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San Francisco by Night

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The plan was to cut out of the welcome party early, take a sleeping pill, go to bed at 8pm and wake up rested and refreshed at 7am, completely dodging jet lag. All was going according to the plan, until I woke up at 2am and was not able to go back to sleep.

“Glorified tech support”?

An old friend reached out — she was looking me up and saw that I list my job title as “Happiness Engineer” (she actually read is as “happiness generator”) at Automattic. She was intrigued and asked about what this job was about. The first words that I typed up were actually “glorified tech support”. Which totally does not do my job any justice, because Happiness Engineering is so much more versatile and creative!

A lot of what I do is invisible to the public because I’m interacting with users one-on-one: via email, private support forums, or live chat. I also train new employees in the ways of Happiness (everyone joining Automattic goes through a three-week support rotation) and write and update internal docs.

There are a few things that are public, though, that I could share with my friend as a sample of what I do when I say I’m working. Some of my support replies are in the community forums, so you can check out my forum profile to see what kind of questions Happiness Engineers field.

I also interviewed some of our forum volunteers and those posts (four so far) were published on WordPress.com News blog. Pressing “Publish” on a blog with over 9 million followers was a bit unnerving the first time. The second time was no big deal though: comments on en.blog are generally positive (yay!) and moderating them is a breeze.

So those are some of the things that I do for work. If you have other questions about the Happiness Engineer position, ask in comments or check the job posting (always looking for more people to join!).

Take Your Daughter to Work, Minsk Edition

My dad took me took his office this morning. I’m in Belarus for two weeks and wanted to get out of the house to reduce distractions and interruptions.

That’s my dad’s calculator and fax machine next to my MacBook Air. He uses both and does not have a computer at work. He has a laptop at home that he uses mainly for reading and watching Belarussian and Russian financial and economic news.

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You Can’t Become Great Without Looking Like an Asshole

Jenia:

Elizabeth is brilliant. The fact that she’ll be writing my cheques in ten years is not the reason why I’m reblogging this.

Originally posted on Accismus:

I’ve been thinking a lot this year about what I’ve learned in life so far. I’ve been thinking, if I were to bundle up all of my life experiences into a pithy little book of bullshit platitudes and truisms and motivational nuggets that could go in the little spinning caddie in the checkout aisle at Barnes & Noble, what would I have to say?

The short answer is, not a whole hell of a lot.

I’ve spent the majority of my adult life dabbling, which hasn’t resulted in a lot of specific expertise, but it has given me the benefit of watching other people apply themselves in a variety of fields, from just starting out, through figuring it out, through becoming expert. And I’ve figured out one thing about getting really great at anything.

You have to be willing to look like a total, embarrassing, screaming asshole for anywhere from…

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