I'm getting ready to move (again) and was cleaning out my home office closet and found a few fun things from my days at Microsoft.
You should be able to click on the images for more detailed close-ups.
Microsoft Brainwash – I forget where I got this, but yes it's real! I think they make you drink this when you join. It's funny, when I joined Microsoft I do remember being herded off a special building and being indocrinated with dim lights, candles, chanting, black robes, etc. The next several weeks were a blur, but it seemed afterwards I couldn't remember anything about other technologies I used to work with (Perl, Cold Fusion, Sybase, Power Builder, etc.) and suddenly Bill Gates was my life-long hero. Very, very odd.
New hire mug – every new hire gets a Microsoft coffee mug. It's a secret, people in Seattle really don't drink water. They only drink coffee. Really! You turn on the taps in bathrooms at Microsoft (because you never really get to leave) and a pure java from Starbucks comes out. Actually at Microsoft they have really, really crappy free coffee, but oddly enough also have Starbucks on campus which you pay for. Sigh.
Yes, mine new hire mug has seen better days — the chips are from stress when I would chew on my mug (when there were no nails available).
A pen or a clock? Yes, after 5 long years of service you finally get the prize: your choice of a clock or a pen. P.S. the clock *is* the preferred choice. By displaying the clock in your office you automatically received +10 dexterity and intelligence points for any feature discussions.
Your own personal rock collection – (1) Think of something really, really cool (like database cache invalidation) that developers will just love, (2) next bring in really well paid attorneys and explain what you created (3) take lots of strong narcotics to keep you awake while they take your really simple, cool idea and turn it into 30+ pages of legal mumbo-jumbo (that should be a WHOLE other blog post) (4) get a rock with your name and idea on it (5) the person with the most rocks wins.
P.S. when I left the 'rock collection award' was Scott Guthrie. I think he had a secret granite mine underneath his desk, but that's just me…
P.S.S., patent cubes also make excellent weapons to hurl at people when they don't agree with your ideas. Logically the person with the most rocks would win.
There is more, including a roll of oddly inscribed toilet paper with Sun marketing literature on it — gee, I wonder what that was for? I guess the original idea was to paper Scott's house. Nah, that couldn't be it…