Working at Automattic

I joined Automattic in May to work on the product team. It’s pretty great!

Someone on Twitter asked about what it’s like, so I thought I’d answer their questions in a blog post.

How did you get into tech?

My freshman year (2006) was a big turning point when I:

  • Applied to six unpaid photojournalism internships and didn’t hear back from a single one.
  • Applied to one paid web production internship (Grist) and was accepted.

My parents raised me to be pragmatic about work, “you’ll need to find a job that supports your expensive hobbies”, so this experience made it clear to me where the money was.

Even so, after my freshman summer with Grist, I:

Then, the summer of my “senior year” (2010), I lucked into a full-time job with the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. I did that for about a year before moving back to Oregon and joining Automattic for the first time.

My career since then has largely been at the intersection of media and technology.

What made you want to work at Automattic?

Location-independence was the big draw the first time I joined Automattic. My other job prospects at the time were location-based — Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, and The Boston Globe. I generally prioritize life over work, so I chose the “work remotely from Oregon” option.

More recently, after I was unexpectedly laid off in April, my priority was to find a stable J-O-B. I didn’t really think I’d go back to a company I already worked for, but the stars aligned and I rejoined Automattic in May.

It’s turned out better than I expected! In particular, I really enjoy my team, and that we get to work on some ambitious projects. Plus, I’m generally able to achieve my optimal work/life balance.

What does your day to day look like?

Today is actually fairly representative:

  • Woke up around 4 am, made some chai, started catching up on P2 conversations.
  • Once I had my bearings for the day, I reviewed one pull request and spent a couple hours on another. Our codebase is a melange of JavaScript and PHP.
  • Watched a division townhall where they reviewed financial performance and a couple recent product releases.
  • Went for a swim.
  • Raced back from the swim to join a technical discussion about an upcoming feature.
  • Showered, made a smoothie, and headed into my office, where I’m now working on this blog post.

Some days are more code-heavy. Others, like today, are some combination of code and coordination.

What’s next for you in your career?

I have no idea!

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