I Got a Job at Microsoft

February 7, 2015 ♥ Posted in: Journal, Writing, YouTube videos by Kristina Horner

Hello, lovely blog readers!

As you can see by the title of this blog post… I’ve got some rather big news to share. Life alteringly big news, in fact — and something I’ve kept quiet for the last two months.

I got a job at Microsoft.

This is some intense news, so here is a picture of some kittens at a birthday party.

This is pretty intense news, so here is a picture of some kittens at a birthday party.

To be honest it feels a little cliched, having grown up in Seattle. If you were raised here, you know what I’m talking about. If your parents didn’t work at Microsoft they worked at Boeing. While I’d mulled over the idea of getting some sort of day job over the last year or so, I always imagined some hip new media company. Not… Microsoft. Not the most obvious place to work in the Northwest.

But here I am. And to be honest, it is a pretty hip job. I was hired as a Community Manager, which means my responsibilities include a whole spectrum of various types of community engagement for a laundry list of games owned by Microsoft Studios.

But Kristina!? you’re probably asking. Why did you take this job? I thought you were a professional YouTuber! I thought you made oodles of money talking to your camera!

First of all, I am flattered if you think that. Alas, while I enjoyed my freelance time immensely, it was really starting to weigh on me. If anyone ever tells you that turning your hobby into your job is the ~American Dream~, then you should just tell them to talk to the hand. Because (let me drop a wisdom bomb on you for a second here) if there’s one thing I have learned in my twenty-seven years of life, it’s this: we have hobbies for a very specific reason. We have hobbies because we are creative animals, and we enjoy making things, doing things, being part of things. Sometimes we even enjoy making things just for the sake of creation, but when you add financial pressure to that, you can literally feel your enjoyment start to deflate.

I didn’t want to hide sponsorships in my videos anymore. I didn’t want to make videos for other companies’ channels anymore. I didn’t want to wake up every day knowing I had to film videos, or had to write blog posts, or I might not pay rent. And I also didn’t appreciate the ever-present self awareness of “what am I actually doing with my life” looming overhead.

I am acutely aware, however, of how special a thing I’ve created online. And how lucky I am that so many of you care enough about what I’m doing to have stuck around this long. For a long time, considering getting a different job felt like giving up. Throwing in the towel. It felt like I was admitting I hadn’t “made it”.

But then I start re-evaluating my goals. Made what, exactly? I starting thinking about what I was actually doing, and what I wanted to be doing. I love making videos. I love blogging. I love my Patrons, and my book club, and I love the amazing community of intelligent, caring people who engage with the things that I do.

Why would any of that need to change, just because I wanted to get a day job?

It was at that moment that I realized it wouldn’t change. I could still make videos. I could still read books. I could still blog, and tweet, and interact with people online exactly like I always have. This moment of clarity changed everything and I began applying for jobs. The Microsoft opportunity came at exactly the right time and while I’ve been extremely stressed out as I struggle to adjust to a vastly different lifestyle… not much has actually changed, at least online.

In fact, that only thing that’s been really tough has been not telling you guys about what I’m doing, which is precisely why I am writing this blog post. So… I work at Microsoft now, 40 hours a week. This probably explains why I might have seemed a little distant lately. It was tough to figure out what to talk about without spilling the beans, but I wanted to give myself time to adjust on my own before I told the whole Internet.

Oh, it’s also been tough to keep up with my email. I did not realize how much email I got until I wasn’t able to check it regularly. How cow. But that’s another issue entirely.


So just to sort of let you know what to expect from me now, my online presence mostly won’t change. You can still count on 2 new videos a week. The Restricted Section book club is still going strong. I’ve got three cosplays planned for Emerald City Comic Con. And this blog will always be here.

I’m just going to have a bit less free time, and I might complain about traffic a lot more, since my commute is right in the heart of rush hour and includes a toll bridge. But audiobooks are a new obsession of mine, so there’s always a silver lining.

Whew. I don’t know why I am so nervous to be announcing this. I guess it makes sense, because it’s the biggest change that’s happened in my life in a long time. It’s been sort of a tough adjustment, and I miss having all the time in the world to create things for you guys.

But I think this is going to be a very good thing for me.




Hillary says:

Congrats on the job and making a big life decision.

Olivia says:

Yay! Congratulations 🙂

Chelsea says:

Congratulations Kristina!! Don’t be nervous – do what you need to do! 🙂

Becky says:

Everyone must have some pretty wealthy parents is they all work at Microsoft and Boeing! Maybe not, street the cost of living.

I used to think Starbucks was the obvious answer lol. But now I assume that everyone works at Amazon. I’d love to work at Microsoft or Boeing but heck no to that commute. I’m not good with audio books.

