6 year anniversary of signing up on WordPress.com

My Automattic Journey

Recently someone asked colleagues, how did you find Automattic and apply?

I thought my story was worth sharing, because I found this awesome place via KARMA.

Flashback to 2012…I had been working at a software company in my hometown for a decade and learned I had to move to New York. I started applying places and did a few interviews, but nothing had the allure of my previous job.

I normally only connect with people on LinkedIn whom I have met in person and had a conversation with. One day this random guy with over 500 connections wanted to connect and I scoured his resume wondering how I knew him. It turns out I didn’t. He was looking for work and just connecting with everyone.

I said to myself “#yolo, what’s the worst that can happen?!

The next day when I was looking for jobs for myself, I found the perfect job…. for him.

I sent him a message on LinkedIn and said:

In the interest of paying it forward, I saw this and thought of you while I was doing my own job hunt… [url]

He wrote me back:

Andrea,
Thank you so much for thinking of me with regard to this position. It seems like a great fit and I have applied for it. May the good Karma you generated by passing this along to me stand you in good stead in your own job search. Stay in touch and let me know how your search is going. Who knows, perhaps we will meet each other in a corporate boardroom someday!

A few hours later he posted this article on his LinkedIn feed:
https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10000872396390443571904577631750172652114

The rest is history.

 

Love wins

When my brother was in junior high and high school, he had a major crush on this girl. He never told anyone.

She had a crush on him, and none of her friends, whom she told, told him. She sat by him in classes and conveniently used all her super cool high school moves to try to gain his attention. She doodled hearts around his head in the yearbook.

Nothing ever happened.

. . .

Here we are 20 years later, they met and fell head-over-heels in love. Both of them being divorced, they knew what to do differently to make this one work and what really matters in the long run.

When they started planning their wedding, she asked him “What day has meaning for you? When do you want to get married?”

To which he replied, April 20th. His own words from the wedding page:

I would also like to take the time to explain the significance of the date we chose for our wedding. On 4/20/2006, two of my friends were tragically killed in a plane crash. The day itself has always been filled with grief and sadness for me. I feared that this day would always remain one of sorrow if I did not change it for the better. With that an idea emerged. I want to honor my friends. I want to celebrate their lives and the influence they continue to have on me. I also want to further celebrate this day, by marrying a woman that I truly feel has saved my life. She has given me an endless amount of joy, hope, and love. I truly have never been happier.

With that being said, in lieu of gifts, we would like you to consider making a donation to the Robert C Samels and Christy B Carducci scholarship fund at Bowling Green State University. Thank you.

So that’s what I am doing next weekend. I’m celebrating and rewriting the day with my family to honor lost friends.

68 days into Sabbatical

I work for a pretty amazing company, automattic.com/work-with-us, that on your 5th anniversary you can take a 3 month paid sabbatical.

I have had some (I hesitate to call them epiphanies because they seem more like common sense that gets lost in the rhythm of a busy life)… moments where I realized what I needed to stop doing and what I needed to do more of.

1) Don’t worry about work – it goes on without you.

2) Life goes on without you too. There isn’t a magical Sabbatical switch that flips and everything turns into sunshine and daisies. If you want something to be different, you need to change it. If you want something to happen, you need to plan it out and do it.

3) Small, kind, daily gestures go a long way to feeding relationships that matter.

4) Time passes quickly when you’re wasting it.

5) Taking care of yourself should not be the last thing you do after everything and taking care of everyone else.

So after a month of winter cabin fever, taking care of sick kids and a dad with pneumonia (again), I realized I need to

  • Get out of the house every day
  • Exercise every day
  • Create music
  • Fuel my inner artist

What have I done with 2 months of sabbatical so far?

I have joined a welcoming, supportive Crossfit gym — walking distance from my house. Score!

Me doing a cheesy pose with a medicine ball after EMOM burpees

I’ve crocheted a hat for my son and started a chevron blanket using the techniques my grandmother taught me when I was little. I made some Christmas ornaments from scratch with the kids.

I am taking piano lessons once a week to work on my technique. (Don’t judge this Schumann yet – it’s a work in progress, with the tempo and repeated switching between 5 flats and 6 sharps standing between me and calling it done.)

I make a point of playing outside for an hour as often as possible with my kids right after school.

Kids sledding

We read knock-knock joke books together before bed, in addition to them reading me one story each, so we have some giggles to end the day.

I go for long walks just to see nature and get fresh air.

Someone's dog spooked the 3 deer, but they were chowing down on somebody's hedges earlier

It hasn’t been perfect, but I’ve had time to remember what’s important and bring it back into my regular routine. With one month to go, I’m going to enjoy the trips I have planned and start figuring out how to maintain that balance once I go back to work.

