Last Friday I took part in the annual Microsoft Day of Caring, a day set aside each year for employees to volunteer to perform community activities. Thousands of ‘softies take on hundreds of different activities each year. This year I helped weed and clean up Golden Garden Park, a lovely park in the Ballard area of Seattle that boasts a gorgeous view of Puget Sound. It seems the park was facing a large incursion of non-native plant life and nasty blackberry bushes, so a group of about 40 Microsoft people descended on the park on a blustery Friday morning to take on the task.

I'm not much of a gardener, as my neighbors and family will agree, but this was really fun work. It was great to get out and do work completely different from the kinds of stuff I do every day on the job. We were out there with picks and clippers and other garden tools, a set of tools very different from my regular Visual Studio toolbox. It was also great to get out and enjoy the beautiful sunlight that came out around 11:00. You know, it sounds corny, but getting out there and feeling like I was helping the community was really the best reward. Our group pulled out an astonishing amount of weeds - at least, it was astonishing to me to look at all the six-foot-tall piles of Japanese knotwood and see that people like me had done that. And as I looked at all my sweaty and tired compatriots at the end of the day, I could see that many of them felt the same way.

I've been with the company for 7 years, but this is the first time I've taken part in this event. I might not have taken part if my friend Karin hadn't recommended I do so. Karin is a former oceanographer and is very environmentally conscious. But I'm glad I did, and I'm kicking myself for not doing this sooner.

I'm sure this post reads like Microsoft propaganda, but I just wanted to share something nicely positive that Microsoft does. There are many reasons I'm proud to work at Microsoft; this is definitely one of them.

Jason Sacks
Headers & Libs PM, Windows SDK