My Journey to Happiness – Part 2

This post is the second part of my journey to become a Happiness Engineer at Automattic. In this post, I’ll share with you my experience in the Trial, the most exciting journey of the entire application process.

The first part of this post can be found here.

What is a trial

The trial, is the last stage of the Happiness Engineer application process, which you have to prove to the hiring team that you’re capable and qualified to be one of the Happiness Engineers.

It’s a 5-week period where you can choose to work full-time or part-time for the trial. No matter which option works for you, you’re encouraged to spend a minimum of 20 hours per week. However, working more than 40 hours per week are discouraged as you’ll burnout soon before you can complete the entire trial.

During the trial, you’ll be given most of the access to the super admin tools where you can retrieve information of the user’s account, sites, domains and more. You’re expected to work on tickets and live chats where you’ll interact with the users directly for these topics:

  • Accounts and billings
  • Getting started on
  • Troubleshooting issues on sites
  • Pre-sales
  • and more.

You’ll be assigned a trial buddy who is responsible for providing you a buddy-led training and providing daily feedback on your interactions during your entire trial period.

During the trial, you’ll be having chats with the hiring team to review your overall progress and growth as a trial Happiness Engineer. In the event you did not meet the expectation of the hiring team at any point of the trial, your trial will be terminated.

The schedules

I had a full-time job when I started my trial, so my weekday schedules were:

  • A full-time job as a technical support engineer from 9 AM to 6 PM
  • Reached home at around 7 PM and had a quick dinner
  • Happiness Engineer trial from 8 PM to 12 AM (sometimes 1 AM)

I worked for about 6 hours of the trial during weekends, tried not to exceed the 40 hours threshold so I had more time to rest and relax.

Week 1 of the trial consists of a series of self-paced training. The training materials include text, video, some practical exercises, and quizzes to test your understanding of the training materials.

After you’ve completed the required training, your trial buddy will schedule a time with you to carry out the buddy-led training. During the buddy-led training, your trial buddy will explain briefly on working in the tickets and live chat. Then, you’ll be given a couple of tickets to work on and be reviewed by your trial buddy before you submit your replies.

Tips for Week 1: Make sure you’ve gone through the training materials and take notes before you started the buddy-led training. This is to make sure you maximize the time to learn tips and tricks from your trial buddy. Write down the questions you have so you can ask your trial buddy during the scheduled session too.

When you’ve reached Week 2 of the trial, you should be working on tickets independently (of course, with the help of the full-time Happiness Engineers) and moving towards live chat near the end of the week.

Tips for Week 2: Work on the tickets as much as possible before you jump into live chat. This is the best opportunity for you to gain more exposure to different support topics we’ll encounter during live chats. If you need help, do not hesitate to seek help from the full-time Happiness Engineers.

Once you have reached Week 3, you’ll be spending the rest of your trial focusing on live chat support during weekdays. You can only work on tickets during weekends due to the limited access of the tools to support the Business/eCommerce plan users.

Tips for Week 3 to Week 5: During this period, focusing on getting comfortable in live chat while setting goals to meet during the final weeks of the trial. You’re expected to show growth in your interaction volume as well as maintaining the quality of the interaction.

The verdict

Using the word “verdict” could seem inappropriate but I did feel like that when I had my final chat with the hiring team.

The final chat will be carried out during week 5 of the trial. The hiring team will discuss your overall performance in the trial and the decision on whether they’re recommending you to the HR to be hired as a full-time Happiness Engineer. There were cases where a trial Happiness Engineer did not get recommended to the HR too.

There are various aspects the hiring team is looking into when deciding whether to recommend a trial to be hired. To help you with that, I’m sharing my personal view on what is important to get hired:

  • Highly motivated. What’s more important than motivating yourself to go through the tough 5-week trial?
  • Ability to identify areas of growth. Apart from relying on the daily feedback shared by your trial buddy, it’s important that you realize your own weaknesses and areas that you can improve on.
  • Communication. Automattic is a fully distributed company with more than 800 employees around the globe. The ability to communicate clearly with the other Automatticians are part of the expectations as an Automattician. Offer to help or share while you can, nobody knows everything. There are chances where you may know something that others don’t.

I will communicate as much as possible, because it’s the oxygen of a distributed company.

Automattic’s Creed:
  • Troubleshooting/problem-solving. Before you ask for help, did you try to resolve the issue? Have you tried replicating the reported error on your test site? Take the initiative to perform testing and you might be the first one who spotted a bug!
  • Take proper rest. This is very important. The trial will probably the most intense 5-week of your life. While working hard to improve yourself, you’ll also be required to take proper rest so you can stay healthy to reach the finishing line.

I am in a marathon, not a sprint.

Automattic’s Creed:

Photo by Samuel Clara on Unsplash

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