Automattic Grand Meetup 2016 in Whistler

Automattic Grand Meetup is an annual event where the whole company get together and spend a week. This year, we all travelled to Whistler, Canada.

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Writing Class

For an elective project/class, I took the Art of Wiring class taught by Nicole Kohler. She is a content manager for the Woo team and I’ve always enjoyed reading her posts on WooCommerce Blog.

I used to fear English writing assignments at high school & college, but this was nothing like those. I enjoyed feeling like I’m able to improve rather than being pointed out my flaws.

Activities

We were lucky not to get rained too hard during the Whistler Photowalk tour. The clouds & rainbow after a shower were a nice bonus!

I also joined a cooking class, tea tasting, and Asiamattician breakfast with lots of local food everyone brought from home.

Swing dancing and the farewell party were not just fun but good opportunities to see the side of my colleagues that I don’t get to see every day.

Back to Work

The Grand Meetup was an excellent timing for me to catch up with what’s going on after a sabbatical.

The event reminded me how lucky I am to be working at a company that inspires & helps me grow both professionally and personally.

Taking a Sabbatical

For the next three month, I’m taking the first sabbatical in my life.

When I first heard that I can take a fully paid sabbatical every five years at Automattic, it was about a half year after coming back from my 3-month maternity leave. My sixth year started a couple month before then, but I didn’t feel like going away for an extended time again – even though the fact is that the company encourages us to take one.

Even when I seriously started thinking about the time off for this summer, I wasn’t 100% sure if this is going to be a good idea for me. 

I like my work, and there are so many things I want to get done!

One of my teammates who shared some of the tasks with me is no longer around, maybe I should wait.

Won’t this create too much extra work for others in my team?

But now that I have passed over my work to Andrew who will be backing me up, I feel both relieved and ready. 

From today, I’m taking a 10-day trip with my husband and daughter to Vienna. I will be speaking & volunteering at WCEU (that may sound like work but I’m doing that as just someone involved in the WordPress community 🙂 )

I plan on taking some more trips, reading books, organizing WordCamp Tokyo, and working on some other projects I have in mind.

Photos: Automattic Grand Meetup 2015 in Park City, Utah

For the past week, I was in Park City, UT for an annual company meetup. Here are some photos from the trip, although I don’t think I took enough of them to capture exactly what it was like. I guess that’s not a bad thing, because that means I was too busy being overwhelmed, inspired, excited, and amused by actually being with the great people I (remotely) work with at Automattic.

Now, going back to my regular work schedule & some WordCamp Tokyo prep!

Check out #a8cgm tags on Twitter & Instagram for more photos, tweets, blog posts about the meetup.

Photos: Automattic Table at PHP Conference Japan 2015

Last Saturday, I staffed the Automattic sponsor table with two of my coworkers at PHP Conference Japan. Thanks to the great team of organizers, this conference in Tokyo has been growing in size and popularity year after year.

Since I was around the sponsor area all day, I only saw that part of the event. I still got to listen to a few sessions that took place in the same hall, including the keynote by Rasmus Lerdorf.

If you missed our PHPCON table, I hope to see you at WordCamp Tokyo 2015 (October 31 – November 1)!

Team Global Meetup in Copenhagen, Denmark

Last week, I was in Copenhagen for a Team Global meetup. Because of my maternity leave last year, I missed the company-wide meetup and only had one chance to meet a few of my colleagues (at our London Team meetup in February). It was nice to spend some face time with teammates and meet some of them for the first time.

In between discussions and work, we did a walking tour around the city, visited the Kronborg Castle (the setting of Shakespeare’s Hamlet), and enjoyed some White Russian at Joen’s house.

Here are some photos:

And more photos on Flickr.

Photos from Automattic Happiness Team Meetup in Santa Fe

I spent last week in Santa Fe, New Mexico for a company team meetup. I work for a distributed company with coworkers all around the world – we meet in person a few times a year to hang out with & learn from each other. This time, 36 people (= about 20% of 164 employees) including most of the Happiness team, HR Lead, and CEO met in a resort called La Posada de Santa Fe.

Many mornings and afternoons, we all gathered in a meeting room for a town hall / Q&A session, presentations and discussions. There were also smaller group sessions to learn tools and processes that we use to help users.

On Wednesday, the whole team got on a tour bus and went to Madrid & Albuquerque. We explored Old Town and met local WordPress Meetup Group users at Wesst Enterprise Center.

Seven of us took a day trip to Bandelier National Monument on Saturday. Hiking around the park was a great way to see more of beautiful New Mexico landscape. On the way back, we visited Don Quixote Distillery & Winery and had fun tasting some local wine and spirits.

More photos from the meetup is on Flickr.