For my initial post here, I thought it would be a great idea to clear the air as to why I left Microsoft and why I joined Cireson. I know there have been many rumors out there, and maybe even some posts as to why I made this change. I have previously provided some thoughts on this in other forums (for example, in a Cireson blog as well as an interview at TechEd), however I still get asked, so let’s set the record straight.
My Years at Microsoft
I spent 22 fantastic years at Microsoft. I learned a lot, met a lot of great people, and learned a product that I love. I started in Microsoft University (the former training division at Microsoft), and that is where I got my first exposure to Configuration Manager. Back then, it was called Systems Management Server (SMS). After a number of years there, creating courseware on SMS, I left the training group and spent a year in product support, training support engineers on SMS 2.0, and then finally moved to the SMS product group.
My time in the product group was great. I met a lot of great people, got to speak at many events (MMS, TechEds all over the world, domestic and international user groups, internal conferences, etc.) and got to learn a lot about the product. However, the last year I spent in the product group was not as much fun as I had experienced previously. I really loved the people and the work I was allowed to do in the product group (even getting to spend the time learning Windows Intune and mobile device management). However, the product group had changed, Microsoft had changed, and I was asked to do some additional things that were not in my areas of strength. Life is too short to not enjoy the time spent at work, so I decided it was time to start looking elsewhere. I really had no desire to go elsewhere at Microsoft, not because I didn’t love the company. However I really wanted to remain in the Configuration Manager space, as that is the product I truly love.
Time to Move On
So why Cireson, especially given that they are a company that does not really deal that much in the Configuration Manager space? They are great at Service Manager and the other System Center products, but were not focused as much on Configuration Manager. I guess the initial reason for looking at them was my relationship with Travis Wright. I have known him for quite a number of years at Microsoft as we worked together as we both managed MVPs for our respective product groups. I trust Travis, respect him, and had confidence that he’d not steer me wrong about them. Travis told me that Cireson really wanted to get more into Configuration Manager, in consulting services, in training, and in apps that they’d create. All those sounded great to me and right up my areas of interest.
Additionally, Cireson is really big into the community. And, given all the conferences, training, user groups, etc. that I’d done over my many years with Microsoft, I too felt a big desire to help the community as much as I could. With both our desires to continue having me engage with the community, it looked like a great fit. I also met with others at Cireson. I could really feel their desire to have me join Cireson and appreciated the vision they had to utilize my strengths to help both Cireson and the community.
No doubt, it was a hard decision to leave Microsoft. To put a common rumor to rest, NO, I was not forced out. I certainly could have stayed with Microsoft if I had wanted to do so. It was my decision to leave. And while I miss many of the benefits that I had at Microsoft and the people I met, I have thoroughly enjoyed my first few months at Cireson. I’ve been able to engage in the community (speaking at some events), been able to get back into the classroom doing training on Configuration Manager (with more classes coming in the future), had my first couple of consulting engagements, and helped Cireson get further along with their Configuration Manager products (stay tuned!).
Have you had to make difficult job decisions? Comment to share your experience.