I recently celebrated a significant milestone at Microsoft. It was my 10 year service anniversary. This has honestly been the fastest 10 years of my life. My kids are growing like weeds and moving from babies into the teenage years. Work is constantly evolving and challenging me in new ways but one thing remains the same. After 10 years, I still love it. When I first came to Microsoft, Bill Gates had just stepped down as the CEO. This time frame for many wrapped up the golden years at Microsoft. I could not help but think i missed the window, that I might have joined the company too late. Boy was I wrong! ( Bill, if you are reading this happy to discuss with you over some Moscow mules next time I’m at the mothership)
I was able to come into Microsoft and focus on my passion of industry and technology. I have had 4 different roles. I have gone from an individual contributor, manager and national director. The most important shift was when Satya Nadella became CEO of Microsoft. I lived through a complete transformation of culture, waking a sleeping giant and becoming a tech leader, an innovator and quite frankly one of the best companies to work for. I believe these are what i like the call the comeback kid years. I thought I would write a short list of things I believe to hold true after 10 years at the company and through the lens of this transition and experience.
- Culture eats Strategy for Breakfast:
- When Satya become the CEO, he focused on the culture from the top down. He asked hard questions> He is a constant learner. He is humble, not afraid to fail and he makes you proud to be a part of something so amazing. He gets what it takes to turn one of the largest ships mid trip and change the cargo, the players and the destination. What is most amazing to me is that Satya was what we would refer to as a techie. Deep deep technical expertise. He did not look at this challenge as a technical problem. He created a culture first and foremost. He lives it every day and now over 90,000 people in our company live it too.
- You do you.
- As my friend, Ronnie from Jersey Shore would say, ” You do you.” You be your best version of your authentic self. You have so much to offer. I realize now that my experiences growing up as an Irish immigrant, going to college, living in Delaware county, make me uniquely me! That brings so much value and diversity to thinking through problems, bringing innovation solutions to market and knowing how to delight our customers. Never try to be anything else but you.
- The most important person in your daily work life: Your manager
- I say it often and i do believe it to be true. People don’t leave companies they leave managers. Your relationship with your manager is critical to your success and happiness no matter what your role or where you work. Good manager fight for you, empower you, thank you, challenge and develop you but most importantly you know they always have your back in good times and not-so-good.
- Create your own guard rails
- You must draw the line in the sand to separated the blended work style of today where work and personal life intertwine. An example of this is my commitment to my kids. If they have an school or sporting event, I want to be there. I put it on my calendar, it is not negotiable for anyone not even Bill G. I can never get this time back with my children, work will always be there. Decide what is important to you and make sure you bake time into your schedule to make it happen.
- Love what you do
I noticed with the advent of Facebook how many people would say they hate Monday. I remember thinking is today Monday? Most times I don’t know what day it is as pathetic as that sounds. I noticed people are dreading the work days, “Why am I not dreading every day?” Because I loved what I do. No job is perfect and yes, I would love to be independently wealthy but time flies when you are having fun. I still get excited coming out of customer meetings and thinking about how we can help disrupt the market together. Bottom line: You gotta love what you do. Find your passion and find a way to make it a part of your work every day in some way.
.After 10 years, I am filled with gratitude for my village, my peeps, my hive. I need to thank my sisters, my mother, my husband and my friends and neighbors who were my village when i was traveling for work. There were days my kids were struggling, you picked them up. There were teachers who i could not have made it without. My kids learned an important lesson, it takes a village. 10 years is a great milestone but it’s just a drop in the bucket in the grand scheme of life. Here’s to many more decades of loving what you do, being your best you and valuing your most prized possession time with your loved ones.