The Mini-Microsoft blog has an entry entitled 6% raise? I want to work for Dilbert's company! where he writes

Holy whatsa, Alice got a 6% raise ? I'd seriously consider hanging out in the bushes near Google-Kirkland with my aluminum bat to totally Tonya-Hardin-up some delicate competitive fingers just to get a 6% raise.

If you're a lead, you can bring up the manager review tool and check-in on how your reports are doing within The Model. Maybe some bits and pieces will move around, but the review model is pretty much done now and set to go into effect the 1st of September, with the mid-September paycheck showing any benefits.

One thing I've noticed kvetching with other managers is that once again, pay raises are minimal. I'm talking 2%-ish for a 3.5 review. That's barely keeping up with cost-of-living / inflation for doing more than is expected up of you. And of course, 3.0s, for the most part, get nothing. That's right: you're losing buying power for making a 3.0 - doing what's expected of you.

The poor quality of yearly raises was one of the reasons I decided to leave the XML team last year. I realized that no matter how hard I worked, I wouldn't be significantly financially compensated for going above and beyond what I was required to do. Given that I'm an "above and beyond" kinda guy I saw two choices; I could be underpaid or I could be underpaid and work on stuff I was passionate about. So I moved to MSN.

After doing some thinking during my vacation I concluded that MSFT isn't the kind of place I can see myself working at in 5 years. One of the repurcussions of this conclusion is that I'm going to start working on getting an MBA so I can broaden my options whenever I decide that the time has come for me to leave the B0rg cube. Of course, the nagging from my folks about when I'm going to grow up (get married, finish my education, etc) helped in coming to this decision.

Bah! Going back to school is going to suck.


Saturday, August 13, 2005 5:52:04 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
What!? Why go get a worthless MBA when you've probably can learn more about business (via what to do and what not to do) from Microsoft and other real world experience. The only real benefit of an MBA is to make connections, and there are much cheaper ways to do so.
Saturday, August 13, 2005 10:18:51 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
You could also get Microsoft to pay for your MBA. If you do it in the evening, the tuition reimbursement benefit covers a large chunk of the costs of attending a program like the UW's evening MBA. It's a decent, top 20 program and if you do it at night, the class sizes are much better than you'd get at one of the big names schools.

Otherwise, I've found that MS raises tend to come in leaps rather than gradual increases. In my 8 years, the first few years saw gradual increases (probably because new hires were making more too). After that they've been coming every 2-3 years but have been pretty significant when they happen. If you can find a mananger and manager's manager that value the same skills that you do, it's not that hard to make it on to the 'disproportionate rewards' side of the curve.
Saturday, August 13, 2005 11:28:35 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
The main thing an MBA will cost me is time and in return I will learn a bunch of stuff I don't have the time or patience to study on my own. Seems like a fair trade to me.
Monday, August 15, 2005 3:45:15 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
That's a pretty significant statement about MS and how you feel about your job. Money is always a factor, but not necessarily (for me, anyway) the deciding one always about a job, though I've noticed you "happier" (if one can say that from just reading your blog) now in the MSN team that you were in the XML team.

The whole money vs reviews does seem to be totally screwed up from what little I've read about it, though it probably beats having no formal review process and clear policy for raises. Where I work (and most all software shops back home) tend to have a rather different policy which we like to call ATTP or "According to the Pig"...meaning someone arbitrarily decides your raise with pretty much no grounds to base it on. I haven't done bad on it myself, but that does not make me like it, anyway... (besides, we don't have bonuses or any other compensation except our paycheck, anyway, and most certainly don't get the perks you guys get at MS :))
Tuesday, August 16, 2005 7:11:49 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)

I'm guessing the MBA purpose is to improve velocity and choices along a management path. And I would assume that you have assessed your temperment for that direction already. In that case, good luck whatever you do.

Some stories: I was employed by a different prominant Seattle company for 8 years (name starts with a B). They were stingy as hell with raises. But they were quite stable for an aerospace company (did I say aerospace?). Microsoft seems to enjoy a lot of stability and growth.

For the last 10 years I've enjoyed the amazing variety of the Dallas IT scene (i.e. lots of contracting/consulting/perm positions). Last year contracting rates went down about 25% from what I enjoyed in 1998, in general. So some of us are still looking for a raise. I'm guessing the average increase at Microsoft over that period was about 17%.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005 1:51:51 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)

Check into Capella University you can do it all online. I'm a student there myself and it works well with a busy schedule.
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