My WooNiversary: One Year at WooThemes

Today I’m starting my second year at WooThemes. What a crazy, but awesome year it has been. Let me walk you through some (selected) highlights and challenges; it’s no surprise that those often are very related.

Remote FTW

Though I’ve never had fixed hours with any of my previous jobs, working remotely definitely adds another level of freedom. At the moment Kim is writing an MPhil thesis (something she also can do from anywhere) – so we’ve taken full advantage of traveling quite a bit in the last year: the USA, Belgium, Scotland, England, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Kenya, Portugal – and quite a bit of traveling within South Africa; it’s been great and by the looks of it, the next year is going to be just as amazing.

One of the dangers therein lies exactly in this freedom however. Not so much that I don’t work enough, but the fact that it is very tempting to work irregularly and I’ve seen that this often results in not always being able to zone out easily. Working outside of the house has definitely helped me to make that distinction better.

Corporate, not Heartless

My job at WooThemes is the first time I’m working in a corporate environment – and I’m enjoying this specific one I’m in. For several reason but here are a few that stand out.

  • There is a strong focus on sales, but that creates a clear goal and an easy way to get the team amped and ready.
  • Sales aren’t everything; there is a strong focus on volunteering for all sorts of projects: from getting involved with the WordPress community, over introducing WP in the Cape Flats, to supporting some amazing NGOs.
  • Stats and performance are important, but the team is more valuable than that. There is a great focus on community.
  • Automattic, our new head company, has a passion to make the web a better place, and by making so much software available for free, this is not just a hollow statement.

The WordPress community is amazing, and I’ve found a few options to use my skills and background for local social justice projects and NGOs, but if I look back at the past year, I would have liked to see myself invest more time in connecting with and serving underprivileged communities.

do_action( ‘learn_to_code’ );

I’ve always enjoyed web development, but I’m very excited that my current job gives me the opportunity to learn some more html and css, but especially that I could explore JavaScript a bit – and that PHP is also on the horizon.

The courses by the Treehouse Team have been such an invaluable resource. Now I just need to find some good projects to work on.

With relation to exploring code, my proudest moment last year has been my first pull request to WooCommerce core. Even though it was just some editing of the text, it still required me to learn how to do pull requests with GitHub and SourceTree, and to find where and what to edit in the PHP code.

I still find it very intimidating working with a lot of developers and still often suffer from the imposter syndrome. Looking back on the post I published on my first day at WooThemes I can see that what I wrote there is true: it’s been a beautiful challenge and I’ve learnt and grown a lot, but I’m nowhere near there yet. (And not expecting I ever will.)

WooThemes, Part 2

In the past year I’ve done so many new things and faced tons of new challenges. I’m looking forward to what the coming year has in store and am very lucky to be part of such a great team.