“I work as a Happiness Engineer at Automattic,” I reply, “I help users around the world to build online stores using WooCommerce,” I try to explain further. “My job is remote and I work from home,” I finish but often leave my listeners full of unanswered questions.
Most of the people have a hard time understanding what I do and think that my job is not real. I travel several times per year to different countries to meet my teammates and work together but this seems like another conspiracy theory to those around me. In this post, I’ll try to put the pieces together, describe my typical day at Automattic and bust all the myths. As they say, welcome to my “office”!
As I mentioned already, I work as a Happiness Engineer at Automattic. I help users around the world to build online stores using WooCommerce. I work from Monday to Friday and my typical day looks as follows:
7:30 AM – my alarm goes off but I tend to hit the snooze button few times and stay in bed up until about 8:00 am while reading the news on my phone. Today is March 3rd and 30°F in New York City where I m currently located. Luckily enough, I don’t need to commute to the office in the cold weather because my job is remote and I can work from home!
8:00 AM – I get up, do my morning routine and make breakfast for my husband and me. I open my computer while having my coffee in the kitchen and read the latest company, division, and teams posts that have been posted overnight on our internal P2s – blogs that we use to communicate with each other.
9:00 AM – my husband leaves for work and I move to my home “office” to start my work day:
I like to work at home for the most part since I prefer a quieter place. The cafe or co-working space tends to be rather noisy and often don’t have a good internet connection which is the key to our work. However, Automattic gives you as much flexibility as possible when it comes to working and it is up to you to decide what works best for you. Many of my teammates work from outside of their homes.
As I start my day, I look through the items that need my attention and try to address them first. This could be a number of things and different for everyone. In addition to being a Happiness Engineer, I hold a role of being a Happiness Week Rotation Wrangler which means I manage all the support rotations that each non-support team in our division supposed to go through during the year. My mornings often have a lot to do with organizing those rotations and communicating it with everyone involved.
10:00 AM – We have recently had a soft launch of offering live chat tech support to our WooCommecre users. At this hour I tend to log in to our live chat system to help users with any questions they have regarding WooCommerce. This is a core work of being a Happiness Engineer and takes most working hours during the day.
The questions range from simple set up to more complex functionality of one of our 400+ extensions to bugs troubleshooting, we tend to handle them all. With this said, prior experience of working with WooCommerce comes in handy.
I like to have a minimum amount of items on my desk but can’t trade off few things and like to have them around in order to be productive:
I especially like my little rubber ducks as they are the ones who I tend to “explain” what the technical issue is once I find the one I can’t resolve:
As I try to go through the task out loud, I often find the solution while doing so thus they have a permanent home on my desk 🙂
1:00 PM – I take a 30 min to 1 hour lunch break depending on the day. I either get food delivery to my home or go outside. Living in New York City gives a tremendouse advatage when it comes to meeting my fellow Automatticians as many of them like to come to the City from time to time and we get to have lunch together. Here we are on lunch break with lovely Siobhan who lives in Wales:
2:00 PM – back to work for another hour of live chatting with our users. One of them can’t figure out why the payments made via Stripe don’t go through when his online shop customers renew subscription in his store with new credit card number. This case requires troubleshooting several WooCommerce extensions at once. I consult with one of my team mates on the best way to do it just to have a 2nd pair of eyes on the case.
We use Slack for keeping in touch with each other throughout the day. While remote work sounds very isolating we actually communicate with each other a lot during the day and many times have multiple conversations at once.
A few minutes later, I am done testing user’s issue on my staging site and back to him to deliver the good news and guide him through the process of resolving the problem on his end.
3:00 PM – time for our weekly Team Meeting via video Zoom call. My teammates are located around the world as I mentioned prior. Some of them live in South Africa, Ireland, Hungary, India, and US (California, Texas, Illinois and Ohio). We set our team quarter goals a few months ago and now chatting about our progress, what we did well and what needs to be improved.
We continue by talking about WooCommerce 2.7 Release Candidate which is scheduled to be shipped on March 14th. We are discussing the best ways to be prepared for it and testing that still needs to be done.
Finally, we catch up on the latest details about our Team Meetup in Lisbon, Portugal which is coming up later this week. I’ve been working on organizing it for the past 2 months and share some final important things for everyone to know before traveling. Can’t wait to see my teammates in person soon!
4:00 PM – Team Meeting is over and I am back to live chat for yet another hour. Someone can’t have their shipping rates to appear during checkout and I help them with setting up shipping zones. Another user is looking to tweak a layout of his Shop page and needs some guidance.
5:00 PM – I’ve done 5 hours of chatting today and logging out of our live chat system for the day. I have an hour left before my work day is over and spend it reviewing tickets and chat transcripts of someone who is currently on trial to get a job at Automattic. I read all the communication this person had with our users in the past week and write my feedback. We have a One-on-One session tomorrow to go over it.
6:00 PM – I say my goodbyes on Slack to my team mates and close my computer. My work day is over!
I usually go to bed around midnight so I have 6 hours after work to do anything I like such as exercising in the park, going out for dinner with my husband, attending a live music show, learning something new or just having a cozy evening under the blanket with a good book.
I’ve been with Automattic for about 8 months now and absolutely love my job! My work day is rather traditional but if I ever need to, I can work any hours including evenings or whatever fits my lifestyle best. I can travel to another country for a month and keep working while there – all I need is my computer and strong internet connection.
Since our work is remote, we tend to travel 2-4 weeks per year and meet each other in different countries and cities to work together. Last year Automattic took me to the following cool locations:
Read my post about our Berlin trip here.
WHISTLER, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA:
EAST GREENWICH, RHODE ISLAND, US:
As I mentioned prior, this week we are heading to LISBON, PORTUGAL for a week to work together with my team!
Besides all the reasons that I already listed above explaining why I love working at Automattic so much, the most important of them all is the people that I work with! I am surrounded by such rock stars who are so smart, intelligent, never stop learning and improving, always there to help with anything, attentive and supportive, extremely inspiring and make me want to be a better version of me every day. Oh! They are super fun too!
We have a creed that we live by every day and apply it not only at work but in our personal lives as well.
I will never stop learning. I won’t just work on things that are assigned to me. I know there’s no such thing as a status quo. I will build our business sustainably through passionate and loyal customers. I will never pass up an opportunity to help out a colleague, and I’ll remember the days before I knew everything. I am more motivated by impact than money, and I know that Open Source is one of the most powerful ideas of our generation. I will communicate as much as possible, because it’s the oxygen of a distributed company. I am in a marathon, not a sprint, and no matter how far away the goal is, the only way to get there is by putting one foot in front of another every day. Given time, there is no problem that’s insurmountable.
If you think you share the same ideas and values as we do and want to work with us, apply today! Good news is – we are always hiring… around the globe! Hope to see you soon among Automatticians and share this amazing journey together!