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code is poetry

11 things I have learnt in first 3 years of work at Microsoft

I am very lucky to have started my career in one of the best companies in the world – Microsoft. And as expected I have learnt a lot from it in past three years of working here. Microsoft has a very unique and distinct work culture, with a lot of great folks to learn from and look upon.

I am going to list down and share few things that I have learnt at Microsoft. I am hopeful this would help those who have just joined the IT industry or are going to join it in near future.

1. I love Microsoft

Loyalty - I believe this is the first and foremost belief on which you must build the foundation of your career. And this is what the company expects the least out of you. After all, they are the one who are paying you. Surely, you can avoid evangelizing the products your company makes – but think for a second, if you being an employee don’t like/buy/use the product, do you think anyone else will?

Bonus Tip: You *should* not use company resources for your personal use. Also, being a appropriator won’t serve you in the long run.

2. Stand and Deliver

If you deliver what you committed, you are achieved and deserved your Salary. The terms “committed”, “achieved” are probably specific to Microsoft, but I think there is similar terms and rationale used everywhere else. And if you fail to keep your promise, its clear you are “underachieved”.

I feel this is the most important learning I have got at Microsoft. We are not used to think like this. Isn’t it?

3.  Find your “Sachin Tendulkar” at work

You need to find someone at work whom you idolize. Build relationships, make him/her as mentor and try to learn maximum from them. Role models will help you focus and channelize your energies in one direction – your goal. Read the next one which completes this point.

4. Trust the right people

Its really difficult to do this right the first time. You are an new entrant to a unknown group of people. You faced this situation earlier when you were a fresher in your first year of college. But you had lot of time to make mistake and improve on it. Trusting wrong people, and looking up to them as role model will influence you in a wrong way. My advice, be cautious and take the advices with a pinch of salt.

5. “I hate politicians”

Stay away from Office gossips and politics. They are breeding ground for killing your creativity and loyalty. We all are/will be subjected to politics at some point of time. And its better to ignore than react to them. Believe me, you’ll get into these sort of situations now and then. Its very crucial to be cognizant and not take sides and try to leave the discussions apologizing and without hurting anyone’s sentiments.

6. Differentiating crows from crows

It’s important to listen to the feedback – good or bad. But its as important to disregard the "Ad Hominem" feedback. This kind of feedback is just blatant negative without soul and thought. These is the kind of feedback that will make you think, "Am I like this?”, “Did I do that?”. Instead of ignoring it, it’s always great to have a candid talk with the person sharing you this feedback about if this is something that he/she noticed couple of times and seek for help and guidance.

Bonus Tip: Always share constructive feedback – one that they can use it to improve. The tone of the feedback determines if you want to help him/her or point out their faults.

7. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall!

I think its more important to fall than to succeed. You learn a lot while falling (oops), fallen (sigh), trying to stand (urge) and standing to the challenge again (I can do it!). Also don’t spend time and energy explaining or reasoning out why you failed. Instead use this as an experience to avoid such mistakes in future.

8. Bad Appraisal

It’s no use crying over spilt milk. Get over it, act on your next steps. Based on my discussion with number of colleagues – peers, manager and organization leaders, they never recollect about their ratings/rankings. Not saying that you shouldn’t care about it. But what’s gone for the past year, cannot be changed. This ranking made them more determined to prove a point. Hence don’t let the rankings/ratings which I refer as “Moh Maya” bring you down. Focus on the next point instead!

9. Goal!

Identify your life goals. Stay focused and channelize all the efforts towards this one or two things you want to achieve in your lifetime. Also I find that it’s good idea to experiment when you have nothing to lose at the start of your career. Always weigh and see what you are sacrificing to achieve it and then decide its real worth.

10. Date with my GF v/s Work

Don’t try to mix personal and professional life. Keep your Work-Life-Balance healthy and do give the time your loved ones deserve. You’ll get lot of opportunities at work to become successful, but one miss at personal life, you’ll never get it back.

11. Extras

If you have reached this point, you are not bored and find some value in my post. So I think you deserve to know more from my experience. Which is why I am sharing the following tips I think are noteworthy, specific to –>

Company:

  • Know Your Company – Don’t they do a background verification on you when they hire you? On a serious note, try to know what your company does to earn the moolah, promoters or shareholders, its CSR initiatives, stock price, impact to the world – the more you know your company, more you’ll be attached to it.
  • Help your company products to improve by sharing the feedback, finding bugs and doing usability tests.

Team:

  • Its as critical to blend into the team as to stand out. Remember, you are a team member first!
  • Try to make your team successful, you’ll eventually become successful.
  • Respect the various cultural background of the team members and give enough space for your team partner to feel comfortable.

Personal:

  • Be independent and have an identity of yourself. You’ll be in a lurch, if the person (could be your manager) you are dependent on to speak for you, leaves the company.
  • Help all the people you can. When you fall down, you’ll have lot of hands to pull you back.
  • Talk less, Do more. Take initiatives to change the things you don’t like or that can be improved.
  • Read lot of books – non-fictional, management. It will help shape your outlook and attitude. Also don’t shy from reading self-help books.
  • Don’t judge or build perception. Instead try to know and reason out the situation to which he/she was subjected to.
  • Lastly you should follow your dreams. Don’t lose them. I mean literally too –> don’t lose your sleep over work! Work comes as soon as you finish it!!!

 

Hope it helps! It was an immense pleasure to share it with you all. :)

Do share your own experiences and feedback!

Regards,
Bhavik

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