I've changed companies again! I seem to be doing this a lot lately, but there are (as always) good reasons for it. This time around, the nice folks at LinkedIn reached out about a Distinguished Engineer role they had in the developer productivity space. It seemed like such a perfect fit for me, that I couldn't say no. I had a tremendously rewarding experience going through the interview process and got to meet many of LinkedIn's most senior technical leaders. They were direct and candid, and I liked talking with them a lot.
One thing that's especially interesting about this particular job is that I finally (in an indirect kind of way) also now work for Microsoft. I didn't contemplate this much during the interview process, but since I accepted and started sharing the news with folks, several people reacted, "Ah... that means you're working at Microsoft now?".
Back in 1994, when I was just starting my first year of University, I read "Showstopper!" by G. Pascal Zachary. It painted an honestly slightly scary picture of the experience of several engineers with very little in the way of what we'd call work / life balance today at Microsoft during the time when Windows NT was coming into existence. At that time, and in that very different world, I was a huge fan of Microsoft. This book, despite depicting such harrowing things as a person who got divorced because they were working too hard, had a weird effect - it ignited me on a journey that would lead to 25 years of working at various technology companies, and propel me thousands of miles away from home to Silicon Valley.
There was something compelling, not about the workaholism, but about the sheer passion with which those individuals and teams took on their work. I wanted nothing more than to be a part of something monumental like that. In some strange way, hard work doesn't feel like that when you're doing things that are truly meaningful and when you're enfranchised to make a difference. Maybe not coincidentally, I'm feeling that way about my new job, early as it is.
I'm in a very, very different place now, and Microsoft is in a very, very different place, and I don't actually work in Microsoft, even though Microsoft is the parent company of the place I do work. I get to visit Redmond in a few weeks as an extended employee for a summit, and it's something I'm awfully excited about. Even though I've never been there before, it's oddly like coming home to a formative idea of what it was like to work in the software industry.