gm 2019 recap: thoughts, feelings, revelations

Oh hi! Long time no blog, huh? It’s been a whirlwind lately, and I haven’t taken much time to do things that I enjoy, including writing (in whatever form that takes on any particular day). But! I just spent a week in Orlando with 800+ of my coworkers being inspired, challenged, and cheered on, and I’m ready to approach things with a better mindset.

So, with that thought, here’s a sort-of recap of the time I spent at this year’s Automattic Grand Meetup in Orlando, Florida.

(That’s one of the crazy things that happened in the last year – I got a job with WordPress.com!  🎉)

Thoughts

The GM was a delightfully monstrous affair, in that the amount of work that went into the scheduling of events and wrangling of people was enormous. I was continually impressed throughout the week at how well everything came together, and all of the little touches evident in the conference spaces. Posters with parts of our company creed hung in the hallways, decals on the floor pointed the way to lunch and dinner spaces, and there were pins you could use to declare any number of things, from LGBTQIA+ to whether you had an iPhone or an Android.

It was especially amazing watching things finalize in the lead-up, because during that time we had exciting news – Automattic acquired tumblr! You can imagine the extra work needed to get that wrapped up, but even with that going on the events team was able to wrangle multiple classes, keynote speakers, and an evening at Universal Studios’ Marvel Island (closed just for us!).

Picture taken by the wonderful Velda.

This year I was able to attend a few different classes, and we had about six or seven different keynote speakers, so it was a jam-packed week full of learning.

Feelings

When I say I was overwhelmed, it’s a bit of an understatement. By the second-to-last day I felt like crying at the breakfast table because I desperately wanted to go home, and not have to exert any more social energy. Before I boarded my flight out to the GM, I also found out that my grandma had a heart attack the previous night. My mom didn’t want to worry me, and only texted to let me know after she was taken to the hospital and everything was fine. So add those suppressed feelings of worry and panic onto the feeling of not being able to escape to the comfort of my own home, and it could be a bit much at times. I’m just really glad that she’s okay and resting now, and when my team found out they were super comforting and offered so much love and kind words.

That being said, I had the time of my life. I’ve never met so many talented, warm, genuine humans, and one company employs all of them! It really speaks to the keen senses of the hiring team, and the strength of our creed and shared values.

It was also incredibly fulfilling to meet so many of my fellow Happiness Engineers, and make a bunch of new friends and connections within the division. My heart is full from the laughs, stories, and heart to hearts that took place over the last week ❤

As much fun as it was getting to know people outside of my team and division, I feel like the bonds between myself and my teammates became deeper and stronger. I love these people so much 😭💕

Revelations

Some important takeaways and reminders for next year:

  • 800 people is a lot of people.
  • Three meals a day is cool (I’m terrible at this at home), until they’re three buffet meals a day plus really great snacks and amazing mocktails.
  • Lazy River. That’s it. That’s the tweet.
  • Always say yes to glitter.
  • Go to sleep by midnight, even though FOMO is the worst thing ever.

And finally, I’m happy to say that this trip solidified something for me:

I’m exactly where I’m meant to be at this moment in time, and I hope to continue my Automattic journey for many years to come.


Featured Image: Photo by Tim Foster on Unsplash

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