Ever since I was younger, I have always been intrigued by riddles and puzzles. My favorites are mathematical puzzles, especially if they include some aspect of geometry. The stimuli of trying to solve a puzzle gets me invigorated.
When I was in primary school, I made a couple of my own puzzle books. I would borrow puzzle books from the library, and then create modified versions of the puzzles I would see there. This was before I was using computers, and so everything was hand written/drawn. I actually got these puzzle books out the other day and copied some content for the young adults group at church. They had a ball trying to solve them! (At least, I believe most of them were having fun… ?)
Lately, Escape Games have become a real phenomenon. There are real-life escape games you can participate in, and dozens of books created after the games, too. A professor in the lab I studied at in uni. was actually studying the physiological responses of escape game participants. It’s a real thing!
For Christmas, a friend of mine gave my wife and I a table-top version of the escape game. We had a quiet day today after a few busy weeks of running around, and decided to give it a shot. This is the game we played…
In the game, you are volunteers for a medical research study. (No way! Deja vu!) You’ve arrived at the research facility, only to find that you are the only ones there. A vapor rises from a test tube, and you drop unconscious. Once you wake up, you find the door is locked, and all to help you get out is a notebook someone left and a strange disk which you were sure wasn’t there before…
I’m not going to spoil anything. But I will say, my wife and I had fun solving the riddles! It took us a bit over 2 hours before we could “escape”. But we managed to escape without looking at a single hint or solution card!! This earned us 7 out of 10 stars in the assessment, which isn’t bad, if I do say so myself ?
Both of us contributed evenly to solving the puzzles an it would have taken me longer if I was trying on my own. Before starting, I noticed the game was also created by a couple. I got the feeling, some riddles were distinctively create by the husband, and others by the wife. The variety in puzzles gave a good balance for both of us to participate in, especially since we both tackle problems in totally different ways.
After we finished, my wife casually mentioned, “you like solving puzzles so much, you should have become a detective.” But right away, I thought my job at Automattic is very much a riddle-solving position. Users come to us with a problem they cannot find a solution to. My job, as a Happiness Engineer, is to solve their riddle for them.
Sometimes, these riddles are straight forward. Sometimes, they are riddles I’ve had others come to me in the past about. But sometimes, it can take me over an hour just to figure out exactly what is going on, let alone figure out a solution to the riddle! The role of a Happiness Engineer, in my opinion, is no less interesting and puzzle filled then the work of your average detective. The role description on our hiring page is true when we say…
Being a Happiness Engineer requires:
A passion for solving tough problems and proposing elegant solutions.From https://automattic.com/work-with-us/happiness-engineer/