Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Post Interview Thoughts:


Wow.  That series of interviews was very tough.  Probably the hardest interview loop I've ever been a part of, on either side.  The interviewers were really great at locking in on the purpose of the loop system, which is to slowly zero in on a candidates weaker areas and understand them better, in addition to assigning different areas of focus for each of the interviewers.  I felt like most of the interviews went pretty well, and I felt like overall they liked me.  They liked my passion and desire to work on the team, but the big con that kept appearing throughout the day was that my troubleshooting skills were a little rusty.  It's been about a year, year and a half, since I was actively troubleshooting complex issues on a regular basis, so those skills are a little rusty, and they keyed in on that pretty well.  That, and the fact that I don't have experience supporting a 24x7, production environment.  They seemed willing to look past it, because I went on and interviewed with the final guy, but there are three more guys going through the interview loop.  If any of them have good operations experience combined with a good head on their shoulders, they will probably take the job.

I'm sort of okay with that- it is their job to find the best candidate for the position.  I feel like I could do the job, and do it well, but it is an operations position that has an on call pager.  It is doing something I'm passionate about- working on xbox live- and I'm excited to work there if I do get the position, but I'm realistically looking at the odds and not seeing them in my favor at this point.  It's in God's hands right now- either I find favor in the eyes of the hiring manager, and he pursues me, then awesome.  If not, then I understand.

But I still need to get out of this group.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Well, looking for another job has taken a couple of big leaps in the last week or so.  My last post, on the 6th, I say that the position I was interested in opened up, after I had several informal interviews with that team already.  The team seemed like a decent fit after the informal interviews, and I saw the formal position open up in the internal careers website (I just decided to look for it on a whim and bam there it was).

Well, I shot the hiring manager an e-mail, and he immediately responded, and told me that he was planning on contacting me that day anyway, and that yes I should immediately formally apply for the position.  So I did.  I also answered several questions and provided my years past reviews to him so he can see my performance history at MS.

I was contacted last Friday about setting up a formal interview- that means that they are seriously considering my candidacy for this position, and I'm one giant step closer to getting it.  I'm not sure how many other people have made it to the interview stage, but I know lots of people are out of work and trying to get ops jobs at MS, so I wouldn't be surprised if there are several.  I'm hoping the fact that I've been growing a relationship with them for the past month or so helps.  I also have a friend that is in that group already, so I'm hoping that helps as well.  I can keep adding up things I think will help me get this job, but to be honest, it all comes down to the interviews.  If God wants me to have this job, then I'll have it, and if not, then I won't.  But, the interviews are TOMORROW.  I'm very, very nervous, and excited.  I boosted my gamerscore over the weekend to over 10,000, and I'm hoping I can interview well.  I've been told several times that I interview very well, and I scored extremely high in interview training both at Microsoft and OSC, so I really hope that my interview skills shine through here.  It's a battery of 5 or 6 interviews all in a row, with a short break for lunch.  I've done it before, when I first got this job as an FTE, but it was a bit of a shoe in, because I had already been doing that job as a vendor for a year and a half. 

I just pray for God's will, and I pray I can calm my nerves down and really knock the interviews out of the park.

On another topic... Rosemary is done being pregnant now.  She's in quite a bit of constant nagging pain, and the only thing I asked her was that she wait until after the interviews before she tries to go into labor.  (last time she jumped on a trampoline for half an hour, and we had the kid 24 hrs later)  I just pray that she can have the stamina and mental wits to outfight her hormones, and the revelation from God that this is all to grow us and challenge us, and of course to provide us a new, loved member of our wonderful family :)


WISH ME LUCK!

Rick

Thursday, May 06, 2010

So, I've been having some trouble at work lately.  My relationship with my boss has been strained quite a bit.  To be honest, I'm not even sure why.  In the last 3 months or so, things have just gotten really bad between us.  I used to be his most favorite employee, and he gave me a huuuge bonus and raise last year to show it.  But it's just been a rollercoaster of dissapointment lately.  I can't seem to please him, no matter how hard I try.  He's taken several of my projects away from me and handed them to other people who have little to no knowledge of the topic.  I constantly get looped into e-mails that are roaring with questions no one knows the answer to, about something I've always been in charge of, and for some reason he's going to other people instead of me.  It's pretty frustrating.  I know the server landscape of this division like the back of my hand, and I've been working in that area for more than 6 months now- decommissioning old servers, getting new servers, helping customers, etc. I've even written reports that show our percentages of old hardware, percentages of virtual servers, and so on- and then I see, in the latest team meeting, that another member of the team has made the exact same reports and is now "working" on it.  I guess all of that work I did was forgotten?  I'm not sure.  It definitely makes me feel small.

One of his biggest gripes with me is that I don't think "high level" enough.  I don't think from a huge over-arching year over year strategy- instead, I solve shorter term problems.  I understand this feedback, and agree with it.  My entire career has been solving small problems.  I feel like I am very, very good at solving these sorts of problems, too- as is evidenced by my promotions.  The relationship is so strained, that he's walked into my office and yelled at me recently, and told me that if I keep butting heads with him, it will hurt my career.  Great...

It sort of feels like I'm wearing out my welcome, or that this environment is getting stale for me.  Opportunity is drying up a little.  I've been looking around at other positions (honestly, I have been for years) and it's sort of spurring me on even more.  Originally my thought was that I'd rather work on projects I'm passionate about- xbox live, or the xbox itself, or maybe zune.  Something I can connect with.  I feel like if I was working on something I was crazy passionate about, I'd probably pour more effort and love into it, and do a better job.  I'm not sure if it's true, but that's what I've been telling myself.  I do pour a ton of effort into my current job, and I feel like I do well, so I don't know if I will/can actually do better.  Anyway- my point is, I've had several informational interviews with teams across the Entertainment & Devices division, and today, I looked and saw the position I've had some informationals about, open up.  So... I'm working on submitting my resume and information to the hiring manager right now.

I pray that God's will be done.  I don't like to be a thorn in the side of my boss.