Early Days At Automattic
Although it is putting the cart before the horse, today’s post is about my tentative goals early on in my job as an Automattic Events Wrangler! 🙂
The cart and horse are reversed because I haven’t been contacted yet about an interview chat, and haven’t done the trial period work which follows a successful interview. Planning for the best means I’m counting on being offered an interview, having a great chat with the interviewer, being offered a trial work period, having a fantastic time working with other Automattic team members to wrangle one or several successful events, and then being offered a job with Automattic as an events wrangler!
Although I have no way of knowing at this point exactly what I’d be doing for Automattic during my first few events after the orientation period, from my past events wrangling experience and the online job description, I’m well-acquainted with many of the position’s responsibilities. Knowing what I do, below are a few areas where I plan to focus my spare time that isn’t being spent on specifically assigned projects, tasks or responsibilities.
Begin Developing Network & Resources
One of the first goals is to intentionally develop my personal network of people and resources related to the events wrangler job. That network will include people both inside and outside Automattic. At first I’ll have my work cut out for me to learn all the Automattic people I’ll be working with, as well as the essential people outside the company. But as I get settled in and start to understand the job better, I’ll begin to develop a list of target contacts to meet.
It will be both fun and challenging to begin building this network as a new member of a mostly-remote company. I’ve worked for large corporations, medium size companies and small startups, but I’ve never worked in a company where most workers were dispersed around the country and across the globe. One of my networking goals for the past ten years has been to increase the number of people I’m connected with outside the USA. Looks like this job will help with my “international contacts” goal.
One of the relationship-building principles I believe in firmly is that I must always work to help out others before I ask them to help me. So one of my challenges will be figuring out what I can do to help my colleagues and the people I work with who are outside the company.
Resources are a critical part of being a successful events wrangler. I’ll keep track of resources being used on events with which I’m involved, I’ll document resources that others share with me, and I’ll search out more resources based on what appears likely to be most helpful to me and my coworkers.
Locate & Learn Events Wrangler Tools
Current events wranglers at Automattic have their own tools for doing their work. Some of the tools will be Automattic products or documents, while others will be standard non-Automattic tools that most wranglers use. A third category of tools is personally-accumulated ones that may be freely shared or may be under-the-radar and not widely discussed or mentioned.
The first step will be to get to know the other wranglers and, when there’s time, have them explain the finer points of how they do their job and tricks they’ve picked up over the years, to the extent they are comfortable sharing those with me.
Discover & Organize Past Event Info
It sounds like Automattic has a huge treasure trove of company history and information. So my first task on the “past event info” goal is to become skilled at finding the information I’m looking for (or should be looking for) in the company info repository. I enjoy that type of work on Google, so I’m sure I’ll have fun poking around in the system on my own time, finding nooks and crannies with information that can help me out in the future or point me to other knowledge which will help me and others.
I look forward to learning about the tools Automattic has for organizing knowledge and data. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that employees of an organization tend to come up similar ideas over the years. A company’s needs, products and challenges tend to direct new generations of worker toward similar solutions, with an endless variety of small differences, but often much the same general approach. For this reason, assimilating a large gulp of company and event history will help me do my job more effectively, will help me help others with their jobs, and will lead to building off the progress and mistakes others have made. It would be foolish to think that I can come up with all the ideas others have, or that I should ignore all their hard work because it’s no longer relevant.
Automattic Events’ Keys To Success
Automattic, as a company, has no doubt learned a lot about organizing and putting on successful events. There are often two aspects to that success.
The first aspect is whether the event achieved specific company goals, whether written or just understood and communicated verbally. Documenting what those goals were for past events, and how they were (or weren’t) reached will help me do a good job of achieving similar goals.
The second aspect is what participants or attendees of the Automattic events saw as successful. What specific feedback did those people give that sounded like they had a fantastic time because of one component of the event? What made them so delighted that they told all their friends (or the internet) about the great time they had? In what way was a specific event so much better and more memorable than previous similar ones?
Documenting, understanding and internalizing those keys to success for both the company and the attendees will enable me to repeat that success, and, I hope, exceed it!
This post is just a brief look at what I expect to do in my early days on the job, in addition to specific events tasks for which I’m responsible. My plan is to have this be a living document which will be updated as I think of other goals which will help make me more useful to other Automattic team members, will make the events I work on more successful, and will make my early days with Automattic memorable and rewarding.
It will be interesting to see how my current vision for the future matches up with reality… 🙂