Last Thursday, I informed my manager that I have decided to leave Microsoft to pursue other opportunities.

My last day will be September 2nd -- just a few days shy of my 11 year anniversary date with the company (my first day was September 5, 2000).

You might be wondering why I would choose to forgo a steady paycheck, excellent benefits, and four weeks vacation per year -- especially in this economy. (I know my mother certainly questions my sanity at the moment. Fortunately my wife, on the other hand, sincerely understands my decision and respects it -- even though it means that we will need to "cinch up our belts" for some time while I build up my own business.)

It certainly wasn't an easy decision, but it has been one that I've been considering for quite some time.

The reality is that being a Principal Consultant with Microsoft Consulting Services is very challenging. However, if you know me at all, then you know that one of the things I enjoy most is overcoming challenges -- so my decision certainly wasn't based on "burnout" or the desire to get out of the consulting business.

It also wasn't that I was unable to find billable work (in other words, meet my "utilization target" -- which, by the way, was 119% for this past fiscal year). The truth is, prior to my current project (which started in late May), I billed the full rate for a Principal Consultant (i.e. $308.75/hr) at a single customer for 18 months straight -- and no, that wasn't commissioned through one long contract, but rather the result of numerous extensions (made possible by continually delivering a release every six to eight weeks).

Nor was it that I had to travel full-time to work with customers (although that is becoming the norm for many MCS consultants I know). On the contrary, I've been working from home the vast majority of the last five years (since my daughter was born).

So, then why am I leaving Microsoft?

The short answer is that I'm an entrepreneur at heart with a strong passion for leveraging software to help businesses thrive, and while I could have stayed with Microsoft Consulting Services for the foreseeable future, I believe the time is right for change.

If you've engaged my services through Microsoft in the past, then you know that, working together, we can achieve great things. No...not great things, amazing things -- in incredibly short periods of time. If we haven't worked together in the past, but you are looking for top-notch SharePoint/.NET/SQL Server/TFS consulting services, then let's connect so we can discuss how I can help you maximize your investment in Microsoft technology.

I've got a lot to do over the next couple of weeks before my last day -- such as ensuring a smooth transition on my current project, obtaining a business email address other than jjameson@microsoft.com, and finding a new home for my blog (which I promise will see significantly more posts over the coming year than in years past).

I started researching alternative blog services this past weekend, and I'll be sure to update this blog once I know the new location for "Random Musings of Jeremy Jameson."

Until then, you can always reach me via my LinkedIn profile:

http://www.linkedin.com/in/jeremyjameson