Remembering my first month at Automattic

Every year, Automattic comes together in one place to do a company meetup. This year is my fifth time attending our company meetup (called the “Grand Meetup”). During this week, we have the choice of taking a class or working on a project. I was lucky enough to get admitted into the Art of Writing class this year! My first assignment is to write about the most valuable lesson I learned during my first month at Automattic.

This was quite a while ago — my first month at Automattic was over four years ago! — so it’s taken me some time to recall my initial impressions. Thinking back on it, I had a pretty cool first month.

Every new Automattician spends their first three weeks doing customer support. (I’ve written more about this topic in the past.) My first couple weeks were a little different than most new Automattician’s. I spent two weeks doing my support rotation, in which I learned a whole ton about WordPress.com and our products.

However, the team I was joining after my support rotation had an in-person meetup planned during my third week. To give me a chance to meet my new teammates in person, I was lucky enough that I got to interrupt my support rotation and head to Chicago for a week!

After the meetup ended, I returned home for my last week of support, filled with excitement about my new job.

Throughout that busy first month, I learned that my coworkers are the most important resource I have at Automattic, and I should go to them for support and help whenever I needed it. Every time I felt lost or confused, my amazing, friendly coworkers were there to help me through my problem.

During my support rotation, I’m sure I was super annoying (I asked so many questions) but everyone I received help from was incredibly patient and kind. When I got stuck, they’d walk me through the problem I was tackling in a way that helped me find the answer for myself, rather than just giving me the answer. It helped me learn how to find the right answers myself.

During the week of my team meetup, I plunged into the deep end. Suddenly I went from learning all about our products and how to help customers, to needing to learn how to interact with our product from the development side. I needed to learn about how to set up and use my sandbox, commit code via SVN… it was overwhelming, to say the least.

As a designer, my experience working with command line and sandboxes was extremely limited. My teammates were incredibly patient with me and helped me learn how to use these new development tools. Without their help, there’s no way I would have been able to even get started. They helped me set up my development environment, provided a bunch of tips and tricks I’d need, and encouraged me when I started to get frustrated by the whole process. My teammates turned what could have been a very overwhelming experience into something I could handle with my limited development knowledge and skillset.

I’m thankful that I have such amazing coworkers, and that helping each other is built into the Automattic creed:

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

In my experience, every Automattician takes this to heart. I’ve never worked with a better group of folks.

Does this sound awesome? Automattic is hiring! Come join our team of helpful heroes.

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