Five Years at Microsoft

It’s hard to believe it’s only been five years. Things have been so overwhelmingly intense that it feels like a lot more, and after a particularly challenging day, I have to wonder if it’s ever gotten any easier.

The Dog Years

I originally joined Microsoft for the dubious (but ultimately quite rewarding) privilege of having a front-row seat on the Azure roller-coaster, and most of what I wanted to achieve (experiencing that transformation, learning the stack, and understanding the business) was pretty much complete by the second year.

And it’s actually strange to look back during these pandemic times and realize that I was already partially remote since the first year, that meetings already pervaded my agenda, and that it took me around thousand days to I start mulling what was missing in it for me.

By the end of the fourth year I had already realized I wasn’t just missing the opportunity to do deeper technical stuff but also the potential for growth and doing things much bigger than I could possibly ever do in Portugal, so yes, moving to Consulting Services across EMEA and “leaving” the (often frustrating and lobby-ridden) Portuguese market was certainly a good way to fix half of what I felt was wrong.

Right Now

Things have been hectic, so I was never quite able to pin down exactly when the transition took place, but all of a sudden I was… mostly OK, and stuff started happening so fast that I’m still feeling the thrall of impostor syndrome. But I think I’ve reached a somewhat stable point now:

  • I’m working in one of the most diverse corporate cultures imaginable (and I don’t just mean diversity in the usual US-centric sense of the word, I mean I work with people from disparate cultures and mindsets that most people (even in the startup world) seldom experience.
  • The scale of what we do is tremendous. Most people still don’t get “the new Microsoft”. They also don’t get Azure, because they look at what it is and not what it’s becoming.
  • As usual throughout my career in general, I’m smack middle in the very center of another of Microsoft’s biggest reorgs. And I’m pretty sure it’s going to be at least as transformational as Azure.
  • The vast majority of my current customers (or projects I’m involved with) are in the telco industry, which I’ve always loved (I would go back in a flash) and has renewed priority right now.
  • I’m considered (rightly or wrongly, not sure yet) to be one of the best at what I do (and I’m being quite ironical about this, since I got that accolade primarily because there are very few people with my kind of background and life story at Microsoft, and I suffer from semi-permanent impostor syndrome as a result).

So yes, there’s all of that going for me right now, and, overall, I’m counting myself lucky. I get to work 100% remote, place calls all over the world, meet interesting people… and strategize with them.

Today it was only one, but I made it count.

But it’s still not enough, and although the pandemic has considerably lowered my expectations, the engineer in me is still looking for… something better, more fulfilling and, above all, where I can keep learning.

Someplace where I can do what I love–building stuff that matters.