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Working at Microsoft — Reviews by Employees

Learn what employees have to say about Microsoft pay, work/life balance, care potential, job security, and much more by reading our anonymous employee reviews.

Reviews of Jobs at Microsoft

3.1Rating Details
Category
Pay2
Respect2
Benefits3
Job Security3
Work/Life Balance2
Career Growth3
Location5
Co-Workers5
Work Environment4

From Mountain View, CA — 09/22/2010

I was at WebTV when Microsoft bought us in 1997. They told us how much they loved us, what we had accomplished, our vision...and then set about dismantling us.

First they took our group of "producers", non-techie types who put together content for the system. They reassigned most of them to be QA engineers. Imagine! How does someone go from being an English major at Stanford to a QA engineer without any training?

Second, they set about trying to swap out our own tried-and-true technologies for some of their own. Disaster. The decisions were being made on what was MSFT, not what was the best choice. Put WinCE into our device? You gotta be kidding me.

Of course people left as more bad decisions were made. Nobody was the defender of the technology or the customer, and MSFT succeeded in killing another competitor. Yes, competitor. You see, MSFT had spent something like $2 BILLION on trying to break into the home entertainment space by that point. Everything from MSFT VCRs and "smart" DVD players and even an MSFT television had been worked on and failed. MSFT was determined to make it into the living room, so in purchasing a company who was having success there and apply typical MSFT strategies, they both got what they wanted and killed it in one fell swoop.

Oh, and the Ming the Merciless character from MSFT HR who moved down to California to oversee the transition was a real hoot. She wore her collars up, as though they defied physics. She defied a lot herself, including common sense. For example, when the former WebTV CEO exited, she began interviewing every other employ who exited asking for dirt on the old CEO. Clearly, MSFT was interested in taking him down, for some reason. No reason to ask for dirt on a previous employee otherwise. And this got around, angering many of the people who were first-on in the start-up period, so they left because MSFT showed little respect for the founder of the company.

We had our own building, a former Sun Microsystems building. It was nice. My co-workers from the acquisition were pretty much some of the best people I worked with before or since. The people we started working with in Redmond, though, weren't quite as smart. In my opinion, some MSFT managers frequently proved ignorant about our product, service, customers, market, and opportunities. Yet these same managers held power over us and made decisions for us. Yes, all you higher-ups, you might want to read that again. There were some people who fit that description. So, people left because of bad management out of Redmond, too.

MSFT didn't want to adjust our pay based on cost of living. We had been on slave wages for our start-up period, so when we were purchased by the richest company in our industry (second wealthiest in the whole USA), we had every expectation of being brought up to more livable pay rates. At that time, the Bay Area outranked Beverly Hills in terms of cost of living. Instead of bring us up to parity with our friends at established companies in the area, they gave us a 5% increase, as I recall and promised to reconsider things in another year. Woo-hoo.

Ming the Merciless said at a company meeting that we were at parity with Redmond, so MSFT was satisfied that we were well paid. Redmond? Are you fricking kidding me? Just because someone could live very well on $30K in Redmond, WA in 1997 didn't mean they could live in San Francisco in anything more than a studio apartment they share with two others. So, people left MSFT for better paying jobs, too.

MSFT stock began sliding down around that time. Dropping, dropping. And it's never recovered. That's another reason why people left. If you don't get a pay raise, all you have to hope for is stock or another job.

Of course, some WebTV people converted to the MSFT mentality and playbook just fine. Some are still there. What's evil to one is fair game to another, and I don't deny it.

Long hours, little respect, lower-than-average pay for the area, and there you have it. MSFT acquisition strategy in a nutshell. At least, that's how it was in 1997.
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3.9Rating Details
Category
Pay4
Respect4
Benefits5
Job Security4
Work/Life Balance3
Career Growth4
Location3
Co-Workers4
Work Environment5

From Seattle, WA — 04/16/2010

Any review of Microsoft must be taken in context. Microsoft is a large company with several divisions. Large divisions like Windows (where I work) have dozens and dozens of sub-organizations. Every one of these divisions, and many of the sub-organizations, has a different culture, expectations, work-life balance, you name it.

Windows has long product cycles, with intense planning exercises at the front, and crunch times at the end. The work can be extremely rewarding (think of the impact: hundreds of millions of people use Windows every day), and your co-workers will be among the smartest you've ever worked with. However, the environment can be competitive: prepare to be able to navigate a tide of strong personalities and suffer disappointments!

Pay is above average, work life balance is much better than the "old" Microsoft. You will work hard but you'll still be able to have a life outside of work. Eastside (Redmond) is a cultural wasteland. And despite all the industry nay-sayers, Windows will continue to be shipping for a long time, so job security isn't a problem if click well with the environment.
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3.3Rating Details
Category
Pay4
Respect3
Benefits4
Job Security3
Work/Life Balance3
Career Growth4
Location4
Co-Workers3
Work Environment4

From WA — 02/11/2010

If you are a contractor ( orange badge) you can be either a v- vendor or an a- agency.
Both of these offer benefits but if you are an a- you will must take off 100 days and essentially go on unemployment or have your spouse support you or work in another company. Many of these jobs do lead to full time FTE employment.

