Sunday, August 26, 2007

Reviewzapalooza!

Let's talk about you: it's Reviewzapalooza time! How do you like the new numbers sheet - does it help with the context of what your awards are? Once again, the charmingly good looking folks who participate in the comments here have started sharing their numbers to help get an idea of how they stand and how it compares across groups in the company. You can see some comments in the Gone Fishin' post, and the template that has evolved into is basically:

Position: Job Title
Level:
Commitment: Exceeded / Achieved / Underperformed
Contribution: 20% / 70% / 10% I or 10% II
Merit: %bump
Bonus: %of bonus
Stock - $USD of grant (% of Target)
Promo: %promo

Plus anything you feel like adding. Healthy approximations are appropriate to fuzz your rewards should you be concerned about consternation from above for sharing. You know, I wish there was a way to do this inside Microsoft (hmm, Inside MS) and especially wish there was a way to do it so that the division / group was obvious. As I've moved about the company over the years, it has become depressingly clear that, yes, career velocity is very different across the company, with some teams shooting their people up the levels on aggressive schedules and other divisions letting their reports languish for long durations before their level bumps (making it a vicious cycle: the folks at the next level up are now really really good just because they've been there for a while, so you're going to be parked here for a while, too).

I will say, as someone participating in the review process, it feels better and I feel better about the rewards distributed through-out the team, though there are always the hard conversations around "Why didn't I at least meet 100% of the target?" Look, there is still a curve and ratios to track for performance ratings and there are still misunderstandings in self-assessments that "Exceeded" is appropriate for soft commitments.

The review tools are a Himalayan blackberry infestation running through my gut. The clumsy workflow hammered in around the tools is just too restrictive and results in me spending more time getting HR IT's help, managing the tools and process and less time giving (hopefully) useful feedback. And when your editing package can't even copy and paste between its own fields without barfing out some kind of new, exotic formatting, well, you should just go back to Word.

Of course, Limited II is still around. It's just called 10% II. New non-offending packaging, same demoralizing message.

Stuff o' Interest: some links I'd like to pass on (some of which I've already posted in my Facebook profile, so apologies mon amis):

Microsoft Extreme Makeover has two excellent posts: (1) Growth play, value play, or just lousy play?, and (2) Home runs, base hits, virtual aspirations and actual failure. An extraction of the facts covered in greater detail in (1):

  1. Fact: Microsoft stock has performed abysmally over the past 5 years
  2. Fact: Investors have been more than patient
  3. Fact: Management's statements are at odds with observable facts and the stock's performance
  4. Fact: The leadership team's actual track record of investments is decidedly mixed, if not in fact poor.
  5. Fact: Management is arguing with the market and results, and shareholders are paying the freight for that hubris and failure
  6. Fact: External shareholder are the majority owners of this company

And there's a corker of a conclusion in there...

Collision Domain on the way out the door? My interpretation on this other anonymous Microsoft blogger is that it's time to discard the Blue Badge and move on: Preparing for Take-Off, Lift-Off, and Orbit. Snippet from Lift-Off:

One tidbit that I did discover this go-through was that the shiny, happy compensation target numbers on hrweb are figments of policy imagination.

Way ahead of you, dude: Already off and into Redfin's orbit is former Microsoftie Jeff Yee: Will work for food: why I left Microsoft for a startup. Snippet:

While I was at Microsoft, many things didn’t make sense to me. I didn’t understand the massive “re-orgs”, which, if you hadn’t heard about ahead of time, it meant nothing material changed for you. I didn’t understand why we’d try to enter dominated markets with an uncompetitive offering. I didn’t understand those little table tents on the cafeteria tables or the giant banners and posters promoting intranet websites. I didn’t understand why site searches on MSDN were abysmal. I wasn’t the only one who was confused. Minimsft would try to speculate about a re-org or an acquisition. And on popular internal aliases like “litebulb”, for instance, there’d be email threads where people would ask why Vista had 6 (ok, 8) SKUs, why Zune wouldn’t work with PlaysForSure, why their product had to be renamed from something cool to something like Windows Communication Framework, or why there were 2 confusing boxes on local.live.com (or so adverse to just calling it “maps.live.com” in the first place). Legitimate questions often got defensive responses. To paraphrase one developer, “Why are these responses always along the lines of, ‘We know what we’re doing’? Personally, I’d welcome the feedback, because that’s how I’ll improve. Why can’t you provide the reasons that led to your decision?” I couldn’t have agreed more.

Who's on First? Mr. Romano at the Seattle Times has a three-fer: Microsoft Microsoft's new leaders prepare for the post-Gates era, Microsoft Craig Mundie Company envoy will keep that role, and Microsoft Ray Ozzie Collaborative leader has coaching style. Who's is next? Well, who should be next?

No-one! Jamie has a new C9Park: Iron Chef.

Company Meeting: I don't think I'll be as vocal about my love for the Company Meeting this year. Yes, I love the Company Meeting, just as much as I love the potential for Microsoft to be the best company ever. The Company Meeting is where I hold out both of my arms and let myself get hooked up into two I.V.s of pressurized, concentrated MSFT-Kool-Aid. It, along with the occasional Town Hall meeting, allows me to become re-enchanted and re-committed to Microsoft.

I like the change of theme this year of celebrating individuals who represent the best of Microsoft (I'm not sure about the moniker Champions of Change because my eyes roll everytime I read it). I mean, first of all, big thumbs up for not doing Microsoft Idol again just because we did it last year. That's a change I could champion. But finding people who truly represent the best of Microsoft and its culture does allow people to get to know them and find out what kind of person our corporate culture touchstone resonates for. Maybe your boss does indeed sucketh in comparison. Or maybe not. Anyway, it's mostly a really really good idea that I wish I had come up with to propose.

It's too bad , though, it looks like our continued celebration of the individual. Do we have a celebration in there for a team or two of distinction? I'm sorry, but we need a change around this lone-wolf achiever culture. Team Gold Stars and Team Achievements that everyone could clap for in wild agreement need to be next.

What would I like to hear about in our Company Meeting? Some things off the top of my head (not too different than last year, just compacted):

  • European Union: whoa, Nelly, I think we're about to get kicked really, really hard in our money maker. Can we talk about this?
  • The Stock Price: what do we hear from analysts about the stock price? Let's enumerate them so that we have confirmation that we've actually heard advice regarding the stock price: cut expenses, increase the dividend, etc. and then, Beloved Leadership, tell us what you think.
  • Windows Live Suite: this actually addresses an analyst's concern, about showing radical growth in rich, connected services. Is it going to do it? What's is about and where is it going? And is Spaces going to do something to out-Facebook Facebook?
  • In Between Cows: between now and Windows 7 and Office 14, what's releasing and what does the product stream look like for profit?
  • Hiring Slow-Down: please, tell me more about this. And then even some more again. It just doesn't get old.
  • HR and Compensation: first of all, before LisaB, did we even hear from HR that much? Anyway, I'm sure we'll hear how great the poll is looking any maybe some other goodies. On my mind:
    • ESPP: Bring back the 15% ESPP: yep, it goes against the cut expenses goal. Suck it up and give back what we once had. I'll even part with my Starbucks kitchen coffee maker machine for it. And that's saying something.
    • Internal Recruiting: we need to aggressively recruit talent within our company and not leave it to the individual to meander through the internal machinery and find a job. Additionally, totally drop permission and intent to interview and just let people interview at will.
    • Mid-year review: yes, bring back the mid-year review. Compensation would be nice, too, but let's make it a full review. We do all the work and create review numbers, so let's just go ahead and share the numbers officially so that it's not an all-or-nothing once-a-year tell-me-if-I'm-doing-a-good-job Hell Mary. This also swings nicely into letting people move around more easily so that folks don't feel locked into their job for an entire year in order to get a fair review vs. moving groups and losing their perceived momentum.

Anything you'd like to hear about and discussed by our leadership?


218 comments:

1 – 200 of 218   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

"..so that it's not an all-or-nothing once-a-year tell-me-if-I'm-doing-a-good-job Hell Mary."

Ok, was this a typo or...? :-)

Anonymous said...

GREAT list of things to cover in the Company Meeting. If they actually covered those, I'd be inclined to give up a day of my time (working on things I've committed to - the Company Meeting wasn't on the list) to go hear about it. Heck, if they gave us any clue in advance about the hard questions they'll be answering, that'd be a step in the right direction. But once again, it's "Trust us, it'll be worth your time." Yeah...umm...right.

Anonymous said...

Position: Product team, non-PM/dev/test
Level: 59 -> 60
Commitment: Exceeded
Contribution: 20%
Merit: 6%
Bonus: 13%
Stock: $10,500 USD (175% of Target for L60)
Promo: 4.5%

Anonymous said...

Position: PM
Level: 60 (promoted to 61 in this review)
Commitment: Exceeded
Contribution: 20%
Merit: 4%
Bonus: 16%
Stock - $17500 USD
Promo: 2%
Base Salary: $88000 (before raise)

Anonymous said...

(Carried over from last posting)

Why does management now take into account past stock awards and projected career ceiling in order to determine bonuses?

So is this in fact true? Enquiring (and mobile) minds want to know.

Anonymous said...

Stop the roach motel mentality of tipping everything towards Microsoft. MSN Money used to lock you out of looking at the stocks you were tracking until a survey was filled out every three months. When I saw the second one it was, "Adios" and I haven't been back since. Plays for Sure is another example. "We got Zune now" so screw the partners.

Stop it.

Anonymous said...

Position: SDE
Level:62->63
Commitment: Exceeded
Contribution: 20%
Merit: 4.5%
Bonus: %of bonus
Stock - 35K (110%)
Promo: 5%

Keep this going!

Anonymous said...

Position: SDET
Level: 60
Commitment: Exceeded
Contribution: 20%
Merit: 5.5%
Bonus: 12%
Stock - $10,800(180% of Target for L60)
Promo: None
Base Salary: $79000 (before raise)

Anonymous said...

As I've moved about the company over the years, it has become depressingly clear that, yes, career velocity is very different across the company, with some teams shooting their people up the levels on aggressive schedules and other divisions letting their reports languish for long durations before their level bumps

1. MSN
2. Windows

What do I win?

Anonymous said...

The latest COLA is 3.3 percent for Social Security benefits and SSI payments.

So subtract 3.3 from your merit to see what you really got as a raise!

Anonymous said...

Position: Marketing
Level: 64
Commitment: GONE
Contribution: N/A (never again)
Merit: 40% (not a bad raise from a $120K base especially when you're moving to another fortune 100)
Bonus: 50% (sign-in ... cash)
Stock: $60,000 USD (>200% of Target for L64)

I've to admit I owe one to my GMs. Hadn't it been for the two clowns I ended up having to work for (ignoring for a moment Mich and her cronies) I'd have never found out my true market value. Best of luck guys, you'll need a lot to retaining any decent marketers ...

Anonymous said...

Position: Product Manager
Level:63 -> 64
Commitment: Exceeded
Contribution: 20%
Merit: 5%
Promo: 6%
Bonus: 16%
Stock - $52000

Anonymous said...

Position: Test Lead
Level:61
Commitment: Exceeded
Contribution: 70%
Merit: 4%
Bonus: 15%
Stock - 110%
Promo: n/a

Last review at the company. I'm returning to a dev lead position elsewhere. Manager is leaving as well, was aware of my plans and helped maximize the bonus payout.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget to vote for people for the new awards at the co mtg.

While you are reading the entries, keep an eye out for blatant self promotion and bullshit.

If this is really the BEST Microsoft has to offer, we're fucked.

