Friday, April 27, 2007


All change...

Today I've applied for a new role within Microsoft, something I haven't done for nearly 11 years. Way back in the summer of '96 I was interested in becoming a web editor in the Africa/India/Middle East division although I did eventually withdraw my application for a mixture of frivolous and serious reasons. Since then I've moved between teams but always staying in technical support so effectively I've always had the same job at Microsoft.

This time I'm after a technical writer position in the BizTalk group so still technical but no longer customer-facing. Anyone at Microsoft who knows me will see the obvious irony in this as I always insisted that I wouldn't touch BizTalk with a barge-pole (although, admittedly, this was mainly a bluff to see how much money they would eventually offer me to support the product).

I can't say that being a technical writer was something I was aspiring to - for the last decade I've been trying to work out what I DID aspire to. I definitely didn't want to be still doing support at 50 - not because you can't do the job at that age but it's a grunt role. The idea of being in a grunt role for 27 years (which I would have done to reach 50 years old) just seemed a waste, a blatant display of lack of ambition. So I'd been waiting for something to turn up, a process that usually works although sometimes it takes a lot longer than you expect.

In the meantime I slowly tweaked my job role - contributing on internal DLs, reviewing KB articles, jumping into technical Newsgroups and posting on my own MSDN blog. In the career textbooks that would be in the "how to raise your profile" chapter but for me it was more a reaction to crushing ennui.

In good old "if you build it, they will come" fashion, interest arose in the US. Anyone who says that I will be a "great fit" for a role (and uses an exclamation mark too) is obviously going to pique my interest in a job which I can still do from the UK so 16 hours later my eCV was on its way.

Now I just need to find out what a technical writer does... I hope it's fun.


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