Looking through a window at Ben working at his desk

B-san's Blog

The work and life of a Community Education Manager in Japan

The Trial Has Started!

Men Trail Running

Hi everyone! It has been a while since I last posted and I hope you all understand. After all, the Trial has finally started!

Phase 1 – Self-Paced Training

The trial starts off with some self-paced training. This is where we are given some time to get used to the many systems used by Happiness Engineers. These include a system to manage email inquiries, the store-end chat system, customer databases and purchase history. There are also systems in place for the internal communication that happens and to organize the mountains of documentation Automattic has.

In a normal office, you walk into work on your first day and you’re probably introduced to some colleagues, shown your work area and given a few basic tasks to start on. Well, in a completely distributed company that works around the clock from every corner of the globe, things are just a little different.

One must first learn how to “talk” to other other people. How do you reach out to someone in a virtual office? How do you start a conversation with someone you have never met and doesn’t exactly work anywhere near you geographically? This is just one example of some “basics” of work life that is covered in this training.

Phase 2 – Buddy-led Training

Once you’ve completed the self-paced training, you are introduced to your “buddy”. This buddy is assigned to be there for any questions you may have during the trial. They will actively look out for you and give feedback on the work you do.

While I’ve found everybody I’ve reached out to quite approachable, my buddy has been super! Especially while I’m still trying to find my feet, having someone I can trust and rely on has been really encouraging! (Kudos to whoever started this practice way back in Automattic’s history!)

Now, a buddy isn’t there to specifically answer every question and fix every problem I get myself into. (Yes, I’ve got myself into a few problems already… ??) After all, the trial is there to test how well I can survive in this particular workplace – lack of knowledge and proneness to mistakes included. If I don’t know something, (and really, nobody knows everything!) can I search for the information and learn? If I make mistakes, (because really, nobody is perfect!) do I take responsibility and solve them? If I ever get stuck, my buddy is there to nudge me in the right direction.

Phase 3 – Trial Happiness Engineer

And finally, this is where I’m at! I have officially started working in a similar capacity to what a full-time Happiness Engineer works in. I am there, serving Automattic’s customers and engineering happiness.

While I haven’t been working in the forums at all lately, I did notice my title there had changed. It used to say “Member”. Now, it says “Staff”!! What an honour, but what responsibility!!


I’m not sure how often I’ll be able to post updates here. As others have said, the “Trial” is definitely named so correctly. It tests you! I find I’m pretty exhausted after a day’s work.

At the same time, I have been pleasantly excited to see some new followers join me on this journey even over the last couple of weeks where I’ve been inactive on this blog. Thank you to everyone following this blog! I will do my best to keep you updated on my progress.

Thank you for reading!



, ,



4 responses to “The Trial Has Started!”

  1. Nick Avatar

    Super cool to hear your insights on this process. Good luck and keep posting!

    1. bsanevans Avatar

      Thanks, Nick! I see you’re in a transition period in life, too. Good luck to you, too ??

  2. krystalsmithx Avatar

    I’m applying for the HE position now, and I’m enjoying your blog! Good Luck on your journey!

    1. bsanevans Avatar

      Good luck on your application! If you have any questions, feel free to contact me directly ?