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 URL ;-)