I am one very happy Happiness Engineer

I little while ago I had a job interview that I accidentally turned up a day early for. Well, I’ve just been offered the job! I am now a very proud and excited Happiness Engineer at Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, Cloudup, PollDaddy, Jetpack, VaultPress, Gravatar, Akismet and more.

Fortunately turning up a day early for the interview did not ruin my chances. That wasn’t the only dumb thing I did though. I never told anyone this but I also somehow managed to turn up a week early for my first day of training! I was very keen. Now I can say, I work for Automattic! I work for Automattic! I work for Automattic!

Automattic is the coolest company on the planet. I think they must have adopted the hiring equivalent of Baba Binkman’s, Don’t sleep with mean people, because everyone who works there is so nice and clever too. The company is essentially flat so we all have a great deal of autonomy. The workforce is distributed which means I can work from home, wherever home may be: Auckland now, Scotland later.

The company creed is powerful and meaningful and is everything the company stands for and everything that I aspire to:

I will never stop learning. I won’t just work on things that are assigned to me. I know there’s no such thing as a status quo. I will build our business sustainably through passionate and loyal customers. I will never pass up an opportunity to help out a colleague, and I’ll remember the days before I knew everything. I am more motivated by impact than money, and I know that Open Source is one of the most powerful ideas of our generation. I will communicate as much as possible, because it’s the oxygen of a distributed company. I am in a marathon, not a sprint, and no matter how far away the goal is, the only way to get there is by putting one foot in front of another every day. Given time, there is no problem that’s insurmountable.

My role is to bring happiness to WordPress.com bloggers. It’s such a wonderful job title: Happiness Engineer and there’s something very fulfilling about being able to solve people’s problems. It’s the best job I’ve ever had.

There were quite a few hurdles to get to this point. I had to go through two initial interviews as well as complete a homework task, then a six-week trial and then finally an interview with founder and CEO, Matt Mullenweg. The interview with Matt lasted for over four hours! The six-week trial is six weeks of performing on the job and doing exactly what full-time Happiness Engineers do. It gave me a peek at the inner-workings of Automattic and let me know whether this is something I want to do permanently and it is! The trial is also a test to see whether potential candidates are fit for purpose and somewhat inexplicably to me, I apparently am!

One thing that happened to me during trial is that the exclamation mark has possessed me. I suddenly find myself using it all the time. It’s as though it has a life of its own and it can magically lift the tone of my text. Exclamation marks and emojis, I have discovered, are the tools of Happiness Engineers.

It’s not at all lonely working from home. Far from it. Communication at Automattic is via IRC and internal blogs. Logging into the IRC each morning is like opening the door to the office. There’s an energy there and a buzz of activity.

Automattic is awesome and growing and hiring!

66 responses to “I am one very happy Happiness Engineer”

      • My first question, Ma’m: Why does the Reader scrolls back when the queue reaches 20 posts? It is rather annoying to scroll down again especially when I have reached long long way down and the Reader suddenly refreshes. Can you please do something about this.
        Thank you for your concern. I appreciate all the help.

      • The Reader doesn’t do that for me, Belsbror. It has infinite scroll so you should be able to continue scrolling down as long as there are more posts to see without it bouncing back up to the top.

        Which browser are you using? It might be worth checking that you’ve got the latest version of one of the recommended browsers:

        You could also try clearing your cookies and cache by following these instructions:

        Try also disabling all the extensions on your browser if you have any. Some adblockers can interfere with the loading of WordPress.com sites. Then check that you’ve enabled cookies and javascript. Failing all of this, try a different browser altogether to see whether the problem persists.

  1. Congrats Rachel!!! That is awesome, and what a hiring process to get through!

    Now I know who to ask when I get stuck!

    I did this site last year http://mypetrieterrace.com.au – sold it to our real estate agent and they’ve fiddled with it a bit but I found buying a template a wonderful experience for a non techie


    • Thank you! Your My Petrie Terrace site is brilliant. I’m not surprised your real estate agent bought it. Maybe you could turn this into a business?

    • Thanks! It really is the best job ever. I haven’t told you that one of my tasks this weekend is to book flights to my first meetup which will be next month and I have a choice: a week in Hawaii or a week in Mexico!

  2. Rachel — so impressed! What a brilliant job you have. I’m amazed that your interview took 4 hours. Congratulations! Sounds a wonderful company.

    • Thanks, Bronwyn. The interview was text chat and so four hours is quite a reasonable length of time in this format. There were some pauses between questions too.

  3. Congratulations Rachel, Happiness Engineer….

    Love the new look, much better and more enticing. Exclamation marks, I understand, what are ’emojis’?

