This past week has had me getting caught up on a lot of things, trying to be prepared to go away for a week to our annual company Grand Meetup. Last year I started working at Automattic on my Trial just shortly after everyone returned. At least one of my interviews was as they were all together. While I am very happy that this year I get to go myself and meet a large group of people who I’ve never met before, I also have a lot of anxiety about the trip.
I love traveling. Getting to see places I’ve never been, and all the people I work with are great. A few I’ve met during my team meetup the beginning of this year, but there are so many I’m really excited about getting to meet. There are going to be fun activities and interesting classes going on. The whole trip I’m confident is going to be a lot of fun. So what has me so nervous about it?
It’s not that I’ve traveled a lot, but there have been a few trips, and many of them I’ve gone on alone, not knowing anyone where I was going on the other end, but somehow this is different. Part of it is certainly the flash talk everyone will be giving. Getting up in front of people, as I’ve talked about before, is not fun for me. My presentation has been prepared and submitted for sometime though and I feel like I know how I want to present it well enough.
Even just the traveling part stresses me out. Flying is by far my favourite way to travel. I love looking out the window and seeing clouds or everything far below. The whole process still amazes me every time I do it. Airports on the other hand I don’t like. It feels like I never know where or how I’m supposed to move through. Do I take a carry on only, or check a bag? Do I have to pick up my checked bag and take it to the next leg of my flight, or does it follow me along automatically? What happens if I miss a flight? So many variables, even though I’ve never had a really bad time it still worries me.
Part of it is leaving everyone else here at home, it’s not often I’m away from Jen and the kids. Having the incredible flexibility I do with my job has allowed us to arrange our lives where we take full advantage of it. Lots of times Jen and I are just crossing paths or going opposite directions taking kids to where they need to be, or going to PTA meetings etc. So leaving everything to Jen has me stressed. Not that she can’t handle it, because I know she can, she does the lion share of organizing everything and making sure our household runs smooth anyway. But just the driving alone will be impossible to handle for one person. Luckily we have family and friends who are great about helping whenever they can, but I know it is still going to be extremely rough for her.
All week I’ve been knocking things off my to do list for before I leave. Even just little things seem to be bigger when you know they need to get done. Getting a hair cut, flu shot, car to the garage. Getting the lawn mowed, making all the phone calls you’ve been putting off. Making more arrangements for the car when you realize it needs a lot more than just an oil change.
Being an introvert and being around people, even though I enjoy it, takes me out of my comfort zone and I have to work at it. Having just gone to a conference this week and remembering how tired I felt afterwards, both because of everything going on, and because it also takes a lot out of me being in social situations like this. So realizing that I’m going to spend a week with a bunch of people, and getting to know them, makes me a bit tired just thinking about it.
All that said, I’m very excited to go on this meetup. Every interaction I’ve had with anyone at work so far has been a positive experience. Getting to meet these people and build real memories with them will make relationships stronger. One of things I’m most thankful for was getting to go, so soon after starting with Automattic, to Barcelona and meet my team. I feel it made us much closer and really solidified us as a team. Getting to do this with more people in the company will be awesome.
Knowing how much it costs, both financially and by taking people away from their regular jobs, goes to show that Automattic thinks the employees are important and that building these relationships with each other is a huge benefit. Another reason I feel so lucky to be a part of this.