Work-life balance; Robert Scoble

Since coming to Microsoft, I have heard a LOT about our policy on “work-life balance”.   If you aren’t familiar with what work-life balance is, a simple search on the web should satisfy your curiosity.  Essentially, we believe that people work best when they are satisified with their accomplishments at work as well as their lives at home.  Microsoft will often say that their greatest asset is their employees.  However, Microsoft doesn’t actually believe that last statement.  Now if you are a manager or an HR rep at Microsoft, and you just read that last statement, you probably just spewed your soda (“pop” for some of you) all over your flat-screen and keyboard.  Never fear.  Let me explain that.  If Microsoft actually believed that employees were an asset, they would treat them like they owned them.  This is NOT the case.  In fact, Microsoft treats us more like a guest that they don’t want to leave.  I’m sure this week will be particularly hard for Microsoft as one of our more prominent guests have announced they are leaving.  I’m glad that Robert has seen fit to shut down the critics who opened their mouths before getting the facts straight

I often hear about how Microsoft doesn’t pay enough or treat their employees right.  While that may or may not be true (depending on who you talk to), Microsoft has proved with their benefits that they do care deeply about their employees.  From day one at Microsoft, you are given a package of benefits so thick that it takes two days of new employee orientation to help you get familiar with them — and even then, you are left bewildered with all of the benefits and resources at your disposal.  One such benefit that is actually a “requirement” at Microsoft is work-life balance.  In the past three months since my arrival, I’ve been pressured to make sure I have been enjoying life while getting my work done at the same time. 

However, here I sit at work on the weekend, trying to pound out some of my work while there are less distractions and no meetings to attend.  This is by choice, obviously, and if anyone from my team knew I was here, I’m sure I would get reminded that my “life” is just as important as work.  Of course, at the moment I decide to take a quick break, a member of my team walks in and “catches” me with a pocket full of ping pong balls on my way from the ping pong table. See, I’ve got work-life balance! (Thank goodness they didn’t catch me working instead).

This post was prompted by the news of Scoble’s departure and the folks that immediately took that opportunity to bash Microsoft over “letting him go”. And that they didn’t “do everything they could to make sure he stayed put”.  I’m sure that everything was done to encourage him to stay — but remember — he is just guest and not an asset.  Therefor he is entitled to leave any time that he wants for whatever reason he wants.

I’m very sorry to hear Robert Scoble is leaving Microsoft, but very happy that he cleared the air about life at Microsoft before it got out of hand. 

Good luck, Robert!

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