How to avoid getting laid off at MSFT?

New nfg
Jan 12 31 Comments

Accepted a MSFT offer this week, expect to start soon, maybe Feb. Offer is for Data/Applied Scientist II, I think it's L62.

I read that MSFT is the country club, yet they have layoffs on a 'rolling basis' because they reorg everyday.

How does one avoid getting laid off at MSFT?

Perform well? Is getting target bonus enough do should I aim to get 150-200% bonus?

Play politics? I'm not good at that. Any advice is appreciated.

Move into MSFT teams that area growth areas and cash cow like Azure?

Future TC is $170k. PhD+2yrs.


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TOP 31 Comments
  • Microsoft / Mgmt Dunz
    Country club days have been over since satya took over. You have to perform otherwise you will end up with zero rewards or managed out. I can say Microsoft is more cut throat than most companies.
    Jan 12 5
    • Microsoft pock
      ^ this. Do your job. Pull your weight.
      Jan 12
    • Facebook alt_qq
      Also need to make sure you can play politics if you get stuck with a bad manager

      Even though things are changing, managers still have way too much power at MS
      Jan 12
    • Microsoft / Mgmt Dunz
      Tech, soft skills, and politics. If you lack any of the three you will be average at best.
      Jan 12
    • Amazon / Eng legend
      Where do managers not have too much power? Only in Google?
      In Amazon they mostly have free hand. And so in Facebook as I heard on blind.
      Jan 12
    • Facebook alt_qq
      I think in MS they have slightly more, elsewhere peer reviews play a bit more of a factor. At MS peer/stakeholder feedback can be and is often completely disregarded
      Jan 12
  • Microsoft / Eng SwitchJobs
    No need to think about country club, layoffs, performance, politics, etc. In your first year at Msft, work 8 hours a day and you'll be having a good work & life. Based on your learnings in 1st year, tune the hyperparameters.
    Jan 12 0
  • Flagged by the community.

    • Twitter .brah
      then sue for millions if fired.
      Jan 12
    • Slalom Consulting qEje84
      Rinse repeat
      Jan 12
  • Evelozcity / Eng

    Evelozcity Eng

    Google, Microsoft
    Engineer, Founder, Dad
    Sounds to me like you're calling the wrong thing "layoff".

    Layoffs happen when corporations predict running low on cashflow and want to balance that out by reducing payroll. I remember Microsoft did a massive layoff (about 15%) in 2009 for example. Cashflow issues are caused by macro debt tightening that cascades across industries; it has not much to do with company performance. So you have to look at debt cycles to predict these; if the Fed keeps hiking interest rates, people predict such a bubble bursting even in the 2019-2020 timeline but nobody can predict such things accurately.

    The "rolling reorg" that you speak of is not related to layoffs. Microsoft used to use an arcane "Stack Ranking" performance evaluation criteria (made up by GM CEO Jack Welch) to "cut the fat" periodically. The flaws of this framework are much debated already; it creates internal favoritism and popularity contests; terrible things in a merit-based environment full of introverts. Facebook today exercises this kind of Stack Ranking because it learned it from the old Microsoft and it grew too fast to find a more humane way. I have read that Satya to his credit has got rid of this framework and instead put other measures in place. I'm ignorant of what they are as I've been out of Microsoft for quite a few years. When I left, I had an indifferent feeling towards the company. But having experienced a broad set of companies in the last few years, I can say with some confidence that since Satya came on, Microsoft is making a come-back in terms of making it evident to current or prospective engineers that it wants to be a good place to be employed. Even though I swore off working for giants, I've come to think that I may consider them again.

    Finally, to answer your question as an experienced engineer more directly: Change comes without knocking no matter how little or how much you worry about it coming. If you decide to enjoy your life it has the same likelihood of coming as if you tense up everyday and go to work with anxiety feeling like that's preparation. So if you were my close friend, I would say go to a book store and buy a copy of the book "The subtle art of not giving a f*ck". Enjoy your time while you're at MS. Don't count on it being forever. Don't try hard to get a promotion, but if it's easy-pickings to get one, get it. Learn, learn, learn. Then go some place else and do it again. That's life: a few short but sweet chapters.

