On the 15th March 2016, I started as a WooCommerce Happiness Engineer at Automattic. What a year it has been!
So much has happened in the past year, it’s hard to figure out where to start. I thought about a chronological list of awesomeness, but it seems that just a list of awesomeness worked better.
I wear whatever I want (most of the time).
One of my biggest issues with being a consultant was that your appearance made an impression before your knowledge and skills even got a chance. I really don’t like business clothes.
My standard uniform is a t-shirt, jeans/skirt and my Automattic hoodie in the winter. I have embraced my partner’s way-too-big for me Crocs because they’re comfortable and keep my feet off of the chilly floors. In the summer, I switch to a skirt and a t-shirt. I get to wear sandals and hiking boots or even go barefoot all of the time.
I do get up and get dressed in the morning.. Though I could work from bed, it just helps me to get going in the morning. Also, when someone wants to go grab a cup of coffee, I can head out the door without worrying.
I’ll admit to having worn a hat for part of the winter because I couldn’t be bothered to try and make my hair behave.
It is wonderful to wear what I want, be comfortable and just get stuff done.
I get to be part of a team.
One of the things I was really looking forward to at Automattic was getting to be part of a team. I’m not the greatest at working together with other people, but it has been great getting to work closely (even though we’re remote). I get to ask for help and give help in return.
I’ve only met my direct team four times (just getting back from our latest meetup in Lisbon, Portugal) but they’re great to work with. Getting to see the pets and kids during our weekly meetings is great. 😀 Even though we’re remote, we still connect with each other through those little things.
I also get to work within the larger teams of WooCommerce support, the Happiness team and all of Automattic. It doesn’t matter what combination of people I happen to be working with that day – I still get to feel like part of a team, working to make things better for our customers.
Which leads me on to the next point.
I work with the most fantastic people.
I think open source and the community around it are amazing. In the past year, I’ve met so many interesting people, all brought together by WordPress and open source. Everyone I have met has been kind and welcoming – I have even attended conferences which are open to all open source content management systems rather than just limiting it to WordPress.
I’ve discovered that you can start a conversation with pretty much any Automattician and have something interesting to talk about. It turns out that Automattic specifically looks for interesting people during the hiring process. 🙂
For once, I’m not the odd one out – a foreigner working in a foreign country in a foreign language. Lots of people have backgrounds just as interesting as mine – or even more so! The idea of being a nomad looks fascinating, for example.
I have made wonderful friends.
I am challenged.
My colleagues (and our customers!) challenge me daily. People are inspiring and challenge me to be even better.
I have learned about Github and how to do pull requests. After all, why create an issue when I can just fix little things myself? I even did my very first WooCommerce PR.
I do support in the WordPress.org forums for our payment gateway plugins! It was initially overwhelming because it’s a very different approach to our tickets, but great to help people there, too.
I’ve learned so much about diversity and inclusion thanks to all of the efforts within Automattic. I thought I was open and accepting – it turns out that I really had been fairly sheltered. I’ve done my best to learn and grow.
Like I mentioned before, working in a team is still new to me – especially remotely. There has been a learning curve, but I think I’ve got the hang of it.
When a group went out running during the Whistler Grand Meet-up, I realized I wanted to do that, too. That’s another way of challenging myself, but I can’t think of a greater group of people to do it with.
I have to balance my own time in a very different way than when I worked in an office. I’m responsible for both making sure my work gets done and that I have a work-life balance. Remembering to leave the house (most days) is also part of that challenge, which I’m still working on.
I get to help people, every day.
One of the reasons I switched to support was that I wanted to directly help people. I spend every working day in our ticket system working to solve WooCommerce issues for our customers. I get to go to WordCamp and conferences and help people face-to-face as well. It’s an incredible feeling.
I also get to help people within our organization. I really enjoy being a buddy for our trials and support rotations as I get to see the world from their perspective. There are so many opportunities to help each other through answering questions, documentation, etc.
I get to see the world!
I have gotten to travel so much since starting at Automattic. This list isn’t even complete – it’s just the highlights!
- May 2016: Team meet-up Barcelona
- July 2016: Woo Trip Berlin (group photo is at the top of the page)
- July 2016: WordCamp Brighton
- September 2016: Grand Meetup in Whistler
- November 2016: WordCamp Stockholm
- March 2017: Speaker (!!!) at CMS Africa in Abuja, Nigeria (!!!)
- March 2017: Team meet-up Lisbon
So what’s next?
I think I found my footing at Automattic within the last year. It’s hit me just how much my life has changed.
Next up, I look forward to learning more about WooCommerce, a bit of CSS and PHP and just getting better at my job.
I also plan to run a 5k with my colleagues at the next Grand Meet-up, so wish me luck! 😀