This is Part 3 of the series Journey to Happiness Engineer at Automattic! You can find the first part and second part!

The Roots

This day last year, I wasn’t the happiest person. I followed the rules of graduating college and getting a job; however, it seems rules are meant to be broken to get further in life.

After graduating college with a BS in Information Technology, I got a full-time Systems Engineer job in the city. It would have been great if I got paid more for being in the city, but I didn’t. As a result, the struggle to pay my bills, having trouble adjusting to the real world, and the long hours I worked provided no assistance to a healthy and happy mind.

One day in July, I came back from a strenuous day of work. I called my significant other, Holly, and complained again about my current life situation. She listened intently, paused, then said something so simple, yet so powerful.

“Then do something about it!”

It shocked me back to reality. I realized I was one of those graduates that blame everything on outside events instead of focusing on what’s inside and changeable. This realization lead me on a path of pursuing meditation, business, and positivity. It progressed to the point of finding Automattic.

In April 17, 2017, I managed to grab my life and change direction. I became a Happiness Engineer for the distributed company Automattic. I began working from home, traveling the world, and experiencing a world beyond imagination. I decided it’s time to let y’all know what’s happened since becoming an Automattician and how 2017 changed my life!

Remote Work

Working from home is like the new American Dream. When I mention I work from home, people always say “You’re soo lucky! I wish I could work from home!” To this, I usually say, “Yeah it’s pretty cool but it’s still tons of work.”

There is a misconception that working from home equates to work getting ten times easier. Rather, it’s easy in some aspects and harder in others. Working for home is NOT for everyone. It requires mental strength and focus. Being able to switch from work to home mode is not a simple task. You’ll be working and mail comes to the door or you notice your room is a mess or you notice the dishes need to be cleaned. Small distractions can get you out of your flow easily, ending in little or no work done.

Personally, I remedy this mainly with music. There’s a select few playlist I use to really get me in the zone. These playlists are usually instrumental in the genres of chillhop, funk, jazz, or hip-hop. With my noise-cancellation headphones, music bumping, and work windows open, I transport to my own world. Other ways are by working outside the house at a cafe. This also opens opportunities to meet new people consistently and change your environment often. It’s all about keeping the balance of work and play.

Traveling

It’s been a decade since I’ve been in the sky. Two weeks into Automattic, I was on a flight to San Diego. I’ll admit, it was my first time on a plane alone and don’t remember the feeling of taking off from the ground. However, the adrenaline of being on my first work trip and meetup with my new colleagues was enough to diffuse the worries of the trip there and back!

My first team meetup with Automattic is a trip that will be an ingrained memory. It symbolized that my life changed for the better. I entered the world of remote working for the best distributed company in the world! During my trip to San Diego, I danced on screen at the Padres game, saw gorgeous red pandas, visited a zen garden, and had some of the best fried chicken to date! Since this trip, I’ve gone to Boston (work), Whistler (Grand Meetup), Ecuador (Personal), Nashville (WCUS), and Miami / Norwegian Cruise (Personal). I’m super grateful for what I get to experience now and do not take it for granted. I even get to take small trips to see my family more often which, even though I need to work on, helps bring me closer to them. This experience of traveling and going around the world at my age is very rare and I find myself lucky where I am now in my life.

Experiences

“A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.”

– Tim Ferriss

A distributed company means that my colleagues live in countries across the globe. This comes with a language barrier and many uncomfortable conversations. However, I learned from speaking with my various colleagues at the GM that the language barrier is just a veil. Once broken, it unleashes a world of knowledge. Through my colleagues and trips around the world, I gain better understanding of the differences between my world and other’s.

I’m grateful and humbled by my colleagues/friends because through them, I get to learn about different cultures, languages, and lifestyles. A colleague of mine, Nagesh, teaches me a small bit about Indian culture each time we talk. I’ve even learned how to say “Good Morning!” in Sanskrit / Hindi, Su-Prabhaat! How Nagesh lives in comparison to how I live is different but I get to learn from his world each day which is something I’m happy to always hear about.

One thing to take away is that happiness and teamwork can be universal even through a language barrier. Our creed undoubtedly symbolizes who we are and it shows through my daily conversations within my team residing from Canada to Vietnam.

The Synopsis

There’s really not much to say about the past almost nine months at Automattic. I’m comfortable here and I expect to be here for a good portion of my life happily enjoying what the world and work has to offer. Last year, I never imagined being on the other end of the of these posts. Since I joined, I haven’t posted at all and 2018 seems like the year to begin showing y’all my life in Automattic. I’m glad you have read this far into my journey and I look forward to taking you on this trip I call life!


Should You Apply?

That’s honestly up to you. If you resonated with any of my story, felt that a Happiness Engineer is in you, and have the work ethic for it, go ahead! If you wish to contact me about it, feel free to! I’ll be waiting for your email, future Happiness Engineer! We’re always hiring! 🙂

Written by Erick Allas

Erick is a 25-year-old NJIT Alumni with a B.S. in Information Technology. His hobbies include people watching, dancing, meditating, reading, and bettering himself and those around him consistently each day! He personally works on creating a happier, unified world through looking in the positives and greatness in every person he talks to.

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