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  • Writer's pictureMaria Vandenburg

My Introduction to the Wonderful World of Microsoft

Updated: Mar 27

As of June 30th, 2023, my first contract position as a Program Manager at Microsoft will officially come to close. I can honestly say that I deeply appreciated my time there ✨

Microsoft Logo
Microsoft Logo

I started in Microsoft in July of 2022 and wanted to share:

3 Things Learned from my return to the Corporate World

1. My Co-Workers Really Do Care about my Whole Being

Last year from July 2022-May 2023 was honestly one of the hardest of my life. I wrote all about it here: My Dark Night of the Soul 3.0

It is the darkest nights that produce the brightest stars
It is the darkest nights that produce the brightest stars

I won't go into the full story here, but I ended up needing to take a significant amount of time off of work as part of my own healing journey. The consulting company I worked for at the time (BlueHawk Consulting) and my Managers/Team at MSFT were BEYOND understanding. Not once, was I worried about losing my job. I was allowed to onboard again at a space that felt manageable to me, and most importantly... the amount of love and support that poured in is something I will be grateful for the rest of my life. What was most touching for me, was this came from a corporate environment.

2. Understanding my Time, Energy and Quality of Work do Matter.

I don't write this from an egotistical perspective but I am FINALLY learning how to know my worth. I realize my contribution matters, that I matter. I was hired to provide PMO and Change Management Support to the Xandr Integration. That eventually morphed into helping to build and execute the Netflix Project Management Office (PMO). I enjoyed every single moment (even the struggles/hard ones) AND the amazing team I had the opportunity to work with. 💫

My very first professional job was at the Office of News and Information at the University of Washington in 2000. My boss at the time, Bob Roseth, spoke of the Maria Standard. My mother subsequently made me a Crystal Flame. I have had on my desk ever since to serve as a reminder. It reads: The Maria Standard is Ethical, Value-Driven, Unparralled Excellence. I can honestly say I believe in that now, but with an intention af humility and service.

My Crystal Plaque given to me by my mother: The Maria Standard
My Crystal Plaque given to me by my mother: The Maria Standard

3. I LOVE Contracting and Program + Operations Management

  • ✨ I often say during interviews that I enjoy what I like to call: "The Grey."

  • ✨ I love translating vision into "Actionable and Executable Next Steps."

This last position affirmed to me that I can do this on a grand scale... like for example helping to combine Netflix and MSFT so that everyone feels seen and heard. (Which, may or may not have been what I had to let go of 😥)

I realized I could execute Digital Product Management, GTM (Go-To-Market) for our B2B and B2C Divisions prior to this contract. I gained experience while supporting the Marketing and Video Production Departments at Sounds True. I wrote about here: Saying Good Bye to my Dream Job)

It is bittersweet for me to let this initial contract position at Microsoft go. I will ALWAYS be grateful for my experience, the incredible people I worked with, and the meaningful relationships I have been able to form 💕

Interested in learning more about my personal journey?


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