Just Breathe: The New Microsoft Mantra

If you’ve been at Microsoft for more than 10 years, more than likely you know at least 5
people who have been affected by the recent round of lay-offs. If you’re reading this, it
may even be you. Frustrated, hurt, a bit bewildered – you have just begun the process of
understanding what this unplanned transition means to you.

I’m here to tell you: Just breathe.

I’m not talking about the Anna Nalick song (although it is good and many of the lyrics
apply here), rather, I encourage you to:

1. Stop
2. Feel the emotions
3. Get pissed if you must
4. Get that frantic online job posting search out of your system
5. Reach out to friends
6. Breathe

Having now worked with many Microsoft people who have experienced this very issue,
I can tell you with much certainty and expertise that those who take the time to truly
evaluate where they want to go next will get there.

Those who rush through this process in an anxious hurry will not find the next role of
their dreams.

Why? Because if you rush headlong into your search, that anxiety and a newfound loss
of confidence will show up in spades during conversations you have in interviews. If
you’ve been in HR or staffing/recruiting, you have witnessed first-hand these types of
candidates and you don’t want to be one of them.

What a slow, methodical and thoughtful process will do for you is allow you to make
sound decisions about your next move. I love the recent Dr. Phil post in Oprah
Magazine where he tells job seekers: Don’t run away from something. Run towards
something you truly want. (Yes, I know Dr. Phil can be arrogant but in this case I 100%
agree with him.)

After years at MS, you may not know what this looks or feels like. If you received a
separation package, this is your opportune time to rediscover Breathing. Take yoga,
have coffee with friends, read to your kids, walk your dog in the middle of the day,
take up meditation, eat at that cool restaurant you could never get to for lunch, read,
watch Jimmy Fallon videos of his band playing with famous artists, visit the Seattle Art
Museum, skip yoga and eat some pie.

But, breathe.

I assure you, that once this feeling of anxiety and sadness and loss and frustration and
anger and confusion passes, you will be a better candidate/potential hire.

Years ago when my daughter was applying to college, a wise parent told me “Everyone
gets into a school”. The same is true for job search. You WILL find a new job. But,
wouldn’t you want to be the zen-like candidate with a level of confidence that appeals
to hiring managers? You can be that person.


Just breathe.

For more on former Microsoft employees and their job hunt, see our past posts.


  1. Jill Gallagher on November 4, 2014 at 7:36 am

    I’m a former msft recruiter (bld 19!) and have been doing resume consulting for over a decade. I have a resumes101 doc that helps people get their resume started (and more), would be happy to share it if you think it’d be helpful. It’s been used successfully by people from admin level up through VP so it really applies to everyone. please let me know, I’d love to help.

  2. Heather on November 14, 2014 at 11:25 am

    Very well said, Lora. I couldn’t agree more. Time for folks to take a break and be kind to themselves. They will never have another opportunity like this to do so.