A Day in Life of a Happiness Engineer: October 6, 2014

You’re joining me for two journeys: posting each day this week for a series called “Day in the Life”, and a week without dealing with our ticket queues1.

I woke up around 06:30 earlier than usual for a synchronous Slack chat with a couple of coworkers — Albuquerque, NM, and Budapest, Hungary — regarding a side project dedicated for the happiness of Happiness Engineers. Because time zones!

I fire up an Ambient playlist shared on Rdio, which doesn’t have any songs with lyrics. It currently has 239 songs at 1,739 minutes.

I process about two dozen email notifications from select P2s, which includes replying to a fellow HE about something related to our team, Justitia (Terms of Service).

08:19 — I sign off to shut my eyes a bit more, before having breakfast burrito from Tops, and watch an episode of Burn Notice on Netflix (S07E11).

Logging back in, I take a couple of minutes to process a dozen more P2 notifications, then start towards my project list.

First up: Write an internal page explaining how I use Things as my task manager. I’ll likely publish it here, too. I wrote much of it elsewhere, so I’m wrapping up with finishing touches, which includes adding relevant screenshots.

I ping an HE who attended the meetup (where I got this ball rolling), confirming where to publish the page.

At around 12:20, I ask another HE a favor—because he showed interest in Things a few weeks ago—to read through it once more before I publish.

While I wait for him to wrap up what he’s currently working on, I take three minutes to process (clear) the feedback queues (from contact forms) for three main sites that gets spammed, but sometimes has false positives. I use an Alfred workflow, triggered with a hotkey, that opens the three sites I need to check.

Ooh, a compliment! I’m an “efficiency machine”. That makes me blush.

I remove an extraneous sentence, publish to our internal Field Guide, let the rest of Happiness know on our Happiness–wide P2, and check off the project. w00t!

Our team P2 says we have 69 unresolved posts, which means we’re waiting to hear back about something, or…forgot to mark a thread as resolved. I take a short stretch and water break, aiming to try to reduce that count by a few before lunch. Starting from the oldest which are almost one year old, I add a comment to a thread when I mark it as resolved. Funnily, my team lead pings me that at this rate, I should be done by the end of the day. Lolz.🙂

Down to 59 unresolved posts at 14:45, I quickly clear P2 email notifications, then take off for lunch. I totally lost track of time.

A blur of time passed, and I got down to 51 unresolved posts. I left some threads with a comment that I’d mark the thread as resolved in a couple of days, and saved scheduled tasks for myself in Things to circle back on Wednesday.

18:00 — An unresolved thread led me to a rabbit hole of suspending spam blogs (or splogs). Twenty minutes later, I’m realizing I have to publish this post and wrap up my day. (Yes, the thread is now resolved.)

The new Unresolved Posts count: 48 (21 less than when I started). Boom. The battle continues tomorrow.🙂

This week, I’m documenting each day along with many other Automatticians. If you’d like to follow along, we’re using the #a8cday tag. If you’re intrigued, we’re hiring!


  1. I’m a guinea pig for the rest of my team. 

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Bryan Villarin

Bryan is a Community Guardian at Automattic. He's also a photographer, card magician, and cat whisperer. (Thanks to my friend and colleague Steve Blythe for the sweet photo!)

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