It’s hard to believe, but it was 10 years ago this week that I first went to work at Microsoft, the ink on my new MCSE certification still fresh. To this day, I’m still not sure how I made it through the rigorous interview process, but somehow I made it on as a “blue-badge” (a full-time Microsoft employee, as opposed to the “orange-badge” contractors that mostly walked through the door), hired to provide professional server support from the still-under-construction Las Colinas campus in Irving, Texas.
I arrived just as Windows 2000 was being released to manufacturing and just in time for Y2K. It was also right before the dot-com bubble burst in early 2000. Indeed, in the two years I worked there, I saw the glory days of the late ’90s — a time when working at Microsoft meant swimming in lucrative company stock options and bonuses and work was something you did between foosball tournaments — give way to the harsh realities of the falling stock market, before regaining a sense of hopeful optimism with the impending release of Windows XP.
It was from my cubicle that I watched the presidential debate between George W. Bush and Al Gore in which Gore touted his infamous “lockbox” and where I watched the ugliness of the 2000 election drag on with all its “hanging chads”. And it was from my cubicle where I witnessed the horror of September 11th. But it was also a place where I made numerous friendships and countless memories.
It was a stressful job, and I can’t say I fully miss it. But I learned more there than I have at any other job I’ve ever had. It provided invaluable experience that I’ve taken with me in the years since leaving, and I’m grateful for the time I was given there.