I write products, I am not one

At Microsoft I was working in the Windows Media Player DRM team for almost four years. One of my teammates was one of the hardest-working members and doing good work. He put in long hours and was practically a stranger to his kids. But come the annual review his score was 2.0, which meant not only did he get no raise but he was sort of on notice to do better or leave. He left. So did I. Vista was a nightmare of a project.

This was insane. You couldn’t ask for a better teammate, but he wasn’t doing enough to promote his …


To be “visible” at Microsoft meant scheduling meetings (interruptions by any other name) to promote your work or basically make some noise. Lookit me!! Lookit me!! Why don’t I just post selfies like a 14 year old Vietnamese girl?

In my last job there, last both as in “most recent” and “never again,” one of my coworkers in the hardware-software team called a meeting for the same reason, sending out the Outlook request while I was at my father’s funeral.

My opinion of marketing myself by being a nuisance is that it is 100% bullshit. If doing good work, great work, if being reliable and trustworthy aren’t enough, something is too businessy and not engineeringy enough at the company.

I’m not a product. If I wanted to be a businessman I would put on a tie and reduce the oxygen reaching my brain. Yet another reason I won’t work onsite ever again.

American Software Developer living in Vietnam. Classical musician (guitar, woodwinds), weightlifter, multilingual, misanthrope • XY

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