    Take care of yourself and be proud of your achievements.
    Jan 14 0
  • Get solid, discrete, obtainable goals locked down in your Core Priorities. Every time someone sends a thank you email, send them a feedback request. Listen to feedback in your Connects and actually take it to heart. Look very hard at the job responsibilities at 63 in hrweb and demonstrate that at 62. Get to know your skip (your boss' boss). Make friends in other departments. If there's a RIF (layoff), you'll get 2 months with pay to scramble for a new job as an internal transfer, but you'll only have email for a week, so you'll want a strong network of other employees doing the search for you.
    Jan 12 4
    • New nfg
      What's a feedback request to a thank you email? Is that literally an email asking why they are saying good stuff about me?
      Jan 12
    • There a form to request feedback from anyone inside the company. Don't wait until your semi-annual Connect or annual review to solicit responses, or you'll forget things and so will the reviewers. Walking into a review with a pile of kudos is always a good idea, and it gives a good manager ammo to argue on your behalf. It also keeps bad managers from dumping on you unfairly.
      Jan 12
    • And yes, this kind of meta-career management stuff is important. You need to actively manage your career trajectory there, and you need to find advocates, even if you just want people to leave you alone.
      Jan 12
    • Microsoft diverseGuy
      @BaesianBlr, How do you find those level-based job responsibilities in HRWeb?
      Jan 14
  • Microsoft Goval
    Microsoft is growing, especially in Azure. Reorgs happen, but not so often for layoffs. Listen, Learn, and Grow. Let’s change the world
    Jan 12 2
    • Microsoft


      I print money.
      It’s great here folks. So much changing the world and delighting of customers going on.
      Jan 12
    • Google VXBr35
      Blink if you need help
      Jan 13
  • Amazon / Eng mashup
    When I was at MSFT I never got laid... oh wait....
    Jan 12 0
  • Johnson & Johnson / Mgmt

    Johnson & Johnson Mgmt

    Expedia Group
    Be aware about non technical PM politics who are most of the time have great relation with general manager . All engineering team full of politics. Core team like windows , exchange or office no chance of politics . If you see team equally diverse then good for you otherwise no growth for non race person.
    Jan 12 0
  • Microsoft TonyM
    Be a minority
    Jan 12 0
  • Apple Snut Ella
    This makes MSFT seem cutthroat and lay-off happy. Not so. Sure there are politics but outside of the phone teams and SMG, when have there been serious layoffs in the last 5 years?
    Jan 12 1
    • New nxs56
      Posters here say layoff is rolling basis. So they don't axe lots of people at one shot and get lots of media attention, but is slow 24/7 attrition.
      Jan 13
  • Tableau hellish
    If you are a Dev layoffs don't matter unless you don't have a green card, cause of having to find a job quickly. There's no shame and everyone knows Microsoft does these random layoffs, almost every experienced person who's worked at Microsoft has probably been laid off at least once. So if you're a dev you can get another job without much trouble. It's just a question of Visa problems or not.
    Jan 12 1
    • Yeah. Sales and Marketing get hit much harder.
      Jan 12
  • Flagged by the community.

  • Tableau hellish
    Work medium hard is right but nothing protects from your entire group being laid off.
    Jan 12 0
  • Microsoft 0^1
    First join then worry about layoffs.. it depends which group you join.. you will get tons of internal opportunities to switch the team in case you don’t like.. just be aware there are lots of crappy managers they really don’t have people skills.. most of them are from testing background as well.. so in one line your manager will define your career.. if you see any signal from manager.. change the team.. that’s it and most important Enjoy the life it is far better than other places considering you are in right team with a nice manager!
    Jan 12 0
  • Microsoft oiOv51
    Why are you worried about layoffs? That's a strange question from a newbie. Microsoft has tons of opportunities and if you show impact and grow your network, people will vouch for you and show you the path forward. People at Microsoft are really helpful and want you to thrive. At the same time, if you come in and sit on your a** with no deliverables, you will be 🔥 Good luck!!
    Jan 12 0


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