KC Lemson

By KC Lemson [MS]



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It was only six short months ago that I blogged about becoming the release manager for Exchange, and already it's changing... starting February 1st, I will no longer be the release manager for Exchange. This change is for a very good reason: I have decided that I want to work part time so that I can spend more time with my son:

He is 18 months old; when you ask him what color anything is, the answer is always 'blue'. He waves and says "bye bye car!" as we drive through traffic. His favorite meal is hot dogs and broccoli. And he goes to bed at 6pm shortly after we get home, and after doing that routine for over a year I decided that it wasn't working and I needed a change that gave me more time with him.

Microsoft has great flextime options, especially for jobs like developers where your work is frequently done on your own, and you can almost choose your working hours to suit your own schedule; I've known plenty of devs who worked from 4pm-midnight or 7am-3pm 5 days a week. But in my job, it's very useful to be there during the core working hours, roughly 11-5. I am not nor will I ever be an early riser, so a shifted schedule wasn't workable. Telecommuting wasn't a useful alternative either, since anyone with children understands that there's no such thing as working when the kid's awake. So I finally realized that I was ready to leave Microsoft.

At least, that's what I told my HR representative... and then part time was offerred as an option. The more I thought about it, the more I realized it was a good fit for me since I really do love my job and love working at Microsoft; it had taken me months to decide that I was willing and ready to quit to get more time with my boy. So I accepted it. Fortunately there was another person in Exchange who was ready, willing and capable to step up to take my job, so I expect the transition for the Exchange team and the new release manager will be fairly smooth. I will still be working in Exchange, but I will be program managing/project managing some specific parts of the product instead of being the RM for the entire release.

Overall I am very grateful to know that Microsoft, my team and my manager are willing to do what it takes to make work work for working parents. I should mention that it doesn't always work like this... in researching part-time as an option, I ran across many cases of other employees who tried to get a part-time position and were unable to, either due to past performance (you need to have a pretty good record) or their manager/team's unwillingness or their job or various other factors.

Hrm, I hope part-timers get to keep their blogs.msdn.com URL ;-)
  • KC - Great decisions are hard to come by and take courage. Good for you and hurray for MS! I've been a part-time Mom and part-time computer person for 17 years and there is no doubt that it is the best of both worlds (especially since the advent of telecommuting, DSL and IP Phones), as I love my job and I love my kids. Hurray for employers that realize that we still have a lot to contribute to the workplace but still have our most important priority at home.

  • Please keep blogging in some form.. you and Scoble are my 'must read' blogs! :)

  • Hi KC,

    I think you made the right decision. Though I am bachelor myself, I know that it's very important to be with your growing child and believe me you will simply love spending more time with him. [How do I know? I have a young nephew and I have seen him growing in front of me]

    And it's really great that Microsoft is there to support you in this decision. Adds fuel to my desire to join Microsoft in coming future!

    And yes, Jared looks very handsome, keep posting his pictures! :)


  • Aw, that's so sweet. I would do the same thing for my son if I could afford it. :)

  • Good for you! It's refreshing to see people in any IT area considering what is important and trying to make it work. Work is important, but it's certainly the humans in our lives that really make it worth while (especially if they're your offspring)!

  • See? Sometimes it really *is* because people want to spend more time with their family!

  • That's awesome KC.

    Liz is trying to figure out how to spend more time with Tyler also - It's really great to hear that they're working with you on this.

  • KC:

    Your decision must have been difficult to make, but it's really admirable. Your son has a lot to be proud of ;-)

  • Thanks all.

    Raymond: I was really nervous about the email sent to the team announcing the change, because it smacks of "So and so will be reporting to me working on special projects", i.e. on her her way out the door.

  • Very admirable decision, KC. It's great that you appreciate the incredible value and importance in spending time with a very special little person. My wife is able to stay home with our two daughters (1yr and 3yrs) and I think it's worth so much more than a second salary could every come close to. Moms are the whole world to little children, and they can tell when they're a priority.

  • How great to read this from KC Lemson! Excellent example of someone creating her own world from all the great stuff around. Julie is writing about happiness too. Perhaps I should explain what I mean by happiness. There's the American...

  • Congrats on making a difficult decision, but one that will definitely be worthwhile.

    Keep up the blogging!

  • Congrats. That sounds like a great move.

  • KC, you will never regret this decision. While many people cannot or do not want to change their lives in such a way, I am certain that you will find this time to be something you will really enjoy. They grow so fast, and this time cannot be replaced.

    My wife stayed home with our children (working part time as a building manager in the building where we were also superintendents) and it was worth every financial and other sacrifice we made...