I have really enjoyed being an independent consultant, even in the down times, because it gave me the freedom to help my wife with her business. Being independent means I have to go out and find work, which is more difficult than you would expect, which is why you have to have a great network. When I started my network was fairly small. After three years of speaking at SQL Saturdays and PASS Summit, my visibility, friendships and network have grown.
I believe this year as an independent would have been my best ever, but an opportunity knocked on my door that I had basically given up on.
For the past three years there has been one company that I've wanted to work for more than being an independent consultant. Yes, Microsoft. I've interviewed with Microsoft three times in the past three years. The first time another person with better BI skills was chosen, it was a a little depressing, but definitely understood. The second time the interviewers were the same as last time and all of them were very positive about my skills from the last go round. I expected to get this position due to their feedback until I found out it was the same day as a large amount of layoffs.
This time it came out of the blue from a friend at Microsoft that forwarded my info to the recruiting staff. A couple of days later a phone screen was scheduled. The phone screen was pretty simple (some of the questions were silly). The recruiter called me immediately after to schedule the technical interview. It happened within a couple of days and it was actually pretty tough... I had a brain fart when I was asked, name a couple of wait types... ahh... I know this.... I know lots of wait types... work with them daily... what is wrong with my brain!! I was so embarrassed that my brain wasn't working.
Immediately after the technical interview the recruiter called and said, when can you come to Reston, VA for a face to face interview? Schedule for Thursday of the next week. The travel coordinator waited until Wednesday (the day before) to get me confirmed on a flight. I was really sweating, not sure what was going on, but finally it came through (after my bedtime).
The day of the interview was pretty interesting. As an interviewee I had a little tiny office where the interviewers would come and interview me. I'm assuming there are multiple people interviewing for the same position in the office, since I've seen several people walk by.
After my first interview I thought I saw someone I knew to the point I started typing him an email when the second interviewer walked in. This was a pretty long technical interview, and no brain farts...thank goodness! The interview ended and this time I definitely recognized my buddy Ryan Adams walking by... I called out his name, "Ryan". We started talking and he asked me, "you're a BI guy, right"? Nope, I do the same things you do... we both said about the same time, "oh no, I'm not going to get the job because you are"! It was pretty funny but a little nerve racking.
Both of our next interviews were phone interviews with different people. While they were setting us up, I asked them, are me and Ryan interviewing for the same position? I was happy to hear, no we are not going for the same position.
The local coordinator of the interviews that day told us to give them 7 to 10 days for the recruiter to get back to us, we both were a little shocked about that as we were told we would hear that evening whether we go the position.
Ryan and I went to dinner that night and Ryan got a call form the recruiter. Recruiter says, we want to move forward, Ryan got up so he could go somewhere quieter to talk. Sure enough, he has a verbal offer. Yea! All dinner I'm thinking, where's my call. :-)
By this time I know I did well on the interview. But I'm still a little nervous I haven't received the call.
We decided to meet for breakfast the next morning before driving to the airport. Still no call by breakfast.
At the airport, Ryan and I were one gate away from each other so we hung out before his plane boarded (mine was boarding close to an hour later). No phone call yet.
With business as usual, I completed a phone "interview" with a potential client; just in case.
So we board the plane and I'm sitting in the exit row way back in the back of the plane. Everyone is on the plane, the door is shut and here comes the flight attended to make sure we know we're in an emergency row. Bzzzzzzz... yep there is my phone ringing and the phone number is from Redmond... not now... yes, now.
I of course answered the phone and the recruiter asks, you home yet? "Nope", I said, "on the plane, doors shut and everyone looking at me. How's it going? " He says, "Well, we want to move forward, how's..." the flight attended is being very cool as I mouth, "sorry!" She says, "we can't leave until you hang up the phone". "No problem", I said, "its a job offer". I told the recruiter I needed to hang-up the phone but I would be online as soon as we got to altitude. The negotiations started from cruising altitude.
Yep, I got the job!
Best news, Microsoft is still hiring for PFE and Consultants. Let me know if you're interested!