Every year Automattic has a “Grand Meetup” (GM), where all the employees, from across the world, get together for a week. This year it was in Whistler, Canada, a resort town which hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics.
As my first GM I was, understandable, apprehensive. I’d been told that a GM could be overwhelming, so I made it my task to make sure it wasn’t.
Inspired (no, okay, I ripped it off entirely) by Matt Mullenweg’s post of the same name I thought it would be interested to share what’s in the backpack that I take around with me when travelling for work. It’s early times yet, with only a few such trips but 3 more due this year and I have no current intention to change the contents.
I’m certainly not the “road warrior” that he is but I certainly think there may some ideas for others – what I liked about seeing Matt’s was that it gave me some further ideas of my own. I particularly liked some of the stationary items that Matt has and I’ve already been looking into them.
I’m only a matter of weeks into my new role, working for Automattic, and I’m regularly asked how it’s going and what it’s like to work for them, particularly the change in culture. Having come from a corporate role, working for the same company for 27 years, it’s a huge change. But, I have to say, one I was happy to embrace.
It has always occurred to me, working for a company over 150 years old and with a familiar, old-school office set-up, that there must be newer and better ways to work. Automattic is not just about working from home but in how it approaches the work/life balance but also the entire relationship it has with its employees and they with each other.
The one problem with working from home can be the lack of movement, which is not good for health. So, mid-morning I go for a walk. Today’s was, shall we say, bracing but I had a lovely walk along the canal path and took some lovely pictures across the misty scene.
Although I was wearing headphones, a house-boat owner made a point of waving and saying ‘good morning’ to me, which was a very friendly gesture. As the warmer weather approaches the walk should get even better.
Last week I was away at my first Automattic meetup – in this case a meetup for the VIP team.
I left, via East Midlands Airport, on Sunday 29th January and returned to Birmingham Airport (yeah, I know, but it’s complicated) on Saturday 4th February. The meetup itself was the 5 weekdays in-between.
A main venue was arranged which had bedrooms on the 1st floor along with a casual area that we often met-up at, particularly for lunches, and even a very nice lady who helped with any arrangements that needed making.
I’m pleased to announce that on the 22nd December I accepted a role working in the WordPress VIP team at Automattic. My resignation letter at Boots was submitted the same day, and I officially finish my current job on the 20th January.
I’ve been working for Boots since I left college, 27 years ago, so it’s not a decision I’ve taken lightly but I’ve been thinking about for a while. It’s time for a change, and the Automattic role will definitely be that!