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Trisha Lacey's Blog

When I'm counting up my demons.
There's always one for everyday,
With the good ones on my shoulder,
I drove the other ones away.                             




So in general, I am a positive person.  I truly believe that I not only generate positive energy, but I send it out into the world, thus making the world a slightly better place.  Every morning I start my day with this wish – that every person on this planet has at least one moment of happiness, even if is brief.  I realize, this is probably a bit unrealistic, but I hope it anyway.   


Lately though, I have been going through some pretty frustrating stuff.  Some work related, some personal.  No need to get into it here, but needless to say, it has been taking a toll on my positive energy generation.


What is important though is that no matter how frustrated, upset, or angry I am, I at least stay open to inspiration.  What amazes me is how successful this attitude is for me.  If I just wait, inspiration comes. 


So, I woke up around 3am this morning and couldn’t fall back asleep because I am so stressed about some stuff going on.  I definitely didn’t have a shiny happy attitude when I left the house.  Nevertheless, the fates smiled on me, and my inspiration came at the bus stop this morning.


People that know me well, know that when I am not busy killing stuff, I am pretty serious about being a good earthling.  I recycle (and chastise co-workers that I catch not recycling, I mean come on, we each, in our own offices have a trash can, a paper recycle box and an aluminum only can.  All you have to do is sort your stuff!), I volunteer time and donate money to environmental organizations, I write letters to my congress people from time to time on environmental issues that I care about, and I regularly evangelize public transportation. 


For the most part, I take the bus, walk or ride my bike pretty much everywhere I go.  When I see people in Hummers, I shake my head disapprovingly.  As a matter of fact, I was gleeful when I heard about a website where I can demonstrate my feelings towards hummers with only a camera and a particular finger of which I possess two of.   At this point, I should probably make some sort of obligatory, I’m sorry if you have a hummer comment, but the thing is, I’m not sorry.  Stop screwing up our shared planet!


I have a car from time to time, and I am not against having one, but for the last few years I have worked hard to maintain a single car household.  Before that, I went several years completely car-less.  So – basically, I take public transportation to work every day.  To do this, it involves 2 buses, and then either a long walk or shuttle ride to my building, so yes, it is a bit of a commitment, but when you feel strongly about something, you make that commitment.


The nice thing is that the bus that goes from downtown Seattle to the Microsoft campus is filled with Microsoft people.  Regularly people are standing on the bus, even though it runs every 11 minutes.  The crowding on the bus doesn’t make me all that happy, but the fact that so many of my fellow Microsofties take public transportation does really please me.  It’s almost like our own little bus riding sub-culture or something.  We call the bus the “Microsoft bus” and sometimes it even has Wifi on it, so it is pretty cool.  There are even bus sub-culture rules like for the most part, you don’t talk to other people on the bus.  We are all busy doing our own thing when we are on the bus: listening to music, being zen, doing email, whatever.  Nevertheless, regularly you see the same people over and over, so that in some ways you feel like you know them.  I refer to them as my bus buddies.  If you run into them somewhere not on the bus, you will usually acknowledge each other with a head nod or something.  It is pretty important though not to cross the line to talking because honestly, the solitude on the bus is valued and important.  There is nothing worse than a bunch of yakkers disrupting the peacefulness of the bus ride, and once you start talking to someone, you get caught in that cycle of talking to them every time you see them and then next thing you know the whole bus riding universe is out of whack. 


Ok, since I am so tired I know I am rambling a bit here, but I am going to go ahead and tell a little story. I apologize in advance, but right now I am powered by caffeine and inspiration, so just stop reading if I am boring you. J


So one time a long time ago (in a galaxy far, far away – er, no wait..that is a different story) I was running late for the bus. I was still on the wrong side of the street running towards it as I saw it start to pull away from the stop.  I was like, damn it!  But then, it stopped and waited for me.  I thought woohoo!  I got on the bus and told the bus driver “thank you so much!!” and he said “Don’t thank me, thank them!” and he jerked his thumb back towards the passengers.  I looked at them and realized, my bus buddies, that I see every day but had never spoken to, made the bus driver wait for me.  Isn’t that awesome?  I love the bus and our little sub-culture.  I of course said “thanks everyone!” and then we never spoke again, which is exactly how it should be. 


Anyway, back to my inspirational moment this morning.  I know a lot of people keep up with the goings on at Microsoft.  Not just our products, but also what is going on inside of it as far as the “Microsoft culture” goes.  Scoble talked about this in his blog, and then also there are other blogs like Mini-Msft that a lot of people kept up with. 


So for me, I have been at Microsoft for almost 6 years.  I have seen our culture change some over that time, and not in ways that I entirely appreciate.  Nevertheless, I saw something this morning that truly did inspire me.  I saw Lisa Brummel, our Senior VP of Human Resources at the bus stop.  She took “the Microsoft Bus” to work!


Those of you that keep up with these things know that she is fairly new to her role.  She has taken a lot of time over the last year to go around and talk to people at Microsoft, and really figure out what she can do to help make this a better place to work.  Plus, she has taken casual dressing to a whole new level. To me, this is awesome because for the last few years there have been a lot of what I consider more stodgy people joining the company and causing “the norm” to shift towards a more formal environment.  Things like this are small, and you might even argue silly, but at the same time, I think they can be good indicators of where a company is going.  If the culture changes, the company changes.