Management has good and bad folks, like anywhere. Although I would say there are a huge amount of greencard immigration-working on resident temporary Visa status Managers that make business cultural norms at times difficult to discern and to navigate.

This is technology- you will work harder and longer.
Best to attach to a good Sr. mentor and know your stuff. Sadly a few do not.
Good work life balance, best I have seen.
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4.6Rating Details
Category
Pay5
Respect5
Benefits5
Job Security4
Work/Life Balance4
Career Growth5
Location4
Co-Workers5
Work Environment5

From Fargo, ND — 01/25/2010

This is really a great company to work for. I realize that whenever one is seen as monopolistic in nature that no one ever views them as having a 'heart'. Well this company made up of brilliant people, do! There isn't anyone in the world that doesnít know the name Microsoft and many of them use our products daily and LOVE them; that alone counts for much. And, as with anything, it's always those who have the most negative things to say that tend to have the loudest voice. Watch the news - how many feel good stories do you hear about? Itís mostly sensationalism; same situation that Microsoft finds itself in. No matter how good the intent (and thereís LOTS Of that here), effective changes, wonderful products, etc., the people who hate the most will continue to lead and thatís just too bad!
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4.6Rating Details
Category
Pay5
Respect5
Benefits5
Job Security4
Work/Life Balance5
Career Growth5
Location4
Co-Workers5
Work Environment5

From Mountain View, CA — 10/06/2009

The people are excellent, and fun to work with. Everyone is competent at their jobs.
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3.9Rating Details
Category
Pay5
Respect4
Benefits5
Job Security5
Work/Life Balance5
Career Growth2
Location5
Co-Workers5
Work Environment1

From New York, NY — 09/27/2009

I have been with Microsoft now over 2 years and I can say that it is a great company to work for. We have great products coming out daily (and I DO mean daily). Can you imagine what it is like where everywhere you go, everyone is using one of your products? They pay is good and the work/home balance is good.

Very competitive. You have to stay on top of all the technologies. My only complaint and it is not Microsoft's fault is that I hate all the Microsoft bashing at my client sites, bars, parties,,,,etc.
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3.5Rating Details
Category
Pay4
Respect4
Benefits5
Job Security4
Work/Life Balance2
Career Growth2
Location4
Co-Workers5
Work Environment4

From Redmone, Washington — 09/08/2009

After working for M$ for 8 years, I know the company very well. Don't work as a FTE work as a "V" or "A" dash.

M$ Tactics.

The shaft and shift - Employees rate managers so when M$ gives you a lower review than you worked hard for (10 hour days) they will move you to a new manager.

The invisible leash - You have to get permission to interview with another group, which gives your manager time to call and let the other group know that your present org is hurting with people leaving and can't afford to loose any more employees.

Stay in your rut boy - After learning a few years of new technologies and being 3 levels of expertise above your current job, you are not allowed to apply for jobs above your current level. M$ says thanks for the free expertise sucker.

Bad economy bad pay - M$ preaches pay based on performance, but it's pay based on M$ profit. If there is a risk of losing members in good economic times, M$ pays well. If your in a recession M$ knows you are not going anywhere so don't expect a bonus for your 10+ hour day.

Open and Honest - You are expected to be open and honest to M$. M$ is going to lie their face of to you. Got a situation where you noticed M$ being dishonesty and email HR. You will not get a email back as M$ doesn't want evidence in court. Talk about your pay/bonus to others, M$ is going to fire you. The boss's friend who works a 3 hour day just got a 10K bonus and a promotion, you will never know as its company confidential.
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3.2Rating Details
Category
Pay5
Respect4
Benefits4
Job Security1
Work/Life Balance2
Career Growth5
Location3
Co-Workers3
Work Environment2

From Redmond, WA — 08/31/2009

I was a blue badge that left due to a lack of work/life balance. The company is extremely competitive internally, and evaluations are loosely based on a bell curve which does not leave any room for mistakes, and there are very few dummies who work there. 60 hour work weeks are typical, more closer to deadlines. Corporate culture is disturbingly full of introverted megalomaniacs, and is also top heavy. Compensation and perks are excellent, and facilities and resources are world class. It all depends on who you get to work with...and you have to watch your back. If you're an engineer and money is all that you care about, then Microsoft is for you.
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3.3Rating Details
Category
Pay4
Respect4
Benefits5
Job Security4
Work/Life Balance3
Career Growth3
Location3
Co-Workers3
Work Environment3

From Redmond, WA — 05/13/2009

I was FTE at Microsoft for past 8 years. My experice is over all very good other than few things as other menionted like internal politics, duplication of work etc. MS Benefits are best in industry while their Pay is also above average.
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4.1Rating Details
Category
Pay4
Respect5
Benefits5
Job Security5
Work/Life Balance2
Career Growth5
Location5
Co-Workers5
Work Environment4

From Redmond, WA — 03/30/2009

MS is a great place to work. The benefits, perks, and incentives canít be beat. Most of the people I have had the pleasure to work with are exceptionally bright, motivated, and interested in delivery.
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