Good for you though! That’s very exciting. Working for a high profile company must be fun (and I bet they have great benefits)

Krislynn says:

Congrats Kristina! This is awesome news! I would love to work for Microsoft. I’m glad to hear you’re doing well and I’m glad your not going anywhere 🙂

Alice says:

Congrats on your new job! That’s so awesome! 🙂 You’re right, while it’s great to be able to make some money doing things you love it’s also great to be able to do them just to do them and not because you HAVE to do them. All artists still have to pay bills.

Jen says:

Congrats! I grew up there and understand what you mean. I love audio books as well because with 2 kids I don’t have time, or they won’t let me.

Julia says:

Congrats on the new job! That’s so exciting. The commute can kind of suck. I used to commute from Snoqualmie to downtown Seattle everyday. Audiobooks are definitely the way to go. Podcasts are really great too for when you need a change!

Congrats again and I hope you are enjoying it!

Shelley says:

Congratulations on your new job. Two things I want to say to you: 1. you are not going to disappoint any of us by having or trying a new job..that would happen only if you were to quit and ignore fans altogether. 2.You can always go back, if your new job doesn’t work out. It is not that I don’t want it to work out, it is just that you can, because life is full of change, and it is okay for you to make some of those changes yourself.REMEMBER, either way is NOT a failure. You should be proud. Good luck, thank you for sharing, and again, congratulations! p.s. your are right about when your hobby becomes your job;it does come with baggage.

Molly says:

Congrats! That’s great!!! I’m glad you’ll still be making videos 🙂 I am legitimately super happy for you right now!!!

Chris says:

Congrats! I like how you explained the hobby vs. work thing – it’s the same reason I don’t do art commissions, or why I chose the science path rather than art, but I’ve never been able to explain it to other people before. (so in a way, thanks for that haha). I hope your new job takes care of you 🙂

Jenny says:

Congradulations Kristina! That’s such awesome news!!

Kimberly says:

Wow, congratulations! I’m so happy for you!
I felt a little out of character when I read the title of this post and actually squealed out loud, “Oh my gosh, go Kristina!” or something like that. That’s so exciting! My dad worked at Microsoft for a while–are you working in the Redmond office? If not, go use your Microsoft card to sneak in there. It’s absolutely gorgeous. Our family would go for picnics there to have lunch with my dad when we were pretty young. 🙂

On a different note, this post really made me think.
I’m one of those people who had their lives pretty much in order. Whenever an adult asked little 6-year-old me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would instantly reply, “I want to be an author.” That’s been my answer for pretty much my whole life. I love to write, and I want it to be my career one day.

Slowly, I’ve been sort of waking up to the idea of, “oh, you know, I’m going to have to find another career here at some point.” This post was sort of the final thing pushing me in the direction of programming and computer science (not simply because of Microsoft.) This quote, especially: “Sometimes we even enjoy making things just for the sake of creation, but when you add financial pressure to that, you can literally feel your enjoyment start to deflate.”
I realized that sitting at a computer all day writing my heart out is very, very far into the future. I’ll probably never be a writer full-time until after I’ve gotten a day job, settled down, and published a few books without the pressure of having to come out with something on a regular basis.

I know it seems kind of odd to have a blog post like this alter my thinking on how I want to spend the the rest of my life, but it needed to be shown to me. Betting my whole life on a lucky stroke of getting published, getting an English degree… all that isn’t going to work out, and I needed to hear it as I approach the end of my high school career. So thanks for that. 🙂

Hey that makes total sense. In fact – keep in touch, because my end goal is publishing books as well. But yeah, it was too much pressure to imagine my entire livelihood depending on getting those first couple out. I think my first couple books will be BETTER because I’ll write them on stolen time, you know? Wedging my writing in the cracks because I love it. 😀

Vanya says:

O wow Kristina! Congrats on your new job, I hope you’ll enjoy it. I am not worried one bit I won’t see you as much as before, I hope you’ll start getting that love back for making videos and never give up on them. Lots of love, Vanya

Thanks Vanya! Always appreciate hearing from you. <3

Katie says:

Great post and congrats! I don’t often hear about the day job side of artists, athletes, popular bloggers, writers, etc, so it’s easy to think they all support themselves without one. Especially because I feel the only ones who do talk about their job are the ones saying how lucky they are to have it be their blog, sport, art, whatever. Which is awesome, but a minority.

I second what Julia said about podcasts. I listen to a podcast I my way to work and an audiobook on my way home. Some favorites: RadioLab, Invisibilia, NPR TED Radio Hour, and Writing Excuses.

Ha! I have all of those downloaded except NPR TED Radio Hour. I will have to add it! And switching between podcasts and audibooks per leg of the commute is a great idea!

Gabby says:

Congrats!! That’s awesome! I’ve been watching your videos since fiveawesomegirls and I’m so glad you were able to make this positive life change for yourself.

Mal says:

Congratulations on this new adventure!

Carson says:

Does this mean you have to use Bing now?

