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Philo's disclaimer

Now that I'm settled into the new job, I'd better come clean on where I'm working.

After five years of contract programming (read: body shopping), I've got to tell you it's nice to settle into a job where education is encouraged and expected, and where I get a steady paycheck (and paid holidays!)

The big thing I have to say is that while I've been accused of various allegiances, my zealous advocacy of products has never been motivated by anything but my own beliefs and experiences, and that remains true (but I'm sure many won't believe it).

Obviously, my participation here is my own, and not paid/endorsed by my employer or any other company.

Sincerely,
Philo
Senior Technology Specialist
Microsoft Corporation

Philo
Saturday, December 20, 2003

Gratz on the new job, Philo.

Are you free to disclose which product(s) you work on?

Mark Hoffman
Saturday, December 20, 2003

I'm not a coder - I'm a sales engineer for SQL Server and Sharepoint. :-)

But let me say - anyone who has the aptitude and interest - try to work for Microsoft. This is truly the best work environment I've ever seen or dreamed of. Everyone I work with has been here for *years*

Philo

Philo
Saturday, December 20, 2003

SharePoint 'eh? Good...now I know who to call when my client upgrades their SharePoint to the newest version.  I am sooo not looking forward to that.  :')

Mark Hoffman
Saturday, December 20, 2003

Congratulations.  I'm glad you found a happy niche.

Just to wrench the topic sideways, have you been pretty determined to find some kind of full time position for a while?  It did not seem like you were very happy with freelancing. 

Were you ready to take any decent job with regular pay and benefits, or were you swept off your feet by the sparkle of a senior position at MS?

Name withheld by request
Saturday, December 20, 2003

"Sales Engineer" - What is that? Other than being an oxymoron.

Indian Developer in India
Saturday, December 20, 2003

Did you have to relocate for the position Philo?

Dave B.
Saturday, December 20, 2003

Actually I'd been pretty anti-full time for a while, since IMO most companies run their staffs like "contractors with benefits" - treated like serfs, paid less than they're worth ("you know, because you've got job security[1] and benefits[2]"). In that light, contracting just seemed more honest to me.
Now that's not to say I wouldn't have minded a steadier paycheck on occasion. [grin]

Well, in the short month I've been at MS, my eyes have been opened - they treat their employees like I think employees *should* be treated - with trust and respect. I was hired for my background and experience, and I'm treated that way, not like "the new child we have to keep an eye on."

I'm quite happy. :)

Philo


[1] Job security in full-time work is generally a myth - I've seen full-time people fired without a moment's notice or consideration.
[2] That you have to pay for.

Philo
Saturday, December 20, 2003

A sales engineer is the guy who is the throttle on the typical "yeah we can do that" salesperson - potential customer says "we need to do [x]." The sales engineer is the person that analyzes requirements, reviews what the customer is trying to do, does proofs of concept, demonstrates the product, and generally works to ensure that the customer gets the right product to do what they're trying to accomplish.

No, I didn't have to relocate - I'm working out of the Microsoft office in DC.

Philo

Philo
Saturday, December 20, 2003

Get it.  Thanx

Indian Developer in India
Saturday, December 20, 2003

Is the caf' in DC as good as in Redmond? :-)

Frederic Faure
Saturday, December 20, 2003

Congrats Philo, I hope you can still find the time to occasionally post here.  It looks to me like you found yourself a "once in a lifetime" type of job opportunity.

I have three questions for you.  If you can't or don't want to answer them I understand.

1) Did you send your resume to Microsoft (did you apply for an advertised position) or did Microsoft contact you first?

2) What was the interview process like?

3) It sounds like you are actually working within the business consulting division at Microsoft.  Am I correct?

One Programmer's Opinion
Saturday, December 20, 2003

Ah, wouldn't the ego love it if they'd called me, but no - I had a friend who started working there and got my resume into the HR office.

The interview process was grueling - I ended up talking to eleven people and giving a presentation to ten other tech specialists.

I'm working for the sales branch, but Microsoft Consulting Service (MCS) is in the same building and we work very closely with them.

Philo

Philo
Saturday, December 20, 2003

Oh! You're a programmer/analyst then. I know that the title of analyst had fallen by the wayside; had no idea it was supplanted with 'sales engineer'.

That said, although I 'hate' microsoft, I also believe they deserve to succeed and take over the world because that is what -should- happen to companies that treat their employees like human beings. So Congrats!

Dennis Atkins
Saturday, December 20, 2003

Congrats, Philo!

