Hello & Goodbye

Hello & Goodbye  

本文是微软元老级员工Philip Su在2010年离开微软时写下的离职信。信中字字珠玑,回顾了自己在微软工作的12年所感受和领悟到的职场真谛。无论你是职场老手还是职场新人,相信都能从中获得一些启发。

Today was my last day at Microsoft, after 12 years straight out of college. I will start at Facebook next week as a developer in its Seattle office.
今天是我在微软的最后一天。自从大学毕业,过去的 12 年里我一直都在微软工作。下周起,我将以一个程序员的身份在Facebook西雅图的办公室重新开始。

Below is the email I sent to Microsoft colleagues on my last day. I loved Microsoft, every one of the past twelve awesome years. Here's to new adventures!

### Original email below ###

Microsoft has been an awesome place to work over the past twelve years. Today is my last day.
过去的12 年里,我一直很喜欢在微软工作,但是今天是我在微软的最后一天。

I've always been somewhat random, so I'd like to end this whole adventure true to form: quirky, controversial, optimistic, seat-of-the-pants, with rarely a satisfying explanation.

Don't look for coherence below – you won't find it. And if parts of this offend you, it's probably because you don't know me well enough – I offend people inadvertently all the time, almost as a rule.

Thanks for everything.

In college, I never thought I'd work for Microsoft. Then I interned in 1997 and fell in love: free sodas, individual offices (with doors!), Pentium 66's – what more could a coder ask? Years later, my manager from the internship quit suddenly when his hard drive crashed, erasing weeks of code that hadn't been checked in. He said it was a sign from God. I have no idea what he's doing these days.
上大学时,我从来没有想过在微软工作。但我1997 年的时候在微软实习后,就对它一见钟情:免费的饮料、自己的办公室、奔腾66... 一个程序员还能要求什么?几年后,我实习时的老板突然离职了。他电脑的硬盘当时发生了故障,丢失了几个月的工作。他说这是一个来自上天的征兆。我不知道他现在人在哪里,在做些什么事情。

People often complain after getting a "bad" review that their manager has a distorted and inaccurate view of them. Don't you think that, of all the people in the world, the person reviewed would have the most biased view of their own performance? I sometimes gently suggest this. People don't believe me.

Choose carbs. Eat dessert first.

Use Occam's Razor in interpersonal relations: look for the simplest, most straightforward explanation that assumes the best of everybody. Stay away from people who always have a conspiracy theory involving twisted office politics, unfulfilled Machiavellian ambitions, and unspoken agendas.

Anonymous college course evaluations often ask for the student's grade in the class. Turns out that there's a strong correlation between a student's grade and their assessment of the professor's abilities. I don't listen too carefully when a poor performer tells me how awful their previous manager was. My ears perk up when a star performer constructively criticizes their management.

Bias towards action. "Litebulb" will drain your soul.

Words matter. Connotations matter.

If you consistently deliver what the business needs most, and you do it well, it's impossible not to get promoted. People tell me this isn't true, that it's all about the people you know and about "visibility". I have no idea how to consistently deliver impactful business results without becoming visible as a side effect. I hate it when developers ask me how to become "more visible". They hate it when I tell them to "do great work". They think I'm mocking them.

Be genuine. Never give advice for your own advantage. I've never once counseled a person to join my team or to stay on my team because I needed them.

Listen to understand. Speak to be understood.

Good ideas are a dime a dozen. Great ideas are usually laughed at. Neither sees the light of day without you taking action. Do the work to prove your idea, or stop talking about it. In an entrepreneurship class in college, I pitched the idea of an online grocery delivery service and got laughed off stage. Hurt, but convinced of my great genius, I returned the following week to pitch the idea of online movie rentals using the postal service. I called it NetVideo. Everyone thought it was absurd. I used to tell this story to bolster what I thought was my streak of unrecognized, prognosticating technical genius. These days, I tell the story to remind myself that in the end, only action and execution matter.

What's your final level at Microsoft? Please don't say CEO or Technical Fellow – I can almost guarantee you it's not. A realistic appraisal helps you aim for the right things, and is also essential to happiness. A VP once told me that he had already attained the highest position he'd ever reach at Microsoft. It wasn't false humility. It wasn't sour grapes. He was confident in his abilities and ambitious about doing great work. He was just more grounded and self-aware than many, and thus more content. Don't give up or sell out. Just know yourself.
你在微软最终的职位级别是什么?请不要说 CEO 或科技院士,因为我几乎可以保证你达不到。对自己能力更现实的认识会帮助你更准确找到目标,而且也会让你更加快乐。一位副总裁曾经告诉我, 他已经做到了他在微软能做的最高职位。这不是假谦虚,也不是抱怨。他对自己很自信,而且很有事业心。他只不过是对自己有很清楚的认识,而且懂得满足。不要放弃,也不要出卖自己。但是你要正确认识你自己。

If you only ever implement feedback that you agree with, you probably don't need the feedback in the first place. For feedback to be useful, you must at least occasionally consider implementing feedback that you don't initially agree with. How else will you discover your blind spots?

