Microsoft

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1 person found this helpful  

Good Learning Ground

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
Former Employee - Senior Manager  in  Redmond, WA
Former Employee - Senior Manager in Redmond, WA

Pros

A good place to start off your career in that you can get exposure to a lot of different products/groups. Excellent health benefit package and gym benefits.

Cons

Extremely political and not very innovative. Work life balance is a struggle on most teams/organizations. While there are some good pockets within the company, constant re-orgs create too much churn.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

lose the stack ranking system and political based re-orgs

Neutral Outlook
Disapproves of CEO

Other reviews for Microsoft

  1. 2 people found this helpful  

    Had great health care... "Senior+" level jobs are all about politics

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Program Manager  in  Redmond, WA
    Current Employee - Senior Program Manager in Redmond, WA

    Pros

    - ProClub membership
    - Health care used to be excellent, now is pretty comparable to any A-grade employer
    - SSDP (same sex domestic partner) health care which is good for some
    - Lots of different areas so you can basically change job and it's just like changing company
    - Divisions are almost run as their own enterprises - so moving from Windows to Office or SQL is like a totally different experience
    - There are a lot of smart people @ MS (and some not so smart, see below comment)

    Cons

    - Performance review is bell-curve based
    - The new (1-5) versus 20/70/10 rating system really blows
    - From "Senior" band (L63) and above the job is more politics and less working - found that you need to spend almost 50% of your time on "influence" especially the 6 months before review/stack ranking on ensuring your name is "out there" to make sure you don't get screwed at review time
    - For an IT company, a lot of the internal IT systems totally suck so you can spend half a day just to order a new keyboard
    - Your career's trajectory is closely aligned to your managers and your managers manager (skip level), if you join a group where the principle / director has already been at MS forever and is on cruise mode then expect your career isn't going to go very far
    - If you don't like the job you are in, you need manager approval (I've never seen it given) to switch jobs in your first 18 months in the role. Even for new hires, you can just quit and join another company without repaying sign-on etc after 12 months, so this leads to a lot of people leaving after 366 days
    - no motivation of your manager to find the "best job" for you in Microsoft, they only focus on who is in their team... so, some star performers join the org but get trapped in a job that isn't the most suited for them which gets them disgruntled and out the door: rather than fighting for them to get a job where they could make a real difference and impact for MS
    - lots of Program Managers, lots of Marketing speak, lots of perception management and a lot less engineering than I expected.
    - Microsoft doesn't pay stellar wages and as such you may find you're not working with the sharpest tools in the shed in some teams... although there ARE _some_ really smart people around
    - a lot of old timers just hang around because they have >$20k annual stock vests and don't have the hunger or motivation to do great things... it's very 9-5, which is good if you just want a cruisy job, but not if you want to go to a pumped up tech company: in this case go with Google or Facebook.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - abolish stack ranking
    - employee perfomance should be agreed and measured over 3 years (like Amazon)
    - more focus on engineering and test.. although steveb famously said "developers, developers, developers", it's more like PM, PM, PM... and SDETs (test) should be on-par with dev rather than being considered 2nd class citizens.. I think a ratio of 1xPM:5xDEV:5xSDET would be a much more suitable mix... currently it's anywhere from 1xPM:1xDEVx1xSDET to 10xPM:2xDEV:0.5SDET :(

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 4 people found this helpful  

    Microsoft culture not for me

    • Comp & Benefits
    Former Employee - Senior Program Manager  in  Redmond, WA
    Former Employee - Senior Program Manager in Redmond, WA

    Pros

    Good benefits (although that is changing)

    Cons

    In my last 2 1/2 years at MS, I had 5 different managers. For me, I just wasn't good enough at playing the politics and promoting myself well to do well at the calibrations, and while I was never an underperformer, I was a consistent 3 rating and it was clear that no matter how hard I worked I wasn't going to do better than that. After I began to get pressured because I had been in my current level too long, I realized that the Microsoft program just wasn't for me. I left and am now doing consulting work, where I get paid for overtime and can choose projects and employers that interest me, and do the type of work I enjoy without having to get bogged down in politics or review process. I'm glad to put MS on my resume as the experience was valuable, but the culture there is a better fit for someone who is ambitious and wants to move up the corporate ladder.

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