Job Perks

MacBook Pro with WordPress logo and only one sticker.

Aka. The stories a computer tells.

There are many things I love about my job, and two of them are:

  1. Getting to work with different types of technology, including new computers.
  2. Travel
My work computers

The average Happiness Engineer at Automattic works a machine hard. Long and hard. And to provide good support, we have to work as fast as possible while researching as much as possible. Soooo many tabs and browsers. This means it’s important to have workhorses (I mean computers) that hold up to our relentless boundary-pushing standards.

Fortunately the company realizes this, and we are eligible for new computers every 18 months. At that point, we can trade in our old computers or purchase them for the trade-in value. After four years of work, we get a treat. Instead of the Apple logo, we get to choose a Jetpack logo, an Automattic logo, Woo logo or a WordPress logo. I was actually happy with my computer and its performance so I pushed off getting my four-year special until after year five. I’m thankful for them all.

As I travel (mostly for company conferences, meetups, WordCamps, etc), I love to collect stickers. They bring back happy memories.

Macbook Air with stickers

This was my first computer (now my husband’s), and it’s a happy one since it included trips to Barcelona (my first meetup ever), Perugia and Portugal (a place where my heart lies). Also featured are the Buffalo from the Buffalo, NY Wordcamp, as well as Toronto, Saratoga Springs and New York City Wordcamps. Good times, indeed.

MacBook Pro with stickers

This second compute of mine is not so sticker-populated, but it holds some of my favorites. That Ben Dunkle signature on the support sticker from the Buffalo WordCamp? Priceless. And the WordPress is my super power! sticker designed by Michelle Ames for the Rochester, NY WordCamp is one of my all-time favorites. Two GMs in Orlando are reflected as well as one at Whistler. If you don’t know what a GM is, check out this super fun podcast on the topic.

See the coke bottle? That represents the Atlanta meetup. You can see our Montreal meetup represented as well. And Hogwarts represents my time on the mobile support teams. You probably all know that Deer Valley is special to me since a bunch of our kids work there, and Jiminy Peak is my snowboarding heaven.

The Jupiter stickers represent my team. I especially love the glow-in-the-dark planet my former teammate, Raul, gave as a gift. Now he’s on another team, but we keep in touch, and I love his thoughtfulness represented there. I also love that card-holder. That comes in super-handy at conferences for those of us who never remember to carry our cards around with us :). Chris got that idea from an attendee at WordCamp Buffalo a few years ago, and I copied it.

MacBook Pro with WordPress logo and only one sticker.

And now a new era begins with my new pretty. As you can see, it’s been christened with a Jiminy Peak sticker. I need to add a backup of my superpower sticker I have, and at least one Jupiter sticker. And a card holder. If all goes as planned, there will be another Utah sticker and a Panama one within a couple of months as well. So exciting.

I know I have worked with some of you readers. Those interactions, and times spent enjoying time reading the work of all of you I follow are also treasures tied into this technology. Everyday gifts that make the world a better place. I thank you for that.

**For the month of November each year, I try to focus on something I’m thankful for each day. It is the month that holds Thanksgiving where I live, after all. Focusing on the positive and remembering the little things that make life great are things I should do more often. Last year I found that writing every day during the holiday time got a bit stressful. So this year I’m writing throughout the year and scheduling the posts to go out in November.


There are a lot of great perks that come with my job. Recently I discovered a new one that I’m particularly thankful for. We are allowed to expense subscriptions to mindfulness apps. I’ve dabbled in them in the past, signing up for trials, but never took them too seriously. Recently, however, I’ve been embracing the forced quietness and guided breathing. It’s both energizing and calming at the same time. And healing.

just breathe GIF by chescaleigh

Since hurting my back in 2018, I’ve been having increasing discomfort as I work and travel. Initially I wrote it off as sciatica, and it might be to a certain extent, but physical therapy opened my eyes to poor habits which led to more pain. I stand wrong when working. I am losing core strength. My flexibility has somehow disappeared. Stress manifests itself in physical discomfort.

With these realizations, I started stretching, focusing on my core and learning to breathe through tougher situations. I feel my body and focus on relaxing during mindfulness sessions. The more I do so, the more I’m reminded to do this throughout the day, even when I’m not in a session.

While on a recent trip, I realized I could sit for many hours without pain. Even half a year ago stabbing pain shot down my leg and two toes numbed after only an hour in the car. Not anymore.

The upper back pain I’ve felt for years is now suddenly gone as well. Or maybe not so suddenly. I just suddenly noticed it.

Now that we have the perk, I’m exploring the app choices we have so I can continue on this healing path. After narrowing it down to Calm and Headspace I am settling on Calm. They are both very cool in different ways so I might switch off in the future. The good news is that I can decide month-to-month.

One of my favorite parts of Calm is the choice of nature sounds I can listen to while falling asleep. Relaxing with a book is another option. The app also comes with bedtime stories. I’ve listened to books while falling asleep, but these are narrated by people who deliberately use soothing tones. I’m getting all relaxed just thinking about it.

One can also choose what type of meditation is best each time. When I’m cranky, I can meditate focusing on gratitude. Or I can focus on forgiveness when feeling wronged. There are even sessions for breaking habits and focusing on mindful eating. Amazing.

The time of meditation focuses me and reminds me of how marvelous the gift of life is. It reminds me of my own insignificance and of the importance of learning to become a better human. It is my goal that by taking a step back to breathe and focus I will be able to manifest a statement from the Bible.

My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart [shall be] of understanding.

Psalm 49:3 (The Message)