Good people with good process will outperform good people with no process every time.–Grady Booch

Don't fear process. Fear bad people dictating process. Fear process trying to make up for bad people.

I've managed almost 150 people across dev/test/PM. I estimate about 60% of employees think that they belong in the top 20% when ranked against their peers. I have never once had a person say that they belong in the bottom 10%.
我管理过150 人的开发团队。我估计60% 的人觉得自己应该是排名在前20%。我从来没有遇见过认为自己是排在最后10% 的人。

What would Mini do? (Incidentally, one of my managers once asked me, in all seriousness, whether I was Mini-Microsoft. I guess you'll find out after I leave.) 
Mini 会怎么做?(一个经理曾经很严肃的问我,我是不是Mini-Microsoft。 等我离开微软后,你们就会知道了。)(小编注:Mini-Microsoft 是一个写微软内情的匿名博客,在微软内部有很大影响力)

In a company as large as Microsoft, I guarantee you'll find someone higher level than you who you think is worse than you. Don't get stuck in this mental trap – it won't motivate you to be your best. Look instead towards the person you admire most at your level. What can you learn from them? What unique strengths might you have which they don't have?

A person is either passionate or they're not. People who expect their manager to make their jobs fun and interesting won't get far.

Once, at a Pizza Hut counter, I noticed that all the pens meant for signing credit card receipts had little flowers attached to their tops. Stuck together in a cup, the bunch of pens looked like a bouquet. I asked the cashier whether this was a new Pizza Hut policy. She said no – she had done it on her own. What would you pay to have her in your company?

Cynics don't get anything done. Stop talking to people whose first response is always skeptical. They will crush you.

I had a coworker in Money who, by the time I joined in 1998, had already been at Microsoft for 15 years and could probably buy the county I grew up in. He drove a beat-up Datsun and coded every day in his office as an individual contributor. There is no doubt in my mind that he knows what he loves.
我有一位同事,他在我1998 年加入微软的时候已经在微软干了15 年,应该有足够的钱来买一栋楼。但是他每天还是开一辆破旧的Datsun 汽车来上班,来编程。说这不是他深爱的事业,会有谁信呢?

Tony Hsieh's Delivering Happiness. It may change your life.

Offer me one great Microsoft engineer for five “solid” ones: I gladly take the exchange.

Practice articulating positions you disagree with faithfully and persuasively. Unless you can do this, you're implicitly assuming that people who disagree with you are idiots. Smart people understand why smart people disagree.

People keep asking for executive accountability when something goes wrong. When's the last time you saw a line engineer take accountability – real, public accountability, the type that says, "I screwed up. This needs to go on my review. I will make this right, or I will find another position"?

The team you want to join is the one that"s hard to get into.

If it seems easy getting a bunch of great reviews, you"re probably working on the wrong team.

Do you practice specific skills with repetition and intent? Athletes do drills. Musicians hone difficult passages. What do you do?

Mentees sometimes ask for the secret to my moderate career success. They're disappointed when I tell them that it's partially due to hard work. It sounds trite and preachy, like a public service announcement, like I'm commending myself for breaking a light sweat. As if they'd be more satisfied with an answer like, “I clawed my way up to middle management through shameless brownnosing.” My first year at Microsoft, I had a sleeping bag in my office and worked all the time. On weekends, I still write code to learn new technologies. I regularly read books about leadership, communication, management, and technology. Equally smart people fare differently in their careers partly based on the amount they're willing to put in. Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something.

Follow great people. Work for great people.

Above all else: Integrity. You must be able to trust who you work with and for. Theodore Roosevelt once fired a rancher who stole some neighboring cattle and added them to Roosevelt's herd. When asked about this by incredulous friends, Roosevelt simply replied, “A man who steals for me will also steal from me.”
最重要的是:做人要诚信。你必须信任和你一起工作的人。罗斯福有一次开除了他的牧场主,因为那位牧场主偷了邻居的牛,然后把它们放到了罗斯福的牛群中。当他的朋友询问他为什么时,罗斯福回答 “为我偷东西的人,也会从我这里偷东西。”