Hahaha. I have to say Bing at work, but shhhh. I’m still a total google/apple fangirl on the side.

SquibGirl says:

You have NO.IDEA. How happy this makes me!!!
Day jobs need to feel meaningful, but they don’t need to be your passion. The FUND your passion!

Yay you!!!!!

Randy Horner says:

great blog Kristina. I am very proud of you!
Love Dad

Haha, thanks Dad! I love you!

Leila says:

Congrats! I hope you really enjoy your time working there.

Lori earl says:

congrats! Big changes, but it is always a good–sometimes painful–feeling to GROW! You willbe awesome 🙂

Thanks so much. Lori! All of this support from friends and community members means so much!

Kleineganz says:

Congratulations!! You have done some amazing things on YouTube, and I’m sure you’ll do amazing things at Microsoft as well. I left the corporate world behind in 2008 when I decided to become an independent web analytics consultant. That transition is equally scary, but it has been very fulfilling and I love the “freelance” lifestyle (and I can appreciate it a lot because of the 11 years I spent in the corporate world).

Good luck and see you around the Internet! 🙂

Thanks, same to you! And who knows, maybe someday I’ll transition back – but for now I am excited to learn and grow.

CONGRATS!!!!!! That’s super exciting.

And YES to all of the things you said about hobbies and jobs and all of that. It’s one of the lessons I’ve learned since graduating college too. I’m glad my hobbies aren’t my job. Sometimes when you get paid to do such stuff, it can ruin it because (as you said), suddenly you HAVE to do these things and not because you WANT to anymore. I’ve tried to do the whole making money with blogging and videos thing and I didn’t like it. So, go you!

Congratulations!!! I’m so so happy for you!!!

Bryon Leingang says:

Wow Kristina! Thats so kool. I read the whole blog and it was really inciteful, I’m very glad that you are driven to succeed- but also that you are doing what makes you happy, Once upon a time in the late ninety’s I actually did Tech support and although it didnt pay that great- It equipped me with a mindset of not giving up that easy on anything that involved troubleshooting! Now I might not be up to date with all the current operating systems, but I can still troubleshoot my own stuff.I did hardware support for gateway computers- and that was after windows 98 was introduced–Thank god! a lot of things have changed with microsofts operating systems since then- which is mostly for the better I think–its a whole lot easier to fix Now! well anyways I dont wanna bore you with all that- so Enjoy your new Job. and Dont be a stranger.
Uncle Bryon! (From North Dakota) LoL

Hahaha, I know who you are, Bryon! I hope I can visit soon! I can imagine tech support is a stressful job – I have to some amount of tech support for some of our game titles and it’s so confusing! So much respect to those who are great at it. Hope you’re doing well and thanks for reading my blog!

Helmut Fuchs says:

Finally got the time to read your Blog post and I have to say:
Congratulations Kristina! I’m so happy for you!
As I read your Employee something came to my mind I would like to ask you.
I know there are a not only two employees at Microsoft, but sometimes unpredictable things happen: My best childhood friend has been working for Microsoft for the last 10-15 Years in Seattle. He’s a Developer and who knows, perhaps you run into him somewhere sometime. If that happens, could you give him my best regards. His Name is Peter Bear and as I live in Germany, we don’t see each other very often.
All the best for your career and stay as you are! 😉

Eva says:

I heard you mention a commute in your latest video, and I thought “what? I thought she worked from HOME!” so I went to look for an explanatory blog post and found it 🙂

That sounds like an AWESOME job, and I don’t just say that because I do community management myself… I manage a community of scientists, though, so that’s a bit different, but there must be some parallels.
I do some freelance science communication on the side of my fulltime job, and I tried doing that fulltime for a bit but like you said, it’s less fun when you HAVE to. Now I just write occasionally, and can spend more time on projects I enjoy.

By the way, you’re in a great part of the world for community management, because there’s an annual conference in Portland that I can never make it to, but is totally drivable for you!

That’s so great to know, thank you!

Ellie says:

Good for you and congratulations. Truth be told, even with a day job, you’re still living a dream whether or not you make it the most important one in your life. You are creating and inspiring people every day. Not just to make videos, although plenty of people start watching your videos and then create channels of their own. But you also inspire people to do thinks like wrock bands, and cosplay, and to read more. Generally speaking you’re an internet presence who is enjoyable to watch, and who introduces us all to fun, nerdy things. I think it’s great that you’re going to do both and congratulations again for letting go of financial stress. Best wishes.

Thank you so much! 🙂

Congratulations Kristina! I’m really happy you’ve found a day job you can enjoy. I totally understand wanting something more stable and keeping the rest for fun, it takes off a lot of the pressure.

Kindness is the best accessory,
Rebecca – RebeccaKelsey.com

Thank you! Also your blog is adorable and I have started following it. 🙂

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