A blog post landed her a new job: How speaking her truth led Allison to Microsoft

Can writing a blog post change your life? Allison Michels, a training manager for Yammer, is a testament to the power of social media. Having a point of view and expressing it got her a job.

In a previous role with another company, Allison fell in love with Yammer. She saw its potential to connect people throughout the workplace, and collaborate in new and ever-easier ways. A higher-up disagreed, and the use of Yammer was terminated.

Allison loved her job, but she was saddened by the managerial decision. She took her disappointment to the blogosphere. On her blog, “Doing More,” Allison ranted about the shortsightedness of the manager’s decision. Allison’s bold stance caught the attention of David Sacks, Yammer’s founder and CEO. In a tweet to Allison, he wrote: “You seem like an enthusiastic employee whose work is being underappreciated. Do you want to come work for us?

From a professional point of view, the decision was simple. But the moment in her personal life was not: Allison and her husband had just bought a house on the East Coast; Yammer is based in San Francisco.

In her own words, Allison shares how an openness to life’s surprises, along with some social media savvy, can make work-life integration an excellent adventure.    

Relocation: Crazy or brave?

After I wrote that post, our life turned upside down. I had a few Twitter exchanges with David Sacks, and was on the phone with the Director of Recruiting the next day.  We talked about what a startup could offer me: What would I learn? How would I grow? After meeting the team in San Francisco, it was clear: For me and my husband Ed, the next step in our journey as a couple was to move. With no family or friends on the West Coast, and a recently purchased house on the East Coast, some called us crazy, while others called us brave.

On the road: Adventures in customer service

The opportunity at Yammer was incredible. I started traveling all over the world, helping users see why they should adopt a technology that was so commonplace in their personal lives. Our customers were finding value and success with enterprise social. My career was taking off.

Sacrifice: A secret to our success

Meanwhile, my husband was excelling in his career. He was offered a promotion…in Phoenix, AZ. I didn’t want to leave the Bay Area, but sometimes you need to make sacrifices to be happy. I was on the road almost every week, traveling to customers. In between, I worked from home. Yammer let me remain in my role when I moved to Arizona.  Four months after I moved to Arizona, I was visiting Yammer headquarters in San Francisco. Someone asked, “How was your trip?” That conversation reflects how tools like Yammer can help employees feel connected and engaged – regardless of where they sit.

Yammer: A global water cooler

My team members sit in London, Sydney, Atlanta, New York and San Francisco. As a leader and a manager, I have to be intentional with team members who don’t see each other physically every day. Yammer helps me build relationships, collaborate on projects, and connect with senior leaders I never would have access to otherwise.

The journey is not over yet

After the Microsoft acquisition, I was on the team that helped Microsoft begin its Yammer adoption journey. I say “journey,” because it’s not over yet. Microsoft itself is on a journey as it becomes a more connected and communicative organization. Yammer helps us feel connected to the team in Redmond, and it helps us learn from each other in a way Microsoft has never experienced before.

“Be content in the hallway”

It’s good to have a plan for your life. But opportunities don’t always come at predictable times – or when it is convenient. Meanwhile, we might compare ourselves to others, or question the pace of our career advancement. My friend once said, “Instead of anxiously waiting for the next door to open, be content in the hallway.” You’ll see when the next opportunity lands at your doorstep, and you can choose to take it.

The opportunities are endless

At Yammer, we are creating the next generation of workplace communication tools. We’re changing the mindset of how people work.

Interested? We’d love for you to be part of the team. View Jobs on Yammer Careers. Learn more about Microsoft Silicon Valley. See the range of professions and technologies on our global Microsoft Careers site. Tweet @MicrosoftJobs and follow Microsoft Careers on Facebook and LinkedIn for more information about working at Microsoft.


Originally Published in Microsoft Jobs Blog  http://microsoftjobsblog.com/a-blog-post-landed-her-a-new-job/


Interesting vs Interested? And thoughts from #TechPhx

My favorite part of speaking and meeting people is learning their stories and seeing how our lives are interconnected. Social media is a very personal thing. For me, especially so (if you’ve read any of my other posts you’ll know why).  So I want anything that I present, educate or facilitate to be deeply that, personal. Otherwise, whats the point?

Stop trying to be interesting. Just be interested.

I don’t know where that quote came from, or if its the saying is exact. Regardless, its a lot harder than it seems. I don’t have children yet, but I do have friends and family, and this seems to be a key pillar when in how we establish our relationships offline and online. I see so many people who are dying for a bit of authentic attention, for someone to just care, truly interested, about what someone else is doing, saying, learning, experiencing, feeling. Have you ever been on the phone with someone clearly doing something else, and you know they’re not really “there“? Yeah. Thats what I am talking about.

This past November I spoke as the opening keynote at #techPHX a local technology conference. Last year I presented a session about using Enterprise Social Technologies within the walls of your own organization, aka Yammer. This year my focus was about the external uses of social technologies as well as providing a few of predictions for 2015. It was fun to get the audience involved and engaged so early in the morning. And try to really be interested.  Plus, who doesn’t love memes & mullets?


Click here to see the recordings (mine will be up shortly).

Check out the Storify here.  

Now, I get thats being interested, truly, is the complete OPPOSITE of social media and how everything is portrayed, but wouldn’t our conversations within our community look a bit different if we were genuinely interested. Early on in my career, I had a boss that did just this. And it stuck because when I had other leaders who weren’t as “interested” you can tell.  So what does this really look like?

Here’s 2 things you can do to be more “interested” 

  1. Ask questions and care about what is being answered by listening.
  2. And when someone asks you a question, really answer them.


I mostly need this reminder for my own reflection and learning most of all, especially during the crazy busy holiday season. Maybe someone else needs to hear it too.



And, if anyone knows where the saying came from let me know. I’d gladly source it!