Ever wondered what it’s like to be a Happiness Engineer at Automattic? Well it’s your lucky day, make yourself comfy and read on. I’m part of a team that provides public support for WordPress.com and other Automattic products, primarily through social media and the WordPress.com forums. Here’s what a typical day looks like for me…
The alarm goes off. Sometimes I’m already awake but getting out of bed is not one of my strengths so I generally snooze or lay in bed looking photos of puppies/food on Instagram for a while. I’m engineering my own happiness so I can get out of bed and engineer it for other people 😉
I finally convince myself to get up and dressed — usually a WordPress t-shirt nowadays. Then I’ll do a few quick jobs around the house like organise my desk, unload the dishwasher and water the plants. At this time of year I have lots of seedlings to water.
These things may seem fairly mundane but in my previous job I left the house at 7:30 am and spent 1.5 hours commuting to work with my breakfast in a Tupperware box. Being able to take my time in the morning and eat breakfast at home feels like a luxury. By the way, ‘take my time’ is code for lay in bed a bit longer. It’s something I will never take for granted.
Although my hours can be flexible I typically work 9am – 5:30pm because it provides good coverage for my timezone. I start the day by checking Slack and our internal blogs for important news. Once I’m up to speed I’ll then answer support requests on Twitter and Facebook.
The majority of my time is spent helping people on the WordPress.com forums and I answer a broad range of questions each day. Some of the most popular topics include domains, themes, customisation, billing queries and getting started with a new site. Variety is one of the reasons I love my job though, I learn something new every day! And I get to discover some new blogs along the way.
My husband also works for Automattic (not as a Happiness Engineer) so we try and head out for a walk together at lunchtime most days. Sometimes there is an ulterior motive like buying chocolate from our village shop but hey, a walk is a walk! Living in a rural area makes it easier to get out of the house because we don’t have to go far to find beautiful scenery and it’s a great time to snap a few photos for my blog.
Did you notice we’re wearing the same jumper? One of our friends has joked about us both wearing ‘uniform’. Haha!
Occasionally we work from our favourite cafe for a coupe of hours from late morning until lunchtime. We don’t do this very often though because we are powerless to resist cake and hot chocolate.
After lunch the other half of my team log on and begin their day. I answer more questions on the forums, then focus on some of the more in depth tasks like bug reports and testing. If things are quiet in the afternoon I’ll lend a hand in other areas of support like email tickets. This is a great opportunity to learn more about issues that come up less frequently in the forums.
You might be wondering if I ever get lonely? Nope! Even though Automattic is a distributed company and my team is spread across three countries, I never feel on my own. We chat as often as we like on Slack and I know that people are just a message away. Chat isn’t just about work, it’s social too. Ironically I have more interaction in a day here than I’ve had at some of my previous non-remote jobs!
Once a week my team gets together for a video call which typically lasts 30-60 minutes. It’s a chance to see each other’s faces and chat about anything for the week ahead. Then I have a 1:1 with my team lead. This week it was warm enough to sit outside.
I log off! Half of my team are based in the US so I sometimes lurk around on Slack for a while longer while I’m making dinner. It’s nice to catch up with them before I’m done for the day.
Time to start making dinner. Scott and I tend to tag team our evenings jobs to get them done quicker. He has a tidy up while I cook dinner. Doing it this way works well because by the time we’ve eaten dinner and cleared up, there are no more chores to do. Evenings for us are about watching films and working on our own projects. I often work on my blog, craft projects or edit photos. When the weather is nice we try and pop out for another walk.
Check out #a8cday for more Happiness Engineer stories.