First date at Microsoft (orientation)

I was surprised with the number of new recruits starting on the same date (3 digits and still bellow the average for a Monday!!!). Tim Russell of Human Resources was extremely enthusiastic and did an excellent job throughout the day. A great presenter. He managed to convey so much information to us (culture, benefits, security, etc.) in a way that didn’t feel tiring or boring.

One of the first things he did, and one that will stay with me, was to try and help those who might have felt lost within the large group and overwhelmed (there were many young people in the group). The reason this made an impression on me was not because I had such a problem but because it reminded me of a similar situation from few years back, when I joined the Greek army. The second day of my ‘military career’ a Colonel gathered all the new drafts (around 1,000 of us) and made us sit down outside, under the Greek sun. We were, of course, all dressed exactly the same. The first thing he says? “Forget your individuality, forget who you are, to me you are all the same.” For someone who didn’t want to be there, who had given up a research career in order to go back to Greece because of a stupid drafting law, who was trying to stand out because of his work, this was a bad bad moment. I felt horrible. In contrast, Tim tried to do the exact opposite and although I didn’t need it, it reminded me of that moment in the army.

Over lunch, I was talking to some of the new employees about our backgrounds and what we were doing there. Amongst others, I met Danny Lange who sold his company (Vocomo) to Google and then joined Microsoft as an Architect. Danny has done a lot in his career but I knew him because of his work on Aglets. My Master’s dissertation was on mobile agents and I know that Paul Watson has been looking on similar technologies for his Active Information Repository (AIR) ideas (computation moving close to data).

Met other people as well. Tomorrow some more orientation and then in my office!

A great day!

Update (13 Sep 2005) : My very good friend Katerina from Greece complained about this post so I wanted to make sure that there were no misunderstandings. It was not my intention to say anything bad about Greece. I love my country and this is why I chose to go back and do my military service, instead of permanently staying abroad and losing my Greek passport (that’s what would have happened then if I had chosen not to join the army; the law has changed now). Yesterday, I only remembered my psychology at that particular incident and I tried to share it with you. I am certain that all armies are similar and this was not specific to the Greek one. That shouldn’t reflect my feelings for Greece though. I would have felt the same no matter which country’s army it was.

Also, regarding another email I received, I did not want to equate the Microsoft experience with my army experience. Far from it. It was just that what Tim said at that particular moment brought back a particular memory/feeling from the army. That’s all.

Phew! :-)

Comments are closed.