Fourteen Years

Fourteen Years

To my best friend Jen,

There isn’t a day which goes by where I don’t want to spend it with you. For the past fourteen years you’ve stuck with me through many ups and downs. The whole time you’ve been my rock that I lean on, encouraging me to take risks, and holding me up when times get low.

You are one of the smartest, most courageous, hardworking, and kindest people I know.

A tiny list of the things we’ve been through together:

  • 8 moves
  • 9 vehicles
  • 12 of my jobs
  • 4 years of University
  • 4 children
  • Some immense heartache
  • Near death experience
  • Awesome vacations
  • Countless memories

Topping that list however is the endless love and happiness we share. I’m so thankful that we’ve had this time together, getting to know you better and better, and watching our family grow. It makes me extremely proud to tell people you are my wife and I’m looking forward to creating many more memories together for the rest of our lives.

 

Three Years

Three Years

A few days ago I had a mini little celebration by myself. It was my three year anniversary of joining Automattic full time. It’s crazy to me that it’s been that long and at the same time it feels like I’ve been here forever.

This is the longest continuous full time job I’ve ever had. That’s saying something for someone my age who started working before I became a teenager. Unlike other jobs I’ve had I haven’t once looked for another job anywhere else. There is still so much I can learn and so much impact I can have on the company itself. There are challenges, frustrations, and things I struggle with, but nothing that makes me hate the job.

While I believe in the mission and the creed, my favourite part is that Automattic has introduced me to so many colleagues who I now consider friends. These are truly amazing people who I very much look forward to hanging out with and working together in person when able. Traveling to different places is all well and good, but I could never leave a hotel and still have an amazing time.

Though sometimes hard to balance I’m especially lucky because I’m essentially on two teams. There is my smaller direct team Jupiter who I work with. It has grown and then shrunk, and now growing again over this past year. They are patient with me as I grow, hard working, and just fun to interact with. There is also the group of WordPress.com Happiness Leads who I get to work closely with. Such a smart and dedicated bunch. I’m humbled to be able to work and learn from, and with, them.

These are the people I work the closest with, but everyone at Automattic who I’ve been able to interact with is helpful, friendly, and smart.

As long as they don’t get sick of me, I’m looking forward to many more years of working here and being able to publish posts like this.

Make it a Dozen

Make it a Dozen

Many things in life seem to come in twelves. The number really does seem to have a hold in our daily lives. When I wake up in the morning and look at the time it is in the twelve hour format. Most clocks analogue or digital have twelve hours. Continuing with time there are also twelve months in a year, twelve signs in the zodiac, and twelve animals in the Chinese zodiac. Along with time there are also other measurements like 12 inches in a foot.

Many things come in twelves. One common item is going to the store to pick up a carton of eggs. You can then use those to bake many delicious things like a dozen cupcakes. Road trips used to include a box of twelve donuts. A case of pop comes in twelve, or one of my old favourites a case of beer. Most of these things I try to severely limit or have given up entirely.

This time of year we end up doing a lot of celebrating. We have Christmas and New Years and as part of that you often hear or sing about the twelve days of Christmas, but that isn’t the twelve I’m thinking of right now. Today I should be out buying a dozen roses, and I would but, Jen doesn’t really like when I buy her flowers. Today marks our twelve year wedding anniversary!

Twelve years ago today I was on a river boat on the Mississippi River in New Orleans getting married to my best friend. We’ve been through a lot over the years all of it making us stronger and my love for Jen grow even more. She brings out the best in me and I can’t imagine a better wife, mother, or friend in this world. I’m looking forward to many more years celebrating our life together.

 

One Year Automattic Anniversary

One Year Automattic Anniversary

Today marks my one year anniversary at Automattic! For most people that probably doesn’t seem like a very big deal but for someone like me it really is. My first “real” job was when I was 16 years old which was 20 years ago. Before that I had summer jobs, things like my paper route, and odd jobs around the neighbourhood. In that time I’ve worked for quite a few different companies. The longest time I’ve stayed in one position was fourteen months. Even though I really enjoyed that position and the people I worked with I was already looking for my next move about halfway through.

Automattic is different, at the year mark I’m not checking job banks every day or searching online for that next opportunity. In fact I really feel like I’m just getting started here. So much more to learn, so much further to grow, and so much more to contribute.

The year I’ve been here has been an exciting for Automattic as well. Building, launching, and just recently releasing, as open source, Calypso. It’s a whole new interface to work with your sites. When I started a year ago there were under 300 employees and now today we are over 400. That included the acquisition of Woo!

