Last Wednesday night, I flew to Redmond for a job interview with Microsoft for an individual contributor role. (Now that the interview is over, I don't mind saying the name of the company.)
Thursday morning, I hopped in a cab to head over to my interview. In the cab with me was a gentleman whose previous MS interview had been cancelled because of the severe weather in the Pacific Northwest recently, and who was nervous beyond all belief. I spent my entire cab ride trying to calm the poor man down so that he could give an effective interview.
I feel pretty confident about my first several interviews. My fifth interview was when the timezone shift started to set in...it hit the time when I'd normally be napping on a bus heading home. I brainfarted when it came to whiteboarding a Fibonacci recursive function, but it didn't stop the loop.
Testing has definitely changed at Microsoft over the last four years from the sounds of it, and in several ways, it sounds as if it has changed for the better. While there are some downsides related to shifting test to a shared service rather than an integrated whole, the service system does counteract the one major issue I had with the way that test was...test can no longer wield the database as a cudgel to get design changes in via the backdoor. On a whole, the impression I got during my interview was the exact opposite of my impression of Sony.
That said, there were a few individuals that I have had interactions with outside of Microsoft that I ran into while in the offices that...well...let's just say that I was a bit surprised to see them there. Some I was definitely happy to see, others not so much.
After the interview, I had a great dinner with Sam Kalman (you can read about his impressions of the meeting here), and yes, the oyako domburi was excellent at Nara Sushi (just like mother used to make).
Sam and I are very different individuals, and we approach our games and testing in very different ways. Sam is trying to improve game testing from the bottom up. He wants to improve training for testers on basic testing skills and methodologies, as well as try to drive home that game testing isn't the realm of fun that it is often advertised to be. I'm trying to improve game testing from the top down, pushing for quality of life improvements, better distribution of knowledge, increased communication not only within the test department but across departments, etc.
As I flew back to Dallas after dinner, I tried to think what role I would play in the world if I rejoined the Collective and reactivated my implants. Would I relax back into my individual contributor role and be satisfied there, and eventually fall into "Limited II" land? Would I drive myself back up above and beyond where I had been in the past? Would I stay in QA, or eventually move into development or a PM slot? Would I continue to blog even if controversies tend to follow in my wake? Would I kill my own mother with a broken lawn chair?
These are the questions that have kept me awake at night since my return. I'm just glad that I'll have a decision on what I'm going to do within the next seven calendar days.