It was only six short months ago that I blogged about becoming the release manager for Exchange, and already it's changing... starting February 1st, I will no longer be the release manager for Exchange. This change is for a very good reason: I have decided that I want to work part time so that I can spend more time with my son:

He is 18 months old; when you ask him what color anything is, the answer is always 'blue'. He waves and says "bye bye car!" as we drive through traffic. His favorite meal is hot dogs and broccoli. And he goes to bed at 6pm shortly after we get home, and after doing that routine for over a year I decided that it wasn't working and I needed a change that gave me more time with him.

Microsoft has great flextime options, especially for jobs like developers where your work is frequently done on your own, and you can almost choose your working hours to suit your own schedule; I've known plenty of devs who worked from 4pm-midnight or 7am-3pm 5 days a week. But in my job, it's very useful to be there during the core working hours, roughly 11-5. I am not nor will I ever be an early riser, so a shifted schedule wasn't workable. Telecommuting wasn't a useful alternative either, since anyone with children understands that there's no such thing as working when the kid's awake. So I finally realized that I was ready to leave Microsoft.

At least, that's what I told my HR representative... and then part time was offerred as an option. The more I thought about it, the more I realized it was a good fit for me since I really do love my job and love working at Microsoft; it had taken me months to decide that I was willing and ready to quit to get more time with my boy. So I accepted it. Fortunately there was another person in Exchange who was ready, willing and capable to step up to take my job, so I expect the transition for the Exchange team and the new release manager will be fairly smooth. I will still be working in Exchange, but I will be program managing/project managing some specific parts of the product instead of being the RM for the entire release.

Overall I am very grateful to know that Microsoft, my team and my manager are willing to do what it takes to make work work for working parents. I should mention that it doesn't always work like this... in researching part-time as an option, I ran across many cases of other employees who tried to get a part-time position and were unable to, either due to past performance (you need to have a pretty good record) or their manager/team's unwillingness or their job or various other factors.

Hrm, I hope part-timers get to keep their URL 😉

Comments (28)
  1. Anonymous says:

    It was only nine months ago that I blogged about a career change, and here I am again, blogging about…

  2. Anonymous says:

    Gretchen blogged about this a while back and I thought I’d share my experiences, since I’ve done this…

  3. Anonymous says:

    It was only nine months ago that I blogged about a career change, and here I am again, blogging about…

  4. Anonymous says:

    Today is the third anniversary of my first blog post. A whole lot has happened (and been blogged) in…

  5. Anonymous says:

    How great to read this from KC Lemson! Excellent example of someone creating her own world from all the great stuff around. Julie is writing about happiness too. Perhaps I should explain what I mean by happiness. There’s the American…

  6. Anonymous says:

    It was only nine months ago that I blogged about a career change, and here I am again, blogging about…

  7. Jane D says:

    KC – Great decisions are hard to come by and take courage. Good for you and hurray for MS! I’ve been a part-time Mom and part-time computer person for 17 years and there is no doubt that it is the best of both worlds (especially since the advent of telecommuting, DSL and IP Phones), as I love my job and I love my kids. Hurray for employers that realize that we still have a lot to contribute to the workplace but still have our most important priority at home.

  8. alex says:

    Please keep blogging in some form.. you and Scoble are my ‘must read’ blogs! 🙂

  9. JD says:

    Hi KC,

    I think you made the right decision. Though I am bachelor myself, I know that it’s very important to be with your growing child and believe me you will simply love spending more time with him. [How do I know? I have a young nephew and I have seen him growing in front of me]

    And it’s really great that Microsoft is there to support you in this decision. Adds fuel to my desire to join Microsoft in coming future!

    And yes, Jared looks very handsome, keep posting his pictures! 🙂


  10. Adam Weigert says:

    Aw, that’s so sweet. I would do the same thing for my son if I could afford it. 🙂

  11. Jeff25 says:

    Good for you! It’s refreshing to see people in any IT area considering what is important and trying to make it work. Work is important, but it’s certainly the humans in our lives that really make it worth while (especially if they’re your offspring)!

  12. Raymond Chen says:

    See? Sometimes it really *is* because people want to spend more time with their family!

  13. Steve says:

    That’s awesome KC.

    Liz is trying to figure out how to spend more time with Tyler also – It’s really great to hear that they’re working with you on this.

  14. bill says:


    Your decision must have been difficult to make, but it’s really admirable. Your son has a lot to be proud of 😉

  15. KC Lemson says:

    Thanks all.

    Raymond: I was really nervous about the email sent to the team announcing the change, because it smacks of "So and so will be reporting to me working on special projects", i.e. on her her way out the door.

  16. Jon Galloway says:

    Very admirable decision, KC. It’s great that you appreciate the incredible value and importance in spending time with a very special little person. My wife is able to stay home with our two daughters (1yr and 3yrs) and I think it’s worth so much more than a second salary could every come close to. Moms are the whole world to little children, and they can tell when they’re a priority.

  17. Matt says:

    Congrats on making a difficult decision, but one that will definitely be worthwhile.

    Keep up the blogging!

  18. matthew g says:

    Congrats. That sounds like a great move.

  19. Douglas Reilly says:

    KC, you will never regret this decision. While many people cannot or do not want to change their lives in such a way, I am certain that you will find this time to be something you will really enjoy. They grow so fast, and this time cannot be replaced.

    My wife stayed home with our children (working part time as a building manager in the building where we were also superintendents) and it was worth every financial and other sacrifice we made…

  20. David says:

    Way to go, I have two little boys myself and they also go to bed at 6pm. I come home from work between 3 and 4, and then work at home (on my own company as a side project) after they’re asleep. Its worth it, they only are that age once.

  21. Wesley Peace says:


    Sounds like this took some soul searching and you’ve come to a decision that probably will work out for the best. I recall my wife trying to balance between work and job and coming to the same conclusions as you.

  22. Robert Scoble says:

    Awesome! Hope things are going well. Love your blog. And your son is cute!

  23. This is great news, KC. I know that you, David, and Jared will all feel the positive effects of this decision for the rest of your lives. Congratulations on making what must have been a really difficult choice for all the right reasons!

  24. Steve says:

    Its really awesome that you are able to do this. I have heard many good things about MS from other employees that I have worked with over the years (most in MCS and PSS) and this is just another thing to add to the list of reasons why I’d like to eventually settle at MS(Exchange consulting is still keeping me busy). Good luck and I hope you continue to post here.

  25. Benjamin Mateos says:

    Enhorabuena !!!

    I also have a baby (15 months) and my wife has been able to work part time since the first month.

    I also love to play with him and times flies !!.

    A really good decision.

    PS. And keep blogging !



  26. jude says:

    Great! It is a tough decision but works out both ways. Microsoft wins by still having you and you win by getting more time to spend with your son.

    I must say I enjoy all your blogs… technical and non-technical. I bet you know that you have a wide range of audience for your blogs.


  27. Steven Teiger says:

    Kol Hakavod!!!

    And I hope you’ll miss us as much as we’ll miss you.

  28. Wayne Small says:

    Congrats KC on the change of life decision – and I understand it will really be just that. I am glad that we (the community) won’t be loosing you altogether and hope that part time work is the right thing for you. Happy New Year


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