Things have changed a lot (once again) since my last update in September of 2010.

Here’s a breakdown of the big events (focused on the professional side):

  1. Accepted a promotion on the Xbox LIVE team I was working on in September 2010.
  2. Asked for a demotion May 2011 due to my work/life balance being completely out of whack.
  3. Accepted a job offer (still contract) on a different Xbox team in August 2011. It was offering twice the pay, and seemed like a good idea at the time.
  4. Had my contract ended on that team in December 2011. I won’t go into details on why, since it would make them look pretty bad.

The logic I was given for the 4th item still makes me do this about every other day:

I am uncertain as to what my next step should be. I was so confident that Microsoft was where I wanted to be; and I made the classic mistake of not having a backup plan. I spent the last decade preparing myself to work at Microsoft. I tested every piece of software they would let me, made contacts, and even some good friends.

Don’t get me wrong folks, I’m still a huge fan of Microsoft. I still rock a Zune, carry a Windows Phone, and prefer Xbox over other platforms.

I think a portion of why I feel so uncertain has to do with my Dad. The two things he drilled into me growing up were, “Always work like you’re trying to work yourself out of a job,” and “Any job worth doing is worth doing right.” I took those concepts to heart and have tried to make sure that I apply them to every position I’ve ever worked.

For retail this meant studying product specifications, making sure everything in my section was in its place, and that customers were given the correct information. For the answering service/dispatch I made sure that account updates were correct, other agents were notified of changes, and I was available at all hours in case they were short on staff. For Microsoft I always provided my honest feedback, always made my position on security known, and made it clear that it is possible to advocate for both the customer AND Microsoft at the same time.

I was talking to my Dad after my contract ended in December, and he told me something that has actually left me a bit shaken. The rules that he had given me, that had been set so firmly in my mind, no longer apply. He explained to me that employees and customers can no longer afford to be loyal to employers or brands. The reason being that employees and customers are now viewed as nothing more than disposable commodities, numbers on a spreadsheet. Companies no longer care if you’re competent, but if you’re obedient and are qualified on paper. They do not care how long you’ve worked for them, or the knowledge you have gained in that time. If you cannot sit down, shut up, and play the game you’re out.

This leaves me in a situation where I’m having to re-evaluate everything I have taught myself to believe in when it comes to professional ethics. What is the value in doing things correctly if it leaves you unemployed? Where is the benefit of having experience if you are punished for that experience? What is there to gain in being loyal if no one cares?

These are the questions that keep me awake late at night, long after I should be asleep.

 

Do I keep pushing for the life I thought I wanted, or do I start over?