I wanted to share my experience on an important topic that I have been asked about a few times, organizational mobility for career advancement.

#mentoring #career
What I mean is joining an organization in one role (maybe not your ideal one) with the idea of moving internally to a better role over time.
If you are looking to transition to a new role, this can be a viable approach. I am not saying it will work for everyone, but it was my story and one I have seen over and over.
In mid 2005 I was a developer leading a team at a small software company near San Francisco. I had wanted to work at Microsoft for a long time and suddenly an opportunity came. It wasn’t the opportunity I had hoped but it was in the place I wanted to be.
The role was as a product planner for Microsoft Learning where I would focus on developer e-learning. I had no experience with product planning or what it was. I had zero experience with e-Learning
What I did have was a lot of “drooling” passion for software development and a good number of years of experience. That, combined with caring about developers would help me hopefully to build training that was relevant.
I also had my goal, I wanted to be at Microsoft. This was a foot in the door. I believe in myself and knew I did good work. I felt that work ethic would pay off once I got in. It did. I was willing to do something new to help me grow and attain my goal.
Working as a product planner did not turn out to be a great fit for me. I was not at all a creature of habit back then. My job required me to do a lot of tasks that were just not in my DNA (at least not in those days). That being said my knowledge of software dev
And passion for doing the right thing did cause people to take notice. In particular it caught the eye of the partners I was working with from the dev platform side to build training for. I was primarily working with Program Managers.
The more I worked with them, the more I wanted their job. One of the partners @shycohen saw thus and really encouraged me. He saw my technical depth and my care for satisfying customers. Both were in his mind a good combo for a program manager.
Through his help and support I found the confidence to make the transition in that direction. I worked my internal network. Shy introduced me to other PMs who talked to me and gauged my interest. The more I heard about the job, the more convinced I became that is was right.
Finally I started doing internal 1 on 1s. I looked at jobs on our internal job site, found out how the hiring managers were, and reached out. In both cases those informational led to good interest from the hiring managers. I ended up applying to several roles.
Long story short I interviewed for 2 positions and got offers from both. The important point to reiterate here is I had no official Program Management experience. Another thing is PM was not my original goal so that was unexpected.
The position I ended up taking was in the patterns & practices team. I still carry the amazing things learned there. p&p is also where I first met @eugenio_pace and @woloski, my current exec leaders and many friends like @gmelnik @bobbrum @blainewastell and Nelly Delgado
From their I continued as a PM ultimately landing in Azure where I worked with @tjanczuk, my current boss. I also met @markgrovs there who was my boss for almost 3 years at my future job at @splunk.
The important learning here if you go down this path is have a good work ethic, be persistent, and build and work your internal network. If you are trying to get that foot in the door work your external network. If you don’t have one, build one.
In the past few years, I made another transition from Program Management to Product Management and used the same technique.
If you are a crossroads where you are considering such a career transition, this is one approach that might help.

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