Five Things You Learned in Preschool That’ll Help You with the Happiness Engineer Trial

When you have to go – go.

I hope you haven’t learned it the hard way, although maybe it’s the only real way to learn it. Don’t feel like you’re glued to the chair; taking short breaks is necessary for your body and mind. You’re not doing yourself a favor when you force yourself to keep working when what you need to do is stretch your body a little, have a cup of tea, or simply go to the toilet.

When you have to go – go, and come back with more energy, hydrated, or relieved.

It’s not a shame not to know

At a very early age, we learn that if we want to learn something, we have to ask someone that already knows the answer to our question. Unfortunately, we also learn later on that not knowing is a reason to be ashamed. I’m sure you have at least once started asking with “I know this is a silly question, but…”, or “Sorry for the stupid question, how do you…”

During your trial, we will want you to go back to the preschool times, when asking questions was the desired behavior and showed your interest and hunger for knowledge. If there’s something you want to know – don’t be ashamed, ask!

Ask the user you’re interacting with, ask your fellow trials, ask you trial lead, your buddy, ask any Automattician! We are a friendly bunch and helping colleagues is even part of our creed:

I will never pass up an opportunity to help out a colleague, and I’ll remember the days before I knew everything.

Automattic Creed

Teamwork makes the dream work

I must have been around 4 when I realized my mom wouldn’t prohibit anything to any other child but her own. So when a plate of cookies appeared on the table, I teamed up with our visitor’s toddler on a quest to eat more than what I was allowed to at the time. But I was blinded by my need for sugar and could only think about my own desires. Parents can get especially suspicious when a toddler starts to behave in a way they normally wouldn’t, so I was quickly left without cookies again…

Hopefully, at this point in your life, you know more about teamwork than what I knew then. When you’re advanced to the trial, you’ll join a team of other trialmatticians from all over the world, but you’ll also be part of another, larger team of Happiness Engineers. Everything you will do will affect the rest of the team, so that’s something to be mindful about.

Being part of the team also means you will never be alone.

Tying your shoelaces

When I asked my husband what he learned in preschool, he replied even before I could finish up my sentence: “Tying my shoelaces!”, he said cheerfully. Hopefully, you have learned that too, because as a Happiness Engineer, you’ll need to tie up loose ends every day.

You will deal with many different people, troubleshoot numerous unrelated issues, and report bugs. Some of those will take more time by requiring the help of another team, crafting your replies, sending emails or creating internal posts. It’s important to remember to regularly check up on the progress of those unfinished issues and finish up what has already been resolved.

When you don’t tie your shoelaces, you can easily trip, and so can your teammates 😉

Teachers can be wrong too

Oh, I wish I had learned that when I was in preschool, but unfortunately it took me longer. I hope you learned it at some point as well too.

During your trial, you may find yourself chatting with users who know what should be done, or why something is not working. They will often introduce themselves as experts in the area (like web developers, designers, etc.) and, while this can be incredibly helpful, if they are wrong, it can also be very misleading. If you think the reason might be completely different, don’t be afraid to follow your gut – remember that even an expert can sometimes be wrong. If you have doubts, instead of taking their word at face value, ask questions and investigate.

Remember that we all make mistakes. You will make yours, but others around you can make them too, so always try to verify the information you are given.

Good luck wih your trial!

Interested in becoming a Happiness Engineer at Automattic? Visit the Work with Us page to learn more about how you can apply!

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