Employee Field Guide

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The Automattic Field Guide is a guide to working at Automattic. It’s our employee handbook and where we store all of the information that we need to understand how to work. That’s everything from setting up a home office, ordering company swag, team member and lead expectations, our style guide, and more. It’s a crowd-sourced internal resource that all Automatticians can add to or edit.

If you are reading this on, and you don’t currently work at Automattic you’ll see a selected set of pages that will give you a sense of our onboarding and welcome documents from the Field Guide. Over time, we hope to add more.

Please note: As this is a direct transfer of an existing internal document, please be aware that links which point to confidential, employee-only pages have been removed. If you see words which talk about an external resource but do not link to that resource, that is why.

Your very first impression of Automattic from the inside will most likely be that you’ve arrived at a very smooth operation quietly humming along. That will last for about five minutes. Soon you will discover that it is, in fact, chaos, albeit with some logistical organization behind the scenes.

Both the alarming barrage of information coming at you from all sides, and the sometimes terrifying silence and quietness are just the visible sides of the apparently erratic behaviour of an actually deterministic system; there is purpose in all of this. It will reveal itself to you as you go along.

It’s confusing at first. You won’t know where what is and who is doing what. If you do get to know all that after a time, it is perfectly possible that it’ll change or even already has. Also tell us how you did it.

The only correct approach is to embrace the chaos, not fight it. As Buddha says:

Chaos is inherent in all compounded things. Strive on with diligence.

You’ll have to get used to a fact that might seem trivial at first, but which makes a world of difference: there are no “real” job titles at Automattic, hence no hierarchy, no chain of reporting, no offloading of responsibilities. This does not mean that they don’t exist, just that they’re specific to a particular task, project or even sub-project and are born organically out of the particular discussions. It is your job to find out which position you occupy on each particular journey.

Actually very little, if anything at all, falls through the cracks. Between P2s, IRC logs, email, trac and svn you can safely bank on the fact that the information you’re looking for is available somewhere. Of course, it might not be all of what you’re looking for or even a lot more than what you were looking for, but hey, the upside is that you are entitled (even expected) to adjust and comment on the information to make it more relevant. The internal MGS search aggregation tool is usually pretty helpful in locating what you are looking for, rather than having to search each and every resource.

You too, like all of us, will become a strange attractor.

Automattic Creed

I will never stop learning. I won’t just work on things that are assigned to me. I know there’s no such thing as a status quo. I will build our business sustainably through passionate and loyal customers. I will never pass up an opportunity to help out a colleague, and I’ll remember the days before I knew everything. I am more motivated by impact than money, and I know that Open Source is one of the most powerful ideas of our generation. I will communicate as much as possible, because it’s the oxygen of a distributed company. I am in a marathon, not a sprint, and no matter how far away the goal is, the only way to get there is by putting one foot in front of another every day. Given time, there is no problem that’s insurmountable.

Automattic Creed

Sharing Code

I’m fine with releasing basically any code on that isn’t our password files.


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