Working at Microsoft Canada has been amazing. I am halfway through my 8 month term and already I’m dreading the day to say goodbye.  My positive experience can be contributed by a variety of factors such as the nurturing environment, friendly co-workers, lunch-and-learn sessions, an excellent manager, opportunities for development, and other perks including my Windows Phone 7!

How did I get here? Well, I started out pretty small but grew steadily with hard work and dedication. I went from volunteering at my high school to volunteering at the Science Center and Art Gallery of Ontario. I then moved on to working at a retail chain, and a small business. When I saw the job application for Microsoft, I thought, “Why not? It does not hurt to apply.” To my complete awe and wonder, I got chosen for an interview and subsequently the position. One thing I did correctly: I showed my passion for learning, my dedication, and my positive outlook on life.

I was excited at the prospect of working for a large business for the first time. But something was at the back of my mind. I had always assumed Microsoft was only looking for students in the fields of computer science and engineering, so automatically I ruled myself out. I mean I had a little experience with coding in high school and took a course in University, but that’s about it. I heard it’s actually harder to get into the “business” roles in organizations like these because they mostly hire young adults with coding experience and only business professionals. However, through applying for the job, I demonstrated opening my eyes to the opportunities out there.

I am a few months in at Microsoft, and already I feel that I fit in perfectly. Sure there is a lot of work to do, but I always keep in mind that with effective time-management and knowing I am never alone, the work will get completed. The atmosphere here is one I have never experienced before; everyone is willing to help no matter where in the hierarchy we both are.  One significant (and shall I say embarrassing?) moment was on my first day here. I had asked someone to help me set up my access/connection for a work program. The person willingly helped me, accepted my thanks, and went back to work. A few days later, I found out that the same person was actually the director of the entire department! I felt that even though I was only there temporarily, I was never treated as such.  The moral of this anecdote: Take chances and ask for help – in most cases, people want to share their knowledge.   

As well, most of my positive experience here was influenced by my manager. It really helped to have someone listen to my needs and expectations of the job, create development plans, and actually carry them through! I was given the opportunity to explore not only my job and the field, but also work with other departments and other managers. There are always opportunities to get involved in additional projects around Microsoft; these allow anyone to develop multiple competencies and experiences.

Everyone knows that work needs to be done on a timely manner and with their best effort – it’s a mutual agreement at Microsoft. Personally, I find I am stimulated by those people who are high achievers; those who take their work and transform it to another level – that’s what I see at Microsoft all the time. This behaviour stems from a core of hard work and dedication.

I’m very lucky and grateful to working at Microsoft. I am learning a tremendous amount about business processes, operations, and management. I now can actually link concepts from my business courses right into real life!

So, if you only remember a few tips from my story, please remember these:

·         Don’t assume you know a company completely and rule it out of your options – research opportunities!

·         Demonstrate and always show the real you – that’s the best way to assess a fit between yourself and an organization.

·         Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

·         Take a chance and try something new.

I am glad I opened my eyes and took a chance. Something so insignificant at first may actually turn into something surprisingly meaningful…Try it yourself!