on the Automattic yacht.
That’s my job title. Because at Automattic we pick our own job titles. I think that’s a really cool policy. Previously I have been a ninja and an alligator wrestler; and for the next few weeks and the previous couple, I am also a community guardian.
I haven’t really blogged about work much. I really don’t want to put that much personal information out there. Also, it has taken a long time for me to adjust to being full-time employed. If you’ve been following along on my adventures from the beginning of my journey, you know full well that I am very comfortable with being cyclically unemployed. I relished the freedom and the psychology of my employment having an “end date” did wonders for my morale. The problem was, that employment did require a physical presence for long stretches of time, sometimes in the worst ducking conditions known to man on earth. Yeah, the adventure aspect of that was nifty and so far as the Antarctic portion of that employment cycle, I’d be keen to do it again at some point. Maybe when I get old I can go be a shuttle driver or something, provided the whole damn thing hasn’t been flooded by sea level rise by then.
Anyhow, in addition to the requirement of a physical presence, I also found myself more and more at odds with my own beliefs and values. I know that me stepping away from the machine isn’t going to bring the machine to a grinding halt. There are willing people to do that type of work. Doesn’t mean I have to be a part of it.
In 2014, at the tender age of 45, I did a career 180. My first intention was to be a freelance software developer with a focus on WordPress plugins. Turns out I’m a horrible entrepreneur. I tried a few different approaches and failed miserably in all of them.
I was working on a client project one day. That project involved WooCommerce so there I was browsing the documentation when at the bottom there was some sort of “hey, want to work with us” type advertisement. I applied. Mark and Magnus must have taken pity on an old man or been very desperate or a combination of both and here we are today.
Something pretty significant happened along the way though. WooCommerce was acquired by Automattic. When I first got that news, I was floored. I looked up at that company and aspired to one day work there. In no way did I consider myself worthy at that particular point in time. But, fake ’til you make it I guess ¯_(ツ)_/¯.
This hasn’t been an easy year for me at work and otherwise. There were a lot of changes and I lost a lot of the flexibility that had drawn me to that type of work environment to begin with. I struggled. I really loathed the idea of trying to find another job this good and I have never lost site of how horrible I am at trying to be my own boss. I had to find other ways to cope. And I have. I have also found myself truly respected and adequately supported in my endeavors.
Which brings me back to my job title. There is no yacht but if there ever is, I have staked my claim to the engine room and adventures on the high seas. And the champagne.