Tips for Microsoft Jobseekers

things you should know before you accept the offer

If you’re interviewing at Microsoft for a technical position, there are some things you should know:

1) In general, Microsoft interviews take all day and end with a meeting with the recruiter. If you’re finished before lunch or after a couple of hours and you aren’t doing a second day, you probably aren’t getting the job.

2) If you want a development position and you have experience, be very wary before taking (or even interviewing) for a position in support or testing. A lot of college hires come in through support or testing, but it will take a while to move to actual development from one of these positions. In the meantime, you’ll be killing a lot of time in your career that could be spent actually doing development at another company.

3) Do not take a pay cut. No matter what your potential manager or the recruiter says, it is nearly impossible to “make up the difference” in the short (or even long) term. Microsoft may try and undercut your salary requirements. Given the average raise caps these days, and the cost of living, it is pretty unlikely that you catch up on the 10K or more that Microsoft shorts you at the beginning.

4) Be realistic about your future prospects. Microsoft is a VERY large company now. You will not be the CEO. You will probably never make it to be a VP. If you are lucky, you’ll make it to Director, but you got about 50,000 people who also want that job.

5) Be very, very careful about which group you work for. Your quality of life at Microsoft is 100% dependent on which group you work for. Some groups grind their employees down like wheat. Some groups at strictly in by 9 and out by 5. Think through the questions you ask the people you interview with. Ask for honest opinions about the manager. Ask for honest opinions about schedules and work/life balance. Ask about raises and bonuses and how available they have been.

6) Check out the membership of the team. If you join an established team with many experienced people you are going to be the low man on the totem pole forever. You may learn a lot, but you are going be stuck with the crummy scores on the stack ranking; you will be the first out in the lifeboat drill; and you will be last on the list for promotions.

7) Find out what your level is going to be. Your level determines your salary range. Your level determines which jobs you can take. If you are assigned a level too low it could take years to get to where you are supposed to be. Find out what the responsibilities are for each level. If you’ve been in the industry for a decade, you probably should be at least a 62, and depending on your experience, possibly a 63 or 64. If you are leveled low, you may spend years trying to get to where you should be.

8) You will not be a millionaire. You will not be a multi hundred thousandaire. Microsoft switching from stock options to stock grants will make it hard for you to get much income beyond your salary.

9) If you live outside Seattle, check the relative costs of living between where you are now and Seattle. Seattle has become one of the most expensive cities in the country to live in. Make sure the salary you ask for and the salary you are offered take that into account.

There is my advice for the moment. I’ll add more in the future.

(this was moved over from my old blog: old URL

The three reasons Harriet Miers is nominated

are the three reasons that I am opposed to her

George Bush nominated Harriet Miers because she is an evangelical Christian, because she is his good buddy and because no one knows anything about her.

1) I am not an evangelical Christian. Evangelical Christians think that I am going to hell or at least limbo. They think that they need to make me live by their rules. Why is it that no one ever was nominated because they were a devoted Catholic, Jew or Muslim? Why is religion a litmus test only if you are of the most narrow minded brand of it?

2) George’s good buddies are there because they serve his needs. Not the American people’s. “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job” indeed.

3) Bush wants us to trust us on her. You know what I think about that if you’re read any of my posts. I don’t need a litmus test, but I want to know everything I can about someone who will be making decisions about my life and my children’s lives and their children’s lives. I think to ask me or anyone to support someone blindly is utter stupidity.


Even the government thinks that the government is lying to us.

Why hasn’t there been more coverage of this? Why, because George Bush’s announcement of his Supreme Court nominee sucked all the air out of the other news stories. Coincidence?

Conspiracy Theory

Just a thought about Ms. Miers, the stealth candidate

There is rampant speculation about George Bush’s candidate to fill Justice O’Connor’s seat on the supreme court. This is due to the very little information known about Ms. Miers, and this is exactly how the Bush administration wants it. What we do know is that she is an evangelical Christian and that she has been George Bush’s great buddy for decades. So everyone is guessing about how she’ll vote on the hot button issues, including the republicans. Some of the more right wingers in the party of exclusion are claiming that they will vote against her because she hasn’t been vocally conservative enough. A part of me wonders though, what if this is all a screen? What if Rove and Bush are getting the right wingers to voice opposition to make their stealth candidate sound more moderate? I wouldn’t put it past these devious liars. Just a thought…

“We’ve seen the hubris, and now we’re seeing the scandals.” – David R. Gergen

Are the Republican’s chickens finally coming home to roost?

Tom DeLay has finally been indicted. This is for his financial improprieties dealing with his TrimPAC. The spin machine going full speed and talking points are being distributed, but the Republican blame deflectors have been working overtime lately and maybe they don’t have enough power to save Mr. DeLay. If this is all this ultra-corrupt politician goes down for, it will be like when the FBI took down Hoffa for tax evasion.

While DeLay alone should make party loyalists question their contributions; add to that Bill Frist’s possibly illegal stock dealings, Karl Rove’s illegal outting of a covert CIA operative, the rising mound of evidence against Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff, the rampant cronyism revealed by the Hurricane Katrina disaster, the rising American body count in Iraq, the rising gas prices, and the rising deficit. You have to wonder how these people are still in power. Maybe, finally, the sheer mass of their mistakes will finally shake the O’Reilly wax from the ears of moderate and conservative Americans and make them realize that the party they elected doesn’t have their interests at heart. They have their own interests at heart and they don’t care about the rest of us.

Kinda makes you miss the days when Monica Lewinsky was the big scandal.

Le P’Tit Bistro

Great and affordable French

Le P’Tit Bistro is a small, unassuming new spot a bit out of the way on Second Ave in Belltown. The staff is friendly and the food is excellent, especially for the price. The Crepes are very good and the entrees are wonderful. Given its out of the way location, it has been having a hard time attracting more than the neighborhood traffic. It definitely deserves to stick around and thrive. I definitely recommend giving it a try if you are looking for some non-stuffy French food or a non-overly-hip-overly-crowded Belltown meal.

[I updated this review in Jan/06 because they’ve made some really positive improvements in their atmosphere, it definitely has a more cozy feel now]

MTV is the future Republican’s channel

The transition is complete.

I remember when MTV started. It was an little sort of DIY channel with cheap sets and a sense of promise. I think while everyone understood that they were a corporation with profit as a motive, we all enjoyed it when they would play punk and alternative videos. MTV actually was the conduit for a lot of teenage rebellion during the Reagan/Bush 80s and 90s. At least a few people felt some credit for Bill Clinton’s win should go to MTV.

Yeah, that has all changed. With shows like Laguna Beach, Sweet Sixteen, Road Rules and The Real World; MTV is now promoting consumerism and a sickening shallowness of character. The personalities that this channel chooses to promote are the saddest people I have ever seen. Do-It-Yourself has been replaced with Have-Your-Parents-Pay-To-Have-Someone-Do-It-For-You. MTV has gone from the channel that parents didn’t want their kids to watch because they were worried that they would start wearing funny clothes and listen to devil music to the channel that parents don’t want to have their kids watch because they don’t want to be continuously hassled for expensive parties, clothes and cars.

Maybe they are just going with the flow and this is what kids are like now. I don’t think so. MTV used to be the channel that was exposing urban youth culture out there to the burbs. Now it seems to be just showing the burbs to themselves.

If this is how far MTV has fallen, it might just be time to take it out back and put a bullet through its head and let the kids find something less lame to do with their time.