This is the loudest thought in my head when I think about 4 years of working at Automattic – “How did my world become so vast? How did I get so lucky?”. My only fear is that my luck will run out as this opportunity feels so rare. Looking back, my world was so terribly small growing up with the limits of it being how far my little legs could bike and now my heart stretches to expand the world that exists in my being. I ache over places and people and memories because I’ve had so many fantastic ones. It’s such a lovely and privileged problem that I hold very dear. It’s one Automattic has given me.
I don’t think people know this as the tweetable version of my job trajectory likely looks quite simple and easy. It wasn’t. It was agonizing. I applied to over 100 jobs when I was graduating college. Most were in San Francisco as that’s where I was trying to head at the time. A shocking number never got back to me and even the ones I did speak to focused so much on my psychology degree it’s like they never heard a word I said. Many were “disappointed to hear I was graduating in three years” as if I had some control over how that timing played out. I was deep in a scarcity mindset that I never thought I would escape.
Automattic was one of these places I applied to but it was the place I wanted to work. After applying March 31st and not hearing back by May 16th, I emailed again…
I just wanted to follow up with you all as I am entering the final stages of a couple of different job opportunities but have my heart set on working for Automattic.
Have you ever heard of the multiverse theory? I once wrote in a love letter to someone whose love story with me had come to an end about how thankful I was that in all the different possible universes we still had our time together. After all, in some other universe, we never met and I’m just thankful we met in this one. I love thinking this way and I’ve started saying it to friends. “I am so glad our paths have crossed somehow in this lifetime.” Working at Automattic feels like that – like I could have taken a right instead of left and very easily missed working here. How did I land in a company that would take so many chances on me and give me a place at the table?
My excitement for this work has only grown. I still wander around whatever city I’m in noodling on problems and jotting down notes excitedly into my phone. I still lose track of time deep in thought with little effort typing away at my computer. I still rant and ramble to loved ones at the drop of a hat about the work I do. These are the problems I want to work on and to have for this time in my life. This desire can’t be faked and is reflected in my pure output. In four years, I’ve written 974,772 words in our internal websites. This doesn’t even include slack where I spend most of my day in synchronous communication! Nearly a million words flung through time and space can only come out of a passionate being who has been set loose and trusted to do so. You’d think after 4 years I would have run out of ideas to pursue but my list is as long as it’s ever been.
I work at a company that’s given me a safe place to re-examine my idea of “home”, my gender identity, and my approach to leadership all in one fell swoop. I have been trusted to lead a global team for three years straight working on products affecting a global customer base. I have bopped around the world doing all of this in my sambas with my computer shoved into my backpack of belongings.
I could never have imagined this life of mine – this life of working with people from across the world to solve some of the problems we face in our ever more pervasive online world. Automattic has moved me out of a scarcity mindset and into one of abundance for the first solid chunk of time in my entire life. My only hope is that I can continue to pay forward how much has been given to me.
I would be remiss not to end this with a big thank you to those I work with for making me better and for wrestling with me on those tough problems. It’s such a joyful feeling to give so much of myself knowing it’s landing amongst such a terrific community of folks. I hope you know I take my responsibility to you all and to those relying on us so seriously.
To Matt, thank you for caring only about my drive, my curiosity, and my determination over my limited experience, my seemingly irrelevant education, and the demographic factors that often limit so many in tech. Working here has changed me over and over again for the better. I feel I’m simply better for being here – a better human, friend, daughter, granddaughter, sibling, stranger…
Here’s to another four years of tough problems, meaningful conversations, and striving for inclusive solutions.