The time has come to take the wraps off the secret project that has been keeping me quiet and keeping the articles on SKVW virtually non-existent.
I just accepted a job offer from Automattic, the parent company of WordPress.com. I will be a Happiness Engineer within the Store team for WordPress.com. That means I will help customers as well as work on internal stuff relating to purchases and other e-commerce type things.
Automattic is an awesome company to work for that actually values their employees happiness and well-being. No, seriously. Other blogs have covered that part, so I’ll skip that part.
So the super-secret project was getting this awesome new job. Normally, one does not have to pretty much go to ground to get a new job. It’s a couple of interviews and stuff and then you’re in or out.
Well, things are a little different at Automattic. Yes there are interviews, but they are over Skype and then via an internal Slack account when you get to the Boss round. But the middle process is the thing that takes the most out of you. It’s called the Trial. Essentially, you are thrown into the mix, given some training and a scary amount of access into internal systems and then set loose.
Over a period of 4 – 6 weeks you are evaluated on how well you take to things and how much you improve in time. They don’t just look at your technical prowess, you’re also evaluated on how well you play with others and how resourceful you can be.
Each week you meet with your trial leads who go over your progress from the week before and chat with you about setting goals and things like that.
At some point, they’ll either tell you it’s time to part ways, or you’ll keep going for another week or two. Once you make it through, and just about at the point you think you’ll just pass out from exhaustion, maybe, just maybe you’ll get passed along to what they call the “Matt Chat.” Or, in my case they’ll make you work an extra three days of trial before sending you to Matt Chat.
The Matt Chat is a chat with a guy named Matt. In this case, it’s Matt Mullenweg, the CEO of Automattic. How this works is your trial leads do a writeup at the end of your trial. Then in about 24 hours you can start “pinging” Matt. Basically you shoot him a direct message once a day until he can talk with you. Hey, he runs the whole company, he’s a busy guy.
In my case, I got the go ahead to ping on a Tuesday and had my chat Friday morning. The chats are legendary for being lengthy, partly because they are so in-depth and partly because what I said earlier about Matt being a busy guy. The chat is a little less synchronous than you’d expect a chat to be. There’s long pauses between questions as I’m sure he’s doing 100 other things at the same time.
You talk about some general interview-y stuff like past experience, what you thought about your trial and so on. Then things move on to more general stuff, hobbies, stuff you like etc. Matt seems to be genuinely curious and interested in you as a person. You can tell some of the questions are sort of pre-fab, but then the followup questions show he’s really paying attention.
After this goes on for quite some time and it seems like you’ll be a good fit and get the stamp of approval, it’s typical stuff like when can you start and salary expectations and so forth.
It has been an interesting six weeks or so, and I’m glad I did it, but it’s even better that I have successfully completed the process. It’s a process that started back in December. I was initially rejected when I applied the first time. But, they urged me to hang out in the forums for a while and get a feel for how things happen at WordPress.com.
Normally that’s a brush-off, but clearly they are sincere because that’s what I did. I re-applied in March then did the interviews and started trial at the end of April.
So, is it worth it? I think so. It’s a great environment with incredible perks like being able to work from home, or anywhere in the world you want. Check out some of the places my co-workers hang. Way better than the windowless government basement office I used to have.
Oh, and also, we’re always hiring, so check out this page if you want to embark on your own adventure.