Friday 24th,2021 was my last day at Microsoft. It wasn't an easy decision to leave Microsoft and my team. I thought a lot before handing over my resignation. There was a journey of learning and growing and I will be forever grateful for the opportunity.
I had so many first-time experiences. I have listed some of the interesting ones below
- My first fully remote job
- My first credit card!
I didn’t have any credit cards before and as part of this job I got an Amex Card. I have learned about delinquency fees as a result of not knowing much about credit cards and how the expense process works. Painful and costly experience!
- My first shares! I didn’t know what to do with shares and haven’t signed up for the employee's share scheme for around a year. Until one of my colleagues, Andrew Coates explained in simple language what’s its benefit and later David McGhee explained about capital gain and tax on shares.
- My first work travelAll my past jobs have been in the office and no need to travel to other cities let alone to another country. I have been nervous for a good few days before my first travel. Vaughan Knight, my manager at the time booked the same flight and showed me Seattle and Microsoft office.I haven’t had shared a room with someone else other than my immediate family members before. I hope I was a good roommate for Elaine van Bergen. I was waiting till late at night before going back to the room and was going to the lobby’s toilets most of the time! Too afraid of what she may think of me if I occupy the toilet for too long or even worse the lingering smell! I’m glad Microsoft changed the policy of sharing rooms with colleagues.
- My first conference presentation
I had presented at meetups in a friendly environment before but presenting at DDD Sydney was my first serious presentation and public speaking. One of my biggest fears was the topic was about the Microsoft Bot framework. English is not my first language and I have an accent. I pronounce “bot”, “but” and “butt” kind of the same way! I had nightmares of people laughing when I’m presenting and say “Bot”. I needed to present on the big stage in front of a crowd whom I didn’t know. To add to my stress the session was being recorded by a professional camera crew! Well, I did it, and no drama!
I'm also grateful, Andrew Coates one of my colleagues spend some time doing a practice run with me and provided feedback on content and slides.
- My first co-PresentationCo-Presenting at NDC Sydney with Jordan Knight was another milestone.
- My first reward $$$
I have never got rewards before joining Microsoft. Either I have been a full-time employee with set salary compensation or a contractor with an agreed daily rate. Having the concept of at the end of the year you may get extra money and salary increase was amazing.
- My first reorg experience
Experiencing having a short-notice meeting invite and being informed of the organizational changes in 30 minutes 1:1s wasn’t a pleasant experience for the first time. However, over time you learn to embrace changes and plan for the short-term and long-term goals. Getting comfortable to have different managers and change focus and core priorities was an experience I gained over the years at Microsoft.
- My first game
I was fortunate enough to get an opportunity to build a game in unity using an Xbox Kinect sensor. The game was featured during vivid Sydney at the Microsoft store.
- My first airport lounge experience
David Burela took me to LA Lounge for the first time. I didn’t know such a thing does exist.
- My first International Co-Presentation
Co-Presenting at NDC London with David Burela
The NDC conference paid for my accommodation and ticket! It was a nice feeling knowing you have something to share and people would like to hear you and they will pay for it!
- Meeting my coding Idol “Scott Hanselman”!
Thanks to Nigel Parker for introducing me to Scott at NDC London. It was a brief, non-trivial introduction but it was memorable.
On the first day, I migrated to Sydney, Australia in 2010. Somehow, My husband & I ended up at a BBQ party with our new housemates at the Lane cove national park. I met an engineer who was working in the Community Engine startup. He mentioned their company is looking to hire and suggested learning about MVC .Net.
Coming from a Desktop, distributed software engineering background I didn’t know much about web development. Watching Scott’s presentations, going through the NerdDinner tutorial helped me secure my first job in my first ever technical interview in English. I became a fan of Scott since I watched his presentation. I really like how Scott explains the technical topics.
- My first business class flight
Traveling to India to be a coach at machine learning open hack was my first experience flying abroad in business class
- Lead ML open hack Sydney
Working with Pat Stanton and Megan Mallin to organize an event for engineers to learn machine learning and computer vision concepts. Hosting machine learning experts across the globe, presenting at the event, answering the audience's technical questions was an absolute pleasure.
- First time getting nominated for ARN women in ICT awards
I was lucky I got nominated two years in a row (2019, 2020) in the technical category.
- First time working remotely with/for customers outside of AEST time zone
I got the opportunity to work with amazing engineers and data scientists across the globe to help some of Microsoft's enterprise customers outside of Australia.
- First time being an Engineering Manager
I have been super fortunate that Nigel Parker, Jeremiah Talkar, Sara Spalding, Jordan Knight, Treacy Trewin, and Dan Massey trusted me and gave me the opportunity to become an engineering manager.
I have been a tech lead before. I also ran my own business with my co-founder friends. However, it was my first time leading and managing a team within an organization. It brought so many first-time experiences (remote Hiring, remote Onboarding, forming a team, running 1:1s remotely, Annual reviews, providing feedback & having difficult conversations, …)
- First time being Featured
- I was super stoked when I got asked if I was interested in being a news anchor for Microsoft build in the APAC region. Absolutely loved my experience of going to the studio. My hair and makeup were done by a professional hair and make-up artist. Learned a few tips on presenting from a TV production director and reading news from autocue!
- First time I have stayed working within one organization for this long.
Apart from the time I was one of the founders of the startup. This is the first job I have stayed for more than four years without the temptation to change.
I have been fortunate to work with amazing people and get so many opportunities along the way. I will be forever grateful for it. I still cannot believe how so many senior leaders, managers, and colleagues without any hesitation mentored, coached, and sponsored me during various stages of my career at Microsoft.