Farewell Microsoft, Hello…

I’ve been doing this “technology” thing for a number of years now, and each career change I’ve made has fallen into one of two categories. Either: a) a fortuitous opportunity I could not have envisioned; or, b) a desperate escape from a crumbling situation. The best example of the latter came with my very first job out of college–at the trough of the “dot com bust”–when I literally turned in my two-weeks notice at the start of a meeting that had been called by my manager for the purpose of telling me that I–after two years of surviving all the others–was a casualty to a round of layoffs. (Sidebar: that company is no longer in existence.)

On the other end of the spectrum are those times where I have made a move from one opportunity to another because of overriding personal, family or career goals. Often, those changes have been spurred on by opportunities that dovetailed nicely with said goals. Once such example was when I chose to leave a job I loved with a great non-profit in order to move my family back to Texas. I still miss that place and those people, but we don’t regret for one minute making the decision to be back in Texas, and close to family (Except when it’s over 100-degrees, which is every day from May to October).

This is another one of those “fortuitous opportunity” times. And with mixed emotions, I’m announcing that today is my last day at Microsoft.

When I joined Microsoft nearly two years ago as a Developer Evangelist based in Austin, I truly expected that I would be a part of this organization for some time. I’ve had the great pleasure to spend nearly all of my time focused on the web (ASP.NET MVC, HTML5, CSS and JavaScript, to be specific) and have even had opportunities to participate in Microsoft’s ever-widening journey into the world of Open Source (A few examples). I had the pleasure of working with some amazing individuals, got to meet some industry luminaries, spoke at Tech Ed to an audience of over 600 people, organized a few events, wrote a crap ton for MSDN Magazine, blogged, created some screencasts and had the privilege working side-by-side with an individual I consider a lifelong friend.

But personal concerns conflicted with the goals I had laid out for my career, and personal (namely, family), always wins. From day one, I had made it clear to my manager, his manger and anyone else who would listen that my desire was to move into a Product or Program Management role as a next step in my career at Microsoft. It became clear very quickly, though, that in nearly all cases, such a job required a migration to Redmond. My wife and I had some serious conversations about the matter, and decided that after moving away from Colorado (surely, God’s Picture Window ™) to return to Texas, we should stay put for a while. As early as last summer, we knew that a move to Redmond (or anywhere) for the next step in my career was out.

At that point, I set myself to focusing on my current role as a Web Evangelist with Microsoft, without worrying about what would come next. After another 3-4 years, I told myself, we’d think about the future. But “what was next” came much sooner than expected when I was presented with an opportunity to step into a role I’d wanted to tackle, and to do so without the condition I move myself or my family. In “Godfather” terms, it was the career offer I couldn’t refuse. After much consideration, conversation and consternation–the three “Cs” of any important decision–my wife and I decided that the change was a good one.

Kendo UI

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