Part 1: Journey to Happiness Engineer at Automattic! The Adventure Begins!

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This is Part 1 of the series Journey to Happiness Engineer at Automattic! You can find the second part here.

Hey, you! Smile!

Whenever you think of a smile, you suddenly begin to feel your lips turn towards the ceiling from side to side. Something in your brain stops you for a moment. You feel a bit brighter, lighter than you had a second ago. Your mind releases a bit and the world shifts slightly. You feel a calming for a moment. You gain… happiness.

Googling “happiness” explains that

Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being defined by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. Happy mental states also reflect judgments by a person about their overall well-being.

Happiness does not always come naturally; nevertheless, studies show every single person can control exactly 40% of their happiness. Scientists have determined that your happiness level is a result of a complex interaction of genes, behaviors, and life circumstances. This means that even though factors play into your happiness, you can decide each moment if you want to be happy or not. That’s where Automattic comes in with their Happiness Engineer position.

Working To Live Or Living To Work?

I’ve always lived in the moment. All my life, I rarely thought of consequences and always took action. When faced with decisions in relationships, finances, or ultimatums, I always leaped towards one direction that was positive for me. I never looked back after a decision was made. To me, life was just moving forward and doing the best you could along the way! If you’re given something, give it all you got!

I discovered Automattic a few weeks ago on November 21st and was immediately hooked. Their company, culture, values, and general outlook on life resonated within me. It got better when I saw that there was a position I’ve never heard of before; yet, I immediately thought, “Yeah, that’s me! That’s my dream job!” The position, as you guessed from the title of this post, was Happiness Engineer!

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I always thought of myself as a happy individual who truly enjoys customer service and helping others. Naturally, I was drawn to this position. I thought about applying immediately. That’s what I would have done before. “No,” I said to myself, “I need to do this strategically.” I decided to create my plan of attack. I molded my story into 9 parts.

  1. Learn about the company and what they do/how they work. Get their in-depth information. Send emails (which later turned into post on their blogs then send emails).
  2. Read suggest books and more! Summarize and analyze them to utilize in video and email. USE FOR SCRIPT!
  3. Become a part of online support communities. WordPress forums of .com & .org.
  4. Read/Watch all news, articles, testimonials, and any other possible Automattic info possible. TAKE NOTES!
  5. Create websites utilizing both WordPress.com and WordPress.org to better understand both and their differences.
  6. MORE COFFEE
  7. Film the video. Hire professional actors & video crew AKA friends who have free time that I can get to help.
  8. Edit video. Revise email. Check Script. Fix Resume. Final touches.
  9. SEND EMAIL! NO FEAR! EVEN IF I DIE!

Strange list but it was a starting point. Much like any story, it won’t go as planned. Life happens and you learn to adjust for the better. One thing for sure was I am determined to become a Happiness Engineer within the next year or two.

New Beginnings

Now that I created my possible story towards my application to Automattic, I set course and began immediately.

In the weeks leading up to applying, I read all about Automattic and what it meant to be a Happiness Engineer.

I made sure to watch the talks that Automatticians held at conferences and wrote notes on each one. I watched the provided playlist of the Automatticians describing their experience with Automattic. Seeing how they all love what they do and their lives are changed, it just raised my hype even more! This company is both hardworking and exciting because the people that are a part of it come from all walks of life; nonetheless, share the common trait of every Automattician which, from their page, was curious, driven, compassionate, tenacious, autonomous, friendly, independent, collaborative, communicative, supportive, self-motivated, and amazing with .gifs! They want to work with people interested in making the web and the world a better place. These were people I could see myself working alongside. These were the inspirations and mentors that I would look up to and learn from. I began absorbing the Automattic creed. I read every blog I could find on being a Happiness Engineer. I commented on the more recent ones, asking questions and thanking them for an insightful blog! They replied happily and even gave me more tips!

To get myself going, I began helping in the forums alongside creating my own websites. Keep in mind, I know NOTHING about WordPress and how it works. So, this huge leap was one I would have to dive head first into. It was a great swim. I’m understanding how the current works. The first day I started helping out in the forums, I was pretty intimidated. A week later? The documentation really teaches you a lot. It’s like reading a book that just tells you how to do it all. There’s still tons of questions I have trouble answering, but I feel I’m getting the hang of how WordPress as a whole works. Having an IT background, answering support questions aren’t as bad. I’m going to continue learning more about how WordPress.com & WordPress.org works. I plan to master the basics, it’s always foolproof. After this, I’ll upgrade to another software and learn that!

