I did a thing today on one of the social things. Granted it’s the social thing I never really think of as being social. LinkedIn.
I went to my profile and surveyed the content. And then I started editing. I selected the most recent role — Community Manager at Automattic — and I ticked the little box to let them know that I’m no longer doing that job.
But it wasn’t as simple as that. I had more options now. What month in 2013 did I start doing that job? When did I stop doing that job? Do you want to let every single person you’ve ever known know that you’re not doing that job anymore? Wait! What’s your new job?!!?
So I took a deep breath. And I reflected on life this past year. Things have changed. Even in the midst of isolation. So many things have changed in so many little pockets of my life. More than I can capture in LinkedIn. In many ways, it’s actually easier to list the things that have stayed the same for me over the past couple of years.
Yes. I did just double the amount of time I was contemplating.
I stared at the screen and poked at the keyboard a little. Thinking not just about the past couple of years but about the past nine years. Because that’s when this long strange journey at Automattic all started for me.
Cue wavy flashback sequence. Or freezeframe with record scratch. Your choice.
Nine years ago in February a friend sent me an email that shook things up a bit. Someone I knew through the WordPress community. The email was just a job listing and a little note asking me if I know anyone who would “kick ass at this job.”
My self-esteem was not at an all-time high. At first, I thought she was asking me if I knew anyone who might be right for the role. Then I slowly began to realize that she was asking me if I might be the purported person who would indeed kick ass at this job.
After a lot of thought and reflection and talking the ears off of those closest to me, I realized that in order to make a better life for myself and my kid I would have to take risks. And while I was completely certain that I wouldn’t get that job, now was the time to at least start putting myself out there. So I did.
I updated my very out-of-date and essentially useless resume. I wrote a cover letter. I updated the already dusty LinkedIn profile I had created two years before. The one I fleshed out after taking my first job since becoming a parent. A stay-at-home parent.
And convinced as I was that this wouldn’t happen. That I wouldn’t make the cut. That they wouldn’t see the value in hiring me. Somehow, two months later in April of 2013, I started full-time as an Automattic-sponsored contributor to the WordPress open source project.
You can snap out of that flashback sequence now. Because we’re back at today. Nine years later. Where I found myself staring at LinkedIn again. And editing my profile again.
And thinking of the past couple of years. The pandemic has been hard on everyone. And there is a tremendous amount of privilege in being secure in my employment, having great health benefits, and being able to provide for myself and those I love. I’m acknowledging that. I’m one of the very lucky ones. When things got tough my employer said to take it easy. When others in the world started losing their jobs because the world was changing, my employer made sure we all felt secure.
But my job — like the world that previously surrounded it — was gone. Everything had changed. I found myself doing other work. Necessary work but not work that I felt needed for. Not work I liked or even understood why I was doing it. I was stuck at home with a job I didn’t like in a global pandemic. And there came a moment when something had to give so that I didn’t break.
Not to mention that I still hadn’t received a firm confirmation that I had, indeed, kicked ass as my one-time recruiter had intended me to. And this wasn’t helping.
I considered several possible solutions from the practical to the inconceivable. I put out feelers. I asked questions. I answered questions. I updated that long-overlooked resume once again. And with that, I set things in motion.
Back to that little box on LinkedIn. The one waiting to be completed. Waiting to be told when I stopped being a Community Manager for the WordPress open source project sponsored by Automattic…
It’s been eight months since I quietly left that role to try out a rotation in another division of Automattic. For a while, I thought about going back. To return to my previous role. About taking all the great skills and experience I gained with my rotation back to my work with the community. But I won’t be. Going back that is. On the last day of February 2022, my rotation to Automattic’s Talent Division working in Talent Operations and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion was made permanent.
From the outside, it may very much seem the same. To you. I’m employed by the same company. I work from the same desk. I still wear my pajamas to work on days I don’t have meetings. My cat still feels compelled to be a part of every call I am on. But those seem to be the only things to have stayed the same.
That, and I’m still determined to kick ass.
4 thoughts on “beginnings and the endings that bring them about…”
Congrats! Seems like it’s been a great fit, even if I bet there was some of that uncertainty you had nine years ago in this move, too.
I don’t know exactly WHOSE ass you kicked all those years, but I can tell you that the work you did changed my life for the better in more ways than I can possibly express. And I’d bet $100 I’m not the only one. Thank you so much for all of it, and go forth knowing that the world is a better place because you’re in it.
Thank you so much Topher <3 <3 <3
And that was a fantastic kicker to end a well-written article.