Looking at the review scores here, it is very sad to see that L60's have to get 175+% of target to get $2000 worth of stock per year.

Anonymous said...

Position: SDET
Level: 59
Commitment: Achieved
Contribution: 70%
Merit: 4.5%
Bonus: 3.2%
Stock - $3600 (80% of Target)
Promo: no promo *still* a 59

Test is for chumps. You are a second class citizen who is given leftover opportunity after dev and pm have cherry-picked the contribution opportunities. Why does PM work for devs and tests manages our own work - yet we are laddered 2 levels below dev and pm for similar work. I could piss in a bucket and make pm level 60.

MSFTextrememakeover said...

"European Union: whoa, Nelly, I think we're about to get kicked really, really hard in our money maker. Can we talk about this?"

FYI. Thurott has the International Herald Tribune's take here:
Microsoft's EU Case Expected to End with Split Decision

Anonymous said...

GPM - L66
Achieved/Limited II

3% raise, 10% bonus, 33K stock (50%)

old base salary 151K

Anonymous said...

"Test is for chumps. You are a second class citizen who is given leftover opportunity after dev and pm have cherry-picked the contribution opportunities."

I do not deny that your situation sucks or that your managers are screwing you. I don't know the details of your situation.

However, I would not complain about it. It is exactly that kind of attitude which will limit your growth. I speak from experience that testers can achieve great things at Microsoft. I would advise you to get in contact with some of the senior testers in Engineering Excellence. The company is investing a huge amount of money in test these days.

I'll probably get hammered as a sell-out for these comments, but I really do believe them.

Anonymous said...

Position: Dev
Level: 62
Commitment: Exceeded
Contribution: 20%
Merit: 4.5%
Bonus: 15%
Stock: $36k USD (200% of Target)
Base Salary: 97k

Anonymous said...

Fact: Microsoft stock has performed abysmally over the past 5 years

Hmmm, the tech market is actually very good right now. I wonder what will happen in a couple of years when the downturn comes?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone wonder what kind of craziness has been happening...now that basically everyone in the company has motivation to kill the stock price as low as possible before 8/31?

Anonymous said...

Position: GPM
Level: 66
Commitment: Exceeded
Contribution: 20%
Merit: 8%
Bonus: 35%
Stock: $150,000 USD (almost 200% of Target)
Promo: 0%
Base salary: $150,000

Anonymous said...

The latest COLA is 3.3 percent for Social Security benefits and SSI payments.

So subtract 3.3 from your merit to see what you really got as a raise!


That is from 2005 to 2006. The article is dated Oct 18, 2006. See the numbers on the right at this site (CPI-W, Since Jul 2006). It's actually only about 2.3% from a year ago.

Anonymous said...

Position: Marketing
Level: 64
Commitment: GONE
Contribution: N/A (never again)
Merit: 40% (not a bad raise from a $120K base especially when you're moving to another fortune 100)
Bonus: 50% (sign-in ... cash)
Stock: $60,000 USD (>200% of Target for L64)

I've to admit I owe one to my GMs. Hadn't it been for the two clowns I ended up having to work for (ignoring for a moment Mich and her cronies) I'd have never found out my true market value. Best of luck guys, you'll need a lot to retaining any decent marketers ...
You got a 40% raise and a 50% bonus, and you're leaving the company? Wow, we should all have your problems.

Anonymous said...

Position: Test Lead
Level:61
Commitment: Exceeded
Contribution: 70%
Merit: 4%
Bonus: 15%
Stock - 110%
Promo: n/a

Last review at the company. I'm returning to a dev lead position elsewhere. Manager is leaving as well, was aware of my plans and helped maximize the bonus payout.


So what kind of idiot would give you stock (and ABOVE TARGET no less) when they know you're leaving? You got screwed, and so did other people in your current group. What a shame.

Anonymous said...

Position: SDET
Level: 59
Commitment: Achieved
Contribution: 70%
Merit: 4.5%
Bonus: 3.2%
Stock - $3600 (80% of Target)
Promo: no promo *still* a 59


That's actually a really good merit bonus for an "Achieved".

Sucks that now for the next 5 years (if you stick around that long), you'll have to see the lousy 25 shares of stock vesting per year on your review form.

Test is for chumps. You are a second class citizen who is given leftover opportunity after dev and pm have cherry-picked the contribution opportunities. Why does PM work for devs and tests manages our own work - yet we are laddered 2 levels below dev and pm for similar work. I could piss in a bucket and make pm level 60.

Yes, but only if you could get a meeting scheduled with your GM and clearly articulate why your piss was the goldest of all the piss in the land. Managers only understand colors. Usually just red/yellow/green, so you'll have to get an innovator that thinks outside the box to understand gold.

Test needs to band together and figure out a way to show management that they're important. Until you guys do that, nothing will happen. Start throwing around ideas. It's not like you can have a "test walkout day" or anything like that, because it would go unnoticed.

Anonymous said...

GPM - L66
Achieved/Limited II

3% raise, 10% bonus, 33K stock (50%)

old base salary 151K


A limited, and you got 33k worth of stock. You are what is wrong with Microsoft. Please leave. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

You got a 40% raise and a 50% bonus, and you're leaving the company? Wow, we should all have your problems.

While L64 Marketer may have been stretching the truth a little, I did leave after a great run and left lots of stock options/awards on the table.

I left because I felt MS was evolving in a direction I didn't agree with.

I left because I had no faith in my management; gone were the empowered risk takers, only to be replaced by an ever longer chain of conservative partners looking to protect their bottom line.

I left because there is a healthy (non-bubble) resurgence in start-ups with good funding making the local job market quite lucrative.

Finally, I left because I LOVE to work for a company that needs me, appreciates me, and lets me know that on a regular basis.

Anonymous said...

"So what kind of idiot would give you stock (and ABOVE TARGET no less) when they know you're leaving?"

Someone who is headed out like me?

Anonymous said...

Position: Sr PdM
Level: 63
Commitment: Achieved
Contribution: 10%
Merit: 4%
Bonus: 8%
Stock: $7,000 USD
Promo: 0%
Base salary: $113,000

I felt pretty good with my review. I set strong, impactful commitments for FY07 that I knew were achievable without working 70 hour weeks and that would avoid me ending up in marriage counseling again and close to divorce court. The negatives in the review were, what I thought were out-of-line comments: "you are too aggressive and condescending and don't communicate well". I mentioned these comments to other folk and they said "er, I think they told you that to keep your stock, bonus down". Maybe. I'm working in a large co. and nothing is perfect. Oh, I forgot to mention. I'm leaving MS after six years. It's been a good experience, but it's just time to work in a flatter organization and get more actual work done.

Anonymous said...

From review numbers posted here, it looks like Exceeded's are getting their numbers, but other ratings for the less than Exceeded are not yet being delivered. I expect a Strong with dismal numbers. If previous stock in vesting is a factor I am even less optimistic.

Anonymous said...

Position: SDET
Level: 62
Commitment: Exceeded
Contribution: 20%
Bonus: 16%
Stock: $40,000
Base salary: $100,000

And needless to say, very happy.

Anonymous said...

What is up with the separation of Merit from Promo? Is this some kind of HR trickery to make people think they are actually getting something? Come on over here sonny and I'll tell you a story about the olden days when the standard around here was 6% - 10% for a raise and if you got a promotion you were talking about 15% - 20% total. Must be because that new Excel has more cells than the old version...

Don't forget to vote for people for the new awards at the co mtg. While you are reading the entries, keep an eye out for blatant self promotion and bullshit.

Yup. I am in one of the units that has nominees and have got no less the 4 e-mails telling me to go vote for our people; what a crock.

GREAT list of things to cover in the Company Meeting. If they actually covered those, I'd be inclined to give up a day of my time...

Company meeting = Day off/Sleep in

Internal Recruiting: we need to aggressively recruit talent within our company...

Mini this comment really struck a nerve as I recently found out that a position in our group was not only open to internal but that they were interviewing some external cronies of the hiring manager. I thought WTF? We haven't even exhausted the list of internals yet; why the hell are we letting externals apply. We need another "new" employee like a hole in the head.

To extend this internal campaign even further why don't we have our own internal version of Monster? We could call it Min-ster; where anyone could post their resume internally and hiring managers could seek out potential hires on their own. I don't understand why it can't go both ways WRT finding positions or candidates.

Anonymous said...

You got a 40% raise and a 50% bonus, and you're leaving the company? Wow, we should all have your problems.

Doh! The person is leaving the company and telling you how their compensation/hiring goodies in the new position compares to their MS compensation.

Anonymous said...

To the HR troll that is putting up exceeded numbers for every position, your rubbish system can work only so much.

Anonymous said...

A limited, and you got 33k worth of stock. You are what is wrong with Microsoft. Please leave. Thanks!

He was limited at level 66, and 33k isn't a lot at that level. It's lower than what I got, and I'm three levels below that. Keep in mind that limited only means he isn't expected to grow much more, and not that he did a bad job. Certainly not that he did worse than a lvl 63 or 64, which is approximately where that award would be average.

Anonymous said...

"I'll tell you a story about the olden days when the standard around here was 6% - 10% for a raise and if you got a promotion you were talking about 15% - 20% total."

And I'll tell you a story about a time when the demand for developers far outstripped the supply which drove salaries through the roof.

All you need to do is fix the tech job market and salary ranges for developers at large tech companies. It is unreasonable for MS to pay (much) higher than the market for the same position. We're lucky the job market hasn't tanked or moved completely offshore or we would be seeing salary cuts or at most 0% merit.

Anonymous said...


A limited, and you got 33k worth of stock. You are what is wrong with Microsoft. Please leave. Thanks!

He was limited at level 66, and 33k isn't a lot at that level. It's lower than what I got, and I'm three levels below that. Keep in mind that limited only means he isn't expected to grow much more, and not that he did a bad job. Certainly not that he did worse than a lvl 63 or 64, which is approximately where that award would be average.


You know what they say - eventually you get promoted to a level where you are incompetent. I know of atleast one person who was a superstar at lower levels but got sidelined once he got above 65.

Anonymous said...

It's off the review topic, but has anyone seen the storm over Vista music playback throttling network transfers? It turns out the network is throttled back by design when playing music. The resulting effect shouldn't be noticable to users of 100Mbs networks (and down) but users are reporting poor network speeds in forums.

This looks like a design fault caused by poor assumptions and implementing a new service (multimedia class scheduler) where none was needed previously. A lot of users are saying it's still more reason to stay on XP, which can walk and chew gum at the same time.

Anonymous said...

It would be cool if with the review numbers that people could post their group (at whatever level they feel comfortable) so that people know where the good/bad numbers are coming from. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Position: SDET
Level: 62
Commitment: Exceeded
Contribution: 70%
Merit: 6%
Bonus: 12%
Stock: $22,500

Anonymous said...

"I'll tell you a story about the olden days when the standard around here was 6% - 10% for a raise and if you got a promotion you were talking about 15% - 20% total."

And I'll tell you a story about a time when the demand for developers far outstripped the supply which drove salaries through the roof.

I'm the original poster of that comment. Can I request that some of you climb out of your developer bubble and remember that there are a good number of us in the company that are not developers.

My point with this comment was that "The Deal" use to be 6% - 10% Merit and 10% - ??% (can't remember 15%???) for Bonus; oh yea and that happened 2 times a year... Oh well.

Anonymous said...

Position: SDET
Level: 60
Commitment: Exceeded
Contribution: 70%
Merit: 5%
Bonus: 15%
Stock: (175% of Level 60) - 10K
Base: 79K

Anonymous said...