Robert Jacobson
Saturday, December 20, 2003

Philo, I'm not the first to say it, CONGRADULATIONS. May the steady paycheck from Bill Gates serve you well.

www.MarkTAW.com
Saturday, December 20, 2003

congrats. is working with (or for) sales people a big change?

interesting you're working with sharepoint: it's a great example of the 'two cultures' issue raised by Joel earlier this week: the UI is decent, meant to be used by a 'knowledge worker' who doesn't care much about content management.

but programming with it? oy, the API feels like they took the UI and replaced the input boxes with parameters. certain things just are not possible without jumping through hoops, just like a user might go through a wizard, get an error, and try something a little different.

mb
Saturday, December 20, 2003

Hurray, we are going to see more action on Philo's Camel Blog:-)

Congrats, Philo - hope you have a good time at MSFT.

Prakash S
Saturday, December 20, 2003

You kick ass, man!!

Congratulations!!

Jeff MacDonald
Sunday, December 21, 2003

Congrats.  Hope you have fun

Tapiwa
Sunday, December 21, 2003

>>

[ Ah, wouldn't the ego love it if they'd called me, but no - I had a friend who started working there and got my resume into the HR office. ]

>>

[ You kick ass, man!! ]

=======

I don't think Philo kicks ass.  He along with every other unemployed tech worker on this board have the same or above average skill level.

Philo got lucky and got an "in", of course he had to make it through the interview process, but how would he have gotten the interview without having a friend submit his resume to the HR office?  Sure he could have submitted it over the internet like everyone else, but this made it stand apart.

I don't have friends who employed in the IT business so it's tough to get a job.

At any rate, congrats Philo.  Working for a multi-billion dollar company has it's advantages.  It's kind of ironic that people proclaim that Microsoft is "a great place to work."  Most employers that are held in that light are done so because they have the financial capability to provide "a great place to work."  They have the financial capability to provide great benefits, a steady paycheck, a nice salary, your own office, the latest technology, a cafeteria etc etc.

People
Sunday, December 21, 2003

People - I haven't been unemployed for more than two weeks since I started working in the public sector in '98. I had a solid contracting job which I left to work for Microsoft.

And as for the "only rich companies treat their employees well" - you might consider that perhaps it's *because* they treat their employees well that those companies got rich. ;-)

Philo

Philo
Sunday, December 21, 2003

>> "And as for the "only rich companies treat their employees well" - you might consider that perhaps it's *because* they treat their employees well that those companies got rich. ;-)"

You're good at coming up with smart-assed, political answers that don't really mean anything.

Companies don't get rich by treating their employees well, companies get rich by selling products that others consume.  Whether or not they treat their employees well is a different story.  Ever worked in a coal mine?

I think you're a spoiled brat.


Sunday, December 21, 2003

>>  >> "And as for the "only rich companies treat their employees well" - you might consider that perhaps it's *because* they treat their employees well that those companies got rich. ;-)"

>> Companies don't get rich by treating their employees well, companies get rich by selling products that others consume.  Whether or not they treat their employees well is a different story.  Ever worked in a coal mine?

I don't think that coal mines or steel mills represent a valid comparison to tech companies. In those businesses the companies earn more by flogging their workers and creating legislation to cement monopolies.

The most successful technology and knowledge based businesses have historically treated their employees with respect. IBM (pre Gerstner/mainframe falloff), HP (pre Carly), Microsoft, and Apple are key examples.

I think it can be argued that the drop in the prestige and importance of working for an IBM or HP can be traced directly to use of outsourcing and a bottom-line obsession that outweighs maintenance of a decent workplace.

When tech companies do well, it's because they foster a cooperative, basically enjoyable work environment. You can't shove professionals into a union or commodity environment and demand them to produce wealth. That's the mistake of outsourcing/absolute bottomline mentality applied to tech.

As a consultant I've worked with several small technology businesses. Most of them aren't, never were, and never will go anywhere because they're too cheap and too shortsighted to properly appreciate or reward talent that has built them up.

Bad technology company environments drive out talented people who have a choice in the matter, and leave such companies with underachievers to do the day to day work. So they never develop enough momentum to succeed, or they kill any momentum that develops.

Bored Bystander
Sunday, December 21, 2003

"I think you're a spoiled brat."

I have to agree.  I mean, just because philo is extremely intelligent, articulate, knowledgable about a broad range of topics, with extensive programming and management experience _he_ gets all the good jobs.

Its just unfair is what it is.  Hes just a spoiled brat getting the good life just because hes luckier than the rest of us.
I _could_ have been intelligent articulate etc as well you know if I had been as lucky as him, I just never got the breaks thats all dammit I could have been a contender I could have I know I could have if only I actually had a clue what I was talking about....

