Microsoft: A Day in the Life

My job rocks. Yesterday was by no means typical, but then no two days working for the world’s biggest software company are the same. Here’s my yesterday, warts and all.

6:30 AM: Wake up early so I can get to work in time for the 9:00 AM keynote address that kicks off this week’s “Engineering Excellence and Trustworthy Computing Forum” (EE&TwC). I wear my totally awesome Xbox T-shirt.

7:30 AM: Catch Metro 242 for Overlake. Write one poem and read half an issue of Poetry magazine. Listen to Green Day on my iPod. (Everybody at Microsoft has an iPod.)
8:30 AM: After passing the North American headquarters of my old employer, I arrive at the transit center in Redmond and catch a Microsoft shuttle to the Conference Center. (There’s a whole fleet of shuttles to get you from one end of the campus to the other. There are special shuttles for recruits. There are special shuttles for interns. It’s like the City of the Future.)

8:45 AM: Check in, get my conference ID and free T-shirt (my first Microsoft swag!). Bypass the free food, grab a free soda, and get a third-row seat for the keynote.
9:00 AM: Listening to the keynote by Jon DeVaan, I’m reminded why I love working for Microsoft: I’m surrounded by brilliant, passionate people from all over the world who genuinely seem to care about making the world a better place through technology.

9:50 AM: I’m getting antsy because I have a 10:00 meeting across campus at my building (tucked in some trees behind the world headquarters of this company).
10:00 AM: I decide to duck out because there doesn’t seem to be a break between the 9:00 AM and 10:00 AM sessions. I figure I’ll disrupt the fewest people by going four seats over, three rows down, and across the front of the room. Jon says, “I’m pleased to introduce Steve Ballmer!” So, I get to be the guy who stands up and leaves as a Senior VP introduces the CEO of Microsoft. Did I mention the TV cameras? Yeah, I’d forgotten about those.

12:15 PM My morning improved as I got some work done, and now I’m ready to meet some Japanese friends for lunch. Knowing I’m slammed, they’re kind enough to join me in the cafeteria in my building. The food at Microsoft isn’t half bad, and it’s cheap. If I don’t like the menu in my building, I can look up menus online and catch a shuttle to any of the other buildings. Today’s entree is Indian cuisine, so I choose palak paneer and daal with naan and samosas, swipe my badge at the register to pay, grab some more free soda, and get caught up with my friends. There are conversations going on in so many languages around me that nobody bats an eye at my Japanese (I’m used to fellow white people staring at me). Yup, this is the World of Tomorrow.

2:30 PM: With more “real” work out of the way, I head back to the Conference Center to get a good seat for the end-of-day keynote with Bill Gates.
2:45 PM: I arrive in time to hear a high-level FBI official (speaking about cyber-crime and Internet security) crack a joke about hackers the U.S. has handed over to third-world countries being tortured. Nobody laughs.

3:00 PM: Jon DeVaan introduces Bill Gates. I’m not standing up this time. Bill gets right down to business, presenting his vision for the future of the company and the future of technology. He’s not the charismatic, boisterous speaker that Steve Ballmer is, but it’s hard not to be captivated by the vision of the man who basically invented the industry we all work in. Sure, there’s a part of me that wonders how I went from a Mac-using, Firefox-surfing, Blogspotting and Gmailing (Google products), Flickrite (now a Yahoo! product) to full assimilation in a month, but the energy and potential at Microsoft are contagious.

5:00 PM I’m finished at the Conference Center, and there’s no sense in waiting for a shuttle and doing half an hour of work, so I take the hard copies I’m editing with me and head home. I love my job. It’s a beautiful day.