Position: PUM
Level: 67
Commitment: Exceeded
Contribution: 20%
Merit: 6%
Bonus: 50%
Stock: $350K (200% of Target)
Promo: none
Base: $170K

Anonymous said...

Re: Vista and all these articles about high-profile people switching back to WinXP and/or having trouble with network performance DRM etc.

I'm sure some stuff is better. Obviously other stuff is worse. Nobody can point me to any one feature of Vista that I consider interesting or valuable. Win95 was a real 32 bit OS with protected memory and preemptive multitasking and a more sophisticated UI. Definitely worth the money. WinXP had a more robust kernel that offered more stability and security and performance. Also worth the money. Vista gives me... parental controls? Blurry window frames? A weather widget? Come ON! I'm supposed to spend money and sacrifice performance and risk app and device compatibility for blurry window frames? Did anybody honestly expect this pile to be a runaway success?

It's like somebody is trying to sell me a new car that's slower, uses more gas, and is less reliable than the one I already own, but it comes with an ugly two-tone paint job and a DVD player in the back. Sorry, not interested.

Anonymous said...

However, I would not complain about it. It is exactly that kind of attitude which will limit your growth. ... The company is investing a huge amount of money in test these days.

Anonymous made those comments about test, not me. ;')

"Where do you want to go today? (we ask you because you are on your own to get there - we're too busy shopping private preschools to be bothered)"

Anonymous said...

Position: SDET
Level: 59
Commitment: Achieved
Contribution: 70%
Merit: 3%
Bonus: 8%
Stock: $5,900
Base Salary: 76k before raise

Anonymous said...

SDE lvl60.
2.5%/9%/100% target
though i was new to the group(almost 4 months) didn't expect this. is this even average?

Anonymous said...

It's not like you can have a "test walkout day" or anything like that, because it would go unnoticed.

It would be noticed when my test passes do not get daily status updated in the reporting web site, told to my lead, emailed to my manager, and added to the excel spreadsheet my manager set up to track it. Neither would the status update be sent to the org's release pm who, like my manager, does not know how to go to the reporting site within a week of sending inquiries.

Honestly at review time the difference between doing 120% and doing nothing is so little I doubt you will ever get any work out of me again. I didn't enter Microsoft with this attitude, it's been trained into me. It's not that people want to rest and vest, it's that people have been convinced that it really makes no difference in the outcome.

It's an interesting idea though, I'll let you know what happens after I walk out tomorrow.

Or I'll join marketing so I can be completely incompetent *and* lavished with cash. You've heard the Zune 2.0 slogan? The one replacing "the social?" They're burying the social and trust me, it's worse. Though someone already got well paid for it, even prior to it's inevitable failure to grab consumer's hearts and minds. Hopefully the product itself will grab them, but from what I've heard it's more of the same + 1 new yawny gimmick.

Anonymous said...

The partners this year got 10% raise on the average. People below L68 got 3.3% on the average.

Anonymous said...

I have a proposal:

We need to have MSPOLL immediately *after* performance review, not three months before it.

In this way people will have nothing to be afraid of and will describe their managers more accurately.

Then, the managers should have their performance review, based on this MSPOLL.

Phil said...

"Or I'll join marketing so I can be completely incompetent *and* lavished with cash. You've heard the Zune 2.0 slogan? The one replacing "the social?" They're burying the social and trust me, it's worse. Though someone already got well paid for it, even prior to it's inevitable failure to grab consumer's hearts and minds. Hopefully the product itself will grab them, but from what I've heard it's more of the same + 1 new yawny gimmick."

Complete nonsense. What you "heard" is complete BS. I work on the Zune team and we do not even know the details of marketing yet. There have been no major announcemens on Zune since the Halo 3 version came out a few months ago.

Also - regarding your career gripes. You marginalized any value add that you have on the team. Is your only responsibility on your team to run some pass and update a spreadsheet? No wonder you don't like your review! If you want to be identified as a high contributor, then maybe you should contribute a little more. If your boss does not give you that opportunity, switch groups. It is your responsibility to increase influence and grow in your career. If you are letting a bad boss get away with manipulation of your career, then you should only blame yourself.

Anonymous said...

lvl59 Build Engineer
Commitment: Achieved
Contribution: 70%
Merit: 3.5%
Bonus: 7%
Stock: 130%, $5900

71.8k before merit increase...

I dunno, it makes me feel shafted when I read these other entries, and I see hundreds of thousands being thrown at people that do marginally more work than I do. I mean, I bust my butt all day long building solutions for microsoft, and do a darn fine job of it- yet I get paid 50k less than someone one or two levels above me... I almost wish I didn't look at this site.

Anonymous said...

My point with this comment was that "The Deal" use to be 6% - 10% Merit and 10% - ??% (can't remember 15%???) for Bonus; oh yea and that happened 2 times a year... Oh well.

this is not accurate -- merit increases and stock option grants only happened in august, and each bonus was based on 6 months of salary instead of 12.

the difference is that instead of the current COLA increases of 3% disingenuously called "merit", we used to actually get 3-5% true merit increases on top of the baseline 3% COLA increase for an average total yearly increase of 6-8% for 3.5s (otherwise known as the 70% bucket).

microsoft today only gives true merit increases to the 20% superstars or those getting promotions. everything else is COLA.

that said, as an L64 i have 125k base, i usually get a little over 10k bonus and my stock awards after 5 years of 1000/year will be about 30k of cash per year (all pre-tax, of course), taking my total compensation to about 165/170k per year. can't really complain about that at my level, but lower levels get screwed on bonuses and stock grants and their total yearly comp isn't very interesting.

all proving once again that microsoft takes care of senior people and doesn't give a rat's ass about bringing in fresh, young, junior talent. and that's our downfall.

Anonymous said...

The solution is simple, have 360 degree review. But it'll never happen.

Anonymous said...

>>It's like somebody is trying to sell me a new car that's slower, uses more gas, and is less reliable than the one I already own, but it comes with an ugly two-tone paint job and a DVD player in the back. Sorry, not interested.

Can't say too much, but look out for chrome-plated cup holders, six big ones in SP1. Hope this doesn't get out!

Anonymous said...

First, for the poster asking for an internal career site. Uhh... h-t-t-p-colon-slash-slash-c-a-r-e-e-r..

Second, review #s:

Level: 64
Commitment: Exceeded
Contribution: 20%
-heres where it gets interesting-
Merit: 5.5%
Bonus: 10%
Stock: $4X,Y00

Thats the worst "20%/Exceeded" I've ever heard of; even L63's have higher stock. Pisses me off... and by witholding an expected promo, my boss ensures I am in the L64 bonus range, not L65.

Anonymous said...

Position: SDET
Level: 59 (No promotion)
Commitment: Exceeded
Contribution: 70%
Merit: 4%
Bonus: 12%
Stock - $4500 USD
Base Salary: $80000 (before raise)


Did I get hosed?

Anonymous said...

Position: Product Manager
Level: 63 -> 64
Commitment: Exceeded
Contribution: 20%
Merit: 4%
Bonus: 12%
Stock: $40,000
Promo: 4.5%
New base: $125K

Anonymous said...

Simple question, is there any correlation to bad reviews being done later?

I still haven't gotten mine, and I'm starting to get a bit nervous, even though technically we have until the 15th to submit the reviews.

My manager indicated that he'll be setting up a meeting next Friday.

Anonymous said...

There has been some blog articles going around Bill Gates patents in advertising. Bill Gates earlier said in some interview that he is personally interested in online services. I wonder if there is any relationship between Bill Gates interest in advertising and his ex-TA heading the adcenter.

Anonymous said...

Level: 60
Commitment: Achieved
Contribution: 70%
Merit: 4%
Bonus: 9% (110% target, I think
Stock: $7200 (also 110% target, I think)
Promo: NA (had one last year)

Now, the interesting part: the discussion.
My personal impression of my performance the past year was I slacked off. Yet apparently I'm doing better than the "average" person my level. Listening to my boss though, I'm the best thing since sliced bread. But I'm still getting an achieved/70. Which is still better than I expected (I didn't think I'd get >100% bonus/stock).

-- Confused.

Anonymous said...

Simple question, is there any correlation to bad reviews being done later?

I still haven't gotten mine, and I'm starting to get a bit nervous, even though technically we have until the 15th to submit the reviews.

My manager indicated that he'll be setting up a meeting next Friday.


I think most managers do the WORST ones first, because they want to stop thinking about them.

I know many people who got bad reviews (people that are about to get fired), and they already had their meetings.

I am expecting a bad review (probably 70%, but on the lower end). After several requests, my manager has still not scheduled a review meeting for me. I don't know why he is waiting. I just blame it on incompetent management again, and try not to worry about it.

I agree with the earlier post about these numbers all looking rather trollish.

Anonymous said...

Per the question on review timing -- it's a factor of many things, including the deadlines set by your manager's management chain, the diligence of that chain in following those deadlines, and how long it takes your manager to write the review and find time to talk to you. If he's a new manager, he or she will take more time to write the review and have his/her manager look it over.

That said, Friday is usually a bad day to give someone bad news. Because then they get all mad, go home, stew over the weekend, and show up Monday morning with an AK-47.

Largely unrelated, but note that the USSR and its former republics would often do bad things on a Saturday, because bourgeois western governments were not working.

Anonymous said...

Simple question, is there any correlation to bad reviews being done later?

For all you know, there might in fact be a negative correlation.

It is easier for managers to write reviews where the performance has been excellent rather than one where they need to provide some critical feedback. This was the case in my group. The manager saved the best for last.

Don't worry, it'll all be fine.

Anonymous said...

Simple question, is there any correlation to bad reviews being done later?

Of course -- whenever my review was good (like this year :)), my lead was anxious to tell me good news...

Last year review was exceptionally bad and my managed talked with my two days before salary day...

Sorry...

Anonymous said...

Position: Product Manager
Level: 59
Commitment: Exceeded
Contribution: 70%
Merit: 6%
Bonus: 12%
Stock: $5,000
Promo: 0

The merit increase seems low?

Anonymous said...

Is your only responsibility on your team to run some pass and update a spreadsheet?

To be fair to the original SDET poster, this is just a symptom of the problem in the SDET world. The geniuses who came up with this title combined STE + SDE to get SDET. Except that the work involved has not changed, so some SDETs are filling a STE role while others are filling an SDE role. The problem of running manual test passes has not gone away, its just been swept under the carpet.

Anonymous said...

To the Level 59 at Wednesday, August 29, 2007 10:15:00 PM who was asking whether he got hosed...

When I was a level 59, I was making closer to 60,000. I suppose it all depends on who you compare yourself with. Don't remember the other numbers, but the percentages were in line (I was getting 4.0s and averaging 12-14% on bonuses). Tough to translate the stock, however. That was back when options were still going out.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but my review post was genuine. However: I expect people are far more likely to post reviews that went really well (as mine did this year) than those that went "ok." Just like people who submit news to alma mater magazines. You read about all the promotions, marriages, trips to Brazil and honors their kids have achieved. Not so much about job loss, divorces, putting the kids (or theirselves) in rehab, totally the car, etc. Just human nature. (Well, I'm sure it has something to do with editorial preference, for the alum mags too.)

That said, I'm kind of surprised that a PUM is reading/posting here. Is that a hopeful sign? If you're the PUM reading this, are you taking to heart the distress of the masses and working to effect change at your level?

Anonymous said...

Position: SDET
Level: 60
Commitment: Exceeded
Contribution: 70%
Merit: 5.5%
Bonus: 11%
Stock - $7200 USD (120% of traget)
Promo: N/A
Base Salary: $83K (before raise)

Anonymous said...

