I remember being on my Happiness Engineer trial back in April, when the dates were announced for Automattic’s Grand Meetup. I can recall thinking to myself, “I’m going to be there. I’m going to do whatever it takes to get this job and in October I’m going to be at that Grand Meetup in Utah.” Now I’m writing this on the other side of all of that… unpacking from my first ever Grand Meetup at Automattic.
It still kinda blows my mind that I get to work for Automattic. I honestly didn’t quite know what to expect from the Grand Meetup. I knew I’d enjoy myself and that I’d learn a lot. It just never occurred to me that it would make me fall in love all over again with Automattic, WordPress.com, my wonderful colleagues and our leadership.
This past year my life has changed so much. I truly just feel so blessed to be where I’m at today. I still can’t believe I get to work here among these amazing people. Since we work remotely we don’t get to see each other in person very often. This was first time meeting most of my coworkers in person. I was only able to meet about 40% of the company. My goal was originally meeting 50% of the company, but my brain started shutting off and I had a hard time remember names & faces.
From the start, I’ve always admired Matt Mullenweg for well… this wonderful thing we use called WordPress. Over this weekend I’ve come to admire much much more about him. His generosity, this laser focus, infectious passion for business and WordPress, but also this determination to create a work environment unlike anything else. Each time he spoke on any of these subjects, I couldn’t help but feel just how deeply he cared not only for WordPress but for each of us employees. Before, he was a talented man that I wanted to thank for creating WordPress. Now, he’s also become my fearless leader that is so easy to follow and trust. I really can’t imagine working for anyone else at this point.
I figured I’d learn a lot during this week… and I really did.
I took a class called The Live Chat Academy. I loved every minute of it. I felt like it was exactly what I needed as a New Happiness Engineer. Expanding my skills, but focusing primarily on making me better at my current job.
Another big thing I learned from… was so many little conversations. There was also so many amazing conversations about where we’re going, where we’ve been, and where we want to go. Each conversation left me even more motivated to learn more and work harder alongside some of the most talented and kind humans that I’m privileged to call my colleagues.
A few nights ago I had some of the best conversations I’ve had this entire trip. It was the kind of conversation, that just felt like I had been handed gold. There are so many Automatticians that I’ve looked up to, not only for their seemingly never-ending pool of knowledge, but also for their kindness and willingness to sit down and help me work through problems.
It’s been easy for me to put these wonderful people on a pedestal. To think that their skills come easy to them. What I found surprising this week was that they had the same struggles as me, working hard to not only develop these skills but also facing the same insecurities I do. They had even questioned whether they should even apply to Automattic, wondering if they’d get in. Sometimes, they feel in over their head or like they don’t know enough. I’ve felt the same. But the one thread between all those people… was that when faced with those challenges, they pushed through. They faced the things they were scared of and eventually mastered it. To me… that just makes them even more amazing. More importantly, it shows that I’m capable of it as well.
“You are here because you are one of the best in the world at what you do.”
That was said to me the other night. I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. I find myself at so many moments, just thankful to be here. Sometimes I do wonder how the heck I’m even here around such brilliant people. I wonder if they made a mistake letting me in. *shrugs* maybe they did… but I’m okay with that. As long as I’m fighting to learn and grow, to get better… I’m just happy to be among them.
I really can’t say this enough… but every Automattician is so kind, friendly, and fiercely talented. I was worried because I am definitely an introvert. Being around people and talking can really drain me. I prefer to hide out and be by myself. While I can sometimes fake being an extrovert when I need to, I get tired quickly.
I never really had to worry about any of this around my colleagues. I’d just hangout and talk. When I got tired, I’d step away for a bit, then come right back. While I’m usually in bed pretty early, I’d find myself staying up really late because I didn’t want to leave. I didn’t want the conversations to end. Even on the final night when we had a wonderful 10 yr Anniversary party for Automattic and there was DJs and dancing… I would typically find a night quiet spot for the night. Instead, I was up in the front dancing and singing. I just felt so comfortable around these awesome people.
I think the main thing I’m leaving the Grand Meet up with… is clarity and drive to not only work harder to make WordPress better, but to take on the things that scare me the most.
I’ve also left the Grand Meet up with is so much love, affection, and admiration for all 400 of my fellow Automatticians. Who are just amazing people. I felt nothing but kindness and friendship from every single one of them. It was easy to let my guard down, be silly, and learn from some of the most amazing people. Being a part of a company that is completely distributed (we get to work from wherever we want) is one of the most amazing things I’ve been a part of.