- Got engaged to my amazing partner and my best friend,
- Bought a lovely apartment together with him,
- Had 2 articles published in a nation-wide magazine (and the third one is going to be even better!),
- Co-organized a big 2-day coding workshop for women and several smaller classes,
- Meditated more often than not during the entire year,
- Attended my first WordCamp as a speaker, and another one as a volunteer,
- Finished a scuba diver course in freezing cold water (and freezing air temperature around),
- Deadlifted more than my bodyweight, multiple times in series of 5,
- Learn how to sing traditional Eastern European songs from some very best teachers of this craft,
- Sold a picture I painted (who would have thought, huh?),
- Travelled to the US, Italy, Ireland, France, Denmark, Greece, Canada, and now came to Thailand with an unexpected layover in Turkey, and possibly more unexpected stops on the way back,
- Visited NASA Space Center, including the famous Houston Mission Control,
- Survived multiple breakdowns, failures, self-doubts, and panic attacks which turned into breakthroughs and made me all much stronger.
Can the sense of wonder survive as a kid grows up?
If an idea scares you to death, that’s great. This is how you know it’s one worth pursuing.
There’s always opportunities around, if you’re paying attention.
Hi, this is Sylwia! I’m calling from the Cosmos…
This weekend I learned a great deal about what courage is. It’s knowing that scuba diving in freezing cold water is an absolutely awful and unpleasant experience because you’ve just learned it firsthand, and then still choosing to do the same fucking awful thing again the next day because you’ve signed up for it. And choosing to do it with a smile.
Why would anyone go diving in freezing cold water? For a while I was wondering why I’m doing this to myself. Even though I’ve been putting off this scuba diving course for way too long, nothing bad would happen if I didn’t complete it this time. I could make a deal with the diving school to finish it in the summer, start it again in a warm tropical sea, or decide that diving is not my priority right now. It never was anyway, at least until now.
Yet somehow out of all the possible ways to spend a December weekend I chose to get my ass wet in a freezing cold lake. Me, who fucking hates cold water from the bottom of my heart. I don’t know how they tricked me into this. That’s not something I’d normally do, and for sure not something I’d normally pay for.
In the morning before the first dive I realised what I actually signed up for, and what an insane idea it was. Putting my diving gear together, still safe and warm indoors, I started freaking out that I will freeze there, get sick, or do something crazy stupid and unsafe.
This wasn’t a totally baseless fear. With the first wave of freezing cold water over my head my mind went blank and I instantly forgot the basic stuff I learned at the swimming pool. I couldn’t even keep myself afloat above the lake bottom. Our divemaster suggested I complete the mandatory exercises and get the hell out of there as soon as possible. I ran back freezing, crying, and already terrified I’ll have to do the same thing again.
Then in the afternoon I passed the written test and had to decide what I will do next. I could either put myself together and complete that one last round of diving exercises the next day, or put it off for who knows how long. As much as I hate cold water, I chose to do this crazy ridiculous thing one last time, and to try having fun while I do it. Even if the ‘fun’ part meant crying and laughing at my own misery.
This second time I’ve postponed getting dressed till the very last moment in order to stay warm for as long as I could, put as much clothes as possible under my wetsuit, poured warm water all over myself, and ran into the lake screaming “I’M A FUCKING NINJA TURTLE!”. (Well, wearing the diving gear I totally looked like one).
It was still as freezing and unpleasant as the day before, but I no longer cared. Neither the blistering cold water, the diving mask fogging up, my breathing gear going bananas, nor losing a fin halfway through the exam would make me lose my nerve. I stayed on top of all these the things, and surprised both our divemaster and myself asking him if we can dive around for 5 more minutes (but no more!).
I was wondering why I’m doing this to myself, but I think I know now. This experience made me feel stronger and more powerful than I was before. I still despise cold water, but once I made a resolution to go back there even though it’s so awful, I stopped letting the fear overwhelm me. I’ve let fear paralyse me way too many times, and now I finally know I can be scared but still stay in charge.
Cold water isn’t the only thing in my life I’ve been dreading, but now I feel I am able to face all these things. Maybe not everything at once, and maybe I’ll need to ask for help many more times than I’m used to, but if I survived the scuba diving crash course, there’s not much more that can stop me. I’m a fucking ninja turtle after all.
How do I know this is the job for me?
Not everyone can be a Happiness Engineer. Not everyone would even want to be one. If all the jobs you had so far somehow revolved around people and problem solving, this is a good sign. Here are a few other ones:
- You enjoy working with people. This is an absolute must. Happiness Engineers work mostly with people, even if they only “see” them online. If you’d rather hide in your cave and do stuff on your own, consider a different position out of the many we have.
- You have high empathy levels. You care about people and do your best to help them. It’s easy for you to imagine how others perceive the world, and how it’s like not to know something.
- You love solving puzzles, learning new things, and have exceptional googling skills,
- Your secret superpower is explaining technical stuff in terms understandable to your mum or seven year old kid,
- You’re willing to stretch yourself for 4 weeks and get baptised in fire during the trial. There will be more on that later.
How do I learn about WordPress then?
Start a free blog on WordPress.com
Find a non-profit without a website, and help them create one
Start helping out on the forums
Before you apply, make sure to present yourself in the best way possible. So as the first step…
Spice up that resume and application letter
The Trial Process
Can I do the trial while working full-time?
What is evaluated on the trial?
What if I don’t get hired the first time?
You’re more than welcome to apply again in a few months. Many of our colleagues were hired on their second try. Get some rest, learn some more, read more books on customer support, and come back refreshed whenever you feel that you’re ready.
Is it worth all the hassle?
I may be biased, but it totally is! Yes, the hiring process at Automattic is much longer and complicated than in most companies. From the moment you send your resume, till the moment you start working full time, it might take about 3 to 4 months, or even more.
Still, because of the very fact that the process is so long and complex, only people who do care about working here end up working here. Coincidentally, these people also tend to care about their colleagues, the products they create, their clients, and a whole lot of other things. And, believe me, I know how big of a difference it makes.