A PM once remarked of a former Microsoft VP known for being ultra-aggressive in meetings: “I'd rather have him pissing from my tent than into my tent.” Everyone within earshot chuckled at this witty political insight. I'd actually rather not have anybody pissing on any tents, mine or otherwise.
一位PM 曾经评价过一位在会议上很具进攻性的副总裁,“我宁可让他从我这边往别人那里喷,而不是从别人那里往我这里喷。”听到的所有人都笑了。我更希望谁也别喷谁。

Organizations which design systems … are constrained to produce designs which are copies of the communication structures of these organizations.–Conway’s Law (Melvin Conway)
康威定律(Conway’s Law):“设计系统的组织,最终产生的设计等同于组织之内、之间的沟通结构。”

Don't ship the org chart.–Steven Sinofsk
永远不要发出组织的架构图。-Steven Sinofsky(史蒂文·辛诺夫斯基,微软Windows事业部主管)

You can control outcomes with three types of approaches: a) People Control, where you decide who to hire, who to fire, and who to put in what positions; b) Action Control, where you tell people what to do; and c) Results Control, where you define the metrics of success. Know when to use which.
你可以通过三种方法控制你的结果:1. 控制人,你可以选择雇佣谁,解雇谁,把什么人放到什么位置上;2. 行为控制,你可以告诉他们该做什么;C. 结果控制,你告诉他们需要什么样的结果而度量标准是什么。你要知道什么时候适合用什么方法。

Isn't it a neat feeling when you're introduced to a coworker's kids or spouse? For a moment, the bubble of work is burst. You imagine baseball games, music recitals, anniversary dinners. I remind myself of this when I get frustrated at people.

I love watching exceptional people do what they're good at. It amazes and inspires me. I once saw an alleyway chef in Shanghai turn a basketball-sized clump of dough into hand-pulled noodles for a table of eight, amid a blur of arm movements in under a minute. Ever watch speed stacking? We each have astonishing potential.
我喜欢看到有才能的人们做他们最擅长的事情,因为这能够很好的激励我。我在上海的一个胡同里面看到一个大厨把一个篮球大小的面团用手拉成了8 个人吃的面条,而且整个过程都在一分钟内完成。我们每人都具有惊人的潜能。

Amidst some LCA controversy around "Dr. Who(m)," a site I worked very hard on creating after hours, I arrived at my office to find a handmade two-foot-high Dalek. Someone had taken the time to print, cut, and tape together a mascot to support me. What inspires people to this sort of kindness? I still don' know who did this for me – but if you're reading this, thank you.
当我编写的Dr. Who 网站(微软内部查询人的工具)受到了法律事务部的一些抗议时,有人把一个两英尺高的“Dalek”(小编注:Dalek,中文名为戴立克,是英国BBC著名科幻电视剧《Doctor Who》(神秘博士)中Doctor 最大的机器人生命体对头。)塑像放在我的办公室里,表示支持。我现在还不知道这是谁做的,但是如果你在读这封信,谢谢。

Spend time with people whether they'll be "useful" to you someday or not. Respond to emails whether from a VP or from a campus hire. This advice will likely make you less "efficient". But it's good advice nevertheless.


We used to get Dove Bars and beers all the time. It felt like free food was on offer at least once a week, usually with a pretense of some small milestone to celebrate. Why did we cut stuff like this? (I know the boring fiscal reasons why. I'm asking the deeper why, as in, "Was it worth the savings? Is Microsoft better now that we've cut these costs?")

One day, a sign appeared on a soda fridge in RedWest saying something to the effect of, "Did you know that drinks cost Microsoft [ed: millions of dollars] a year? Sodas are your perk at work. Don't bring them home". This depressed me on too many levels to enumerate, but I'll toss out a few:
有一天, 一个标贴出现在微软雷德蒙西区的冰箱上,它是这样写的:“你知道微软每年在饮料上要花费掉几百万美金吗?饮料是公司的,请不要带回家”。这使我非常郁闷的原因很多,简单说几个:

1.Someone had enough time to get these signs professionally printed and affixed to our fridges.

2.It was someone's salaried, 40-hour-a-week job to do things like this.

3.Someone thought soda smuggling was a big enough "problem" at Microsoft to draw attention to it.

How much soda can a person steal? How much does that same person cost the company per hour in salary and benefits? Our most interesting profits will come from capitalizing on huge opportunities, not from micromanaging costs. I'm sure some finance person will lambast me for this, which would only further depress me. Believe in our upside. Focus on our upside.

Leadership is the art of getting people to want to do what you know must be done. This was told to me third hand; I've unfortunately lost the attribution.

What have you enjoyed most in your time at Microsoft? What made that experience great? How can you do more of that?

What would you do if you hit the lottery? How can you do some of that right now?

Individuals are the sole cause of anything that's ever happened.
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