Kevin Is Leaving Microsoft

I’m so proud of my husband, he’s finally quit his job at Microsoft and is already looking for new opportunities from Beijing.  He’ll be back in the U.S. in late April and then the job search will become full blown.  I can’t relate to what it is like to leave a company after being there for 10 years, but I know from our many private conversations on the subject that the decision was a challenging and emotionally complex one, that is the result of much soul searching and deep thought.  Here’s the announcement letter Kevin sent to his colleagues and professional contacts:

With a mix of excitement and a bit of sadness, I am writing to let you know this June I will be leaving Microsoft.  After 10 years with the company, I decided the time is right to start a new chapter if my life.  One of my favorite things in life is learning, and I’m excited to get back to the days of being a bit of a newbie where every day is a new adventure.

My wife and I will be moving to the Bay Area over the summer as part of the process.  In fact, she’s a step ahead of me and has already started working at Twilio.

As I set out, I will carry with me a lot of great memories.

I still remember my first day as an intern back in 1996.  I wasn’t old enough to have a car yet, so my brother dropped me off early in the morning and I spent some time walking around campus since no one was there to meet me yet.  As we all know, the campus has changed a little bit since then.  I had four great summers working on the IDE in Visual Studio.

Towards the end of my fourth internship, I fell in love with Program Management.  I remember walking into my mentor’s office in August of 1999, about to tell him I wanted to leave college early and come join Microsoft.  To say I was a bit scared would be an understatement, but I was sure of my ultimate direction.  Two months later, I started full time on the Developer Division Setup team.  It was a bit funny at the time, because my manager’s name was Kevin as well, and his manager was also Kevin.  At the end of my first product cycle, I remember going to shiproom and seeing what it takes to really pull it together.  Some of my fondest memories are racing around trying to get all the analysis just right for shiproom.  Anyone who says Microsoft doesn’t care about customers has never been inside to see those times and just how far we go to make the right call.

In my last two years on the Setup team, I worked as a lead.  I still remember all the great people I got to hire and every promotion I made.  It’s been fantastic watching them take off in the company.

Having had many successes as a technical, release and lead PM, I wanted to get experience in the feature PM realm.  First as a PM in the sustained engineering team working on a new patching engine and in the past two years as a PM in SharePoint.  I learned just how tough it is to design great things.  Customers turn out to be pretty bad designers; they want every possible bell, knob and whistle you offer but proceed to curse you when you give it to them!

I am a firm believer that as humans our work is where we can reach the highest, whether it be writing a compiler, building a skyscraper or raising a child.  I hear a common sentiment from people that they wish they just had a moment to relax, retire or somehow get away from all the bump and grind of life.  While it sounds alluring from time to time, I wouldn’t trade that hard work for one second.  Life was meant for filling with value, not to be left empty.  So all that intensity we seem to attract like magnets here: bring it on!  It’s stressful and sometimes even overwhelming, but it’s oh so thrilling!

Thinking back to that fateful day in August 1999, I knew I was taking a huge risk and my dreams were on the line.  Well… they all came true, sooner and more brilliantly than I thought possible.  I am glad I got to live them in the company of such spectacular people.  Now it’s time to go imagine some new ones.

Kevin’s story at Microsoft is an inspiring one, and I am so excited to see what he does next.

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