One year at the evil empire

Before the end of the year, on the December 31, I’ll be an employee at Microsoft Canada for one year (no I didn’t work until the beginning of January, you fools). One year as a Developer Evangelist, working to help developers in Canada get the most out of technology. One year that changed my life, in a positive way. I learn a lot, made good friends, had great experiences and the most important of all, I enjoyed so much my life.

One year of learning

I can say that this year was a year of learning. I know now how it is to work in a big company, and I’m happy to see that I am not a number among other employees: I am a person, a human with all his qualities, but also his defects. It was a learning process around this new role: what really is an evangelist? The job description can fit in a PDF file, but at the end, this role is everything that you make it to be.

A big part of my fears was around English, and it deserves a paragraph on itself. My reading skill was good, I was barely able to write, and here I don’t talk about my speaking ability. This job was for bilingual people, and I truly wasn’t one. I salute the help here of my team and the openness of my first manager, John Oxley, that let me join the team and help me in this journey. Now, it’s not perfect, but I’m way more comfortable when we talked about the Shakespeare’s language.

I also had, and still have, the opportunity to work with brilliant people. These people, sometimes Microsoft employee, sometimes vendors, sometimes user group lead, sometimes speakers, sometimes older than me, sometimes younger, sometimes with more experience in the role or life than me, sometimes something else… I worked or meet passionate people, and it’s very challenging to be next to these awesome people that are extraordinary at doing what they are doing.

The last, but not least, were the changes in my lifestyle. When you get a new job or change your career path, it’s always a big move in your life. This one, is more than a job, it’s a way to live. Traveling, working from home, public speaking, non usual office hours… are, in fact, for some of them, big changes in my life, but also for the ones I love. I need to say that I had, and still have, an awesome support from my friends, my family and from my lovely fiancé, Émilie.

The evil empire?

At the beginning, I was anxious about the openness of Microsoft. Like I said in the announcement of my new job (in French, but Joey DeVilla made a translation in English), a couple of years ago I wasn’t a fan of this company. I was really happy to see some initiatives like Make Web Not War, but to be honest with you, I was afraid that it was some marketing bullshit. If this was the case, this would have meant that I made the wrong choice! Guess what, I made the right one. That you love my employer or not, the fact is that you have to admit we had a great mind change, and that we are more open than ever. Oh yes, it’s not perfect, we are still learning, but it goes in the right direction and damn, I’m so excited about the fact that I’m part of these changes…

  • The year to come

No big changes in the next year, I love what I’m doing for a living. In fact, I rarely have the feeling that I’m really working. I feel that I have the advantages of being an employee, with the advantages of a freelancer. This is the difference of working in a place where we are trusted as responsible people and have leaders as managers, instead of autocratic bosses.

In life, like in my job, I will never stop learning. My goal is to be a better evangelist than I am now. I want to continue to meet awesome technology enthusiasts, help them with their technology challenges, go out for a beer, assist to user group meetups, share my knowledge and opinions by presenting in conferences… in short, doing my job.

The only thing that I would like to add to my job now, is to go outside of my country. Even if my role is to cover Canada with other on my team, and that I know we have evangelists in other countries, I think that this will help me do a better job here. It will also be an awesome experience for sure. Learn from other speakers, understand other cultures, see what are the other conferences does to be successful, go out of my comfort zone, build a bigger credibility… my manager knows about this, and I know he will support me in this goal.

So at the end, because it was a big self-centric blog post, the only think I can say to you is “Do what you like in life”. It’s not always easy to get there, but once you found it, don’t let this dream go away, fight for it. Your life will changes when you’ll wake up in the morning, and you will be happy to do what you are doing for a living…

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