The bullshit you get for doing your job

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Working for Microsoft you tend to develop thick skin because of all the stuff people say to you; insults, imputation, indictment & bad mouthing.  I guess you could argue that it comes with the territory, it's par for the course or something you inherit from the history of working for a successful company.

In the face of adversity I tend just to smile and try and have a conversation with the person.  If in a large audience the heckler normally embarrasses themselves simply through the act of heckling - there's no response needed.

What does wind me up is faceless, anonymous criticism and personal attack that demonstrate a real lack of spine and admission that the act of commenting on a blog of an employee in such a way is in fact wrong.  I'm referring to comments that my colleague Darren has been enduring over the past few days.

Fair play to Darren for allowing this abuse to go out on his blog, I think in itself it's a powerful message of defiance and transparency.  Yes, this is what we have to deal with and yes, I will be coming into work tomorrow to try and change the perception of people like that.

I've only worked for Microsoft for a year and a half and to borrow a phrase from my previous employer's co-founder, Robert Noyce; “Don’t be encumbered by the past, go out and do something wonderful!”.  I'm too interested in the cool stuff Microsoft do to pay attention to all the history and stuff that surrounds the company like a mist of FUD.  I'm here to shout about the stuff that excites me, the technology.  Mr. Noyce said go and do something wonderful, so tomorrow that's what Darren and I are going to do.

What would you do?


I should have been more clear about what I was referring to as "personal attack".  Someone wrote this comment on Darren's blog:

"Got your little feelings hurt? Good. But a far cry from good enough. The day they put you on the electric chair, I'm going to watch and applaud for the justice done."

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Comments (10)

  1. james says:

    Hey Pete

    If i bump into anyone out the front of TVP with a billboard I’ll know who to blame 😉

    I think the guy who made that accusation had been watching too many movies!

  2. james says:


    Sorry, but did you get the point of the post? The OpenXML debate is for another day.  I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt that you didn’t read down to the point in Darren’s comments where the anonymous person says:

    "Got your little feelings hurt? Good. But a far cry from good enough. The day they put you on the electric chair, I’m going to watch and applaud for the justice done."

    To call this rude is a bit of an understatement…

  3. ScottIsAFool says:

    Sounds similar to my blog entry!FABDDDC5CAD93494!1886.entry about people hiding behind anonymity


  4. Richard says:

    Hey It comes with the territory, people don’t like Microsoft, it may be Microsoft’s "Monopoly" troubles, or its battles with the Linux Community, but that is no excuse for being rude. I do personally think that Microsoft will have to follow IBM’s lead since Microsoft has been the "new" IBM since the early 90s, if Microsoft wants to improve their image then they need to embrace open standards. Open standards is much of a ideal then a requirement, much of the formats we use today are certainly not open source or free, but its certainly where the market is heading. I have a few problems with Open XML, the main fear is that Microsoft will update the spec and deprecate old specs, which in turn will lead to incompatibility. I guess the main thing that makes a open standard "open" is that is stays more or less the same throughout the software that uses it, and updating that spec calls for creating a whole new spec that software makers can choose to or not to support. My question is how can Microsoft deal with updating a spec with deprecating it?

  5. Ben Tamblyn says:

    Actually – really glad Darren’s left the comment up on his blog. Whoever this idiot is (kudos BTW on having the balls to remain anonymous) should be chastised not just for his stupidity and narrow mindedness but also what is quite clearly a lack of education around open standards. Given that the post makes no reference to it anyway I find this quite frankly extraordinary.

  6. jay says:

    This is absolutly disgusting. No one no matter what company or organisation you work for, you shouldn’t have to put up with the rantings of small minded bigots. These kind of things are getting more and more apparent see here for reminder:

    I applaud Darren for having the resolve and integrity to allow these comments to remain on his blog, it shows far more than the shortcoming of the "comment" poster.

    Darren here’s you to and the great blog!

  7. Pete Cox says:

    And I thought I had it bad with the usual "Can I speak to the person who deals with…" or "I’d like to ask you a few SHORT questions about…" calls that I receive on a daily basis (usually from Eastern Europe or the Netherlands).

    Comments like the one on Darren’s blog are just plain senseless. Perhaps the poster would have better spent his time creating a billboard and camping outside the front of  your offices! (sorry better not give him ideas)

    I heard a similar comment when attending a Silversands Sharepoint/Office 2007 session at TVP last year. One of the attendee’s levelled the accusation that Microsoft would analyse the contents of the Groove synchronisation traffic, to glean ‘secrets’ which they could then use for their own gain. :S

    I beats me why these kind of people go to such lengths to achieve so very little.

    BTW , that’s a great quote which I have now nabbed for my Live Messenger (I hope you don’t mind :P)

    Now, can I speak to with the person who is responsible for…!!!

  8. Darren Strange says:

    thanks for all the encouragement everyone. Especially from those who may disagree with my opinions but still believe there is value in discussion.  It is you that I blog for and I’m proud to count myself as one of you.  We have to rise above and be better.

  9. Dan Wagner says:

    You don’t get it. You don’t get heckled for being best in the world. Microsoft is good at marketing. It is also good at marketing. Period. Security? Ha. Stability? Ha ha. Get serious and get over yourself. There is a reason why critical applications that cannot afford to fail or crash use other operating systems such as Unix. Microsoft has always sucked, they simply ace at forcing themselves on you. Now we have vista which downgrades your performance while limiting your software choices. Thanks guys. This is forced on us too. It grows harder and harder to get a new machine with XP unless you self build, and eventually you will drop support of the OS anyway.

    Yes, you do take crap from people because of whom you work for. Some of the personal attacks ARE uncalled for. But you have to appreciate your company is NOT the friend of the public. It not only continually attempts monopoly, it abuses people. It commits flagrant theft by sending out reps ‘interested in aquiring new tech’ from naive startups only to practice intellectual property theft and take their projects, make ‘Microsoft versions’ of it and give the true pioneers and developers neither compensation nor credit. I’m sure you will deny that, but it is undeniable. Even the first installation of windows was a total ripoff, FLAGRANT ripoff of Mac OS.

    Sorry man, with the crap your company pulls it WILL be hated. What do you expect of John Q. Public? We become more technically aware by the day and the horsecrap gets more and more evident to more and more people. Microsoft doesn’t care. It is the bloated tick of the computer world and the population still can’t seem to reach it to pick it off. It has become too good at forcing itself. So although I do not hate you as a person, I will not personally attack you, and I appreciate your undeserved woe? Appreciate what your company does to US. As a whole it is more a hostile enemy than friend to the population in general. Forgive us for not welcoming it with open arms while it continually plunges daggers in our backs.

  10. Dan Walker says:

    I LOl’d so hard at the electric chair comment, hahahahha wtf

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