*sob*

FullNameRequired
Sunday, December 21, 2003

oh...congratulations philo :)

FullNameRequired
Sunday, December 21, 2003

Bored - what's wrong with working with IBM?
Did you mean by working with IBM in general or specific to the software developers? Because for the Consultants - most are coming from PWC Consulting - I think they are well taken care of.

Lorrence Tan
Sunday, December 21, 2003

I may not be totally right about IBM, but I've inferred that their forced buyouts of employees in the early 90's and other so called "rightsizing" practices indicate a greatly diminished commitment to their employees. Maybe I'm wrong. It would be interesting if a current or recent 'beemer' posted their experience here.

I recall working at IBM as a contractor in '88 and seeing a manager with an IBM personnel handbook, the topic of which was the selection of programs available through IBM to assist their employees with their aged parents. (!)

Bored Bystander
Sunday, December 21, 2003

"I think you're a spoiled brat. "

Typical sentiment of the displaced. Anyone who gets ahead or lands a good job must of done so on the backs of the less fortunate, doing something unethical or was part of "good ol' boys" network.

Not to sound like a sycophant for Philo, but from what I've read, the guy went through the Naval Academy, got a EE and even earned a law degree. Now, providing he isn't a pathological liar, one might surmise that he is intelligent and hard-working.

Last time I checked, those are pretty good traits to have to land a job.

In other words, grow the f*** up.

I hate Whiners
Sunday, December 21, 2003

"I had a solid contracting job which I left to work for Microsoft."

So you bailed on a client for a better offer? Nice... :-)

Just kidding. I left a high paying full time job to start my own company. I often think about going back to the corp world...

Best of luck to you.

Interaction Architect
Sunday, December 21, 2003

>Not to sound like a sycophant for Philo, but from what I've read, the guy went through the Naval Academy, got a EE and even earned a law degree. Now, providing he isn't a pathological liar, one might surmise that he is intelligent and hard-working.<

That clinches it! Let's draft Philo for President! :-P

Seriously, congrats on the new job, Philo.

Mr. Jiggy Fly
Sunday, December 21, 2003

"Let's draft Philo for President!"

That's an interesting comment, since during the 2000 elections we joked about me running for President as a member of the Beer Party. (Every issue was resolved with a reference to the wonders of beer)

And seriously - thanks for all the warm comments and support. [snif] You like me! You really like me!

Philo

Philo
Monday, December 22, 2003

Congratulations Philo.

If not confidential, would you elaborate more on the specifics of your interview process? What kind of questions were asked? What presentations that you gave?

Emmanuel Hyest
Monday, December 22, 2003

Congratz Philo!
If I where anywhere near Redmond I'd try out for Microsoft too.

Just me (Sir to you)
Monday, December 22, 2003

>Now that I'm settled into the new job, I'd better come >clean on where I'm working.
.
.
.
>Senior Technology Specialist
>Microsoft Corporation

>I'm not a coder - I'm a sales engineer for SQL Server and >Sharepoint. :-)

I think if you have to work with Sharepoint, not being a coder is a good thing...

From a developers viewpoint Sharepoint 1.0 was horrible... but like most MS products I expect it'll be usable at v3.0 and probably quite good at around v5.xx

Gordon Hartley
Monday, December 22, 2003

LOL! Boy did that come out wrong!
I *am* a coder, and will be writing code in my new job - it just won't be in anything Microsoft shrink-wraps. :)  (Mostly proof of concept and demo stuff)

The interviews - four people the first day. Then given a week to put together a presentation on "Why Bet on SQL Server?" The day of the presentation I interviewed with four more people then gave the presentation to ten.

Then called back for a "gatekeeper" interview (with the guy who screens for the dept. head honcho), then back again for the interview with the head honcho.

Then an offer. :)

Philo

Philo
Monday, December 22, 2003

one thing i've always wanted to know: do "sales engineers" make any comissions? or are you strictly salaried?

_
Monday, December 22, 2003

Congratulations, mate!

We need to do something about job terminology. I started off as a “software engineer” (programming with no customer interaction) although I’m a scientist by education. I’ve been called a programmer, analyst, developer, architect, project manager and product manager – all while doing basically the same work. Outside of my day job, I call myself a consultant, because it’s the most generic term out there – stops me from getting pigeon-holed.

Glad to hear that Microsoft is still as great a place to work as ever. The Big Company I burrowed into when the offshoring trend started has gone from being a super place to work for to a real hell-hole. Cost is everything, quality has hit an all-time low. What a bore. 

http://www.sysprog.net/quotpgmr.html
Tuesday, December 23, 2003

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