Dont know where else to put this..

There are currently about 500 people who cleared the microsoft interview and were hired but have been held back by the H1B visa.

Microsoft is opening a new center in Vancouver this September to accommodate these people, but this cant work without managerial support.

If any of you are amenable to the idea of having a PM/Dev/SDEt etc work from vancouver (for a year and then come over on an L1 visa) then please do contact HR, especially Jenna Hall [email id: jennah]

you can read more at the microsoft HR blog here:

http://blogs.msdn.com/jobsblog/archive/2007/08/22/update-on-microsoft-vancouver-hiring.aspx

she has helped place a lot of people, but many more are still waiting.

Many of these people have waited for long periods - some for over a year. they have already been through the interview process and this is a good way to quickly fill headcount with quality people, and in the process help some unlucky people out.

Christian M. Howell said...

Wow. Looking at some of these pay rates, I'm glad I left. I remember my manager told me that being active (VERY) on NTSELF didn't constitute improving Windows.

In the last two years, I have gotten more in raises than in 5 years at MS.

I feel for all of you.

Anonymous said...

That said, Friday is usually a bad day to give someone bad news. Because then they get all mad, go home, stew over the weekend, and show up Monday morning with an AK-47.

Do you actually have a cite for that opinion? I'd think a weekend to digest the news would tend to give the person time to come to terms with it and overcome any initial tendency to go on a rampage. Not everyone, of course, and maybe given that Microsoft employs a higher percentage of nerdy types (sorry, but it's true) for whom the weekend is often an occasion for "stewing" anyway, maybe that approach wouldn't work here.

(Sure sounded good when the Bobs explained it in "Office Space" though).

Largely unrelated, but note that the USSR and its former republics would often do bad things on a Saturday, because bourgeois western governments were not working.

So what? If anything, that suggests giving bad news on a Friday would be better for the company as any bad behavior an employee feels he must do in the short term would either occur on a largely-deserted corporate campus or some other location entirely.

Anonymous said...

Position: PM
Level: 64
Commitment: Achieved
Contribution: 70%
Merit: 4%
Bonus: 10%
Stock - $19125 USD
Promo: 2%
Base Salary: $119000 (before raise)

I did "exceeded" work this year AND I asked for a level bump. Nothing doing. And it had nothing to do with my manager (he says) it was that the group was not given budget for much of anything in the review. I am in Office Server Group. Needless to say I am doing informationals not only to find a new group, but to find a group that knows how to reward people accordingly. Oh, and I'm interviewing outside the company...this sucks.

Anonymous said...

Mini, just curious. Have you posted your numbers here yet? :)

Anonymous said...

Position: PM
Level: 59
Commitment: Achieved
Contribution: 70%
Merit: 4.0%
Bonus: 9%
Stock: $4500 USD (100% of Target)
Base Salary: 55k on 7/1/06 (based on last position not current)

Anonymous said...

Of course -- whenever my review was good (like this year :)), my lead was anxious to tell me good news...

Sorry, that just reflects your experience.

I'm a manager and wrote all of my reviews before I started distributing them. In a team, word spreads quickly about people getting their reviews, so you need to have them all ready before you start handing them out.

Yes, the bad reviews take longer, as you need to provide justification for the bad review.

This is the first year where the text of the review is mostly useful, IMO. In the past, the entire review was written after the fact to cater to the scores. With the manager deciding the Commitment score, pay attention to their rationale and description. You've got a direct (non-forced-distribution) channel to what your boss thinks you need to do better. Ooh. Reality.

The contribution rating text is useless, and should be considered similar to the text from reviews of years past. It's written after-the-fact to fit the forced-distribution Contribution Rating. (20/70/10) Don't bother reading it, your boss probably doesn't even believe what s/he wrote.

So there are a lot of unhappy people. That is to be expected. Nothing has changed, nothing will change. The old pacifier of a roaring stock is gone, and the elite take care of themselves. The rank and file are angry, but short of getting the guts to quit, there's nothing they can do.

Anonymous said...

Position: Escalation Engineer
Level: 63
Commitment: Exceeded
Contribution: 70%
Merit: 5%
Bonus: 13%
Stock - $18500 USD
Promo: 0%
Base Salary: $106,000 (before raise)

Anonymous said...

Fact: Microsoft stock has performed abysmally over the past 5 years

5 years ago, Microsoft had the DOJ pall hanging over it, Google was an unknown and new hires were buying homes with under-water options. Microsoft has dealt with some demons since then. Wall St. should be giving MSFT a second look ...

Anonymous said...

>I am in Office Server Group.
>Needless to say I am doing
>informationals not only to find a
>new group, but to find a group
>that knows how to reward people
>accordingly. Oh, and I'm
>interviewing outside the
>company...this sucks

So the word is that some groups promote slower (read: Office). Is that really objectively the case? If so, how does it work given that supposedly the promo budgets are set across the board? Does Office not use its budget? What is the story?

Anonymous said...

"So the word is that some groups promote slower (read: Office). Is that really objectively the case? "

I can only tell you my story. I left the Office org after many, many, many years. The group I joined was staffed by people easily 1-2 levels higher than their matching peers in Office, and there was a gaggle of individual L65+ individual contributors. It blew me away.

Stay in Office because you love your job... but maybe not your career.

Anonymous said...

Got promoted to 62 during mid year, then after that I told my manager I wanted to move to another team and he became very, very furious. Clearly he regreted to promote me.
I believe it affected my review score, what do you think? Is that normal when you got promoted during the mid year?
Position: Escalation Engineer
Level: 61 -> 62 (mid year review)
Commitment: Achieved
Contribution: 70%
Merit: 3%
Bonus: 8%
Stock: ~$17000 USD (95% of Target for L62)

Anonymous said...

Position: SDE
Level: 61
Commitment: Achieved
Contribution: 70%
Merit: 3%
Bonus: 8%
Stock - $9800 USD (100% of traget)
Promo: N/A
Base Salary: $97K (before raise)

I was expecting numbers like these, and tomorrow is my last day at MS.

Anonymous said...

I am tired of Limited II crap and starting to look outside.

a) What have other ex-msft guys used for their job search? there are decent listings on linkedin, craigslist ...

b) Is there an epinion-like site to get decent reviews about employers in seattle area?

Mini, that makes it one employee closer to the mini-Microsoft dream. Many more to go...

Anonymous said...

I hope someone has the goods to share on Office and its promotion rate. Is all the promo money saved for the few superstars so the rest languish for years (and years) on end, regardless of fine (but not superstar) reviews?

I can't tell you how many people I know here in Office who are excellent workers but haven't gotten promotions for way, way too long. And now that they are being actively punished for it (L*mited II anyone?), they are angry, demoralized folks who will either leave Office (or MSFT) or simmer and seethe as they continue to fight the system.

Anonymous said...

Position: PM
Level: 61
Commitment: Achieved
Contribution: 70%
Merit: 2%
Bonus: 9%
Stock - $9800 USD (100% of target)
Promo: N/A
Base Salary: $94K (before "merit")

Anonymous said...

Position: Senior Support Analyst
Level: 60 -> 61
Commitment: Exceeded
Contribution: 20%
Merit: 4%
Bonus: 15%
Stock: $12,740 USD (130% of Target for L61)
Promo: 4%

Not sure what to think at this stage.. I see 63+ making a TON more than I do, and also the bonuses are crazy! I CRUSHED my review, absolutely crushed it, and yet my 15% bonus now looks pretty crappy when I see folks with 50%+ let alone stock that is 30k and up.

So, when I see such radically bigger numbers I get bummed, but also at the same time, MS has treated me very well.

Also, someone complained that the new folks get nothing, and the seniors get it all. Maybe true.. but also the idea of rewarding your most valuable (hopefully) folks and those that make the most impact makes sense too. Way over-generalized of course, but honestly just as valid.

Bottom line for me.. I love MS. They have treated me incredibly well, and I love working here. Would I love the bennies to be like the 'good ol days'? (before my time) Hell yes.. but who wouldn't!

Anonymous said...


I am tired of Limited II crap and starting to look outside.


I'm leaving MS too but I'm a star performer and I better not interview you coz I won't be hiring you.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I'm in Office and am looking at approaching 5 years in level. I've gotten no Limited II either. I have 4.0's, exceeded/acheived. Just that every year the answer is that there is no budget for promotion. I think there are a very VERY few chosen few that must get something, or perhaps some choice groups that are buzzing, but as a rule Office is notoriously cheap across the board. They even further limit the per head allocation for ship it parties that is now the company norm. I'm in Office now, but I'm working hard to get out.

Anonymous said...

Position: SDE
Level: 60 -> 61
Commitment: Exceeded
Contribution: 70%
Merit: 5.5%
Bonus: 13%
Stock: $12k (130%/Lvl 61)
Promo: 5.0%
Base Salary: $85k (before raise)

I was on Office since I started with the company; it very definitely was an uphill battle. I spent a great deal of time trying to figure out how to get promoted within the org, and then ended up leaving last fall.

Due to the preponderance of upper level Office people (everyone knows someone who has been working on the same area of Office for over ten years), there are fewer opportunities for lower level people to shine. Unless you have a feature that resonates with upper management, it's an uphill battle to try to get a promotion or a raise; if you happen to have done a great job, but have nothing "visible" to show for it, you're not getting promoted. Office tends to be stricter on promotion requirements -- ie, Mentoring is required to go from 60->61. Due to the number of people waiting for that opportunity, though, the odds of you being able to mentor someone are rather small. Given the sheer breadth of the Office organization for which bonuses, promotions, and the like have to be spread out, you have to be a truly exemplary employee to stand out as the "calibration meetings" take place. If upper management doesn't know about something you've done, you're not likely to get that promotion, and it seems to get harder as the levels increase.

I have spent less than 8 months on my new team, in a new org. I'm going to make no claims as to how hard I worked, or how much smarter I am -- I will claim a larger amount of experience. Given that people on my new team have both been promoted faster, and have been hired in at a higher level, it makes "looking good" at my lower level much, much easier. I had some degree of concern (my last review came down to, "You did great work, we just didn't have anything to brag about you with") when my review came up, but for the first time, my review correlated with what I had actually done, rather than the comments they needed to make to justify the review they were calibrating me towards.

I work hard, I do my job, and I do it well. Two months ago I was poking at job opportunies around the world, thinking MSFT would just have me dumped by the wayside again. Instead, I was rewarded for the work I had done, and given a boost in seniority and associated responsibilities. I'm not always happy going to work, but I feel my work is appreciated.

It's funny how a few numbers can make you feel better about your job.

Anonymous said...

To the SDETs who feel underappreciated, from a SDE who appreciates you:
My absolute favorite SDET (I'm friends with her outside work, as well) once told me she chose to be a tester so she could have more regular hours, and spend her days taking her frustrations out on the software, rather than bringing them home with her. I have never lacked respect for STEs, much less SDETs, as a group.

I have worked with dozens of testers. The skill levels vary hugely. There are SDETs who were SDETS before STEs ceased to exist, and those who could have been SDETs if they had interviewed a bit better. There are also SDETs who had too much seniority to be let go, and were grandfathered into SDET positions as STEs were phased out.

The former are a pleasure to work with when dealing with any issue regarding automation. The latter are a pleasure to deal with when dealing with manual testing. Both groups serve a MUCH needed niche; developers are blind when it comes to testing their own features. PMs are usually moving on to be worried about the next version long before the current version has been ZBBd.

