Tag: a8c

Time for a break

Working at Automattic comes with many perks, but none quite so amazing as a three month paid sabbatical to disconnect from work and do whatever you want to do, without having to worry about paying the bills.

Want to finally write that novel you never have time for? Ever thought of hiking the Appalachian Trail or riding all 9289km of the Trans-Siberian Railway in one go? What about that blacksmithing apprenticeship you’ve always wanted to try? Or perhaps you’ve been thinking of going back to school, finish that degree you had to leave incomplete, because life? The possibilities are endless.

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Three

a8cgm2018.jpgYesterday, three years ago, I started my Happiness trial at Automattic.

Today I’m at the start of my third Automattic Grand Meetup.

Over the past three years I’ve visited the US and Canada twice, as well as Scotland and Portugal. I’ve given a talk at a WordCamp that inspired someone else to become a Happiness Engineer. I’ve learned stuff I never thought I would, and I’ve made hundreds of new friends from all around the world.

Thanks, Automattic, for letting me be part of making the web a better place!

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.

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