Gina Moreno

Why I Left My Job at Microsoft

I worked at Microsoft for 4 years, and I was a big advocate for people to join the Tech industry (I still am), and maybe you were thinking, “Wow, she’s really living the dream,” and in some ways, I was. Working remotely from wherever I wanted, making 6-figures, having a stable paycheck, and frankly, not working too hard. All of these things were amazing, however, beneath the surface, there were aspects that just didn’t sit right with me. 

Working at Microsoft completely transformed my life. I went from a household income of $11,000 to a base salary of $135,000. Microsoft unlocked me to a new reality to dream bigger, exposed me to incredible people, and bolstered my credibility. It inspired me to help others chase their dreams, knowing that getting into Microsoft is often harder than getting into Harvard or Stanford. It pushed me to believe in myself more than I ever thought possible and allowed me to grow in ways I never imagined. I’m deeply grateful for this experience, but eventually, it was time for me to move on. Today, I’ll share why I decided to leave after four years.

Life Dissonance

Life dissonance refers to a situation where different aspects of a person’s life—work, relationships, health, or personal interests—lack harmony and cause dissatisfaction, stress, or unhappiness. In 2022, I began committing to activities that fulfilled me and brought immense happiness. These included moving to Mexico for a few months, conducting STEM outreach in Puerto Rico, and traveling to speak at conferences—essentially, following my heart’s desires. After these experiences, it became clear that my job at Microsoft didn’t align with the fulfillment I found elsewhere. While one area of my life made me feel incredibly self-actualized, my job at Microsoft felt like a drag. This negative energy seeped into other aspects of my life, affecting my mental health, motivation, and self-confidence. I struggled in one place only to regain these qualities in others, and it no longer made sense to stay.

Resource Allocation

Our most precious resources are our time, energy, knowledge, and unique talents. From the moment I joined Microsoft, I felt dissatisfied with the impact I was making with my time and talents. Perhaps I’m a bit radical, but 40 hours a week felt like a lot to me. It adds up to 80,000 hours over a lifetime—seemingly insane. I yearned to do more with my time and talents.

Finding My Place

One of the highlights of my time at Microsoft was the incredible people I met. Yet, I rarely had the opportunity to work directly with them, leaving me feeling like I couldn’t find my place. Despite excelling in my role as a Technical Account Manager, focused on building relationships, I struggled to form strong connections with my teams. It seemed I was always lacking the experience, credibility, or projects needed for collaboration. This, throughout my time there resulted in a sense of loneliness, isolation, and feeling unseen/unappreciated.

Overwhelming Goals

Balancing my full-time job with content creation, speaking engagements, managing an Airbnb, maintaining a fitness routine, handling adult responsibilities, and spending time with family became overwhelming. During the first six months of this year, I felt extremely stressed and eventually burnt out, falling ill multiple times, I couldn’t do it anymore. 

Loss of Enjoyment in PM Discipline and Transitioning to another Role

As a program manager, I had the opportunity to influence projects and ensure their successful completion. My favorite project involved product management for an early-stage product entering the market. However, after this project was reprioritized, I no longer felt that creative spark. I am aware that I could have found another team and position that perhaps was a better fit for me, but frankly that didn’t make sense to me. Why would I stay loyal to a company when moving to another one would increase my salary by 20% more, sometimes even more. 

Diverging American Dreams

Throughout my life, I had always aspired to complete my education, secure a well-paying job, and fulfill the “American dream” as defined by my parents. Once I achieved it, I felt….nothing. I was instilled with these ideas thanks to all the time I spent doing professional development, and society but instead, I dream of making a difference in my community, the world, and sharing my story. I long for the freedom to travel, heal, and help others find purpose, intention, and fulfillment in their lives. I desire to work in a place where I truly love, and to have a meaningful impact on my family, community, and specific demographics such as women, and the hispanic community. Now, I have the unique opportunity to take a leap of faith and create something of my own.

Incompatibility with New Dreams

The bottom line is, I knew that I couldn’t fulfill my newfound purpose and dreams while working at Microsoft.

Through it all, I’m grateful for the experiences that have led me to this point. I now have the unique opportunity to pursue what truly ignites my soul. I have the time, energy, and passion to make it happen. I would not trade my experience of studying engineering or working in big tech for anything. They prepared me for everything I am doing now and plan to do. Wish me luck! In the next blog I will share why I am still a STEMINIST (a person who encourages people to do STEM), even though I am not in the field anymore. 

A few announcements: I will be the keynote speaker for ILEW, the International Latina Engineer Week (the conference) happening October 9, 6PM CST, you can sign up here.

If you are going through a similar journey and need guidance/help, I would be happy to provide my input, please set up a coaching call with me here.

If you are looking for a speaker for your next conference for my relevant topics, please fill out this form.

Con Amor,
Gina Moreno


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