A day in the life as a Happiness Engineer

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Waiting for carpool

This post is part of a series describing what Automatticians do on a daily basis. You can read more posts like this by following the tag #a8cday on WordPress.com and Twitter.

Because we all work remotely, there’s no one typical “day in the life” for an Automattician. But here’s what my day as a Happiness Engineer might look like:

6:07 am: My alarm goes off, playing an old INXS song. What can I say, it makes me feel younger. Like the 13-year-old me who was planning to marry Michael Hutchence.

6:08 am: I hear the boys’ alarm goes off. Theirs plays “Everything is Awesome.” If I woke up to that, I’d hate the song within a week, but it actually seems to make them happy in the mornings, miracle of miracles.

6:15 am: I really get out of bed, for real this time. I join the boys in the living room, where they’re all huddled together on the sofa. Not because they can’t stand to be apart, but because whoever is sitting in the middle is holding the iPad while they watch a Minecraft video on YouTube.

6:45 am: Make my coffee, make sure the boys’ stuff is in their backpacks, get their breakfast ready. (Notice I didn’t say “cook their breakfast.” Making their breakfast entails putting cereal into bags and pouring a cup of milk that they’re supposed to share, but hardly ever touch.) Yell upstairs to the boys to finish getting dressed, brush teeth, put the freaking iPad down, come downstairs, etc.

7:15 am: Carpool arrives! The boys are off to school. Peace and quiet for the next several hours, ahhh…

7:30 am: Another cup of coffee, maybe? Turn on the dishwasher, maybe throw on some laundry.

7:45 am: Take coffee upstairs to my office (which is also the guest room and the boys’ playroom.) Log on to my computer. Check out any messages in Slack that came in overnight. Check email. Open the list of a dozen or so P2s that I like to be caught up on. Some are directly related to work (my team’s P2, for instance) and some are watercooler. (Fitness, kids, random funny stuff, etc.)

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My office. Most days.

8:15 am: Log on to Live Chat, which is what I do every day. Chat with users. Chat with my coworkers on Slack. If things are slow, write a blog post, write a P2 post, check out any updates to P2s that I follow. I have a Varidesk so I can work standing or sitting. It’s good to break things up a bit. Still contemplating the treadmill for under the desk. Maybe one day.

Noon: Lunchtime! Log off the live chat system, go downstairs, eat some lunch. Take a few minutes away from the computer. In theory. That would be ideal, but I usually spend lunchtime catching up on Facebook, email, etc. Erm, take a shower if I haven’t already.

12:30 pm-ish: Log back on to live chat. Chat, chat, chat.

2:15 pm: Today’s my day to pick up the carpool of kids from school, but I like to get in some exercise first, so I log off and head to the gym (yes, I took a shower a few hours ago. I’m weird like that, okay?) and then across town to school to pick up a vanload of kids.

4:30 pm: Back home. Husband greeted. Kids given snacks and a very strong suggestion to get their homework done. I log back on for a while, juggling clones and chats.

5:30 pm or so: Log off for the day. Spend time with my family. Make dinner, oversee the homework that wasn’t done earlier, put the boys to bed, all that fun stuff.

10:15 pm: Nighty-night time for me.

So that’s a pretty typical day. I may not have worked a solid eight hours in a row, but there are the days when I don’t have to pick up the kids, so I may work straight from 8:00 to 5:30. I may take an hour in the middle for a bike ride instead of going to the gym. If it’s one of the days I volunteer in the school cafeteria, I may work at Starbucks in the afternoon until it’s time to pick up the kids. There are also days when I train trial Happiness Engineers, and those days obviously look very different. I love the flexibility my job affords me to do these things. I also love talking to our users all day long, and doing everything in my power to make them happy.

If you like the look of my day, we’re hiring! (Don’t worry, the carpools are optional.)

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