There are testers whom I don't enjoy working with, even if I won't tell them that to their faces. I still think they're nice enough people, but their repro steps are unclear, and they get annoyed when asked for clarification. Their automation code is dreadful, and they don't ask for help about the work they're trying to test.

If you're trying to do your job, working on the same product as I am, I'm going to like you, and value your contributions, and you can bet that I will: a) be happy to help you, and b) be happy to tell your lead what a good job you're doing, the same as if you're a dev or PM. We may sometimes disagree, but as long as I believe you have the best interests of the customers at heart, I will happily listen to you, argue with you, and eventually program whatever is agreed to.

Slack off, goof off, and don't contribute to the product? Go read MiniMSFT, and know that you're one of the people Mini wants gone.

Anonymous said...

Slightly related question, given the same level, do PM, test, or dev get paid the same? Or one makes more money than the others?

Anonymous said...

"So the word is that some groups promote slower (read: Office). Is that really objectively the case? "

My team got forced a curve for the commitments from a "VP". So here you have it, it takes much longer to craft an underachieved message for a low-achieved person.

Should I mail Lisa to get her opinion or is she perfectly ok with that crap? Forcing curves on commitments was suppposed to not exist anymore... On one hand she wrote about not peanut-buttering the reviews/rewards and that was the justification from VP->GM... down the line. On the other hand it's "no curve on commitments".

That's in Windows in case you wonder.

Disapointed young 'people manager'.

Anonymous said...

Position: build engineer
Level: 58
Commitment: Achieved
Contribution: 70%
Merit: 3% (I won't be living in a carboard box this year!)
Bonus: 10%
Stock: $3500 (100%)
Promo: NONE, despite the fact that I was told I should be getting one but that it "depended on budget". Blah blah.
Base salary: $74,050

The longer I look at these numbers, the worse they get. Nothing more than a cost of living adjustment for the 70% who make up the backbone of Microsoft? Gee, thanks. Maybe next time it will come with a free slap in the face.

Anonymous said...

Position: SDE
Level: 61
Commitment: Achieved
Base Salary: $97K (before raise)


What group are you in? You can share at the VP/SVP level if not at the product group level.

Your base looks way too high for a L61, so knowing the group can help some people looking to move.

Anonymous said...

"Got promoted to 62 during mid year, ... [ believes that indicating intent to leave affected review score ] ...
Level: 61 -> 62 (mid year review)
Achieved/70%
[mediocre middle-of-the-pack numbers]
"

Did you get a promo increase at mid-year? If so, you're likely doing fine. Consider that one's first review in a new level, especially in certain groups and after a mid-year promo, tends to be on the low side. I think the political rationale goes, "If we promote them and they're obviously kicking a$$ in their new level, it makes us look like we waited too long to promote them, which looks bad on us," and, "We have a fixed budget to make people happy, and we already made him happy 6 months ago with the promo, so now it's others' turn." Reality could easily be that it's true that they did wait too long to promote you, and it wouldn't be surprising to hear that you lost a couple percentage points by indicating intent to leave, but those are some of the political considerations behind review numbers.

Anonymous said...

>I am tired of Limited II crap and starting to look outside.

Awesome, Limited II works as intended! And you all doubted the wisdom of HR.

Anonymous said...

I'm still deciding between jobs and I stumbled upon these interesting review statistics. Can someone explain what the following terms mean?

Level:
Commitment:
Contribution:
Merit:
Bonus:
Stock:
Promo:
New base:

Also opinions would be glreat!

Anonymous said...

"Your base looks way too high for a L61, so knowing the group can help some people looking to move."

That salary might not be a Redmond salary. there are a few areas that have salary differentials to cover the higher cost-of-living.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but my review post was genuine. However: I expect people are far more likely to post reviews that went really well (as mine did this year) than those that went "ok." Just like people who submit news to alma mater magazines. You read about all the promotions, marriages, trips to Brazil and honors their kids have achieved. Not so much about job loss, divorces, putting the kids (or theirselves) in rehab, totally the car, etc. Just human nature. (Well, I'm sure it has something to do with editorial preference, for the alum mags too.)


If everyone here were forced to use their real name when they post, you'd be 100% correct. But the anonymity factor pretty much makes it an entirely different ball game.

Anonymous said...

Position: Program Manager
Level: 59
Commitment: Achieved
Contribution: 70%
Merit: 2.5%
Bonus: 7%
Stock: $4500 (100% of Target)
Promo: -
Other info: New to position

Anonymous said...

Was an intern at microsoft and looking as these pitiful pay packages I am soooo happy I went to be a dev on wall st.

Anonymous said...

Have you heard of College Select?
Is it true that those guys always get 20% Exceeded?

Anonymous said...

Just that every year the answer is that there is no budget for promotion.

Yeah, that's a pretty bad excuse. But it's an old reliable one for managers who simply have no other justification for not promoting someone.

I didn't know that office had the same promo issues as windows. Good to have that tidbit of info for my job search.

Mini - If you really want to help the company get smaller, start posting links to websites with a lot of job postings for the area (other than the obvious ones like craigslist or monster).

Anonymous said...

JawadK's group used the curve for the commitment ranking.

I've already talked to many peers that are not happy about that. Haven't found anyone happy with their reviews either, even the star performers.

Anonymous said...

Position: SDE
Level: 61
Commitment: Achieved
Contribution: 70%
Merit: 5%
Bonus: 8
Stock 12K, 120%
Promo: NULL

Aura mediocritas!

Anonymous said...

Done with MS! My manager agrees that I was hired 3 levels below @ what I was hired. But so much for the recruiter's promise that MS devs are the real assets and that level alignment is always done once you join. Shit happens... and now I need to correct the mistake I made leaving my previous company for all this BS @ MS!

BTW... here is what I got
Level: 61
Commitment: Exceeded
Contribution: 70%
Merit: 7%
Bonus: 13%
Stock: 120% of Target for L61

Anonymous said...

Position: SDET
Level 59->60
Commitment:Exceeded
Contribution:20%
Merit: 4%
Bonus: 12%
Stock: 12000 (200% target)
Promo: 4%

Very excited. Not entirely expected, but I worked my butt off!

c said...

Office promotes slowly for two reasons:

1. They enforce a minimum of 18-24 months between promotions

2. As someone else mentioned, Office is a very old product, with lots of folks who have worked on their team for 5-10 years. If they're decent, they know pretty much everything about their product now, so it's very difficult to shine when compared to them.

Unfortunately, if you are a young up-and-comer, #1 makes it VERY frustrating to level up through Office. On the bright side, I've got much more faith in an Office L62 than one of the terrible and promotion-happy orgs like MSN.

Anonymous said...

Position: SDET Lead
Level 63->64
Base Salary: $110K
Commitment:Exceeded
Contribution:20%
Merit: 4%
Bonus: 20%
Stock: $75000 (300% target)
Promo: 10%
New Base Salary: 125K

Got what I deserved. Worked 12+ hours most days and manage a large team

Anonymous said...

Level:
You know how in World of Warcraft you can slay monsters and gain experience and gain levels? Well, at Microsoft, you can slay bugs, or complete features, and eventually gain levels too. I think you can also do office politics - that's somewhat like quests, I suppose. Though I've always been more of a grinding type, at least at MSFT.
But generally, you can kinda think of them as payscales - the higher the better. New folks in product groups start at 59, and go up to 68 (or is it 69?)

Commitment:
Unlike in World of Warcraft, instead of NPCs (managers) telling you what to do, you get to tell your manager what you'll do. You then get rated achieved/exceeded/underperformed, based on how well you were able to predict the future.

Contribution:
Everyone gets lumped into 3 buckets: the bottom 10%, the middle 70%, and the highest 20%. If you get 10%, you should probably consider getting a new job (or at least a new manager), 70% is pretty much everyone, and 20% is the favorites/superstars.
Bonus/raise sucks if you're in the 10% bucket, still sucks if you're in the 70% bucket, and ok for the 20% bucket.

Merit:
Subtract the current inflation rate from this number to get your actual raise. I think about a third to a half of the people each year typically get a paycut.

Bonus:
Bribe meant to make you not look at the other numbers.

Stock:
Cash value of the golden handcuffs.

Promo:
Ding! 62!

New base:
"I got promoted, but the pay still kinda sux..."

Oh, and sorry for the glum picture. It's actually a pretty nice place to work if you don't owe anything to your ex/mob/etc...

Anonymous said...

>Have you heard of College Select?
>Is it true that those guys always get 20% Exceeded?

What is "College Select"? Can anyone provide more information on this?

Anonymous said...

Your base looks way too high for a L61, so knowing the group can help some people looking to move.

I'm not the original L61 poster, but I'm also at L61 right now. My base is a little over 100K. I was a college hire almost 3 years ago starting at L59 and 90K. I'm the only source of income for my family (w/ 2 little kids), so I still have a pretty tight budget. Have not received my review yet.

Anonymous said...

JawadK's group used the curve for the commitment ranking.

Anyone who works under JawadK deserves what they get.

Anonymous said...

Position: SDET
Level: 60 (promoted to 61 in this review)
Commitment: Exceeded
Contribution: 70%
Merit: 6%
Bonus: 12%
Stock - $12500 USD
Promo: 6%
Base Salary: $80,000 (before raise)

Pretty much expected

Anonymous said...

Btw, for all you folks who think that Windows Live is promo happy... it is just the case of grass on the other side... Quite a few were told that they did not have budget and to wait until mid year or next year. But the freakin group had money to spent on ridiculous concerts every Thursday afternoon for 4-5 weeks @ RedWest; the zillion f***ed up Morale events. The last time I saw... Google and Yahoo were still kicking WL's ass. For cryin out loud, it takes > 4 months after a reorg for Management to get their butts off their seats to think of future direction. So... for all you folks thinking of joining MSFT (especially Windows Live)... sure come on aboard - my job is up for grabs. I am joining a startup. At least there is a decent chance of making more money as an IC (they are targetting IPO this year end).

Anonymous said...

Btw, for all you folks who think that Windows Live is promo happy... it is just the case of grass on the other side...

Sinfosky's taken over for your group? That has to bring some sanity to the promo happiness.

Anonymous said...

Position: Program Manager II
Level: 62
Commitment: Achieved
Contribution: 20%
Merit: 4.5%
Bonus: 12%
Stock - $38,000 (~200%)
Promo: Nope, promised but not delivered.

I was told our group also "peanut buttered" a forced curve, else I would have gotten exceeded + promo (maybe BS)

Anonymous said...

I'm not the original L61 poster, but I'm also at L61 right now. My base is a little over 100K. I was a college hire almost 3 years ago starting at L59 and 90K. I'm the only source of income for my family (w/ 2 little kids), so I still have a pretty tight budget. Have not received my review yet.

Just to make you feel really good (and to remind the rest of us, as if we needed it, that current employees continue to get shafted compared to college hires): I was hired at L58 8 years ago (yes, into a product group). I was promoted to L59 after several years, and was making about $74K after > 4 years at that level. So let's see, you CAME INTO the company THREE YEARS before I was making $74K (so let's say I was making more like $68K back then) at $90K. Same level, but college hire instead of experienced pro.

Nice. But hardly surprising...

Anonymous said...

Each group has the same distribution for levels, to get promos you have to join a group that is bottom heavy than top, because the budget will be such that you end up in the regular distribution.

This is why its hard to get promoted in say Office, the old timers are already taking the higher levels (getting there because of tenure) and so there is no way to promote new people.

Anonymous said...

