I still don’t have email, because my info has not filtered theough the whole system yet. Faybs has been appointed as my mentor, so I got introduced to a lot of people, and shown the popcorn machine on the top floor!
And the free coffee is greeeeaaaattt….
All in all, I am pretty impressed. People are friendly, the company works pretty well, the people at the top are very realistic about microsoft’s image (we heard the term ‘evil empire’ more than a couple of times), and encouraged us all to make it our own company and change the image. So yes, there was some koolaid, but I was happy to sip at it in return for the nice treatment. Tomorrow it gets more technical – a whole day of seminars on security.
Interesting side note: During one of the little info videos, there was a montage of diversity or something, and suddenly a microsoft VP is seen shaking hands with Thabo Mbeki. Uh oh folks, time to change that video…