15 years is a long place to be anywhere (other than the 15 well now 20 plus years I’ve been with my wife). Someone asked me the other day why I left Microsoft and I paused. There are the reasons I’ve given to various people over the past months. The first being the change in the bonus system and the fact that I ended up with no bonus – “what I earned” according to my old manager. I feel bad for him. He is simply a cog in a machine that strives ever to remake itself – and is failing.
Sure it hurt that MS choose not to give me a bonus. But based on the writing I had seen on the wall – I knew as a long time senior person there my time was done. They were looking for younger blood. An organization that is trying to remake itself eventually has to forgot what it knew. You can’t carry people that were there for a long time when you are remaking yourself.
But the thing that bothers me the most wasn’t the bonus. That was simply stupid on MS’s part. The thing that hurt me the most was the fact that I won an award last summer. The only person in the company to win that award three times in one calendar year. It really meant something to me (although nothing to Microsoft). You see the last time I won that award I never even got the trophy or the letter. In the end they lost it three times. They finally sent me a memory stick and called it a day. 3 times to win a big team award and get nothing? In the end I have to say my time at Microsoft was good (for the most part) but the decay and fall has begun.
We who forget history are doomed to repeat it.
And it isn’t that I didn’t get the stupid little trophy. It’s the fact that no one (including my former boss) did the math and realized I had won the award three times. It must have meant that I was good and helping teams succeed at high levels. It makes me feel sorry for the people I left behind at Microsoft. Sad enough to write this blog now nearly 5 months after leaving.
I heard the other day a really dear friend of mine was leaving MS as well (he has since left). I realized that MS was a place for sharks now. I don’t want to be a shark. I want to be someone that people say “he was a good person.”
It brings me to my last and final thought about Microsoft. You can forget who you knew. You can forget what you were. But if you forgot those who helped drive success – then all is lost.
The Big Team award (3rd time) meant something to me. I guess in the end it didn’t mean anything to my boss or my former company.