This post is likely going to be too cheesy for most, but those who really know me recognize that I have a tendency to lean this way anyway. :) Also, I’m not the most eloquent person in the world, so bear with me as I attempt to organize my thoughts/feelings into a coherent, digestible format. Here goes!
Since I started at Automattic ~5 months ago, I’ve been bitten by some sort of wonderful bug. I’ve been reinvigorated — I want to see and experience everything. I feel motivated, intellectually stimulated, exhilarated, and unencumbered.
Chicken or the egg, right? Maybe I shrugged off some extra weight I’d been carrying around from my old company/job. Maybe I’m in a good place in my life. …Or maybe it’s just Automattic happiness. Here’s why I think much of what I’m feeling can be attributed to the latter:
- My hours and time zone don’t matter since we have ~215 employees across 28-29 countries, so as long as I get my work done, I can work whenever it makes sense for me. This. Is. HUGE. My work schedule accommodates me, not the other way around. If I need to go to the doctor, accommodate a long lunch, pick someone up from the airport, or just hit the gym during off-peak hours, I can — no questions asked. If all of a sudden I’m not feeling well, I can take a break and pick back up later. Alternatively, if I’m really in the zone, I can work until 3am and then sleep in, not having to worry about speculating officemates. Nothing is forced. Inspiration, productivity, health, happiness, and life in general come much easier this way.
- I can work from anywhere that has a decent internet connection. Seriously, anywhere. A couple of my coworkers are currently living a nomadic lifestyle, traveling wherever and whenever they see fit. For me, anywhere usually means my living room or our office (which is way too awesome for “office” to be the right word), but the fact that I can travel or move wherever I want is both immensely liberating and comforting. Sure, it’s fun to travel, but it’s nice to know that if my family ever needed me for anything, I could physically be there to support them without stressing about how it’ll affect my team.
- Principles with which I have been indoctrinated no longer apply. I’ve worked with some brilliant and talented people, and was often taught to handle issues the way I’m “supposed” to handle them — usually in the interest of the company for which I work. But there’s no assumed way of doing things any more. This has been the hardest for me to adjust to because I’ve been trained so well to always CYA, but I’m getting there. Automattic is refreshingly pro-user, and we do what we think is right (within normal constraints of course).
This freedom and flexibility at both micro and macro levels permeates into everything. Suddenly, nothing is crazy and everything is in the realm of possibility. Yes, I know how ridiculous and new agey I sound, but you have no idea what an impact this can have until you get a taste.
Last, but certainly not least, my team is delightful and eclectic — compromised of scientists, artists, and everything in between from all around the world. I was fortunate enough to meet most of them during an all-company retreat in September. Not only are they terrific coworkers, but they’ve also done and continue to do incredible things outside of work. Their passion and curiosity is very infectious. Thanks to them and Automattic, I’ve been exposed to new books, music, places, cultures, experiences, challenges, motivations… I could go on forever.
I don’t know how someone as ordinary as I am ended up amongst this extraordinary group, but I’m grateful. Even on days where I doubt myself and my work severely, I’m happy because I know that I’m learning and growing tremendously. If any Automatticians are reading, thank you for your part in this! I wish everyone could live and work this way.