I'm not the original L61 poster, but I'm also at L61 right now. My base is a little over 100K. I was a college hire almost 3 years ago starting at L59 and 90K. I'm the only source of income for my family (w/ 2 little kids), so I still have a pretty tight budget. Have not received my review yet.

my god, what monsters we all are. "a little over 100k and i have a pretty tight budget". vomit.

i know double income families of 3 or 4 who make a combined half that much and manage to get by. if your budget is tight with 3 or 4 people on 100k, you're understanding of the word "tight" is based on your rapacious needs to consume at the upper-middle-class level.

Anonymous said...

Just to make you feel really good (and to remind the rest of us, as if we needed it, that current employees continue to get shafted compared to college hires): I was hired at L58 8 years ago (yes, into a product group). I was promoted to L59 after several years, and was making about $74K after > 4 years at that level. So let's see, you CAME INTO the company THREE YEARS before I was making $74K (so let's say I was making more like $68K back then) at $90K. Same level, but college hire instead of experienced pro.

You should not feel too bad. I was not an average college hire. I had a lousy Ph.D.

Anonymous said...

This is why its hard to get promoted in say Office, the old timers are already taking the higher levels (getting there because of tenure) and so there is no way to promote new people.

Made even more difficult when Windows escapees join up, with their over-inflated levels, taking up even more of those spots. There apparently is no attention paid to whether we need an L62 or an L60 in a spot. If your buddy works in Office and wants helping building a new empire there, you're invited to come on over and bring your level with you.

Just more stomping on the heads of those who have been trying for years to get the projects and publicity to get promoted (stellar work doesn't do it, as we know). Nope, gotta save the good stuff for those new L62s because otherwise how will they maintain those levels?

Turns an already challenging place into a completely dog-eat-dog environment. Much like, oh, hmm, let me see - Windows.

I think we'll see more people following Sinofsky over there now that Office has been flooded with Windows folks and all their baggage (and believe me, they have a LOT of it). Maybe switching Sinofsky to Windows will be one of those great equalizer things, in the end. Sure is crushingly painful for Office worker bees in the interim.

Or maybe Steve will turn the budget thumbscrews so tight that there won't be enough money for anyone to get promos over there and people who didn't get promoted in the glory days are just hosed. Or (you betcha!) can just leave.

So it goes...

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen the new Harry Potter movie. Am thinking that might be a fine way to spend an afternoon next Thursday rather than attending the dog-and-pony show downtown. I'm sure you'll recap it all nicely for us anyway, Mini (thanks in advance!), and/or there will be video-on-demand to check out demos, etc.

Ah, I can't wait. Kids back in school, quiet afternoon at the movies, popcorn from home, and no cares in the world. Anyone care to join me? :-)

On Friday - back to reality in the trenches.

Anonymous said...

I don't drink coffee, I don't use the towel service, and I don't eat at any of the new restaurant options provided.

Even without all that stuff, I think we've got a good deal.

While my bonus may not be as high as what some other folks got (I was 20%/Exceeded @ 64), I can admit to a little jealousy, but I'm not so spoiled as to think a $60k (stock + bonus) is the equivalent to getting screwed.

Anonymous said...

You should not feel too bad. I was not an average college hire. I had a lousy Ph.D.

Yeah, I just had a lousy M.S. from an Ivy League school and 15 years industry experience. Wasn't worth what a PhD was/is, I guess.

Bet that makes you feel better about all those years in school, eh? :-)

Anonymous said...

While my bonus may not be as high as what some other folks got (I was 20%/Exceeded @ 64), I can admit to a little jealousy, but I'm not so spoiled as to think a $60k (stock + bonus) is the equivalent to getting screwed.

Uh, yeah. I'd agree with you there. I guess there are some people who are so completely spoiled that they feel bereft at such over-the-top plunder.

I don't think most people (except the few blowhards, inevitable in any sample set) who got Exceeded and 20% are going to argue that hard that they didn't get a reasonable benefit.

My gripe is that it's so completely arbitrary what your review scores and rewards end up being, which has been demontrated pretty ably here. So while I'm pleased with what I got this year, it has to weigh in against the years of being held back (no promotions) and particularly being chosen to be the scum of the earth for the occasional review - regardless of work performed.

Oh, and the whole college-hire things grates too. Maybe I should go back to college... (heh - like that would make a difference, if I'm still employed here)

Anonymous said...

Btw, for all you folks who think that Windows Live is promo happy... Quite a few were told that they did not have budget and to wait until mid year or next year. But the freakin group had money to spent on ridiculous concerts every Thursday afternoon for 4-5 weeks @ RedWest; the zillion f***ed up Morale events.

Why would anybody work in Office or Windows post-Sinofsky-cost-cutting when other groups are at least still having morale events? Don't you feel stupid knowing that any revenue you bring into the company is being used to entertain groups that are only successful at losing money?

Anonymous said...

"You should not feel too bad. I was not an average college hire. I had a lousy Ph.D."

Thanks for clarifying that. I was beginning to think I got shafted.

Anonymous said...

what a bunch of liberal garbage that comment about "rapacious need to consume" is. Good job drawing conclusions about someone's lifestyle. Ill stop short of calling you a real jerk, but last time I checked, $100k / year for a family in Redmond AINT A LOT OF CASH. You dont have to "rapaciously consume" to find yourself tight when colleges cost $30k/year, a decent CONDO is like $400k, etc etc.

You can say "you dont need Starbucks coffee, you can buy clothing at the thrift store, you can send the kids to vocational school" etc etc. But it isnt "rapacious" for someone making 100k to expect MAYBE some sort of SEMI comfortable life with some kind of limited luxury.

We're all using computers right? And either making, selling or supporting software and technology right? Why isnt THAT unnecessary? Why cant we just all exist on air, grass, water and love?

How about evaluating exactly why we have to pay so much in taxes (both income and property) to a "rapacious" govt before falling into the eternal cliche of slamming "the evil consumer".

If people all decide they should be growing food in the backyard and spinning their own clothing, the economy stops and we're ALL out of work.

Anonymous said...

Position: dev lead
Level: 63
Commitment: Exceeded
Contribution: 70%
Merit: 7%
Bonus: 15%
Stock: 25k USD
Salary was 105k before review

Anonymous said...

WaelB's group also used the curve for the commitment ranking.
Same as JawadK looks like. HR knows about it as they attend the calibration meetings... So HR doesn't care. Therefore Lisa doesn't care otherwise she would ask her team to not let it happen or at least report it.
I've zero confidence in Lisa. i.e. I'm not a fanboy.

Anonymous said...

Position: Dev Mgr
Level: 65->66
Commitment: Exceeded
Contribution: 70%
Merit: 4%
Bonus: 19%
Stock - 87k
Promo: 5%

Anonymous said...

Org: Adcenter Marketing (Steve Berk)
Level: 59
Commitment: Achieved
Contribution: 70%
Salary: 70K

Merit: 0%
Bonus: 5%
Stock: 80% of target


Admitedly (from my manager) my poor review had nothing to do with the actual results I attained and everything to do with the office politics of my perception, based on my co-workers.

But I definitely agree with:

"what a bunch of liberal garbage that comment about "rapacious need to consume" is. Good job drawing conclusions about someone's lifestyle. Ill stop short of calling you a real jerk, but last time I checked, $100k / year for a family in Redmond AINT A LOT OF CASH. You dont have to "rapaciously consume" to find yourself tight when colleges cost $30k/year, a decent CONDO is like $400k, etc etc."

Basically if you move to Microsoft as a typical college hire, you need a roommate, to have enough disposable income to save. And those who are trying to keep up with their colleagues in terms of spend and living are doing so with credit.

I honestly don't understand how we justify such a dismal review compensation package for lower level hires. I have to think long and hard about whether or not I want to stay at Microsoft . . . I think Microsoft is under the impression that they don't need to pay a premium for talented young professionals to stay and live in Seattle.

Anonymous said...

Mini, I was puzzled by your comment about people being huge fans of Lisa. Is that what you hear day-to-day in your group? Wandering around campus? On this blog? Elsewhere in the world?

At first, people were impressed because she actually seemed to "get it" (i.e. in the Listening Tours). But then when she made only minor changes, mostly to perks that people don't care that much about (ok, coffee fanatics aside), and didn't address some HUGE fundamental issues - the support dried up. Especially (as you noted later in your interview) when she asked for feedback on her blog and then completely ignored nearly all of the constructive comments, suggestions and requests.

You're feeding the beast here, dude, not being honest. Didn't you want the stock price to stay down just a bit longer so we could get through the 8/31 strike price? Help us out here!

Anonymous said...

re:
GPM - L66
Achieved/Limited II

3% raise, 10% bonus, 33K stock (50%)

old base salary 151K

A limited, and you got 33k worth of stock. You are what is wrong with Microsoft. Please leave.


I have a somewhat different perspective here. Stock awards are about future growth potential. Not everyone wants and/or has the ability to make partner, so some people will inevitably plateau at higher levels. (65+, I'm not talking about peaking our as a L62 here...). There are plenty of needs in many teams for a solid (achieving level appropriate commitments) L66 who isn't focused on ladder climbing. Stock awards are trying to incent career growth, but some will peak at higher levels and limited growth isn't necessarily a badge of shame.

I'll likely be flamed for this, but just a thought...

Anonymous said...

my god, what monsters we all are. "a little over 100k and i have a pretty tight budget". vomit.

i know double income families of 3 or 4 who make a combined half that much and manage to get by. if your budget is tight with 3 or 4 people on 100k, you're understanding of the word "tight" is based on your rapacious needs to consume at the upper-middle-class level.


Growing up with a single-parent who was a school teacher, I was able to see what things were like when money is "tight". Sure, we were probably considered "middle class", but we were at the lower rungs of it. What saved us was that the house we lived in was purchased in 1973 for $33K, so mortgage payments weren't overly large (by today's standards) and as my mom's pay increased (it was prety much just a COLA), we eventually were able to improve our situation a bit.

Fast Forward to today...The only affordable housing we could find is in North Pierce county. Our mortgage payment leave about the same per month for other expenses as my mom faced while I was growing up. Except now, GAS is more expensive (and with a commute from Pierce County, we use more of it), food is more expensive, etc. The "Merit" increases I've received in past years (still haven't gotten my numbers for FY07 yet) were usually not even keeping up with what the SSA is using for COLA.

So YES, even without spending on things other than basics (food, house, power, etc.) it is possible for money to be tight on a combined income of $100K. We can thank the high costs of homes for that...(And anyone care to place blame on the high costs of homes?)

Anonymous said...

Gee, and here I am under 100k and I'm considering whether to purchase a second house near MS to rent out as an investment property.

Americans are spoiled rotten little whiners. And I say that as an American. Your grandparents and parents worked hard for decades to earn their house and car and their other comforts but you expect the American Dream to be handed to you on a silver platter just because you can shuffle a few bits around.

If you're after money rather than building good software, kindly cease gracing Microsoft with your presence and continue your worship of the almighty Dollar someplace else.

And, as always, may you be paid what you're actually worth.

Anonymous said...

Position: Non-PM/Dev/Test
Level 62
Commitment: Achieved
Contribution: Limited II
Merit: 2.75%
Bonus 4.5%
Stock: $9,000 USD (50% of target for L62)

This was the review from outer space. I was promoted last year, set challenging commitments, and hit or exceeded all of them. My midyear went as expected. No sign of trouble ahead.

In other words, last year, I was star. This year, I'm a Kim.

The management doesn't understand why I'm unhappy about this review. I'm told that I should really consider this a "great" review. I'm told that I've had a "great year."