Automattic has given me so much. My first trip outside of North America to a team meetup in Barcelona. My home office setup is pretty amazing. My new wardrobe full of clothing with the WordPress logo on it. A trip to the Grand Meetup in Utah to spend a week with our entire company. This was an incredible experience. Freedom and flexibilty, being able to schedule my time off and days around the rest of my life has helped provide a great work / life balance. Endless learning, I’m still learning new things all the time and I’ve just barely scratched the surface of the different teams that I can rotate to and spend time learning and helping on. Confidence, it took a while to feel like I actually belonged with all the other smart, amazing co-workers and that I might be able to offer the support and help others had given me.

In this year I’ve started to give back as well. Since starting I’ve had thousands of interactions with the people who directly use our products. Helping them use and learn our products while also getting their feedback to help make things better. Watching Calypso being developed and being able to help test and troubleshoot features as they were being built was very rewarding. Probably the most rewarding though, as much as I never thought I’d get to this point, is the fact that I’ve been able to be a buddy to new employees starting out including helping with their training.

Fairly early on when I was doing a lot of live chat I built a tool that I could use to track my productivity. I found it useful so I made it available for others to use. It doesn’t get a lot of use, but there are still people who do use it. Along the code route I, with a lot of help, added a very small addition to an internal tool that was helps us communicate a bit better.

Currently I’m working on organizing a series of hang outs where developers can answer questions about key features or products so us Happiness Engineers can better support them and better understand how they work. We’ve had one so far with more to come.

There are still many things I have to improve and get better at, but I’m looking forward to it. With my co-workers and team mates there is so much I can take away from each one of them to make myself better and more productive. In this past year, and only spending very little time in person with them, I already consider many of them friends. Even though it is just here in my house I look forward to going to work and interacting with them.

Thank you to everyone that has made this past year one of the best of my life all around. To those who took a chance on hiring me, training me, mentoring me, and just being there for me in general, my hope is that you’re not disapointed in your decision and that I’ve been worthy of your efforts. If I have it my way, and if Automattic agrees, this will just the first of many anniversaries as I know there is still so much that I can learn and in return also contribute.

11th Wedding Anniversary 

Eleven years ago today I was nice and warm waking up in a cheap hotel room in New Orleans. We had just flown in the day before, leaving extremely cold weather behind.

We had a couple delays on the way which meant we missed most of the offices where we could get our marriage licence. This was a problem as we were getting married the very next day. The rules had just recently changed, but only for the New Orleans Parish, that you didn’t have to wait 72 hours after getting your license before you could get married. The only office still open was way out in the country and it was closing soon as well. They hadn’t heard of the rule change and didn’t want to give us the license.

During this time I was second guessing our crazy plan run away all by ourselves and getting married with little time and far away from our comfort zone. We’re we going to have to take our Honeymoon gift cruise not being married?

We actually left the office and we’re walking back to our waiting cab when an employee banged on the window and told us to come back in. She said the worst that could happen would be they wouldn’t marry us tomorrow, but she didn’t want to be the reason that stopped it in case the rule did change. So thankfully we were able to leave with our license and now to head to our hotel for the night.

We woke up to a beautiful day and helped each other get ready in the hotel room. I was pretty much completely ready but Jen was not yet in her dress. Now it was time to head down to the banks of the Mississippi River and hop on the river boat where it’s captain would marry us.

With the boats wedding planner and photographer as our witnesses the foggy morning made for a beautiful back drop, but all I was seeing was Jen walking up to the main deck towards me.

Most of the ceremony I don’t recall, but I’ll be able to picture how radiant Jen looked and recall the overwhelming happiness I felt until the day I die. Oh and I’ll always remember her trying to place my ring in the wrong hand too.

Our wedding was a fun adventure just like the past eleven years have been. I’m looking forward to building so many more memories with my wife and best friend for many more years to come.

2015 Starting out big

2014 was a very good year and 2015 seems like it is going to continue right along.

We started last night with a great group of friends and family coming over with their kids to our house for a get together. We had good snacks and conversation. The kids had a good time, playing, watching movies, and some sparkler fun outside.

New Years Eve Sparklers

The grown ups ended the evening off with a game of Settlers of Catan, I came close to winning, but no such luck.

The first bit of this year is going to be pretty interesting. Jen and I are celebrating our 11th anniversary on the 3rd of this month and then the next day I leave for my first team meetup.

While I’m very excited to get together with my team in person, I’m also pretty nervous. I mean I barely leave my house these days and now I’m preparing to leave the continent for the first time. It will be worth it though and Spain will be nice this time of year. It’s calling for a fair amount of snow the day I leave so I’m hoping that I’ll be able to get out easily. We’ve had pretty decent weather so far, but it’s turned cold now so it will be nice to go to a bit warner climate.