When you start working at Microsoft, be prepared to not know a damn thing about what anything anyone is talking about; at least at first. Microsoft uses acronyms about as freely as the Army does. Growing up, I was a true military brat. My father was in the Air Force and I was born on an Air Force base, and my mother was in the Army (retired Colonel). There were funny things that my mom and dad would say all the time that would leave me scratching my head, but eventually it became a sort of discombobulated language that my younger sister and I grew accustomed to hearing. Not that we always understood what the hell they were talking about–especially my mom, who seemed to take her “short-hand” to the extreme level of making up her own language.
When I first started working at Microsoft this year, this same feeling was all too familiar. People would be throwing out acronyms left and right that would make a college professor lose their mind. It’s funny because, MSFT “veteran” employees are so used to hearing these odd thrown together and ‘made-up-half-the-time’ acronyms that they automatically assume others should just be able to extrapolate and comprehend them immediately. Wrong! I call this the MSFT bubble. And for emphatic literary prose, I’ve been using the NYSE (NY stock exchange) acronym to write about Microsoft (MSFT).
Employees–err “softies” as people call them–at Microsoft are almost jaded to the fact that they have their own language. Some people that actually realize it’s ridiculous sometimes make jokes by saying things like, “Wait, do we have an acronym for that? I can’t move forward without an acronym,” and then they all crack up on their conference calls. The truth is that it’s all just hilarious. My mother used to call the Army’s overuse of acronyms “Alphabet Soup.” SO TRUE! IT IS ALPHABET SOUP! My goodness, I mean they even have their own internal dictionary to figure out what the hell anything means. This comes very much in handy when you’re first starting out…but then again you can’t even get to this glossary unless you’re connected to the intranet, but that’s for another blog post.
All in all, it’s all made worth it by the sheer curiosity I naturally carry with me in any job. Keeps me entertained and diving for answers all the time. That’s what helps me tick…a challenge.