How Working for Microsoft as a "V-" or "A-" Is Like Being Black In The 50's
One of the joys of working for Microsoft as a vender or contractor is you are not a full time employee, which of course means you are treated as such by the full time employees.
Every employee/vender/contractor is provided a badge. The badge has a picture of the person. The badge is used for many purposes such as entering the building and security. It is to be warn and visible at all times. For venders and contractors it's orange. For FTE's it's blue. You are either a blue badge or an orange badge, so know your place.
The company store is one the perks Microsoft provides it's employees. An orange badge will allow you into the store, you just aren't allowed to purchase anything once there. Unless you are friends with a blue badge and can talk them into it.
Microsoft provides it's own bus service called the Connector. The service picks up at select locations around King and Snohomish county. This provides employees a ride to work on a bus with WiFi and the ability to avoid the general public, as it's for FTE's only. No orange badges allowed, not even in the back of the bus.
Both FTE's and Dash Trash are allowed to sit at the same table in the cafeteria, and purchase the same food. But for the most part the FTE's prefer to sit it groups together.
By adding a v- or a- in front of someone's e-mail alias, it allows the recipient the knowledge that they don't need to respond to that person.
When working on a project with deliverables, since you aren't an employee, they obviously don't report to you or even have to deal with you, so there is not reason to attend the meetings you set up or complete the items assigned to them.
Most venders aren't provided a place to sit or an office. Since they don't work for Microsoft there is no reason to provide them a place to sit at Microsoft. Usually they have to find an empty office, sit in the cafeteria, or wherever they can find an open seat. Contractors are provided a seat, but it's usually crammed into an office with a handful of people even though the office was designed for only 1 or 2 people. Some are grouped into a larger seating area often referred to as a coral or CSG Bay. They get a small desk, and that's about it.
If you are a early riser don't plan on working before 7:00am. Vender and Contractor badges won't let you in the building that early. Apparently Microsoft figures if you are coming in early, you must be up to trouble.
Ever talk to a Microsoft employee in the real world? Notice how when they say they work there, their nose kind of raises a little in the air. Just like they are a little bit better than everyone else. It's like that to work with them as well. Why bother picking up after themselves in the break room, that's what other people are for. Why even bother flushing the toilet?
For familiarity and safety, they tend to live in the same neighborhoods. Few non-Microsoft employees allowed. Most employees once they've worked for the company move to Sammamish and Issaquah. Close to work, matching McMansion, and no matter what your race is, you fit in because you can take the Connector together.
I've thought about hanging signs that say "Blue Badge Only" or "Orange Badge Only" over the taller and shorter drinking fountains, as it would seem appropriate.
For those who don't know:
Vender (v-) - is someone who is employed by another company yet reports to a Microsoft manager. They can't work on the assignment indefinitely. Yet Microsoft has the option of ending the assignment whenever they want.
Contractor (a-) - is someone who is also employed by another company, but due to a lawsuit many years ago, they can only work 12 months on an assignment at Microsoft. After the 12 months they must take a 90 day break before they are allowed another contract or vender assignment.
Alias- this is a unique name assigned to each employee. It's used to accessing information, logins, e-mails etc. it's usually derived some shortened combination of a person first and last name. a- and v-are added to the beginning of each contractors or venders alias, so to further clarify who they are.
FTE - Microsoft Full Time Employee
Dash Trash - This is slang for v- or a-