What's the company culture at Microsoft?

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Every business has it's own style. What is the office environment and culture like at Microsoft?

Are people dressed in business casual, jeans and t-shirts, or full-on suits? Do folks get together for Friday happy hours and friendly get-togethers?

What is a typical day in the life of an employee at Microsoft?

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Nicci in Lakewood, Washington

85 months ago

My boyfriend works there and sometimes I have lunch with him at the campus. If you are programmer or a Dev it is very laid back. He wears jeans and a shirt, tennis shoes to work. But if you are the legal, business, Hr side they are dressed up. My boyfriend's team is about 15 people - all men. They don't really get together often. They had a few office parties but noting routine.

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Chris hancock in River Grove, Illinois

83 months ago

can you tell me about pre employment testing? Physical etc?

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DTS in Winter Park, Florida

82 months ago

I used to work at MSFT but I left 4 years ago. Part of the reason I left was that the environment inside the company is dog-eat-dog. For each person who gets a "good" performance review, an equal number of people must recieve a "bad" performance review. This leads to cutthroat internal competition, a lack of empathy or friendship in the office, and generally an unfriendly environment. The atmosphere of the campus is great, the benefits are great, the pay is great, but the people you work with are definitely out to stab you in the back.

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Other Half in Carnation, Washington

82 months ago

My other half works at Microsoft. Dress is pretty casual and yes they do occasionally meet socially, however you will find that there are many individual refrigerators stocked with beer for on the spot celebrations.

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Former Contractor At Microsoft in Bothell, Washington

82 months ago

If one is a CSG at Microsoft-cover your behind.Many managers dangle the possibility of becoming an FTE "if" you do a good job. It is just that-a carrot. For me, if I need to make a quick buck-then and only then will I go back.

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Dana in Charlotte, North Carolina

81 months ago

Has anyone ever worked at or visited the Charlotte, NC campus? If so, how is the culture and environment?

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Bill in Duvall, Washington

81 months ago

I spent over a decade at MSFT, only recently leaving because I finally got sick of it. Backstabbing, behind the back, everything on this page is true, except for the "above average $$$ per hour" comment. Perhaps ten years ago, but MSFT has has not kept up. They are barely 50th percentile these days. Have a look around, you can get better pay and MUCH better work conditions elsewhere these days. MSFT is a "has been".

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Kathy in Silvana, Washington

81 months ago

No amount of money or the freedom to wear zories and shorts to work can compensate for being harassed. Several people in the MSFT group I was in were treated like crap despite their best efforts to comply with the unreasonable and impossible demands placed on them. I know of a lead being demoted just so that the group manager could make a good friend of his with no qualification or experience for the job a lead.

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Mark in Salt Lake City, Utah

81 months ago

I just left MSFT in Redmond after 12 years there. With each passing year, it got worse. "Work smarter, not harder", "Do more with less", and every other "pointy-haired boss" cliche's you can think of, are a way of life at MSFT. Meanwhile, more time is spent by management coming with ways to cover their own butts than actually working.

If you can play the game, that is now more important than actually being able to do the job. The performance review process is about playing favorites and rewarding those who don't complain when you pile work on them. MSFT claims to support a work/life balance. Don't you believe it. If you take time off to be with your family it WILL be used against you when they stack rank you against a group of people who have no lives and will literally sleep there.

I had managers who were so incompentent that they couldn't land a job anywhere else. But, they knew how to play the game there and had been doing it for years. There's two kinds of people there these days, those who are relatively new and haven't burned out yet and those in "rest and vest" mode, just coasting for as long as they can.

I can't warn you enough about how prevalent the "burn and turn" philosphy is at MSFT. Use you up, then turn you out for some new hire who will work for half what you make. Go into working there with your eyes wide open!

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RMB in Seattle

81 months ago

Ah, Microsoft! Also referred to as "The Bucket of Blood" by some of us who have worked there - and some who still do!

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Dev who has seen both Goog/MSFT in Sonoma, California

80 months ago

What I loved about Google is the culture/environment. Yes, there's lots of work, but there seems to be more a team spirit and fun to it. I don't know if it's because most people there are below the age of 30 and still naivve, full of wonder and excited to have a first job. Or because Google is still "new" and wall street's darling?

What I loved about Microsoft is the health care benefits and - still haven't figured the rest out yet after all this time. That does say a lot about MSFT? What isn't said?

Work is work wherever you go. Might as well enjoy it and get paid the most for the time you are there.

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Kathy in Mount Vernon, Washington

80 months ago

My lead was demoted by the group manager to allow him to put his buddy in as a lead. My new lead lied on my review multiple times accusing me of things I did he said I didn't and vice versa, and you have no recourse whatsoever at MS if that happens. I knew three women in my group who were bullied as well as people in other groups, and that, too is something you have no recourse for and which seems to be encouraged at MS.

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Galatea in Washington

74 months ago

Worked at MSFT for a long time as a full timer, short period as a contractor and still have lots of friends 'on the inside'. By the way, I left on good terms (meaning you are welcome to apply and interview in the future).

