Tag: a8c

A-travelling we go

A-travelling we go

Has it been a year already?

Once a year all of Automattic comes together in the same place for a week of bonding, planning and working where we can actually see each other (prompting several of my colleagues to go pants-shopping this past week). So here I am again, waiting to board a plane to Amsterdam so I can board a plane to Vancouver so I can get on a bus to the beautiful village of Whistler nestled between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains in British Columbia, Canada.

It’s actually my second plane of the day – my day started with a text message that my flight from my home airport had been downgraded to a smaller aircraft and that there were more people with tickets than there were seats. As I had a very long layover ahead of me, I volunteered to take a two-hour bus ride to another airport to catch a later flight to Johannesburg.

After a relaxing few hours at the airport (said no one, ever, but I’m trying to be positive, given all the travel I still have ahead of me) and now I’m waiting for my first of two international flights, at the end of which I’ll have been in transit for a total of 39 hours.

You may now feel sorry for me.

I know, I know. First world problems, but it’s brutal. And apparently people do this for fun?

Leaving home was hard, as always. I’m really worried about the Minion this time around, as we’re really close and she’s now big enough to really understand that I’m not there, but nowhere near big enough to understand why I’m not there or that I’m coming back. Thankfully the wife’s parents have driven down to stay with them for the week, so she won’t have to deal on her own.

I’ll also be celebrating my birthday away from them for the second time in a row, which sucks, and the Minion’s first steps are imminent and I really don’t want to miss that.

On the other hand, I get to spend some time with my team again, and with the other great people I work with, in a very beautiful place. I get to eat that amazing bacon at the hotel we’re staying at again. And apparently there’s a chance I’ll get to see the Northern Lights (if the weather is clear and the smoke from wildfires in BC isn’t too bad), so hopefully all the airporting is worth it in the end.

On the road again

Has this been a busy two months. Since you last heard from me we’ve welcomed tooth number two into the world, I’ve bought a house, the wife finished her last day as a teacher, we’ve moved to a different part of the country, and I’m about to spend about 20 hours on uncomfortable airport chairs and even more uncomfortable airplane chairs.

You’re right, that’s way too much for one blog post, to let me focus on the present for now.

One of the drawbacks of working for a distributed company like Automattic is that you don’t get to see your co-workers very often. We’re constantly communicating with each other online, and most teams have a video chat once a week just so we don’t completely forget how to communicate verbally, but it’s not the same as the dynamic you get when sitting in the same room with someone, chatting with them.

So at least once a year (aside from the big all-company meetup in September) each team gets an opportunity to get together somewhere in the world and have some face-time while working on a project to either improve our own skills or do something that benefits our company and our users.

Last week this time I was locking the door of my empty apartment, my home for seven years, to start a new chapter on  South Africa’s east coast. Now I’m sitting at Durban International Airport waiting to board my first flight of three that will take me to Lisbon, Portugal, to spend a week the people I work with most closely every day.

I must confess, it gets harder to leave each time. Due to complications with our house buy (watch this space) we couldn’t move in on the date we’d planned to, so we’re currently staying with the wife’s brother and his family. It’s a tad chaotic, and we suspect the Minion is spawning some more teeth, which doesn’t help the situation much. So I feel bad leaving the wife with all that while I jet off to an exotic location for a week.

And I always have this nagging fear in the darkest corners of my mind that something will happen that will prevent me from coming home to them. I know. It’s silly.

But hey, they just announced boarding for my flight so I gotta run. See y’all soon!

A day in the life of a Happiness Engineer

A day in the life of a Happiness Engineer

I need to find a new reason for blogging. See, I recently realised that I’m not blogging for the sake of the writing. I started blogging as an escape from studies, a career and a life that was going nowhere. I started blogging because I was unhappy, and being silly and meeting new people online helped me forget that. I started blogging as a distraction.

For that same reason I started volunteering in the WordPress.com forums, but quickly came to love it and, one day late in 2015, decided to make a career out of it. And that’s how I came to be a Happiness Engineer at Automattic.

Continue reading “A day in the life of a Happiness Engineer”

I forgot to post yesterday…

…and almost forgot again today. But yesterday was acutally a very significant day and I can’t have it pass without marking it.

Yesterday a year ago two things happened that changed my life beyond imagining. I started working at Automattic, and I found out that I was going to be a dad.

It’s a bit of a tradition at Automattic to blog about working here on one’s anniversary, but that will need to stand over for a later date when I have time to do it properly. But let me just say for now that it has been one heck of a ride so far. And it’s all about the people.

The magic of WordPress does not lie in the software, but in the community that surrounds it, and inside Automattic is only a small part of that community, but a very special one. Never before have I worked with a group of people that cares so deeply both about the work that they do and about each other (and I say that as someone who at one point worked for the church).

And being a dad? Earlier this evening I was scrolling through my Facebook feed on my phone and came across this very true statement:

If parenting had a GPS, it would constantly be saying “Recalculating”

And aint that the truth!

Just when we think we’re figuring things out, Elizabeth goes and changes the tables on us. But every single moment has been worth it. Seeing her grow and develop has been such an incredible experience. She has the most joyous laugh and the sweetest little voice. And the way that she smiles when she sees me…

I’m pretty sure there isn’t much in this world I wouldn’t do for that little girl.

That’s it for now, but I’ll be writing some more on both of these soon!

Time Marches On

And once again I’m a year older today. Funny how that keeps happening, right? This year my birthday is rather special, though.

First, it’s one year to the day since I got the email that changed my life – the email that invited me to interview for a job at Automattic, the company that runs WordPress.com, Jetpack and Woocommerce.

And directly related to that, I’m spending my birthday with my team in Whistler, Canada, where our company is having our annual meetup where all of us come together from across the world. It kinda sucks not to have the wife and kid here with me, but it’s certainly the most exciting way I’ve ever celebrated surviving another year on Earth.

Here’s to the next 35 years 😀