Today I’m starting a new job as a Happiness Engineer. Yes, seriously. This is in fact a real job title, at least as real as it gets in a company that shows complete disregard for titles and hierarchy. I told a few people I’d work as a Happiness Engineer and was amused by their reactions. Some asked if I’m a drug dealer (well, if you can’t be happy when you’re out of your drugs, I have some bad news for you…). Some thought I was kidding. Some thought that’s some kind of entertainment for children. Nobody guessed this could have anything in common with customer support. That’s surely because nobody guessed customer support is a kind of a job anyone would want to do.
Most folks believe customer support is a boring and frustrating kind of a job that everyone would leave as soon as they can. The bad PR comes mostly from huge corporate call-centers with high pressure from the management, predefined scripts to follow and mediocre salary. But even if your work environment is friendlier than this, everyone considers support as an entry-level role that you’ll want to leave for more interesting stuff. I used to think the same way myself.
I’ve spent a few years in customer support and while I enjoyed myself for the most of the time, I continuously hoped for a chance to move on to some development work. Perhaps that’s because some friends were teasing me I’m in support because I lack technical skills. Perhaps cause I graduated and was hired as a software engineer and didn’t even know what it’s like to code for a living. Perhaps cause my support project was a part of an otherwise development team. But when I eventually got there and started working as a developer, I realized I’d much rather spend my time with people than with machines.
Don’t get me wrong, I love coding. Creating something out of nothing is one of the best things in life and coding is an awesome way to achieve that. I believe some basic software development is something everyone can and should learn. But coding for me was always just a means to an end, not an end on its own. And ultimately I can only keep myself going if I strongly believe I’m working on something that improves my or someone else’s life. I know some folks who can spend their whole lives hacking just for the sake of it, but certainly I’m not one of them.
There’s also another reason I’d rather work with people – they are more complex than anything else in the whole known Universe. A machine will only do what it’s told to do. Humans are messy, unpredictable, emotional, and that’s what makes them so precious. It’s not easy to find a common language with a perfect stranger from a random place in the world, but once you manage to do that and solve a problem together, that’s a truly rewarding experience.
When I think about it now, nearly everything I’ve done in my life was a form of customer support. From guiding tourists on bus trips around the Europe, to finding fitting bras for women, connecting with people and helping them always played a big part in my life. For the last few years I had fun working with SmartTV app developers. Now I’m super excited to advocate for happiness of the WooCommerce users. And pretty sure that keeping others happy will make me much happier myself 🙂