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.


Tools for Establishing Routines
animation calm down GIF by Chibird
Oh May it be So

My life is kind of getting away from me – lacking routines. You know the feeling? I bet most can relate. It’s a struggle balancing life, home, family, friends, work, play, faith, exercise, etc. Fortunately, one of the perks of being an Automattic employee is that we get time with a job coach if we want.

My Job Coach

After some video training I browsed through a list of coaches to see who might be a good fit for me based on their backgrounds and their summaries of their points of focus. For a start, I could meet any coach I wanted for a 15-minute video session to see how we interacted. Finally, I picked one to meet with for 10 sessions.

There was one who stood out to me. Sara. She’s a mom who enjoys salsa and who lived in Lisbon. Maybe that’s all what drew me. Plus she is just simply inspiring and focused on establishing peace. We met, and I immediately felt really confident working with her.

Now I’m almost half-way through our sessions, and I have to tell you it’s amazing. I’m not overwhelmed with info from her (she definitely guides me, but at my own pace so I’m not lost in the currents of life). Sara suggests little tweaks that make me so much more productive and helps me see where to focus as I establish routines. She also gives me resources to study to become a better human in general.

So that’s been happening, plus some travel for the company’s meetup, during which I learned soooooooooooo much. After the Grand Meetup (GM), I attended  Rochester WordCamp and learned even more. So many thoughts. So much to write about.


But first, I had to get organized. ‘cuz I’m like that. I sorted arenas of my life into categories, made myself some new Trello lists (while looking into Asana), updated my calendars, cleaned out my Simplenote lists and updated my tags, and now I’m ready to write, by golly! There’s even a list of thoughts and topics from my last few weeks I want to write about.

Not all of it will be here — some will be on my Inspired by and Thankful For blog, and some will be for internal work documents, and some will be communications with family and friends, but I have scheduled time for daily addressing my own mind-dump needs.

I’m really looking forward to this new routine, and am feeling a bit less scattered already.


Life changed, and I was a bit wary about it at first. Near the end of 2017, after 2+ years working in mobile app support for WordPress, I changed gears and went back to the arena I originally worked in–general support for

I love the mobile app. In fact, I’m using it right now to write this post. I thought I never wanted to leave that arena of support. Still, I understood when the company made the decision to have myself and other coworkers take turns working in specialized areas of support. Now other people could learn about the app.

When I started gearing up my knowledge quiver, preparing to provide general support again, I flashed back 3.5 years to my trial. Everything has changed so much since the last time I had been in general support. We are using new-to-me internal tools, and we offer so many different things than we did last time I worked in here (ex: you can now use plugins with our Business plan). I felt like a complete novice. And it was really exciting 🙂 There was/is so much to learn!

My coworkers, as always, cheerfully and readily pointed me in the right direction whenever I got stuck on something. This is such an amazing company to work in.

Now I’m a month and a half into my new role, and I can’t believe how much I’m loving it. I thought I would dread it, but I’m back to looking forward to waking up every day so I get to work again.

When I was in mobile support, I answered questions through a medium that was very similar to texting, but it wasn’t an immediate back and forth. Now I get to work in a mix of mediums. Sometimes it’s email, but I often do live chat, which is like instant messaging. I really enjoy that because even though we are typing, I actually get to talk with the people who use our product.

One of the beautiful things about WordPress is that it’s so versatile. Pretty much — if you can dream it, it can happen. Talking with people who use it inspires me as I see their creativity and the great things they are doing in the world. From art to nonprofits to regular business, the list of inspiration is unending.

One of my super favorite parts of my role in my job now is that I get to meet with people who use this product in a screenshare session so we actually get to talk with each other. Voice to voice. That’s for people with a Business plan. When one works remotely, as I do, the personal interactions like this are a real treat. For example, on Monday I talked with someone in Canada, someone from Norway, and someone from the southern United States in separate sessions. We talked about websites set up for nonprofits helping school children, we talked about websites for sharing rental properties, and we talked about setting up a store on website so someone could work from home. I love the global and business variety that comes with the job.

The only thing that is missing is something that I knew would be hard. I really do miss the mobile app world. But then I remembered that I could still be part of it by testing beta versions 🙂 I’m using a beta now.

I wish you could all personally meet the developers for the mobile app. They are super amazing people who are really dedicated to making the app the best that it can be. And they really listen when people report back to us with things that they want to see and with things that are problems. I’ve seen that first-hand. So I find it a real treat to test the app, work with what’s coming up down the road, and know that my voice is heard when I report any problems with it. If you’re into that sort of thing, you should give it a try. The beta testing option is open for everyone 🙂

A change this has been, for sure. But it reminded me that change can be a really good thing. As I get older, I am starting to see the signs that change is a bit trickier than it was in my past. I am thankful for reminders like this — change can be very beneficial.

My Work as an Exterminator

Image from - licensed to share with attributionWay back in high school I took a test to see what career I could thrive in. Can you imagine my family’s shock (and laughter) when my results came back, and we discovered that my optimal path was as an exterminator?

While a super admirable career for many (and one I greatly appreciate), it definitely wasn’t the right one for me. For example, as a mother of three sons I pride myself in my ability to handle most things with aplomb.

Blood and stitches? No problem. I even pulled a few out of one of my son’s head one time.

I not only watched the Walking Dead episode in which intestines were a major theme (not giving away spoilers here), but I did it while eating spaghetti. Yeah. Hard core.

And yet a few weeks ago my grown-up self inadvertently squealed and dropped a shirt on the floor at the dry cleaners (fortunately it hadn’t been cleaned yet) and did the spider dance because I happened to spy an arachnid the size of a quarter inside the shirt. I was mortified.

My mind knows that is ridiculous, but my reactions don’t seem to follow what my mind dictates in that arena.

Screen Shot 2017-11-08 at 5.50.08 PMThere it is. The idea of me being an exterminator was a great cause of mirth in my family.

Until I realized one day that I had become one!

I do find and help kill bugs for a living! It’s just that the bugs I face are in code. I replicate, find and report the bugs so our developers can squash them.

Soooo, joke’s on me. I have a job as an exterminator. The high school test was accurate.

The Tablik – Simple and Effective

I recently got a new office setup. It’s really a dream, and I’ll write about it someday, but for today I’m just going to rave about my Tablik™.

This super-simple device has turned into the handiest little tool. I put a puck (which came with it) on the back of my iPad, and it easily snaps into place. Sometimes I use the iPad as a unique display while I work. Other times, I set it up as an extra monitor. When I need to go somewhere, I just grab it and go.

My Tablik


  • It’s super simple to set up.
  • It’s really easy to use.
  • It allows me to pull a screen closer for easier reading or further away for extra room–whatever I want at the moment.
  • It gives me a lot of freedom and choice in my daily usage.


  • One has to add pucks to each device intended for use.
  • The puck makes it difficult to fit the iPad into a regular case

Fortunately for me, I have a very innovative husband. He took the $7 cover I got from Ebay and used snippers and some velcro to make it work with my puck. All is good now–problem solved. See?