The Happiness Engineer role also recommended a book, Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh. I bought it the day after I decided my journey to Happiness Engineer. I took my time to fully absorb the book and live in it. It took me a couple of weeks to complete an exciting journey. The book was very insightful on customer service and pursuing one’s goals! Being an Asian-American, I already created a small connection between Tony and myself as I read it. I understood the need to please your family while desiring more for yourself. That’s where I am now. I’m desiring for something more than myself. Something to change the world. That something is Automattic. If they suggested this book and see their company in the same sense as Zappos, I’m 100% on board the Automattic train!

One thing that stood out to me with all I was learning ended up being the CEO, Matt Mullenweg. I see Matt equivalent to a Zen master. Peaceful in his words. Soft spoken with rational thought. Doesn’t seem to worry too hard about what could come. Just looking at him, he seems to radiate peace and happiness. He knows how to work hard and to relax. Now, I’m not trying to put him as some God that I worship. I have major respect for him. At 19, he founded WordPress. That’s already impressive in itself. I can go on talking about my respect for him. I try to make myself better everyday by looking at those who I wish to mimic in some forms. Matt has become one of those people after my extensive research of him.

Around week 2, I discovered that Automattic was going to be in New York. I was EXTREMELY ecstatic. “THIS WAS MY CHANCE!”  I thought to myself. I ordered a ticket instantly. By the time AlterConf rolled around, I had been somewhat active for about a week and a half on the forums, I read Delivering Happiness, I had a solid understanding of the job and what it entailed, and even spoke to a few of the staff through their blogs. Turns out, one of the staff I spoke to in their blog was there, Kathryn! She had an inspiring video about Automattic. It was an interview detailing her day-to-day activities and advice on aspiring Automatticians. I also met Anne, Megan, and Nancy. The four of them were very relaxing and fun to talk to. I spent a big portion of the conference getting to know them, the company, and really understanding what I’m in for. I explained what I’ve done and how I’m working towards applying. From what I told them, they all told me I should just apply! I was hesitant at first. After talking with them the whole day, that hesitation was gone. They gave me the best advice:

“DON’T HOLD YOURSELF BACK” – Automatticians (They weren’t yelling it though)

It clicked in my head. I flipped my own story and ripped up the scripts. I’m applying! I had a busy weekend but Sunday night I sat myself down and completed the application. I went a bit overboard with it. I added gifs, music, visuals, and words, words, words. I submitted it around 1:30AM and now sit at work pretty tired but feeling accomplished. I believe that they’ll enjoy my application and resume. From here, all I can do is wait and see what happens now! What do you think?

. . .

I made it!

Oh! By the way, if this story inspired you, I want you to know, we’re hiring!!

9 Replies to “Part 1: Journey to Happiness Engineer at Automattic! The Adventure Begins!”

  1. Hi there, I’m curious how does your story go further, went the same way last year and trying again… been busy with WordPress and OpenSource couple of years, as a developer and as a volunteer, so feel free to ask me about my experiences and opinions, perhaps we can learn something from each other 🙂

    Like

    1. Well my experience so far is diving into any product/software/etc. associated with Automattic. I haven’t heard back from them yet but I’m currently in the works of sending a second application that’s going to be VERY different from my first application. I’ll let you know of it when I send it out! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Again different approach here 🙂 I’d wait until they’d send me something, and if it’s not an invitation to an interview, I’d politely ask, why not. However, let me know how your procedure works further, still interested..!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You’re welcome if my advice was useful to you. I got inspired from you also, prepared a new cover letter, not sending it anywhere, just to verify if my motivation is still there. So here a little thank you from me 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. You’re welcome! Glad we helped one another! The motivation is always there, it’s up to you to grab onto it and turn it into something further than motivation! Personally, my motivation is to become an Automattician in one year with hard work, dedication, and perseverance. I’m less experienced than most but I feel I’ll come out strong from all this. With your support and inspiration I’ll be moving even higher. Thanks once again new friend!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. You’re on the right track already I think, but just like you said – let’s help each other, one of us, or both will get in 🙂 Will follow your blog, but would be nice to getting in closer touch – which timezone / daytime hours are you working to become an Automattician? For me is possible 2pm-6pm GMT +1.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Yup! You know what they say, teamwork makes the dream work! My timezone is EST. I’ll be working 7pm-12am (12am to 5pm for you) whenever I get into the trial. I’ll also be studying through my work day whenever I don’t have work to do (I do IT Consulting so a lot of days have been sitting and waiting during the holiday season).

        I’ll be following you back for any update on your journey as well! Let’s get in touch through email! Mine is ‘allas.p.erick@gmail.com’ to reach me or we can create a slack/skype chat.

        Liked by 1 person

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