That time I almost worked for Microsoft as Xbox Support

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This blog post is actually quite personal, I’ve only told this story to a few people. It seemed weird to “brag” about the job I didn’t go for. But it seems like a good time to share my story. If you’re uncomfortable with oversharing, stop now.

Edited for clarity, May 2020.

In 2012, Microsoft was operating the “Elite Tweet Fleet.” This “fleet” was a team at Microsoft, specifically within the Xbox division. They were like Tech Support who called you. This team of people scoured Twitter using multiple tools to search for people complaining about issues, and would reach out to them proactively and try to help! It was an amazing method of turning negatives into positives and I had admired the first small team of people who had this interesting job.

During the early winter months of 2012 I had fired off an email to a few people in the Xbox Support department, saying that I hadn’t heard if there were or were not any positions open, but that I would appreciate it if they would just keep me on file when an opening came up. The time had come. I had never been so excited in all my life. I received a call asking if I was still interested, and if I would be available for an interview.

It would be a contract position, no guarantee I would work directly for Microsoft, at least not for several months… but just to have that foot in the door? What an honor for someone who grew up a gamer and geek! The day I scheduled my interview I was shaking with excitement. I called home to tell my parents. That’s when everything changed.

My father’s voice was filled with exhaustion. You see, in 2010 my mother was diagnosed with cancer, but after surgery and months of chemo and radiation, we thought it was gone. The same day I scheduled my interview to potentially uproot my life living between Pennsylvania and New York, and leading to an opportunity in the state of Washington, was the day we would find out my mother’s cancer had returned. I shared my good news, but it wasn’t enough to lift anybody’s spirits.

My mother firmly believed I should go for it. I’ll never forget the day she received her initial diagnosis. That, too, was a land mark day, when was when I was leaving my home town for a job Rochester, NY. “You’re not a doctor. You being physically here won’t change things. Just go. I’ll be in good hands,” she assured me. She gave me the same speech about Seattle. But Rochester was 3 hours from “home.” Not the other side of the country.

I went through with my interview, and was invited to continue to a second round of interviews, but I was very clear about the situation I had suddenly found myself in. The person conducting the call could hear in my voice that I had so much doubt. The ball was in my court. He and I talked far beyond the bounds of a normal interview. It seemed like I was a perfect fit, the interviews seemed almost like a formality. We never touched base to schedule a second interview.

I moved back to Pennsylvania from Rochester in July of 2013, as my mother’s cancer worsened. On August 14, 2013, she passed away. Today marks six months, calendar-wise, since she passed away. I’m living with my dad, trying to keep him positive as we work through our “new normal.” I think mom knew I couldn’t go because I was coming home as much for him as for her.

I never looked at my chance to go to Xbox Support as “the job that got away.” It was kind of the right thing at the right time. It was a pick-me-up. It was an opportunity. It was hope. It was that awesome feeling of me being in control of my own destiny. I had my own decisions to make, I don’t get angry at the way things unfolded. I made the best decisions for me. I just appreciate that I was ever considered, ever even noticed. Sometimes we need that.