Here's an important thing to understand about working at Microsoft right out of college. You are young. You are in a new city. You don't know anybody. There's nothing to do, and you're a computer geek, and the fun toys are at work, so chances are, after getting your take-out dinner at the Taco Time driveup counter, you'll just be bored so you'll go back to your plush office with a view of mountains and 100 foot evergreens and code. For many of these young programmers life outside of work is pretty lonely and empty, which works great for Microsoft, because you put all your energy into the really fun part of the day, developing cool software.
Nothing quite captures the feeling of being a young programmer at a big software company as well as Microserfs. Douglas Coupland's portrayal of life at Microsoft in the early 90s was so stunningly on-target it floored me -- but then he went further and provided a moral and ethical understanding of what was going on that hadn't quite occurred to anybody. Nobody understands the emptiness, the banal loneliness, and the quest for personal connection?of modern age North America like Coupland.