Why This Canadian Quit Microsoft to Join an Unproven Startup in Toronto

Two years ago a young woman named Jaclyn Konzelmann left Waterloo to join Microsoft in Seattle. Initially it was an amazing experience, she says, but it didn't take long for her to fly back to Canada and join five-person startup ShopLocket.

Jaclyn went from having a well paying job to take a massive pay cut and sleeping on air mattress in Toronto.

The mechatronics engineering graduate's job at Microsoft was her first real foray into the software industry. She says her first year at Microsoft was great: "I would wake up every morning looking forward to going into the office," she writes. "Life was amazing."

But that euphoria lasted only one year, Jaclyn explains. Then she became unhappy with life and the culture at Microsoft. She lists six things that drove her away.

1. Employees at Microsoft get rewarded for visibilty, not tangible contributions. Her inbox was flooded with thousands of spammy status updates from employees working on projects completely unrelated to her; she was expected to write these useless emails also.

2. Upper management actually told Jaclyn that the optimal personality to work at Microsoft was that of a robot. He told her people who are not very warm, open, or friendly work best in the company culture. She refused to become a robot.

3. The annual review cycle takes up four months of the year, Jaclyn says. And the way that Microsoft structures it, newcomers are "set up for mediocrity." In essence, like the status updates everyone is supposed to send, the whole ordeal is a colossal waste of time and energy.

4. People on her team started leaving, either quitting or being pulled to other projects. She got stuck on a boring old project in a ghost town of an office with empty hallways while managers held "secret meetings offsite."

5. Microsoft spent several weeks trying to make one small decision: an argument over text casing for user generated content strings. The never ending debate continued to rage on a month after Jaclyn quit. Nothing was actually getting done there.

6. She stopped learning anything meaningful. Her job became about "creating processes" versus accomplishing purposeful objectives and learning new things.

Canadian startup ShopLocket used its freshly raised $1 million to bring Jaclyn on board as director of business development. She says she "couldn't be happier" now. Hopefully that euphoria lasts longer than one year this time.

Read her full story on Tumblr here.

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

The Vancouver Development Center (VDC) is located in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The centre is home to some of the best and brightest software developers from around the world. Since opening its doors in September 2007, the VDC has quickly become an intricate part of Microsoft’s global strategy for distributed software development. VDC employees play a key role in architecting systems,... more

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

ShopLocket lets anyone start selling professionally online in minutes. Simply publish a product, embed it in any website, Facebook page, or blog post, and start collecting orders. Finally, selling online is as simple as it should be. more

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Techvibes NewsDesk

Techvibes is Canada's leading technology media property.Founded in 2002, Techvibes covers technology and business news that impacts Canadians. We combine breaking local news with international coverage to deliver a unique balance of insight and information. The Techvibes Newsdesk covers a broad beat and publishes general news stories. If you have a story you would like covered, email... more

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