Know too many people who have been screwed by MSFT to count.

The people who get ahead talk a good story, are plugged into a buddy network, and play the political game. Focus isn't on achievement, shipping products or contributing; if you talk a good game and know the right people, you rise meteorically. Similarly, once you have power, you have the ability to destroy someone else's career and as others have said, there is no recourse. Past good reviews are no help if a highly placed person doesn't like you; their word trumps all.

If you don't want to get chewed up and spit out - and that can happen at any time - don't work there. The pay (which is only average) and benefits aren't worth the stress; it can make you physically ill. If you want to be a good performer you're constantly stressing about being visible, not pissing the wrong people off and trying to stay ahead of your peers, and if you have ethics, generally you don't do well. I know people who have done some truly unbelievable things to get ahead.

There are a few, tiny places in the company where sanity reins but they are slowly being choked out of it.

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Daivd Goldstien in Redmond, Washington

74 months ago

I worked at Microsoft as a Contractor for over 10 years on many projects. What I know is, many FTE's have relatives in Management. Most people become full-timers by who they know, and not what they know. Which is probably related to the poor quality we've been experiencing on many MS projects in the last 5 years. Almost every dept. I've worked in, there was always somebody related to a manager that got a job with the bare minimum of experience,they call that at MicroSoft, " A team-fit". I contracted with exclusively with an temp. Agency that got sued twice for unfair treatment of it's contingent staff, however they still recruit for Microsoft. I've seen many talented employee's get replaced by a managers bed-buddy or cousin, etc,...

I also remember how many Contract workers were forced to work inside closets with curtains as doors, no special ventilation, and usually you'll find cleaning products or the large smelly trash/recycle bins inside.

FTE's are known as BlueBadgers, and Contractors wear the Orange ID cards and are known as "the Monkey's". Well, that's what one of the Ivy-League-Harvard-Grad.-silverspoon Managers called them.

Microsoft isn't what it once was; a happy aggressive fun place to work. Now, it's a backstabbing, shark infested, cesspool of incest and nepotism. At Microsoft it's not what you know, but who you know, most of the time.

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CTW in Palo Alto, California

70 months ago

The culture depends whether you're at Redmond or the other offices. At Redmond it inherits the Gates-Ballmer uptight culture. By "uptight I'm not saying they wear suits and stuff, but more like lots of meetings that grill you for hours. And offices like California is much more fun and relaxed.

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ct in Stanford, California

68 months ago

The company values technical talents a lot. Even program managers, positions normally for MBAs and business people in other companies, are expected to know programming in Microsoft.

- Eric
Ledova - Job Reviews from Inside Employees
www.ledova.com

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CarneAsadaBrito in Seattle, Washington

68 months ago

Bret Atom in Redmond, Washington said: I agree that CSGs or Orange badge employees get treated as second class citizens. Blue badgers play the politics game while Orange does the work. However if you go in as a "Orange" and know well in advance the company culture, and how there is a treatment disparity between badge colors, it is a great place to learn new technologies and build your resume.

This is very true. I went from Orange to Blue within the same team and there is indeed a huge disparity between how you're treated.

I also agree that going Orange is an absolute great way to get in and gain valuable experience within Microsoft that you would probably have a very hard time getting otherwise. It's also a good avenue to "become Blue" if the standard application process is too competitive. You'll be able to show off your worth for a sustained amount of time, which is generally good for both parties.

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Dana in Charlotte, North Carolina

67 months ago

Microsoft had an open house in Charlotte, NC and it was very nice but it seem like if you did not have 10 years experience or more they did not want to talk to you. Why?

If there is anyone in the Charlotte, NC area or surrounding that works at Microsoft or contracts, could you please help me with information on how to get a job with them. What staffing company does Microsoft use? Thank you.

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Marco in Seattle, Washington

45 months ago

I did almost ten years of hard time at MSFT and bailed out before all the layoffs started. What it comes down to these days is that there is no compelling reason to go to work for MSFT anymore.

I make more money in the "private" sector, my benefits are just about as good and I am allowed to have a life so that I can enjoy those benefits.

It used to be that a job at MSFT was a sort of pinnacle experience, but now days, I find that many employers actually view it as a black mark and ask if you can really survive in the outside world or whether you have been forever ruined by your time "on campus".

I have to laugh when I hear of people frantically trying to land a job at MSFT. Plainly they have not done their research and could do better elsewhere. Why put up with a work environment like others have described here (all true), for a moderate salary from a poorly managed company that will stab you in the back when it suits them?

Do yourself a favor and shop around. You *CAN* do better.

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CarneAsadaBrito in San Diego, California

45 months ago

Marco in Seattle, Washington said: I did almost ten years of hard time at MSFT and bailed out before all the layoffs started. What it comes down to these days is that there is no compelling reason to go to work for MSFT anymore...

I agree that MSFT isn't what it used to be. Lots of politics (even more so than other places) and the pay and bonuses aren't what they used to be. They seem to have even stiffened up on how often they promote.

I also agree the mystique of working at MS has diminished in the Seattle area.