Schumann and Should Nots

I’ve always gravitated toward the piano. I play for me, not for concerts or recitals. I studied with my mom during elementary school (she was a music therapy major, sang in a band, played guitar and piano). When I played her last college piece and she wanted me to keep progressing, she arranged lessons with the wife of one the university professors my father worked with. After that another family friend, the summer musical rehearsal pianist, taught me. By then I was in college and started studying with 3 different professors there.

How is it I’m just now decades later learning technique? Hahaha. Was it passable before and no one harped on it? I set out to take lessons during my sabbatical with the explicit instructions for my teacher to help me play without hurting myself. So far I’ve learned to play some notes higher on the key to keeps gentler angle and to put my elbows in front of my body for difficult sections that would otherwise wrench my wrists.

Up next is this piece Romance in B Flat minor by Robert Schumann. I have the notes down but am working on the speed. There are parts I need to rework for positioning, when my right hand starts to hurt which I should not be doing to myself. Wish me luck!

Green Eggs and Ham

Day 5. Five days. You know those sad cat diary videos where their water bowl is only half full and they think it’s the end of the world? Two snow days wouldn’t be so bad, except when paired with a school holiday and the weekend. The cabin fever is real folks, and the only way out is by shoveling your driveway several times a day.

We’ve been going sledding down the “hill” in the backyard, playing Wii, practicing the trumpet so my son doesn’t sound like a dying elephant anymore, and running out of craft projects to do. Please, oh please, let there be school tomorrow.

We are reading too. Not everything can be screen time. It’s cute seeing the kids choose to go on author binges at such a young age. Last week was Mo Willems and the pigeon or Elephant and Piggie books. This week is Dr. Seuss. Oh Say Can You Say? continues to be a favorite… Dinn, and Blinn, and his shin-bone pin… the bed spreaders and bread spreaders buttering bedding… distinguishing between a Klotz and a Glotz by their spots or dots. But last night when I asked my son what he wanted for breakfast in the morning, he said he wanted green eggs and ham.

Whaaat?

Yes, green eggs and ham… though he said he’d settle for scrambled green eggs.

In an effort not to disappoint, his sister and I made him a green pepper, spinach, green ham, and cheese 3-green egg omelet. She doesn’t eat eggs being a picky eater, but she was definitely overjoyed to help turn her brother’s breakfast another color.

It was hilarious watching the peanut gallery’s reactions as the green concoctions were added. My son gobbled it up and was only briefly sad he didn’t have a bright green tongue after eating it.

Finished green omelet on a plate with a fork before we ate it

Here’s hoping school is in session tomorrow.

Rest and Debussy

When I was in college I loved studying — math, languages, dancing, choir, writing, piano, organ, computer science. This was before ergonomic designs were big and desks were made for different tasks. But one fateful exam week, while writing 18 page papers in German, several others in English, and practicing for my piano recital…I overdid it and my wrists had something to say about it. For the first 2 months of the next semester I couldn’t hold a pencil to take notes, I couldn’t turn door knobs, I couldn’t hold a gallon of milk in my hand without crying in agony and dropping it on the floor. My doctor told me to choose one keyboard and stick with it. I stopped taking lessons and toted my own ergonomic keyboard to and from work after I graduated and started working at a software company. I used trackballs to keep my hand at rest and my wrist immobile. The problems went away within the year and never became permanent.

But I missed playing music.

I recently started trying to play my old college pieces (and it doesn’t hurt). Today I’m home sick with a fever/cold and very tired of being horizontal and sipping liquids.

So I did this just now to see if it would help make me feel better. It was a piece I was too chicken to play for open mic night recently. My piano professor gave it to me in college because he thought I’d enjoy having a song that used the last note on a piano. (I still do.) There are some parts I need to slow down and spell out again, but it shouldn’t take long to fix the flubs, despite the crazy key changes and chords.

Speaking of chicken, it’s probably time for some soup now.

This is Debussy’s Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l’air du soir (Sounds and perfumes mingle in the evening air).


June ran off

The day after school ended, my kids and I went to Hilton Head Island to have some fun. It had been ages since I had been on the island. I was relieved to see the low country rules of keeping signs at street level were still in place so most of my views were pines and palm trees for miles.

By far the biggest hits of the trip were Pirate Golf, feeding the turtles in the pond next to our dinner restaurant all the strawberries from our meals, and floating on inner tubes in the water.

After I dropped them off with their father and they headed off to summer camp, I got some much needed rest under tent on the beach, with a good book, poor cell signal, and a overly-friendly crab.