According to Bill Scott of Bradley-Morris Inc., the country’s largest military-focused placement firm, “Each year 250,000 troops transition out of the U.S. military, providing a perpetual source of talent for civilian companies.” Microsoft Corporation is aware of this fact and through various initiatives, they aim to make the transition seamless for veterans seeking employment as a civilian. One of Microsoft’s employee resource groups, Military to Microsoft (M2M), coined “We Still Serve,” is a military outreach program that assists transitioning veterans with the challenges of navigating the private sector job market. They can be found on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Robert C. Griffin, an Air Force veteran and the the senior technical account manager of USMC, Microsoft Federal Enterprise Services, shares his story. –yvette caslin
What is it like to retire from the military after 24 years and work at Microsoft?
Microsoft is a big advocate for folks coming out of military school, for their leadership skills, commitment to excellence and integrity, which are core values for the company. I coined the phrase and call it “living the global dream,” because I was able to leave the Air Force and work at Microsoft. The experience is phenomenal.
What are your job duties?
I am a service delivery manager with four major functions: project management, consulting, business adviser and account management. I ensure that the deliveries to our customers are at the highest level of percentage as possible for reactive cases in terms of technology down to proactive engagement in terms of training the customer. The role is dynamic.
How did your service in the Air Force prepare you for your position at Microsoft?
At Microsoft, we serve the general public space, which is very critical to the United States’ security. The U.S. Marine Corp is my customer. It helps tremendously that I understand the domain and the environment. I gained the leadership skills in the military and I am able to lead and work with people. At Microsoft, there are a variety of people; it’s a global company. I had the same experience in the Air Force where I traveled to different countries — Germany, Korea and Guam — and I had to deal with people from different backgrounds and cultures. Those things prepared me for employment at Microsoft.
Are you a member of Blacks at Microsoft?
Yes. It is a great initiative highly supported by our leadership and the fact that they recognize that they have a [diverse employment base] at Microsoft will help them [meet goals] as time goes on.
Tell us about the We Still Serve outreach program at Microsoft.
We are a group of veterans at Microsoft. Anyone who’s interested in employment at Microsoft can join live chat sessions on Friday afternoons. We have people available to answer questions like the skills we are seeking and what you can expect when working here. What’s really good about this program is that a lot of folks think that you need to have a strong knowledge of technology to get a job at Microsoft. That’s not true. We need people who have great customer relationship skills. We Still Serve identifies those skills and helps folks transition into employment. We have upcoming events in San Diego, D.C. area and Seattle. Folks can come and meet veterans at Microsoft. We’ll help them understand Microsoft’s objectives across many different products and business units.