But outside of the Seattle area, that experience is still held in very high regard. So I still think it's very worthwhile to get your time in for a couple of years if you ever plan to live outside of WA state. I worked there for 4 years (2 as orange, 2 as blue) and when it was time for me to leave (about 2 years ago), I had job offers thrown at me left and right (moved down to CA).

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Sean in Gilbert, Arizona

32 months ago

I contracted at Microsoft for a total of 7 year and started my IT career there. My first year I was in a group what had 5 blue badge head count open up. There were 7 contractors within the group. Two of the positions went to my managers high school friend and cousin. Her cousin a twenty-one year old that just joined the group a month previously and worked serving drinks at starbucks prior to. Her high school friend had hardly anymore time in the group as her cousin and honestly so non-technical she couldn't even figure out how to build her PC. The three others went to others in the group had been there for years.

Over the time at Microsoft I received alot of experience with Microsoft products. You can spend your whole life learning all their junk products but when it is all done and you try and find a position in "the real world" what you have doesn't cut it. No company implements their whole software implementation on Microsoft products. Go work for a company that uses open source software (apache, linux, etc...) and maybe in conjuction with Microsoft software and then you will have a well rounded experience level and knowledge base.

Working at Microsoft was and will always be my worst career decision I have ever made. They do chew you up and then spit you out. Everything people are saying about the place is absolutely true! There are to many people I wish to count that I met there that I wouldn't mind seeing burn for internity in a lake of lava.

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former Vendor agrees in Fargo, North Dakota

25 months ago

This persons assessment is 100% on the mark. I worked for MS as a vendor for years. It was a very good insight to what the black persons must have felt like some 90 years ago. I was downright abused by the FTE staff. After 5 years of working my tail off and always doing well I was layed off with zero notice and given 30 mins to clean out my desk.

After almost 3 years I still literally have nightmares about working there. Supervisors would listen in on my calls, recording them and also demanding I have certain amounts of "talk Time" with very busy CFO's or CEO's who clearly didn't have the time to waste. If I didn't meet absurd goals set by vendor management I was told I would be let go.

The job made me physically ill, and worse yet I was treated like a second class citizen while doing it. What a nightmare that job was. Please re-consider ever working for a company the outsources respectful people like they are week old newspapers. The full time permanent staff will look down on you a belittle you every chance they have, its a very sad arrangement. Turnover within the vendor staff is extremely high also for reasons that are obvious.

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former Vendor agrees in Fargo, North Dakota

25 months ago

Daivd Goldstien in Redmond, Washington said: I worked at Microsoft as a Contractor for over 10 years on many projects. What I know is, many FTE's have relatives in Management. Most people become full-timers by who they know, and not what they know. . . . . . . . . Microsoft isn't what it once was; a happy aggressive fun place to work. Now, it's a backstabbing, shark infested, cesspool of incest and nepotism. At Microsoft it's not what you know, but who you know, most of the time."

This persons assessment is 100% on the mark. I worked for MS as a vendor for years. It was a very good insight to what the black persons must have felt like some 90 years ago. I was downright abused by the FTE staff. After 5 years of working my tail off and always doing well I was layed off with zero notice and given 30 mins to clean out my desk.

After almost 3 years I still literally have nightmares about working there. Supervisors would listen in on my calls, recording them and also demanding I have certain amounts of "talk Time" with very busy CFO's

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grey in Hyderabad, India

17 months ago

This has being rightly told by somebody, which is true.
"I used to work at MSFT but I left 4 years ago. Part of the reason I left was that the environment inside the company is dog-eat-dog. For each person who gets a "good" performance review, an equal number of people must recieve a "bad" performance review. This leads to cutthroat internal competition, a lack of empathy or friendship in the office, and generally an unfriendly environment. The atmosphere of the campus is great, the benefits are great, the pay is great, but the people you work with are definitely out to stab you in the back."

Managed by most stupid managers and senior management. if you want to spoil your career then and like doing backbiting, backstabbing, then this is the place best for you.
You will feel very degraded and you will feel like a third grade citizen even though you carry a good work experience. you will spoil you health in long run and finally you will be showed the doors.

If you care for a piece of mind in you life then dont work for this company..

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Ratz in Gardnerville, Nevada

11 months ago

Ditto, the place is very hostile and politically charged. I personally believe Microsoft is very rigid in its thinking. If you look at their products, you may think there is innovation, but if you look inside the company there is no innovation. In my opinion, anyone who is a long term employee spends most of their day playing politics or making pretty presentations. There is really no collaborative teams there. It is a very petty, watch your back place. There are some good folks but the culture comes from the leadership team and until that changes I would steer clear of Microsoft.

DTS in Winter Park, Florida said: I used to work at MSFT but I left 4 years ago. Part of the reason I left was that the environment inside the company is dog-eat-dog. For each person who gets a "good" performance review, an equal number of people must recieve a "bad" performance review. This leads to cutthroat internal competition, a lack of empathy or friendship in the office, and generally an unfriendly environment. The atmosphere of the campus is great, the benefits are great, the pay is great, but the people you work with are definitely out to stab you in the back.

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