about sarah, automattic, happiness engineer

Thanks for the memories, Timehop.

Thanks to Timehop, I realized a year ago today is when I had my Matt Chat, which wrapped up my Happiness Engineer trial at Automattic, and led to the job I currently have and love.

My tweet from when I got the first Slack ping from Matt and the chat began:


And then about six hours later when it was done and I’d landed the job:


I spent the rest of the day (and the next few days, if I’m honest) in a haze of excitement. After yesterday’s blahs, this was a perfect reminder of something that has gone (and is going!) great in my life, so thanks, Timehop. I appreciate your perfect timing. This day last year changed my life in an amazing way and I’m glad to remember it.

I’ll celebrate the official one year anniversary of my first day on the job later this month. I marked six months very happily here. <3

about sarah, automattic, happiness engineer

Six Amazing Months: An Automattic Love Story

My first official day at Automattic was six months ago today! My Happiness Engineer trial was late February to mid-April and it was a difficult/amazing time (as reflected in this emotional rollercoaster of a story I told in gifs). By the end of it I was exhausted but sure I was in the right place, so I’m glad my fellow Automatticians knew I belonged here too.

Ben Wyatt AccomplishedSix months in, I’ve emailed users over 1,000 times and done more than 1,500 live chats, but that doesn’t really paint the whole picture of what’s happened or how much it’s meant to me.

I’ve said a zillion times how much I love my job and then tried to stop going on and on about all of the reasons, because I know lots of people don’t feel the same about their job and it seems rude to keep reminding them. I’ve spent hours in Slack chatting about work & cracking jokes with my amazing team, Phoenix. (Affectionately known as the “fawkers” — Yes, that’s a Harry Potter reference, adorable fellow nerds.)

I’ve buddied an incoming trial and celebrated when he got hired (Yay, Chad!), and I’ve co-worked out of Ikea with my two fantastic local colleagues. I’ve trained trials and support rotations on how we provide support for WordPress.com users and where to find the important info. I’ve volunteered at WordCamp DFW (where I met my amazing trial buddy in person!), and chatted about WordPress.com at Podcast Movement and An Event Apart in Austin.

(and other people's blogs)
(and other people’s blogs)

I’ve learned to work from home (or anywhere) successfully and love it. And I’ve looked at and/or helped out on 20+ user sites every day for months now, so I’ve learned a lot and my skills have expanded in huge ways.

Earlier this month I spent an entire week in Park City, Utah finally meeting all of my fellow Automatticians in person. (Not all, actually, but a good portion! Four hundred is a lot of people to try to converse with in one week.) They’re great, fantastic, lovely people. (I mean, look!)

I’ve made real, actual friends who I wish lived in the same town as me, but since our jobs require us to be fantastic at communicating over the Internet, we have a pretty good time while many miles apart anyway.

Sure, my dad still calls the CEO, Matt Mullenweg, “Matt WordPress” and my mom has no idea what I do, but they’ve both recognized how happy this job makes me, so that’s enough for me. (Please don’t try to make me explain it again.)

Mostly, I’ve felt happy & fulfilled & fortunate & awesome. I’m so glad I talked myself into applying after a few months of stalking the jobs page and daydreaming.

Photobooth at Automattic Grand Meetup 2015

event notes, events, technology & web

Notes from An Event Apart Austin: Jeffrey Zeldman

Jeffrey Zeldman, co-founder of An Event Apart, kicked off An Event Apart Austin (on October 5) with: The Fault, Dear Brutus (or: Career Advice From a Cranky Old Man).

Notes I took/tweeted and some of my favorite live-tweets by others during his presentation follow.

On getting into work on the web:

“I was excited about the web because it was democratic and anyone could do it.” Twitter Bird Icon 16x16

On working with clients: 

His advice on showing a client your site design: “Never talk about the aesthetics. Talk about the business problems you’re solving.” Twitter Bird Icon 16x16

On navigating the workplace:

On how “politics trumps work” at big companies: “Attitude trumps work in most companies. Great work + bad attitude = fired.” Twitter Bird Icon 16x16

Bad attitudes are toxic and good attitudes are essential to good work in big and small companies. Twitter Bird Icon 16x16

Also: first impressions last! He says switch jobs or divisions within a company when you think you should be promoted but haven’t been. Once people see you as a certain thing (like an assistant), they might struggle to re-imagine you as a person with a different (higher up) position. Twitter Bird Icon 16x16

On getting involved in the community:

He recommends going to meetups to hang out with people in similar careers/with similar interests. He says even if you don’t talk the first few times… You will eventually! (Most people don’t open up right away, and that’s okay.) Twitter Bird Icon 16x16

On the importance of blogging:

“Everyone in this room start blogging.” He says it helps you get your ideas out & be more confident in talking about your work and your understanding of things. (I agree & recommend WordPress.com!) Twitter Bird Icon 16x16

Back to fundamentals “Blog like no one’s reading”… “The more I write the more I understand what I think. Twitter Bird Icon 16x16

And one last bit of advice: 

“DIY, people.” @zeldman says don’t wait for someone to hand you your dream job/project. Twitter Bird Icon 16x16

Note: The Twitter bird icons link to the corresponding tweet for each piece. Thanks to @jessfantz & @mor10 for live-tweeting the talk along with me on #aeaaus. 🙂

More notes on other sessions soon. I’ll link them all in a list on this page.