I met and an Automattician and one year in support

I met one of my co-workers today for the first time. Richard, who also works for Automattic, will be moving to Aberdeen with his lovely wife and daughter later this year. They have been in Aberdeen scoping out places to live and so they came over for a visit this morning. It’ll be so nice to have someone from the same company living in the same city as me. We were even both wearing matching WordPress socks. I’ll let you guess who is who in this next photo:

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I have been working for Automattic, and by the same token, working in support, for over a year now. I realised recently how much working in support suits my personality. I sometimes get down about all the terrible things in the world and about how I’d like to wave a magic wand and fix it. But since I’m not some benevolent dictator, there’s very little I can do. However working in support gives me the opportunity to fix things. They might seem insignificant compared to world hunger and climate change, but they are important to individuals, to our users. It’s so satisfying to have the power to fix a problem or make something better for someone else and working in support gives me that.

I’ve also realised that the most important skill for working in a support role is not knowledge of the product itself, although this helps, it’s communication, empathy, and an investigative mind. This might sound clichéd but let me elaborate. Since I started with Automattic I’ve supported WordPress.com, the WordPress apps for Android and iOS, Simplenote for Android, iOS, and Mac, and now Akismet – an anti-spam service. Good support transcends the product. Products can be learned. Support is about understanding the problem the user is communicating, viewing the situation from their point of view, troubleshooting and investigating, and then conveying the solution in clear and simple language.

Hopefully my second year in support will be just as challenging and satisfying as the last. I’m looking forward to it.

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