Back in October, I hit a personal and professional milestone.
In almost 8 years of working professionally in my design career I have never been at the same company for two years. I was never satisfied with my role or the work I was doing. There was always something better to look for.
Then came Automattic. And two years here has flown by.
Two years at the same company probably doesn’t seem like a big deal to most people in the professional world. But for someone who seems to look for reasons to move on, it’s huge.
Burnout and new jobs
Ultimately looking for a new job, for me, comes down to burnout. If the work I’m doing doesn’t interest me, or the goals of the company aren’t aligned with my personal goals, it’s easy to get to a point where I’m checked out.
The days get long because I don’t enjoy the work. My productivity suffers and makes it hard to stay engaged. Less engagement means less happiness. And the viscious cycle continues.
Since there are no shortage of web design and development jobs around, it was always easy to browse around and find something else that looked promising.
So why Automattic?
Reaching that milestone has made me reflect on why this company in particular has kept me. After all, I’ve worked remotely for years and in companies with a similar culture.
I’ve come to the conclusion that my reasons for staying here are three-fold.
My work has meaning.
The mission of Automattic is to democratize publishing. This means giving everyone access to the same platform and functionality as big publishers, regardless of location, ability, affluence, or any other discrimiatory factor.
Hearing stories of regular people like Paul Kavanagh who find their voice, establish a following, or build a community with a simple WordPress.com blog reassures me that this is an important mission.
The very notion of giving millions of regular people a voice, and being directly involved with their experience is wholly exciting to me. And these regular people have access to the same software as some of the biggest names in industry like TechCrunch, TIME, Fortune, and more, which we host on our VIP platform.
I’m trusted as an employee.
We pride ourselves as an organization that works autonomously. Employees are trusted by their leads to make their own schedules, make decisions, and get work done. We aren’t micromanaged. We don’t track time. We don’t force work into 8-hour blocks each day.
I want to take the afternoon off to go to the park with the kids for a few hours? I do it and jump online later in the evning. I’m more productive at night? No problem. Something comes up in my work that I think is a high priority? I move it to the top of my list.
There’s little red tape, and that’s what I love about the work and life environment Automattic provides. We’re all adults. We all deserve to be at this company. And we’re treated that way.
The people are like family.
Despite only seeing my team once or twice a year, and the whole company even less, I feel like I truly have meaningful friendships in the company. And I’m sure most of my colleagues would agree.
I think this is due to three things.
Communication. Our communication spans across many mediums, but there’s always a lot of it. This fosters better relationships and helps to make the workplace just as friendly and functional as a traditional office.
Meetups. Since I only see my team a few times a year, it makes that time together much more special. Spending nearly every waking hour for a week with them gives me a chance to make connections I couldn’t if I just went to an office and came home every day.
Genuine people. Everyone goes through the same hiring process to ensure we only hire the best, smartest, interesting, and genuine people. From before I even started full-time I felt welcomed. The meetups are easy for an introvert like myself because everyone is so friendly and sincere. I was treated like family from day one.
Here’s to many more
I’m truly blessed to have such a wonderful place to work.
Sure there are times when I’m not always happy with the work I have to do. Of course there will be things that I don’t always agree with. No job is 100% satisfactory 100% of the time. And I know that if I truly disagree with a decision or am struggling in my work I can voice my concerns, and I’m confident my opinions won’t just be disregarded.
So, cheers to the past two years, and here’s to the next two and beyond.
Oh, and if this sounds like a pretty cool place to work (and it is!), you should come join me!