One Decade

On Saturday, Dec 3 2022, I will have been with Automattic for ten years – a full decade. This is the only job any of my kids remember me having (the twins had just turned one when I accepted my job offer). The twins did think my former boss was Wapuu, though, when I told them I was switching to Tumblr – which of course is not a thing that can happen. So I wouldn’t claim they’ve been closely paying attention. I don’t think they’ve visited my LinkedIn even one time! Grant, however, at six, is deeply invested in my career. He is working on getting me fired so that I can come and work at his school. “Mom, you know, Michael’s mom sometimes gives him a hug at lunch. If you worked at school with me, you could do that too.” This sort of thing breaks my heart, but not enough to change careers for the next two years that Grant is in elementary school. How does a six-year-old get one fired? Well his current plan is to call up Matt Mullenweg and just tell him to fire me. I have caught him trying to figure out how to make calls on my phone, and he has tried to use Alexa to send a call to any Matt in my phone book. I wouldn’t discount his chances of finding a way. Hopefully my credit at work is sufficient to survive this assassination campaign 🤞🏻

The past ten years have been amazing. Automattic has a mission I believe in deeply, and a creed that resonates with me on a fundamental level. The upshot is that I get to do work I find meaning in, pretty much daily. Especially this past year (10 months) working on Tumblr. After working at a job that was a very poor value match for me personally (prior to Automattic), I don’t take this for granted. It has improved my entire quality of life in ways that aren’t really possible to measure, but I know how much happier and fulfilled I am. Having meaningful work matters.

I’ve also been able to provide for my family (we are a dual income household, and we sometimes duel over who gets to be the primary breadwinner), including really good benefits (like, health) and a lot of flexibility.

Having this job through the beginning of COVID really saved me, I think. When the schools shut down and I had to be parent, teacher, and worker all at the same time, I almost lost my mind. But I was able to shift work to fit the rest of my life without having to find approval somewhere or inconvenience anyone. Living through such a terrifying time without the added terror of potentially losing a job is something I am extremely grateful for, still.

I also have had a lot of fun! There have been meetups (I went to my first one in three years a few weeks ago!), video calls, friendships developed, and lots of trust and respect. I like my colleagues. It’s as simple as that.

When I first started here, the thing that kept absolutely bowling me over is that I was treated like an adult. I could work from home (in fact, there was no other choice). I could take AFK whenever I needed or wanted. I made my own hours. I was given the expectation of accountability, and it was glorious. I love being in charge of myself. I am still bowled over by this, especially as my kids get more autonomous themselves, and I am more able to be the Ring leader of me, rather than the three Ring circus. It is a gift to be able to rise to the occasion, because the path has been made so smooth.

I know people in tech tend to move around frequently, and people in my generation in particular don’t stay tethered to one job for long. I understood that, once. Now, I’m content. I have a place of work where I’m trusted, I can work on high impact things, and I have trust in my work. I get to learn new things all the time, and I get to solve tricky problems. I remind my coworkers that I’m a labrador at heart – brainlessly optimistic. It is half true! I have a lot of optimism when I think about the problems we have at work – some of them are really difficult, and some are really really difficult. It can be daunting. But it’s also exciting! We have everything we need to overcome a lot of the problems we face, because we are a group united in a goal, and the goal is making Tumblr amazing. What an amazing honor.

I’m looking forward to the next ten years with joy.

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