(This is a now page, where I write things that I’d tell a friend I hadn’t seen in a year.)

Updated 2021-04-10, from Suzhou, China.

It’s been a week since I joined Microsoft, I’m mostly happy about it so far.

As I expected, there are many required training for a new hire, topics like unconscious bias are at the top of the list, which I regard as very important while rarely mentioned elsewhere.

I haven’t used Windows as my main desktop nor even own any device running it for a decade or so, interestingly when I got my workstation for work with Windows 10 I was so skilled at both using and customizing it, even one of my colleagues was surprised “why are you so skilled at using Windows, given that you are a mac user”, “Guess I was a pretty skilled power user on Windows before my first MacBook” I replied, that’s when I realized how surprisingly smooth I coped with the new Windows workstation.

I have to say Windows 10 is pretty delightful to use on a workstation with tens of cores, tens of gigabytes of memory, a big SSD and well managed enterprise domain for working in the biggest enterprise cloud on this planet. I’m still shocked that I said it as someone who has been fully migrated from Windows to macOS for a decade.

Here are some good things I observed at Microsoft:

  • Office is as quiet as a library most of the time
  • People calling each other by first names, no fancy titles nor offense taken
  • Remote conference is so smooth that
    • You don’t see laggy videos with squares and weird faces
    • You don’t hear laggy voices and “can you speak louder?”
    • You get real-time transcripts on the screen
    • You don’t need to raise your volume or direct to where the microphones are to speak to someone online
  • The default view on calendars is “work week” which blocked the hours beyond working time on weekdays and the whole weekend

Although I’m working overtime every single day on my first week(I don’t have to do it if I don’t want it), I can see that work and life are respected, IMO comparing to most domestic enterprises, the foreign ones admit that employees do have their personal life and it is something that they should live with so they choose to respect it, while domestic enterprises choose to ignore it or even worse - don’t admit the existence of it by disallowing the employees to talk about it without feeling bad or discouraged by others.

I’m not saying that domestic ones are bad simply because they are domestic, the foreign ones are there for a longer time so they are more mature on employing, I can see that domestic ones are learning because happy employees soaked within a healthy culture is a must for big enterprises, it just takes time.

People tend to think the bigger the corporations, the higher the salaries, however, Microsoft has a good reputation for its low pay, I got offers times higher than what Microsoft offered before I decided to go, guess I’ll pay for my willfulness in the future anyway.

I am a person who prefers to live in modern places than the old and outmoded ones. I found that I don’t enjoy the mostly older part of the city after moving to Suzhou, the good thing is that I did find a modern area in the city as good as Shanghai(maybe even better).


Updated 2020-04-10, from Wuhan, China.

Career

I’m working as a senior software engineer/manager in one of the subsidiaries of the Alibaba group, it’s very big in China but not really top-class in the field. While I don’t think working for someone else is the way out, I’d like to see how the top-class technology companies work.

Health

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 I’ve been staying at home for more than two month, I tried to keep my muscle training at first but given up very soon for the lack of equipment and protein intake. Now I only use an elliptical trainer occasionally to keep myself energized.

Learning

Before I realized that I have so little time to do things I wanted to do, I was used to learning everything new and interesting to me, which is a LOT. This is not the only problem caused by my insatiable curiosity, to make my life easier, I’ve learned to put down stuff, things I don’t need the most. I’m still not quite sure if that’s the right thing to do.