Three Years at Automattic

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Previously: Year One. 

Today marks my three year anniversary with Automattic. I didn’t write about my second anniversary, but I’ve sure grown immensely since my first. The past year has been filled with growing as a team lead, learning JavaScript, working on some awesome projects like launching onboarding resources for our customers, and improving the support experience across in general.

One of the aspects about Automattic that I appreciate is the emphasis on growth. We constantly push one another to improve and challenge our own thinking. After year one, I had a list of lessons to share. In no particular order, here are some things I picked up or changed my mind on over last 12 months mostly around leadership, but also on other areas.

Give your team a chance to disappoint you. Start with the assumption that they want to (and will do) a terrific job. Provided they’re in the right area, given direction, and challenged appropriately, they’ll step up.

Lead up the chain. This is borrowed directly from Extreme Ownership. Take responsibility for everything around you.

Ask your team what they need from you. Stop trying to guess. Give them an anonymous survey, work on a few areas, and report back.

Inevitably, you’re going to have bad days. It’s okay; everyone has them.

Gratitude is a renewable resource. It’s hard to say thank you too often provided you’re saying it sincerely.

Disagree and commit. If you don’t agree, make sure your voice is heard, but when the decision comes down, get onboard.

Everything is your area. To paraphrase my colleague Kelly Hoffman, you wouldn’t walk by trash on the street without picking it up. Don’t do it within your organization either. The phrase “That’s not my area” doesn’t apply.

Contribute to an open source project. I’ve worked at Automattic for three years now, but this past year, I was able to contribute code to Calypso, our open source project. It has been one of the most rewarding learning experiences ever. I wish I would’ve done it sooner.

If you’re even remotely considering applying, I would recommend checking out this YouTube playlist. You can see what working at Automattic is like from several different viewpoints.

Here’s to another awesome year!

Photo credit: Donncha.

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