Automattic and the perfect work/love balance

Two years ago my friend told me he works for the best company in the world, and that I should totally apply. All the things he mentioned – extreme trust and openness for discussion, fully distributed environment that lets you work from anywhere in the world, a complete disregard for job titles, or unlimited vacation – sounded too good to be true.
The more I read and heard about how it all works like, the more I got to believe this is no hippie dream, but an actual profit-making company with hundreds of employees. I fell in love in Automattic and asked Artur to help me prepare for the trial. In the process, I fell in love with him as well.
Two years later, we got engaged on our way to the company Grand Meetup. We’d arrived a few days early in Canada to spend some time around Banff. This was one of the most beautiful places we’ve visited on our last year’s extreme road trip, but didn’t have enough time to fully enjoy back then. On the top of a mountain that was a Cosmic Ray Observatory, surrounded by beautiful views, the most fascinating man I know asked me to become his wife. The next day we were in Whistler with all 600 of our work colleagues, celebrating this.
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Artur and I on our way to Gondola peak.

We’re not the only couple here at Automattic. Many of our teammates brought their partners along with them, many more wish they could do it someday. This alone is the most powerful sign of how great our company is. There’s not much better things you can say about a job than “I really wish the love of my life could spend the most of their days this way”.
This is not just because of the incredible perks the job has to offer, but mostly due to the kind of folks it attracts. Our CEO Matt Mullenweg truly believes in WordPress and open source, and only hires the people who believe in that too. We’re passionate about making the web a better place, and we mean it. You can feel this passion overflowing in our Slack channels, internal blog posts, and wherever we meet in person.
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Silly company photo selfie. Getting 600 folks together in one picture is no easy job!

We’re also having fun along the way. The stuffed bear in our hotel lobby became a good friend of ours, and has his own blog on WordPress.com now. The meetup ended with a  “Prom / formal through decades” themed party, but I wasn’t the only one to interpret this as an occasion to get all dressed up in galaxies and glitter. Actually, I thought I’m quite serious about my Cosmos and glitter, but one girl took the space game to a whole different level, rocking a skirt with LED stars. Another one of my teammates asked our CEO to be her prom date on that day – and actually, he didn’t say no 🙂
Of course, amazing doesn’t mean problem-free. Since I joined, I’ve had my fair share of frustration, misunderstanding, overtime work, and feeling that we don’t care enough. Working from home with my partner for the same company means that many work issues turn into personal ones. But while problems will naturally arise wherever there are human beings, it’s the way they are handled that makes all the difference. It’s incredibly impressive how our folks are able to put their own agendas aside, and work together towards a solution, even when the discussion gets heated.
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CEO Town Hall. We managed to wrap up at 11pm this time, which was a real challenge with so much to talk about.

I’ve always been proud to be a part of this company, and now I’m more proud than ever before. All the discussions, classes, activities, and informal parties this week helped me understand not just how we can move our work forward, but also a huge deal about myself. This wouldn’t be possible without the incredible colleagues that make up the Automattic team. I’m honoured to have such amazing people in my life, and would love to see all of my friends flourish in an environment like this. If you’re on the edge, remember that we’re always hiring, and I’ll be always happy to help you prepare.
On the last day of our Grand Meetup, Artur and I did the one thing that people don’t normally do at work. Who we are now is largely thanks to the amazing culture of Automattic, so we asked our CEO to come to our wedding one day. And you know what? Actually, he didn’t say no 🙂

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