MICROSOFT partner group manger Steve Haddock leaves for the UK next month, and in one last interview with Louis van Wyk lays bare his ambitions, future plans and how he has dealt with personal adversities.
Haddock is taking up an exciting new position at Microsoft in the UK as system builder and distribution manager. It is a similar role to what he is doing now, but on a much larger scale.
“I didn’t want to go over and into something completely new, like MSN or marketing. Once I’ve been there a while I can move to something different,” he says.
Taking such a big leap after eight years at Microsoft New Zealand and not having worked overseas before is a risk, but one which is well worth it, says Haddock.
“You have to ask yourself, what is the real risk? If the only risk is that it is new and different, then is it really a risk? The sheer scale of the new job is a bit frightening, but also very exciting,” he says.
Haddock believes the move will provide personal and career development opportunities he would not have had if he remained in New Zealand, and plans to return to this country in the next four to five years to apply those new skills.
His ideal path for the next few years would be to spend two years in the UK role, based in Reading, and then seek other opportunities within Microsoft.
“The career prospects at Microsoft are limit-
less, especially if you are willing to travel,” he says.
In spite of the benefits to his career in taking up an overseas role, the most important matter he had to consider was the impact leaving the country would have on his wife and two young daughters.
At three-and-a-half and six, the girls are the ideal age to settle into a new environment and if the family stays overseas for the planned four to five years, they will be back in time to attend secondary school here.
However, the greatest concern was over the youngest, Greer, who is undergoing cancer treatment.
Greer was diagnosed with leukaemia last September, but fortunately the disease is now in remission. She still needs ongoing treatment, but has been given the all-clear for the move by her doctors.
“The past year has been the hardest of our lives, but has brought our family closer together.”
Dealing with this incredibly difficult situation has helped Haddock reassess his priorities, strengthening his resolve to kick his career into the next gear by finding an overseas opportunity.
He did not want to settle for just any job, however. A new role had to meet his requirements of being fun and giving him enough freedom to balance his work and family life.
“Having fun is very important to me. If I am not having fun, I am not effective. You only get one shot at life and it is not worth being miserable,” he says.
Haddock assessed a number of overseas offers before choosing the Reading-based role, but only after meeting his new team and boss.
“It was important for me to know who I would be working with to make sure I would fit in with them. It is an excellent team and I am particularly excited to work with my new manager, Eric Gales. He is very well respected across Microsoft.”
Haddock believes his eight years at Microsoft New Zealand have set him very well for future opportunities and pays tribute to various role models and mentors at the company, such as former managing director Geoff Lawrie and the late Chris Thodey.
“They had outstanding characters and incredible integrity that were held up by their actions.”
He also has a long list of people in the channel he will miss greatly and hopes to keep in contact with.
While not relishing the thought of entering the Northern winter, Haddock wants to make the most of his time in Europe. He already has tickets to a U2 concert, is going to a conference in Monte Carlo in December and plans to travel to several European destinations.
Going to the soccer World Cup in Germany next year and the All Blacks tour to the UK later this year is also on the cards.
“Look out for me in the stands,” he says.