I’ve been working with companies for 25 years. I’ve seen all kinds of jobs. I’ve been a starving intern, a corporate drone, a career ladder maverick, a middle manager, a senior manager, a cog in a cubicle, hired. fired, hunted, had options, had investments, I’ve done creative jobs and execution jobs – in short I know a lot about having a job.
I feel like Automattic is peak job. I have reached Peak job.
Yes. I mean, this job is as much as anyone can ever expect from a company to put on the table for a job. Let’s not bury any lede: it’s still just a job, but it’s the best experience you can get while still being a wage person.
It’s not peak salary. It’s not peak perks. It’s not peak options.
My job is peak job. Here is why.
- Automattic is among the first companies to champion the creation of a global fully distributed remote workforce.
- It spends a lot of money trying to figure it out – it’s not easy – and as other corps call their people back into the tall glass silos I can work from under the sun. Understanding remote and human resource distribution is in the DNA of this company. I see plenty people paid less than I am at bigger corps that have to “move the mouse from time to time” to silence the company spyware.
- Automattic is among the first companies to introduce the idea of “unlimited AFK” (unlimited time off) as a way to emphasise that it has a focus on value not on effort.
- It’s not unlimited holiday, but it can be. It’s not a three day work week, but it can be. You just mind your own self, sanity, health, relationships and balance your output to enjoy time that is not randomly limited by the company.
- You can do basically whatever you want, as long as you’re upfront about it and have a plan.
- Want to switch careers? Fine, here’s some free education. Want to make an ERG and deal with that, fine, here’s all the HR support you want. Do you have an idea that is impactful for the company but outside of your daily grind? Fine, just figure it out with your lead.
- I think Automattic is by far the most transparent company I’ve ever worked for.
- Wether it’s good news, bad news, numbers, people, positions, decisions, office politics, the unavoidable back-channeling, it’s all out in the open on the company’s internal blogs. And it’s the kind of transparency that takes feedback and deals with it. I’ve seen mere transparency before, but it’s not enough. You’re supposed to be empowered to act on what you learn, and Automattic excels at that.
- Blunders are all over the place, by anyone
- You’re not a cog in a machine that is working well because of things put in motion decades ago (ahem IBM or even Google). You’re a cog in a machine that has still not figured out its timing, its ins and outs. It’s the dynamic nice startup feeling with a corporate safety vibe.
- You get to travel the world and spend zero money
- Yes, it’s not family vacations – it’s for work, but the team and division meet-ups are human centred, encouraging collaboration, fostering innovation and connection, not your average company travel chore, where you’re stuck 18 hours in some conference room, with a projector fan always on, listening to your fearless leader. For most people travelling for work with Automattic I think there is a great amount of experiences they would have never gotten otherwise.
Also my position in particular:
- I am a sponsored full time contributor to the WordPress open source project in a whole division that is basically Automattic’s five for the future pledge (5% of the company donated to the open source project).
- I am surrounded by smart and passionate people, a state which extends far beyond the company, deep into the hundreds and hundreds of contributors.
- I am near my 3 month paid sabbatical and I am posting this company praise to make sure I don’t get fired just before it. …
Of course I am kidding! I am kidding! … I will not delete this post if they fire me, it all still applies.
WordPress is a force of good.
This last bit, my position in particular, really puts this job to peak job position.
It’s an excellent and deeply meaningful work to contribute to what empowers – for free – millions upon millions of people to express themselves and make money.
Yes, SEO spammers farming WP installs are people too. They make a buck. But if we push the hate aside, WordPress is a force of good keeping the web open, distributed – if not decentralised yet – and accessible to anyone who wants to participate in it.
It’s very hard to quit peak job. A good job you can quit. For more cash. For less commute. For more “interesting projects”. For diagonal career moves. But peak job is very sticky. From this peak it’s easy to see so many of the downsides of other jobs.
Jetpack AI assistant insists I should balance the “overwhelmingly positive” tone with some bad stuff. There is plenty of it. It’s just that – in my almost 5 years I haven’t seen one that is not to be found literally anywhere else.