For many of us personal freedom is a given. Sometimes we may take that for granted. For Christopher Ream, a former US Marine, going to work at a small government contractor directly out of the service seemed like the right place to exercise his freedom to learn and grow in his post military experiences. But it was coming to Microsoft’s Services organization as a Premier Field Engineer (PFE) where the freedom to grow his skills and career was realized.

You may think that coming to a large corporation like Microsoft might mean you’re a cog in the wheel of customers and products because of its size. And many others post-military service may think that too. But Microsoft was where Chris found a place to have the freedom and flexibility to grow in his knowledge and skills working on an engineering support team committed to customer success.

After leaving an 11-year career in the US Marine Corps, where Chris received invaluable training and experience in technology at the enterprise IT level, Chris went to work at a small contractor for the Department of Defense. “I decided I wanted to go with a smaller company because I worried that I would be just a number in the system or a faceless person in a crowd at a large corporation. I liked the idea of interviewing with the CEO of the company.” After about a year, Chris realized that smaller companies have a very hard time offering opportunities for growing one’s expertise, taking on bigger challenges and schedule flexibility.

Chris did have an opportunity to work with some other Microsoft Premier Field Engineers while at the smaller company, and this is where he learned about some of the strong commitments Microsoft makes to foster employee growth and build strong teams who work together to empower customers and themselves to achieve more. He saw the value of being on a team like that.

Fast forward to his new job with Microsoft on a team of field engineers in Microsoft’s Premier support organization. It was this new team and the ability to have mentors that helped Chris grow in his new role at Microsoft. “Everybody genuinely wants to help and it’s not a ‘what’s in it for me’ thing when it comes to learning and growth. Even after six years, it’s still like that at Microsoft.”

And Chris has really valued the freedom he has in his role to choose his own time schedule and work with customers independently. He has the autonomy to do what it takes to ensure customer success, whether that means deciding to travel to a customer to problem solve or help onboard new solutions.

“Being a Microsoft employee gives you the ability to manage your own time and grow your skills.” Whenever Chris needs to study for a new certification requirement, take some time away from customers to learn a particular product a customer is going to use, or where they may lack proficiency and need more hands-on support, “Microsoft gives me a lot of flexibility to take that time to educate myself.”

Not only has he grown in his expertise, but he’s also built his confidence. It’s this personal growth and the impacts he’s having on Microsoft customers that stands out for Chris. “One of the most rewarding things for me is the is the feedback I get from my peers, emails from customers asking who my manager is, and the subsequent customer write ups on the level of support I give. When people take the time to recognize me for my efforts, I know I’m having an impact to my customers and bringing real value to Microsoft and the customer.”

Chris also gives back to others both at Microsoft and to individuals moving out of the service. Transitioning from the military to civilian jobs can be hard, and there are a lot of unknowns. For Chris, “My favorite part of my job is educating and mentoring. And I like to reach out to those military members that are exiting and try to help them with the transition.”

Are you ready to take on big challenges and help us achieve our mission to empower every person on the plant to achieve more? Learn more about more about joining Microsoft’s community and explore careers with impact. If you’re a transitioning military service member, explore Microsoft Software and Systems Academy (MSSA).


SPONSORED CONTENT: This article is written on or behalf of our Sponsor.

Related News, the largest security-cleared career network, specializes in defense jobs for professionals with security clearances. Search thousands of jobs from pre-screened, registered defense industry employers.