Automattic: 5 Year Anniversary

These are some of my favorite posts to write. I love an excuse to reflect and to gush about a part of my life that has brought me so much – like talking about a dear friend. As the years go by, it becomes harder to speak on how Automattic has impacted my life and the person it’s enabled me to become. It’s not about working remotely — it’s about a shift in my mindset to one of abundance, of thinking globally, of intentionality. To be able to be so authentic in such a lovely culture has done something marvelous for my soul that I know I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.

This year was different compared to the other ones though. I found myself retreating inward more and more. This led to a very difficult Fall last year that broke me in some ways and gave me the motivation to rebuild when I had the chance. I worked hard to create boundaries and, when crossed, I firmly grasped onto “no” as a response. This was very new for me and resulted in some unexpected responses to those on the receiving end of my “no”s who had come to expect an easy “yes”. I am very appreciative to have the space to do this within a company that has seen me quite literally grow into adulthood. Automattic is anything but stagnant and it’s a gift to grow alongside it.

I spent years exploring and understanding Automattic but this year was very centered on understanding myself within the wider system. What are my values? How do I respond to tough situations? How do I find sustainability? What is my role for this moment in time? It feels as though I suddenly picked my head up and realized that I am truly a veteran employee. How does that change my responsibility to the organization? How does that change my responsibility to the team? How does that change how others respond to me? How does that change how I spend my time?

I am so thankful for this past year and for the diverse situations I found myself navigating. Perhaps it’s the athlete in me but I look at the last year as fantastic training for the future. As I touched on over the summer, I’m learning to say “I get to” and to smile. I got to work for Automattic for another year and to continue to grow. I get to learn lessons early on that will only make me better as I go forward.

It’s hard to pick the biggest highlight working at Automattic enabled in my personal life so I’ll have to resort to the simplicity of bullet points:

  • Spending 6 weeks in France & Germany (never been before) for the Women’s World Cup with my mom seeing too many sights to easily mention (like Mont Saint Michel).
  • Attending the wedding of two dear friends in Asheville, NC.
  • Spending a full week with my lovely wider family in Hendersonville, NC.
  • Exploring for two weeks in Utah with one of my closest friends seeing national parks I had never been to before.
  • Hanging out with my grandma repeatedly on trips home and meeting my parent’s brand new dog, Logan!
  • Driving a friend to the start of the PCT and seeing her off into the day.
  • Exploring Thailand (another place I’ve never been) with my temporary team.
  • Spending New Year’s in NC surrounded by queer friends.
  • Having two amazing trips to Portland filled with hiking and cat cuddling.
  • Watching one of my best friends play professional rugby in Chicago during a fun filled week staying with one of my other best friends from high school.

These are just the highlights – the big moments. There are so many small, sacred ones scattered between that mean just as much but would be daunting to explain the significance of.

In a conversation with a co-worker today, I shared this quote:

“We are not the same persons this year as last; nor are those we love. It is a happy chance if we, changing, continue to love a changed person.” – W. Somerset Maugham

While we were talking on the scale of individuals, this quote very much applies to every relationship in our lives including our jobs. It is a happy chance that after 5 years there’s still alignment with an ever changing job. I hope it remains that way for years to come.

I spent 2.5 hours over the weekend talking about Automattic to a group of folks and had the biggest smile on my face when it was all over. Even hours later, I was still mentally fine tuning descriptions and wishing I had had more time to fully describe aspects of our culture. I don’t have the words and I have too many all at once! Oh, happy chance — thank you for another year.

As with each year, thank you to those who stood beside me and believed in me. I needed it this year more than others.

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