Usually I’d write some kind of glittering intro here. Y’know, to sound all witty and make you think the rest of this was worth reading.
It is, by the way. I just don’t have the energy to make it sound that way.
Here we go.
Two weeks ago, I started working at Automattic, the company behind WordPress, who powers this very blog. As is tradition, new people do 3 weeks of support for WordPress itself, answering support tickets and doing live support chats with real users.
As many people in Automattic will tell you, it’s an invaluable experience. You find out more about the company, the product, and the users, than you would any other way.
It’s also a great way to get super tired and super stressed if, like me, you have a low opinion of yourself, anxiety, and more empathy than is healthy.
I just can’t help it. If someone is asking for help, I physically feel a need to help them. My point of view seems to switch to theirs, and their problem becomes mine. Add to that, the fact that I’m new to using WordPress itself, and you get a recipe for stress. A lot of the time, I just don’t know the answer, and I have someone asking me to help, needing me to solve their problem.
Thankfully, the problem of zealous empathy seems to pervade Automattic. Perhaps it’s down to their hiring process, or the type of people they attract – I don’t know – all I know is that everyone seems to want to help me solve problems just as much as I want to help our users. It’s good to know that I have a huge team of people backing me up, who can answer pretty much anything.
And sometimes, we get asked questions that have simply never been asked before. Then, we have to go experiment and figure it out. Try stuff. Take a risk or two. Because if we mess up, everyone knows we’re only human, and they’re only too happy to help fix things.
It’s a very nice way to work. And I’m finding (especially when it comes to domain and DNS issues) that I’m able to help others too.
Which is nice.