Huh? George Orwell called and he wants his ministry back:

* Blackwhite
* Thought-terminating cliche

Glass ceiling, anyone?

Thanks, Microsoft, it's been fun. It's been real. I think I'll take my Limited self elsewhere now.

Anonymous said...

Position: Test (in Windows group)
Level 60
Commitment: Achieved
Contribution: 70%
Merit: 4%
Bonus 8%
Stock: $10,000 USD (do not remember target)
No promo again

This was all less than last year. But I performed better according to the boss. Performed better against peers than last year.

I wonder how interesting search would be? 40 people to an office and valet parking doesn't sound that great.

Where else should I be looking? Is there any group at Microsoft where test is valued?

Since there will obviously be a lot of people looking to move after their reviews, let's hear about some of the good or great groups across the company that we should move to. Mini, please keep the trolls out.

Anonymous said...

Position: SDE 2
Level 61
Commitment: Achieved
Contribution: 70%
Merit: 4%
Bonus: 8.25%
Stock: $9,800 (100% for L61)
Base Pay: $91,000 (before raise)

I got screwed, although not so much in the numbers as in the comments my previous manager wrote in the review itself. Wow, what a jerk. See, I hated that group so much that I was basically going insane and ended up switching out at a bad time (way before reviews). I knew this was a possibility but had hope they'd at least show a glimmer of professionalism. Nope! Oh well, that previous manager doesn't even like his job (I asked!), which of course begs the question of why he still works here. I told him I had higher expectations of my career than hating my job every day. And since I switched groups I've been able to work with people I like and actually enjoy my life! So it was definitely worth it. Money isn't everything.

I will say that I really like the 1 pager of review numbers they give out now. They go into much better detail and I actually know exactly what everything means now and what the percentages are based on.

Anonymous said...

Mini,

WTF is your obsession with Facebook? I have been doing software stuff for 16 years, Microsoft for 11 and I know several people like me who don't give a rat's derriere about stuff like Facebook, LinkedIn and other neo-web2.0 social networking farces. Jiminy God. Stop it already. What is it about these things that give you restless third leg? Let somebody try messing with my Starbucks coffee and I will go totally postal on that poor fella, even if it is LisaB who I love.

Anonymous said...

Notification of intent to interview reminds me of the famous Bill Hicks' quote, "Hitler had the right idea, he was just an underachiever".

I served notice earlier in the year, didn't get the job. I didn't need Miss Cleo to tell me that I was fucked. Review confirmed that. Thank God I am on my way out.

Lisa, you have to stop playing us. Renaming stuff to give an appearance of a change has been your modus operandi for a while now (e.g. Limited now 10%, Stock Awards in $ not #, etc) and this notification stuff means nothing has changed.

If you give notification to interview, be sure to get the job or that you will accept the job if offered. Else be ready for the hammer come september

Anonymous said...

If you are not in Office or Windows, be sure not to get into Office or Windows. If not, we will be reading about how you are stuck in level.

Office lack of promo is because of some phantom bugdet issues. Windows is because there are too many old timers marking time that there is nowhere to push people up to.

And be careful about rushing to L64. It is very lonely there and unless you have an ordained godfather, that level is where we will find your scattered bones many years after you got there.

And if you are lucky or get pictures of an exec in bed with a dead boy, you might move to 65 but will be making less than people on 62 & 63.

In MS, once you hit 64 and/or 65, you should find your way out of the company. Especially if you are one of those many phantom 64s who are still not cracking $120K

Anonymous said...

>> Gee, and here I am under 100k and I'm considering whether to purchase a second house near MS to rent out as an investment property

Let me guess, you don't have kids. One kid is $850+ per month in just daycare costs. Imagine spending a half of your after tax salary on your kids, another 1/4th on rent, $700 on groceries for a family of 4. Now try to save anything. Having a wife that can earn a decent salary is the only way out. Now let me remind you that a lot of folks here in Redmond are on H1B visas. Their wives are H4. This means they can't work.

Anonymous said...

Position: PM
Level 62 -> 63
Commitment: Achieved
Contribution: 20%
Merit: 3.0%
Promotion: 6.5%
Bonus 11.00%
Stock: $46,000 USD (222% of target for L63)
Base Pay (L62): $85,000

Anonymous said...

Base Pay (L62): $85,000

Is that a typo? is it really 85,000 that you have as a base for L62 salary? talking in terms of compa ratio: 1.0 is 107,000 for L62. and 85,000 is 0.79 which is so low it is out of the allowed range. this is screwed up.

Anonymous said...

Can someone post an intranet link which might explain the details of what compa ratio means and what 1.0 compa ratio for various levels would be?

Anonymous said...

I understand that a merit raise is based on your rating compared to your commitments. And your stock allocation is based on your Contribution assessment. But what is your bonus based on? Seems to be pulled out of thin air but must have some rationalization behind it. Does it come out of a fixed budget that must be spread across all peers at a certain level?

Anonymous said...

>Let me guess, you don't have kids.

Let me guess, you weren't responsible enough not to have children until you could afford them. For that alone, I feel pity for your kids.

For whatever its worth, I doubt my wife and I would have any trouble raising a family on 100k either, but, hey, we're funny that way.

Anonymous said...

1.0 compa ratio for various levels would be?

This info is not public. The only way you could find out if you are a lead with a person of that level reporting in to you.

Anonymous said...

So YES, even without spending on things other than basics (food, house, power, etc.) it is possible for money to be tight on a combined income of $100K. We can thank the high costs of homes for that...(And anyone care to place blame on the high costs of homes?)

you need to get out more and see how the other 90% of the world who *doesn't* make 100k/yr lives.

your money is tight *for the way you want to live*, not for the way the vast majority of people in the world are *forced* to live. it's not possible to feel any kind of empathy for someone who is a mere three years out of college and making 100k -- if one knows anything about the way regular people manage to exist on a fraction of that sum.

Anonymous said...

Can someone post an intranet link which might explain the details of what compa ratio means and what 1.0 compa ratio for various levels would be?

Just as the same job can be performed at multiple levels, someone within a level can be compensated within a range. Compa of 1.0 means you are making the mid-point of that range. As your compa ratio rises you are supposed to be ready to move to the next pay grade where the midpoint is higher. A high compa ratio should also be a signal to HR/management to ask why you are not being promoted to the next level.

Your manager should be able to tell you your compa ratio and that 1 or 2 levels above you.

Anonymous said...

Position: PM
Level 62
Commitment: Exceeded
Contribution: 70%
Merit: 6.0%
Bonus 18.00%
Stock: $18,500 USD (110% of target for L62)
Base Pay (L62): $103,xxx

Anonymous said...

Level 59, PM, Servicing Org (budgets suck)

14 months from college hire, no reviews thusfar (not even a mid-year).

Achieved / 70% / Middle

"Merit": 3%
Bonus: 7%
Stock: 75% of level 59

No level. Nothing more to do to level, no action items to complete to level, no timeline for future review.

Base Salary: 75k (pre-review)

I did work on an incredible level, and folks are shocked to hear my results. Perhaps having a lead who can only attend 7 one on ones with you in 14 months of employment is a bad sign for the budding of one's career. Oh well, shipped 80+ projects with one fark-up that was org-wide.

Anonymous said...

>Position: PM
>Level 62 -> 63
>Commitment: Achieved
>Contribution: 20%
>Merit: 3.0%
>Promotion: 6.5%
>Bonus 11.00%
>Stock: $46,000 USD (222% of target for L63)
>Base Pay (L62): $85,000

This is either a troll, or not Redmond based (i.e. low value locale?) or something (*achieved* 20% at L63???). Here are my real numbers.

Position: PM
Level 62 -> 63
Commitment: Exceeded
Contribution: 20%
Merit: 4.0%
Promotion: 6.5%
Bonus 15.00%
Stock: ~$50,000 USD (~250% of target for L63)
Base Pay (L62): Inline with Redmond L63 (i.e. $115k)

I've had a few drinks, so let me say that it's embarrassing how little *actual* work I do. Being a PM, I understand I have intrinsic value just being there (laugh if you will, it's true) but I sometimes wonder what would happen if I actually applied myself.

One of the problems with Microsoft's current compensation scheme is that there really isn't any direct tie to output. Therefore, OCD optimizers like myself will always find the highest efficiency point in the effort:return curve. For me, that means getting into the 20%/Outstanding bucket and not much more. At L62, that takes very close to ZERO effort (before you scream "MSN!", let me say I'm in one of the most mature PM organizations in the company). There is *no* upside to me fulfilling my full potential, because, guess what?, there's no significant ROI associated with it. If the guy down the hall was outperforming me, and got a $100,000 bonus (not stock mind you, I'm practically there this year if you count gold star), you can bet your ass MS would be getting a lot more out of me. Sure, GPMs and other L66/7/8's are getting those rewards, but due to the utterly linear and bureaucratic career paths MS enforces, I can't jump to that level, even if I have the talent! As it is, I'm just riding the Level Train, wondering when I'll have to actually start contributing in order to continue advancing.

Anonymous said...

Position: non PM dev/test
Level: 61
Commitment: Exceeded
Contribution: 70%
Merit: 5.76%
Bonus: 15.42%
Stock - $13,000
No promo

I'm finding that managers hate quantifiable commitments. They love the ambiguous ones instead. That way they have lots of wiggle room when they are 1:1 with you, telling you why your salary increase wasn't high this year, or why your stock award is so low. Or, why you just got a sucky deal this time around..."it happens to all of us every coupla years, golly gee willickers...turn that frown upside down! There you go little snookums!" (BARF.)

Anonymous said...

Level: 57
Commitment: Achieved
Contribution: 70%
Merit: 4%
Bonus: 9%
Stock - $1300 USD (85% of target level) Sucks because last year I got 105%
Promo: 0%
Base Salary: $58K

Just one of the lucky ones to be underleveled in the role I work. But job is specific enough not much movement here. With a family the benefits make the difference for me. Sure I would like more, but I am ok with it!

Anonymous said...

I did work on an incredible level, and folks are shocked to hear my results. Perhaps having a lead who can only attend 7 one on ones with you in 14 months of employment is a bad sign for the budding of one's career. Oh well, shipped 80+ projects with one fark-up that was org-wide.

I'm going to hazard a guess (based on the number of projects you shipped and the crappy compensation) that you're in the Mobile & Embedded Devices org. If not, we'll keep trying to narrow it down from here :)

Anonymous said...

Position: PM
Level: 64->65
Commitment: Exceeded
Contribution: 20%
Merit: %4.5
Bonus: %17
Stock - $100K (250% of target)
Promo: %9
Base: 120K before raise

Anonymous said...

Been with the company almost 8 years before finally leaving this month. Review wasn't great, but wasn't bad either. Almost on par with the 70%/Achieved's here for a LVL 61. Before that I always got 4.0's and 3.5's. Never below.

Microsoft is a great place to learn and acquire skills. It's also a great place to learn how NOT to do things. Watching management fumble the ball in two different orgs during my last few years at the company have helped in that regard.

It was fun, but time to move on. I'd expect Microsoft to view me in the same light if I was under performing.

Anonymous said...

Position: SDET
Level: 60
Commitment: Achieved
Contribution: 70%
Merit: 4%
Bonus: 10%
Stock: $7,500 USD (125% of Target for L60)
Promo: N/A

Anonymous said...

Here are the 2006 average pay rates as per http://blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com/microsoft/library/MSCompGu.jpg


Level Average pay
50 30.5k
51 33.5k
52 36.5k
53 40.5k
54 45k
55 49k
56 54.5K
57 60.5K
58 67K
59 75K
60 82.5K
61 90K
62 99K
63 109K
64 120K
65 132K
66 143K
67 156K
68 175K
69 200K
70 230K


Actual salaries vary +/- 25% in the higher levels and +/- 16% in the lower levels.

