The road to becoming an Automattician is long and winding at the best of time. It is filled with the perils of self-doubt and mountain-sized learning curves. This was mine.
Here’s a chronological guide that might help you through your application process.
Note: If you decide to apply, your journey will look different than mine. So much has changed since this time!
Timeline of Events
2009: Stumbled across the listing for the Happiness Engineer posting. Why apply?
Wow, that sounds like me! But… no, I’m not qualified. Moving on.
2009-2015: The lost years. Could’ve been an Automattician. Taught instead. Valuable skills gained: knowing how to write for both a professional-level audience and a seventh grade one. Probably wouldn’t have made it past my trial without these.
Hopefully, I also made a difference for a middle schooler or two at this point in my life.
February, 2014: Met an Automattician. Didn’t believe her when she talks about how amazing her job is. Has to be hyperbole.
She’s exaggerating. Has to be. No company is that cool.
September 2015: The same Automattician finally convinced me; it only took a year and a half before I would actually believe her incredible claims about Automattic.
I stopped asking myself “Why?” and
decided to embrace, “Why not?” instead.
November-March 2015: Preparation–brushed up on CSS skills with Code School. Moved from Livejournal/Blogger to WordPress.com blogging. Volunteered in forums.
You HAVE to really want it enough to
1. learn the software as in-depth as you possibly can (learn by doing),
2. figure out how to teach others in a concise, friendly way, and
3. code–basic HTML and CSS are musts for a Happiness Engineer
March 2016: Applied! At long last. Made a resume. Checked it twice. Spent a week carefully crafting the best intro letter of my life.
Will starting with a Harry Potter quote endear me to or exempt me from this position?
Answer: Endear. We have teams named “Fawkes” and “Slytherin”.
May 16th 2016: I LANDED AN INTERVIEW! Lots of hyperventilating and self-doubt. Read every help document under the sun.
May 19th, 2016: The actual interview — Afterwards, I’m convinced I’m never going to hear from A8C again.
Pro-Tip: Don’t re-read your text-based interview. There is no revision, only pain.
Found out later I was actually fun to interview. AWESOME!
May 23rd, 2016: I am given a sample project. It takes me a four days to complete it. Also, I am grading final exams and dealing with school nonsense. Still. I persevere.
*Cracks knuckles* I got this. I know WordPress.
Three hours later… Oh. Oh wow. This is hard. WHAT IS A PORTFOLIO?!
May 31st, 2016: Second interview. Disbelief at my luck; I am offered a trial at the end.
I’m walking on sunshine–whoa-oh-oh-oh!
June 6th, 2016: I start my trial: Three days of training, and suddenly, I am doing the work of a Happiness Engineer. Thank God for my trial buddy.
Please don’t break the internet,
please don’t break the internet,
oh God, please don’t break the internet…
July 4th, 2016: I am offered an interview with Mr. Matt Mullenweg himself. Update: This interview now takes place with HR, not Matt.
Wow, my trial was on the short side. Fireworks, fireworks everywhere!
July 9th, 2016: I finally get to ping Matt!
Waiting is AGONY. Christmas came sooner when I was four. Much, much sooner.
July 19th, 2016: Matt pings me. I am on a road trip. We have half of our chat; he pauses after I give an answer that I didn’t particularly like. A week of anxiety ensues.
Does my social awkwardness come across as vibrantly online as in real life?
PLEASE DON’T FIRE ME BEFORE I’VE TRULY STARTED!
July 25th, 2016: I finish my conversation with Matt. I am the newest Happiness Engineer.
Taylor Swift lyrics don’t even do this justice, but they’ll try:
“I said remember this moment
In the back of my mind
The time we stood with our shaking hands
The crowds in stands went wild…
August 1st, 2016: I start full-time; I did it. I became a Happiness Engineer. Two days later, I was placed on Team Sparta: AKA Team ‘Bestcoast.’
…You held your head like a hero
On a history book page
It was the end of a decade
But the start of an age.”
Starting this process was the best decision of my entire life.
Also, very few people make fun of me for liking Taylor Swift. More reasons this job rocks. 😀