Now, I know that Microsoft has a bad rep in some places, and hell, when it comes right down to it, we deserve it.  We do need to change some things.  But to an extent, being “evil” is part of our sub-culture. J  And I get a kick out of saying that I work at “The Evil Empire”.  I was pretty much born to work here, as one of my favorite things that an ex told me once is “You are diabolical.”  I won’t go into the context, but he meant it in a good way. Even just the other day, Drew Robbins, the Dancing DE told me I was evil.  Again, I won’t go into the context, but I will say I probably deserved it.  Sorry Drewby!  J


Regardless, I am definitely fine with Microsoft changing as I think change is important to stay successful. I just want it to change for the positive, and I unfortunately have not been so sure that what I have been seeing over the last few years has been completely positive. 


Part of what I loved about Microsoft when I came here was the fact that we weren’t bound to some of the things that you see in other companies, like dressing up for work.  Or being at our desks from 8am to 5pm.  Or doing stuff a certain way just because that is the way it had always been done.  But most importantly, for the most part if you work at Microsoft, you do truly believe that you can change the planet for the better.  All evil joking aside, Microsoft is a huge, impactful organization and it is really important that we use our powers for good, and not evil. 


And that is the thing about Lisa.  Wow! Now here is someone that isn’t just standing up providing lip service about being a good corporate or global citizen.  This is someone in a high enough position to truly be influential at this company, that in my opinion is “doing the right thing”.  


That experience this morning was enough to make me say “I love this company!” all over again.  It is such a small thing, but it made me feel good about our future, and the way we will potentially contribute in a positive way.   That’s how good things start, with something small and seemingly insignificant.  That is the power of positive energy.


I wrote most of this post while I was on the bus, casting little furtive glances at her, thinking about talking to her, but then in the end staying true to “bus rules”.  When I did get off the bus though, I overheard this conversation:  “Lisa Brummel?!  My name is Tom, and I am pretty new to Microsoft.  I am so excited to see you taking the bus, and I just have to say that you are one of my hero’s at the company..”


I have had a smile on my face since then.


Happy Friday everyone!

Posted on Friday, August 4, 2006 8:06 AM | Back to top

Comments on this post: In life's good graces

# re: In life's good graces
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Awesome story and very well written. Thanks for sharing.

I'm a bit voyeuristic when it comes Microsoft (what geek isn't?) so I like hearing little bits and pieces about what the people and the environment are like.

It is remarkable that small things in a company, like being able to dress casually or having free donuts on Friday can make such a huge difference in environment, moral and atmosphere.

Glad to hear your day was so easily corrected with just one new bus companion.

Left by George on Aug 04, 2006 9:27 AM

# re: In life's good graces
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I still haven't gotten my ab song.

Left by D'Arcy from Winnipeg on Aug 08, 2006 8:12 AM

# re: In life's good graces
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D'Arcy - I hope you get your song. I'll even put in a good word for your ab, as hopefully my ass gives me some sway. (LOL, I am cracking myself up, seriously, some sway!):)

But seriously dude, way to bring down my happy post! :P
Left by Trisha Lacey on Aug 10, 2006 1:51 PM

# re: In life's good graces
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LOL! Give some sway...that's funny! If you could put a good word in, that would be ABtastic! (I know, lame...not as funny as the 'sway' comment)

Left by D'Arcy from Winnipeg on Aug 10, 2006 5:19 PM

# re: In life's good graces
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WAY cool to hear that so many at Microsoft are interested in making a difference like this.

Out here in Phoenix it takes me only 25 minutes to drive to work, but over three times as long if I were to ride the bus, so that's not gonna happen! Instead I carpool with a friend to lessen my impact on this beautiful blue marble we all call home. The commute now has both less stress and less cost. I love it.
Left by Lorin Thwaits on Aug 12, 2006 5:35 AM

# re: In life's good graces
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You should follow through with your plans to switch servers and join us on Duskwood.

The story about the ass song is pretty funny, as is the song. I don't know if you care, but the female Night Elf dance was based off of a French pop singer named <a href ="">Alizée</a>. The male Troll dance was based off of a martial arts style called Caopoeira, and all of the dances have some pop culture/real world reference. It's not really anything of importance but I found it fun to see what they were based off of.

I wish I could ride a bus to work. It's great that you want to help the environment. Recycling paper actually causes more pollution; the refining process creates air pollution while in a landfill paper just deteriorates. Keep it up with the aluminum though.

I can't imagine working in a job that would require me to dress up every day. It's good to know that "The Evil Empire" has a lenient dress code.

My response was practically a post, sorry. :-/
Left by Joseph Calhoon on Aug 17, 2006 11:36 AM

# re: In life's good graces
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Well, there's a link that will actually get you there. *grumble*
Left by Joseph Calhoon on Aug 17, 2006 11:39 AM

# re: In life's good graces
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wow...thats a great post...
I am truly inspired...very well written..
Left by Himanshu on Sep 04, 2006 8:41 PM

# re: In life's good graces
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hi trisha, well-written. btw for what it's worth (pls take this in a wholly good way) you're cute in real-life too.
Left by Anonymous on Sep 15, 2006 12:32 PM

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