    Now tell me, what does a Happiness Engineer do? Do you get an extra coffee ration for that? I am a WordPresser, how are you going to make me happy? Because, I am not; at least where WordPress is concerned. I am here because I don’t trust BlogSpot, so for me WP is second best.

    First job, make AV happy! <—– note exclamation mark magically lifting the tone of my text

    Once again, congratulations, dream jobs are hard to come by.


    • AV,

      As an Automattic Happiness Engineer I help people to use our products like WordPress.com. It’s a kind of glorified support position but there’s much more to it than regular support. In fact, I would say there’s an element of Sherlock Holmes to solving some of the problems that crop up and the breadth of problems is huge. They range from very technical issues to complaints about copyright infringement.

      During my six-week trial I found a core bug in WordPress.org which meant I got to submit my very first trac ticket. That was exciting! Someone picked it up immediately and the bug was fixed within two hours. This was on a Monday morning my time so it was Sunday for most of the rest of the world.

      I am sorry to hear you are not happy. I will do my very best to rectify the situation. Why are you unhappy?

      P.S. I’m glad you figured out what an emoji is 🙂

      • So, a Happiness Engineer is realy a shoulder to cry on… okay. Finding that core bug was pretty nifty, that definitely deserves an extra coffee ration.

        As to why I am unhappy, well, WP is for rich people, us beggars at the bottom with free WP blogs are forgotten. No plug ins, no fancy templates. Why can’t we import templates of our choice. There are some beautiful free templates out there to use, but we are stuck with WP’s dowdy choices. Hell, we can’t even access our http.


      • AV,

        I think you’re confusing WordPress.com with WordPress.org. WordPress software is open source and completely free for everyone. Anyone can download the software to use but you have to find a web host and pay them to host it for you.

        However for people who don’t want to pay hosting, they can come to WordPress.com and get a WordPress site for free! So it’s exactly the opposite of what you think. WordPress.com is for us poor folk who want a completely free blog. Admittedly I’ve paid for a couple of upgrades for mine now but nothing fancy or expensive. The hosting is still free! Because of this WordPress.com have put a few restrictions in place which means you can’t upload your own themes or plugins. This is for security reasons and is to avoid problems arising from potentially malicious code on our servers.

        If you want all those fancy extras, then you can download WordPress from WordPress.org for free. But you need to host it yourself and you will need to manage security, backups and updates yourself as well.

        There are also lots of themes already installed for WordPress.com sites – 274 and counting:

        Of these, there are 155 free themes. Which theme did you want to use on your blog and I’ll see whether we’ve got it or if there’s something similar you can try.

  4. Brilliant news Rachel – sounds like you’re the perfect fit! I wondered if there would be an announcement following your job interview and then your happiness declaration weeks ago. Now I know why it took so long! I’m so happy for you xxx

    • Thank you, Susie! I’ve been working fairly solidly since not long after that first interview but didn’t want to tell anyone in case I didn’t get the job.

  5. Dear Rachel, this is wonderful news for you, many, many congratulations! I can’t think of a more perfect job for you and I love the title…I had no idea that Happiness Engineer was a job title! How great that you can work from home, perfect. Maybe you can help me with my WP issues 🙂

  6. Congrats on your position! Hope you still love it. Can you give us an brief / vague idea of what the ‘homework’ challenge is like? Inquiring minds want to know. 😉

    • Hi Redrambles1,

      Thank you! I do love my job. I love the people I work with, the users I help, and the philosophy at Automattic.

      I don’t think I’m allowed to say what the homework task is but it’s nothing complicated or tricky. It’s more designed to assess the applicant’s communication skills. It’s nothing technical. Good luck to whoever it is!

  7. Congratulations and well done. I like the title Happiness Engineer and if I was remotely technically inclined, I’m poach it. Heaven help me if anyone asked me to fix anything other than a broken heart xx Rowena

  8. Super to hear you love your job still! 🙂 I was searching for something else and found your blog, so I stopped in to read. Have a fabulous day!

  9. Such an awesome post seeing someone totally enthused and enthralled with a new position. I chanced upon Automattic just a few hours ago and my mind is blown that there is actually a company that executes in such a manner where the customers are indeed, KINGS and QUEENS and not let all the old-school bureaucracy creep in like many tech firms eventually succumb to.

    Can’t wait to see what’s in store for Automattic and hope that I can share the same story as yours eventually.

      • Great to hear that. I’m also curious, when I look at many Happiness Engineers on LinkedIn, a lot of profiles seem to show that besides the Automattic role, many of you have another job. Is it simply because time allows or the role’s pay requires it? Cheers

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