Someone recently asked me about the best kept secret about working at Microsoft. Gosh, that is hard...there is so much on the Internet about working here. But here are the things that surprised me:

First, I was truly shocked at how incredibly nice people were. Very welcoming and offered to meet with me when I first started to help me ramp up.

Your co-workers become your Friends. This is good news for the folks that relocate. Many of my co-workers have become my friends outside of work. At previous companies, I couldn't wait to get away from some of the folks I worked with (sorry, it's true...but I don't mean my old friend and co-worker Valerie S).

You do get sick of free t-shirts. I think the men here like them  more. I just don't really wear that kind of stuff usually and you only need so many to sleep in. Similarly the novelty of the free soda wears off. It becomes less about being free and more about the convenience of having it there when you want it. I'm down to one diet coke a day but lots and lots of fizzy water.

The entrepreneurial mentality here also surprised me. Each group is run like a business and sometimes we feel like the underdog.

I have to admit that I feel a little spoiled sometimes. I feel pretty lucky to work at a company with adequate resources and really nice office space. It's easy to forget what it was like before you got here.

People really do have whole conversations in acronyms. Sounds like some kind of secret code. As a new person, you just have to write them down, deal with the fact that you aren't part of the conversation, and ask someone later. Sometimes if I hear one of these conversations and it's technical, I will jump in with "bleep, zork, xibbet!". I'm sure they think I am hilarious.

Oh, here's a good one....no matter how smart you think you are, you work with someone smarter here. That takes a little getting used to for anyone accustomed to being the smarty-pants (no unsolicited comments from my mother here, please). But for me, being around smart people makes me perform better (hmm, think I am a little competitive?...in a good way though).

I'm not sure if any of these are secrets or even surprising to anyone. I'm trying to remember what I felt like my first few months at Microsoft and I guess I just felt like the dorky new girl (former miss smarty pants).

I'm going to try and resist signing off my blogs with former Miss Smarty Pants now ; )