My personal commitments

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2008/10/05 03:01 -04:00, original URI:

This is a 100% personal blog in this personal Blog-o-mine....

So this last month is the time of year that all of the Microsoft employees put in their commitments.

This is an exercise I won't comment on other than to say I enjoyed it more when it was a Word document rather than an InfoPath form. That might just be me though, hard to say for sure. :-)

I have some friends in the company who have admitted to sneaking personal commitments onto their lists, obfuscating them with HR-speak, of course.

I won't comment on that either, except maybe to suggest that I suppose this would be a gutsy way to entertain oneself during the review process. Well, it seems gutsy to me at least, given the number of people who see committments who actually know how to read HR-speak, natively! :-)

For me, I considered the idea.

And ultimately, I rejected it.

If there are things I want to commit to over the next year that are not a part of my job, I don't want to have the achievement of those things tracked by my management, you know?

But thn it occurred to me that I have a place I can record such commitments -- this blog!

So here, without further adieu, are some of the things I am listing as personal commitments. Not an exhaustive list of course, but some of the things I'd like to be doing that do not really fall directly within the scope of my job....

1) Get out and socialize more.

This one is easy enough to understand, I think. After Annette and Dan and Marla left town, I was not going out nearly as often, since it seemed easier to just stay home more often then not. But in the interest of maintaining a life, I am working to find and "recruit" new friends so I can keep enjoying life directly, rather than just virtually.

Success here is something I would hate to measure simply by the number of times I go out, for obvious reasons. I'll know if I am succeeding here simply because I won't be hanging around the house as much....

2) Contribute to the work of the Unicode Consortium and INFITT

These are things that predates my Microsoft employment by many years (and continued even after I started full time), and certainly even when what I was doing was happening solely through my own efforts, I wasn't ever working against Microsoft interests. So there is no reason to believe that I would start doing so now. If the Unicode Bulldog award proves anything, it proves that I can make meaningful contributions, so I'd like to keep doing that. It is something I believe in.

Success here is something I will have to delay determining how to measure until after I identify where I can help, though I am comfortable formally committing to the fact that such efforts should not work against the interests of Microsoft. I suspect they would expect that of me anyway. Whether this means Trigeminal is to become an Associate member again or whatever remains to be seen, I'll need to figure this out over the next few months.

3) Keep blogging, especially on internationalization and language and other interesting topics.

This one seems easiest, and possibly it is the one that regular readers here find to be most interesting. But in this interesting post-PNL world I now live I definitely need to find my rudder again so I can feel like the blog is once again a comfortable suit of clothes I can wear. I won't be able to please everyone (there is at least one person who I think I could only please by never communicating to a customer again via any means, including the blog), but I think it is useful and for the most part if I were not writing this blog, I would be a regular reader of it. and not just to see what that crazy guy is gona write about next.

Success here is something I do not want to quantify in terms of number of blogs since I am kind of against giving a crap about the metrics. But continuing to blog as I have been is mainly what I mean, and if I sm not succeeding here you'll all know it.

4) Be a good advocate to Microsoft based on feedback I get from customers.

This one is perhaps the oddest, but with the Blog being unofficial, there has to be some channel for me to get the feedback to the right people in Microsoft. And since I can't/won't do work on my personal blog as part of my job, I have to be able to effectively move relevant ideas/feedback from the Blog to the job on my time, or people who communicate here will unintenionally be sending feedback on a road to nowhere.

Success here will be simple -- no ideas left behind, making sure that any idea I am in a position to communicate I do, in fact, communicate.

5) Be nicer.

Now there is small group of people who I am nice to already who have no idea what this one is about. But those people are in the minority, because I can often be grouchy and mean and impatient. I need to do that less, even if I feel it is in some cases deserved, because although such behavior acts as "venting" and allows me to feel better, it seldom helps the other person. And I want to (as a person) be putting out more positive energy than negative energy, if you know what I mean.

Success here will be determined indirectly from feedback, because when I am nicer I find it gets back to me in the form of feedback....

So there you have it, five personal commitments to better myself over the next year.

Between my actual work commitments and these (not to mention the other über-personal ones that are not being enumerated on either list!) I suspect I will be quite busy, but I don't sleep very much so I have to have something to do with my time! :-)


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John Cowan on 5 Oct 2008 11:43 AM:

Under #2: There's a difference between the interests of Microsoft and what someone at Microsoft believes those interests to be.

Under #3: Feel free to keep writing to me, then, because I'm definitively not a customer, whatever else I may be.

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