Comp ratio of 1.0 means you're making the average salary for your level.

Anonymous said...

Base Pay (L62): $85,000

Is that a typo? is it really 85,000 that you have as a base for L62 salary? talking in terms of compa ratio: 1.0 is 107,000 for L62. and 85,000 is 0.79 which is so low it is out of the allowed range. this is screwed up.


Sorry, this what you get paid if you live in the midwest at Microsoft. The only thing cheaper in the midwest that Redmond is property (lots cheaper by the way).

Anonymous said...

[i]Level: 57
Commitment: Achieved
Contribution: 70%
Merit: 4%
Bonus: 9%
Stock - $1300 USD (85% of target level) Sucks because last year I got 105%
Promo: 0%
Base Salary: $58K[/i]

Huh?

How did a level 57 get a bonus? I thought only salary gets bonuses? I know level 57 is hourly, because I am. The base salary sounds about right.

Anonymous said...

talking in terms of compa ratio: 1.0 is 107,000 for L62

Are those the new numbers, or the numbers that applied to the FY that just ended? My base is less than that for L62, and my compa ratio is just over 1.0. Can anyone explain how that could be?

Anonymous said...

Got my numbers today. Bonus was 22%, and raise was 6%, so I suppose I have nothing to complain about. I had a great year, got a lot done, and influenced engineers across the company. I've been told I'm a role model and leader for my discipline. I set challenging commitments and, as expected, got an exceeded rating.

So, why am I disappointed?

I guess because I'm a whiner. Despite being told over and over by multiple levels of management that I was on my way to great things, for the first time in 13 years at Microsoft, I got less than an A stock rating - in the new system, a 70% rating.

I make a lot of money, and I love the work I do, but I can't help but feel that the company no longer believes I can achieve on the direction and goals we've set out for me. Or maybe, there truly is more I can do. In my review 1:1, my manager basically told me that the only way for me to both get back to the 20% "A" rating and get promoted for that matter was to suck corporate c**k.

I don't *want* to believe it, but I'm beginning to feel afraid that it's true.

Anonymous said...

Position: SDET
Level: 62 (new)
Commitment: Exceeded
Contribution: 70%
Merit: 4.5
Bonus: 12%
Stock - $25K (130% of Target)
Promo: 6%
Base Salary: was 89K, now almost 100K

Seems like my numbers are pretty close to the 1.0 comp ratio. As much as I'd like to complain, I do remind myself that I go to work at 10am, sit at a desk all day and have it much better than most of my college friends =)

Anonymous said...

What is "College Select"? Can anyone provide more information on this?


Is some sort of High Potential "semi-Secret" program, I do not know how people get there, it seems they get trained to become the next VPs, but you can search hrweb for it.

Anonymous said...

Position: Sr. TSP (technical field sales)
Level: 62 -> 63
Commitment: Exceeded
Contribution: 70%
Merit: 6%
Bonus: 18% ($19681 CBI)
Commission: ~25%% ($26931 RBI)
(Sales resources get commitment-based and revenue-based incentives)
Stock: $22,680 (108% of target)
Promo: 6.8%

Base before raise/review: $109,061
Base after raise/review: $124,020

Almost $200k in total comp - no complaints here @ Level 63.

Anonymous said...

Position: STE
Level: 58 (no change)
Commitment: Achieved
Contribution: 20%
Merit: 3%
Bonus: 7%
Stock - $5250 of grant (175% of Target)
Base: 67 -> 69

NO testing though, full time tools spec, design, coding and deployment.

"Great work. You're really on target for sdet at mid-year.."
"What if I left now?"
"Then we'd have to hire an sdet.."

Anonymous said...

Huh?

How did a level 57 get a bonus? I thought only salary gets bonuses? I know level 57 is hourly, because I am. The base salary sounds about right.



L57 has a mixed bag of salary and hourly. I am salary as posted above. I know some hourly as well. I am treated like hourly as far as how I am expected to work but am paid salary.

Anonymous said...

Simple question, is it a good thing (it must be) if you receive over 100% of target in stock? Does that mean your management thinks you have further upside?

I got 120% for my level (62), just wondering about the significance of that, if any.

Anonymous said...

Position: Sr. TSP (technical field sales)

How do you get into this job (qualifications and such) and what are the duties performed on this job?

Anonymous said...

What is the average time between promotions for lower levels (59-61)? I keep hearing from my chain that they have a 25% promo budget so average time is 4 years. The higher the level the slower the rate of promotions.

Anonymous said...

The higher the level the slower the rate of promotions.


That's bull. It just a matter how strong you AND your manager are and how much _you_ are willing to push the system.

Anonymous said...

What is the average time between promotions for lower levels (59-61)? I keep hearing from my chain that they have a 25% promo budget so average time is 4 years. The higher the level the slower the rate of promotions.

I am in Windows and I went through following levels:

58 - 1.5 yr
59 - 1.5 yr
60 - 3 yr (IMHO, totally undeserved -- I've been told BS that I was on list for promotion but budget was tight etc).
61 - just got it (after change in management)...

Anonymous said...

Position: SDE
Level: 62 -> 63
Commitment: Achieved
Contribution: 70%
Merit: 3%
Bonus: 7%
Stock - $21k (100%)
Promo: 5.3%

Exactly what I predicted. Basically it came down to promo or an Exceeded and I pushed for the promo.

Anonymous said...

Position: Premier Field Engineer
Level: 62
Commitment: Achieved
Contribution: 70%
Merit: 4%
Bonus: 8%
Stock - 100% of target
Promo: 0%

Anonymous said...

Position: Sr. TSP (technical field sales)

How do you get into this job (qualifications and such) and what are the duties performed on this job?



It's a sales position for a technologist. The sales people sell the software but know jack about technology. TSPs remove technical roadblocks from enterprise sales through demos, proofs of concept and architectural design sessions.

TSP stands for Technology Solutions Professional, formerly known as Technology Specialist, formerly known as Systems Engineer.

Product TSPs focus on one set of products - like SQL Server. Requirements are to be certified in your technology stack and be able to translate techno babble into English.

Anonymous said...

I said to my manager 4 months before review that am leaving the company. But,after serious thought I decided to stay for some more time. In my reviews I fell into 10% (contribution). Is it because implicitly it was known that am going to leave?

Anonymous said...

To the anonymous poster @ 10:16:00 PM -
I probably know who you are and would like to just say that it certainly is a factor in you getting into 10%. The manager must now be getting patted on back for managing out a difficult employee.

Anonymous said...

Position: Dev
Level: 62
Commitment: Exceeded
Contribution: 20%
Merit: 4%
Bonus: 10%
Stock: $18,000 USD
Base Salary: $10,500
Promo: No

For those of you who got promo, do you have any suggestion on how to protest for not getting one that I have long deserved?

I have been at 62 since early 2002 and written a truck load of excellent code in the sucker Office land. I had never introduced one serious bug, ever. I fixed many silly bugs for other. I volunteered for many other chores for the team. Yet, at the end, I watched other guys who did maybe half of my work and much less senior and got promotion from 62 to 63.

How do you deal with this kind of desperation? Leaving the damn company?

Anonymous said...

What will you do if you have been at 62 for 8 years even though you have done a heck good job all the way in the Office land as a dev?

Anonymous said...

Position: Dev
Level: 62
Commitment: Exceeded
Contribution: 20%
Merit: 4%
Bonus: 10%
Stock: $18,000 USD
Base Salary: $10,500
Promo: No


How can you be contribution 20% and still get a lame (10%) bonus and less than 100% target for your stock. Are you rally 20% or are you 70%. and i bet your base salary is not $10,500 :)

Harry Potter said...

Does anybody know how promotions work in MS Reseach team ? I got offer in MSR ..Currently in Office org. It took me whole 2 years to get promoted from 59 to 60.

Does anybody know how MS Reseach team is ? I am Dev.

Anonymous said...

Does anybody know how MS Reseach team is ?

MSR is good if your new title includes the word Research. Else you are destined to pick up after others. And any experience you gain is not valued by product teams.

2 years for promo to 60 is not bad. Even rock stars take a year to go from 59-60.

Anonymous said...

Org: Office
Position: Dev
Level: 61
Commitment: Achieved
Contribution: 70%
Merit: 4%
Bonus: 10%
Stock - 135% of target
Base Salary: $87000 before raise

2 years in the same level. Ships new features in Office 12 in good shape.

Anonymous said...

What will you do if you have been at 62 for 8 years even though you have done a heck good job all the way in the Office land as a dev?

Assuming you haven't worked for the same dev manager all these years, it is going to take extraordinary effort on your part to change how others perceive you.

Best option is to look for a different position. PM, SDET, TSP or outside MSFT.

Anonymous said...

Org: EPG
Level: 64
Commitment: Achieved
Contribution: 70%
Merit: 3.0%
Bonus: 50% (of CBI)
Stock - 100% of target (25.5K)
Base Salary: $120K before raise

Anonymous said...

Position: SDET
Level: 60
Commitment: Achieved
Contribution: 70%
Merit: 4%
Bonus: 8%
Stock: $6,000 USD
Promo: None

My actual manager quit MS after writing reviews and then his manager actually gave me the numbers. I worked my butt off and was not happy with achieved. Manager agreed and said will try to see if numbers can be changed. How much truth is there in manager's words or this is just BS? What is the deadline for numbers to be changed or there is no such thing?

Anonymous said...

What is the deadline for numbers to be changed or there is no such thing?

This late, not only is the review locked, the review period is actually over. If he is going to make an update to the numbers for you, he will have to push a change separately through the VP or something. Now if he will do that for you, you are very precious :)

Anonymous said...

Today its announced that my manager's manager is also quiting MS. That means I will have to speak to his Manager about review... Is it advisable to talk this to a manager at that level about my review and ask him/her to change my numbers ? This really frustrating ..

Anonymous said...

Today its announced that my manager's manager is also quiting MS. That means I will have to speak to his Manager about review... Is it advisable to talk this to a manager at that level about my review and ask him/her to change my numbers ? This really frustrating ..

Unless you were outrightly screwed just drop it... they won't change your numbers anyway. I've known a rew people who've barked up this tree and it is leads nowhere. YMMV.

Anonymous said...

I was thinking about switching teams, but did not want to compromise my review. After the review is locked, is it possible to change numbers of an IC, by, say, moving the 20% to a more loyal employee? Around what date are numbers actually locked?

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

==>What is the average time between promotions for lower levels (59-61)? I keep hearing from my chain that they have a 25% promo budget so average time is 4 years. The higher the level the slower the rate of promotions

That is what I was told before too...when I hit my 4th year in 59 and I pushed for it knowing manager were using quota to promote leads, I got screwed... Lots of people get 1 promotion per yr in MS. You just have to be at the right place at the right time

Anonymous said...

I am currently considering coming over to MSFT and was hoping someone could please share with me what the level range is for an MCS Senior Consultant as well as what the average base salary range would be for this position.

Any words of advice during the negotiation process? What can I ask for that is typically given?

Anonymous said...

I'm leaving MS too but I'm a star performer and I better not interview you coz I won't be hiring you.

--------

take the ego out the door dude ... go screw a local company

Anonymous said...

i worked for andrew sinclair in livemeeting. He gave me 20% increase on merit but has not promoted me for 3 years. My colleague (test mgr) just got his next stripe adn i am feeling neglected, should i simply leave?

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