So in case you were wondering… Yes, I did indeed change careers.

Well, changed BACK that is.  I have returned to my technical consulting roots.  You heard that right, I left Microsoft. December 31st was my last day ::gasp, choke, cough::  Don’t worry, it was my choice, and no they didn’t miss-treat me.  As a matter of fact, it was about the smoothest and most accommodating transition out of a company that I have ever experienced.  I debated and debated about writing a post about this but honestly, I figured I’d share the news and clear up any misconceptions as to why I left.

Yes, my travel schedule was sometimes a bit brutal, I sometimes had to work nights and weekends, and yes it was a very stressful job, but that was what originally drew me to it at the tender age of 32.  In addition, I was always jealous of the partners who got to go out to customer sites and implement the technology I spent so many years talking passionately about.  I guess I couldn’t take it anymore.  SO I can truly say “Microsoft, it wasn’t you, it was ME”.  There was no shortage of hand-wringing and stomach-aching while working through this.  I could have easily stayed at Microsoft and simply moved into a new role, or moved to another team “keeps things fresh and interesting”. I certainly had every manager I know working hard to make sure there wasn’t another option within the company.  But that just wasn’t going to cut it given what I knew I wanted to do.

One thing that my parents have always tried to teach me despite my inclinations to be a ninny about major life decisions, is that if I follow my passion and take calculated risks, I’ll never look back with regret. After losing my father to cancer in September of 2010, I started re-evaluating my choices in life. I think major events like that always make you question what is really important, what battles are worth fighting, and what risks are worth taking.  I decided that what I REALLY needed to be happy was a change in career, to get back into the trenches working with TFS, honing my development skills again, and truly earning that Scrum-master certification that I recently achieved. Fortunately for me, some folks from my past life at Software Architects created the perfect opening  for me at their firm.

I am now the new (and first) ALM practice manager at Polaris Solutions.   In short, while getting out there and *doing* ALM, I’m also helping them to refine their ALM offerings and build up their talent pool for delivering those offerings.  So in other words, I’m not going far… and I plan to stay as involved as I can with the community, including continuing to help run the local Visual Studio ALM user group in Chicago.

I have loved working at Microsoft, and they’ve been EXTREMELY good to me over the past five and a half years. I had great benefits, was given some amazing opportunities to grow my career, and of course a healthy benefits plan. So I would absolutely encourage anyone passionate about Microsoft technology to consider a job in DPE or with the developer tools product team. While my role has already been filled, I believe there are still a job opening or two in the area. I blogged about that here:

I am currently stationed down in Decatur with a customer, helping them to implement Visual Studio 2010 load testing and TFS 2010 within several departments.  I also delivered a 2 day training course, and those of you who know me well might know that one of my original career paths was in education. So as you can imagine I am having an absolute BLAST!  So now you know. As of January 1st, 2012 I am a Polaris Solutions employee. Nice to meet you, again. And feel free to continue reaching out to me with any questions you might have about TFS or Visual Studio.  Because some things, never change Smile