Welcome to Automattic Women—conversations with some of the remarkable women working all over the world to design and develop Automattic software and make the web a better place. Today’s interviewee, Rebecca Williams, talks to us from her home on the Wild Atlantic Way coastline of Ireland’s Louisburgh, County Mayo.
Who are you, and what do you do?
I’m an Engineer Development Wrangler, and I work within Engineer Development in the Developer Experience (DevEx) part of Automattic’s Talent division. Our team supports Automattic engineering teams in the areas of growth, onboarding, and leadership.
My role oversees engineer onboarding and engagement. This involves working with over 150 new starters each year, as well as building and maintaining relationships with leads and other engineers. I am definitely kept busy, but I enjoy every minute of it!
Our process begins at the intersection of hiring and the start date, and we provide support to both our new starters and our leads to ensure that everyone is correctly prepared for the start date.
As well as individual check-ins, we also hold monthly onboarding calls. These calls are a great opportunity to touch base with our new starters, and to find out what has been working well for them and what we can help with.
Any feedback that we receive during these calls, or via the surveys, is followed-up and acted upon whenever possible to improve the process for future new starters.
The ultimate goal is to ensure that all of our engineers land smoothly in their teams—that they know what to expect and what is expected of them, and are well placed to begin contributing and feeling productive at the earliest point. We want everyone to feel like they are reaching their full potential, and to consider what else they could achieve within Automattic.
What’s a typical day like for you?
Freedom to choose where we work is one of the great things about jobs at Automattic. Working from home is great, but I also really enjoy working from a coworking space, too. That way I can support small businesses in my local community, and enjoy a change of scenery.
I drop my daughter off at school, then pop into my favorite coffee shop for a caffeine hit. I make my way to the coworking space, or to my home office, depending on where I decide to work that day.
I start my day by checking emails and Slack pings, as well as reading up on any news that happened while I was offline. I try to keep myself organized with productivity tools like Todoist, which I use with Slack integration, enabling me to mark things for attention later.
I start my day by getting all of my operational and process-driven tasks completed, and then I gravitate towards more focused work. At lunch time, I make an effort to take a walk—often to the beach. I find that this is a great way to reset myself and perhaps untangle anything I have been concentrating on in the morning.
By the time I return to my desk, I am usually ready to go again. I might have some calls, or I might be ready to switch my focus on some other tasks.
I find time-boxing whatever task I choose to do to be a great way to provide focus for myself. I am definitely a morning person, so by splitting my afternoon, I give myself specific time-frames to work in, which works really well for me. By 3:30, I am ready to pick up my daughter from school.
When we’re home from school, I log back on and pick things up where I left off until 5:30-6pm. I usually end up feeling pretty productive by the end of the day!
What drew you to Automattic and what keeps you here?
I discovered Automattic at a local remote-workers’ meet-up run by Grow Remote. Afterwards, I read as many blogs by Automatticians as I could find, and one in particular really spoke to me. Having previously worked in a great team, I decided that this emotional connection with others was a really important factor for me, wherever I landed.
The entire Creed resonated with me, but particularly “I will never pass up the opportunity to help out a colleague, and I’ll remember the days before I knew everything.” This is still incredibly important to me, and something that I see for myself being demonstrated on a daily basis. In many ways, onboarding embodies this statement perfectly!
Another thing that was really important to me was finding an organization that was family-friendly. Being able to do the school run, and be present for my daughter is crucial. Additionally, being able to move my working day around to accommodate dental, physiotherapy appointments, and school visits means that I can spend my annual leave with my family, and really get the benefit from that offline time.
This role provides me the best of everything: a great and supportive team, awesome colleagues, work that keeps me interested and curious—and being able to do all of this from my home. What’s not to love?!
What’s your favorite non-work activity?
Two things really recharge me: spending time in nature, and focusing on a project. When the weather is kind, I will take a long walk—there’s no shortage of interesting routes to take and I have some favourites!
When the weather is not great, I love to cross-stitch: I immerse myself in really complex projects that are intricate and time consuming. My last stitching project was Cinderella’s Castle, and that took four years to complete (with a Master’s degree in the middle of that!). My current project is An Evening in Venice. It’s taken two years so far, and I’m not even halfway through!
That’s it for this edition of Automattic Women. Follow Developer Resources and Automattic Design to meet more great women of Automattic. And if you’d like to do more than just read about these great people, consider working with us!