They pull me back in. But in all fairness, I was the one who asked to be pulled back in.
My game plan for my post-Microsoft/Seattle life was to attend graduate school full-time for a Masters in Human Factors (User Experience) at San Jose State while I trained for my 3rd degree black belt with my grand master and get serious about triathlons and long-distance cycling. But life always seems to happen to me whenever I make plans.
Just 6 months into my post-Microsoft life, I received an athletic career-ending leg injury (life session: always get a 2nd opinion, especially when working with a non-MD “doctor”). No more karate and many other sports I loved. I kinda feel like I’m in that Twilight Zone episode where Burgess Meredith finally has all the time in the world to read his books but breaks his glasses.
After the injury, a close friend (a fellow karateka from Seattle) gave me some advice, “If you could do anything, what would you do?” And my first honest thought was, “I wanted to get back to working on great products again. I want to help people become more productive as possible using those products. I want to do another Tip of the Day series. I want to write more books and do more community activities.” As I looked around the Bay area, I began to realize more and more that Microsoft gave me the opportunities that I wanted back. It was amazing how much I took for granted as a college hire to MSFT. And more importantly, I learned why all non-MSFTies ask “What’s a Program Manager?”
This summer, a PM position opened up on the Mac PowerPoint team, ironically down the hall from my last MSFT office (I seriously can’t make this stuff up). In a way, my career has moved naturally from F5 to build (in Visual Studio) to a “PM F5” to start Slide Show :) But more importantly, in an internal farewell post to the Microsoft bloggers, I said, “If someone were to do a tip of the day for Windows or Office, you could change the world.” Little did I know I would be inspiring myself. And yes, I’m still in grad school for a Masters in UX (Human Factors) at San Jose State – If Jeff Atwood has it on his blog tagline, you know it is worth getting a Masters in. Plan to see more posts about Human Factors.
Long-time readers of this blog know how much Karate meant to me, so I hope to find something else to fill that void (maybe Iaido if my wrists aren’t too tight from all the years of typing, or rock climbing provided I can overcome my fear of heights). New readers will be wondering, “Why are you sharing this?” They should read about my phobia of plants. Seriously, I’ve always worn my heart on my sleeve (i.e. to be as human as possible on this blog) as a Microsoft employee - hands-down my favorite opportunity at Microsoft. And I don’t see any reason to change that now.
Here’s hoping I can hit another blogging home run with Mac PowerPoint. For my next blog post, I plan to follow what I did for Visual Studio: to blog about the best features I never knew about PowerPoint until I joined the team.
Here we go!