Automattic are a member of the Grow Remote Employer Partnership Program and are regular contributors to our Remote Work Ready training program, which we run in partnership with LOETB, IDA Ireland and Solas.
We asked Rebecca Williams from Automattic and Kat Slater, Grow Remote Chapter Lead, to tell us how the Grow Remote community enabled Rebecca find success, and to give something back to the remote work community.
I discovered Grow Remote completely by accident, during my early investigations into whether remote work could be an option for me. I was researching what working at home might look like, when I learned about the existence of coworking spaces. Having worked in an office for 15 years, and being fairly new to the area, I thought this would be a great way to establish a good work-life balance and meet new people face-to-face.
During my search, I stumbled across an article featuring a coworking space in my village. I learned that Kat Slater was instrumental in setting up this space and so I decided to get in touch with her on LinkedIn to learn more. From this discussion, I discovered that she was the area Chapter Lead for Grow Remote.
As a remote worker myself, I was looking to build a community of remote workers in and around Westport and Louisburgh and a co-working space felt like the natural place to start. We opened the co-working space at Books@One in 2018 and it was exciting to see who showed up. Locals looking for some space away from home, visiting surfers, freelancers like me and then Rebecca got in touch who was at the start of her remote working journey.
Kat invited me to attend an event at the village coworking space. This was a great opportunity to get to know some people who lived locally and were interested in, or were currently working remotely. During the event, Kat handed out leaflets showing distributed companies who hired within Ireland. Automattic were listed on those leaflets – so you could say that Grow Remote introduced me to Automattic!
Grow Remote had really opened my eyes to all the employers offering remote roles and I had a hunch that there were people around, who if they were told about the opportunities, could find great remote work. Rebecca was one of those people.
Although I didn’t get the first role I applied for at Automattic, I reflected on the stories and advice that were shared at that event, and I continued to keep watching for another great opportunity at Automattic. A few months later, it happened! I put everything I had learned into practice, and this time I was lucky enough to be successful. I now work in Talent Operations, and my focus is on the engineering part of the organisation. I oversee onboarding and supporting new starters as they begin their careers at Automattic and work with leads in ensuring that our engineers are happy and engaged in their careers.
It was so reassuring to know that as soon as I began my new role, I had the security of a peaceful cowork space, and I could immediately make social connections in real life as well as within my new team. In turn, as Grow Remote grew, the number of people I could connect with in this community increased. Being able to chat with people in a similar situation was invaluable as I was getting to grips with everything!
The entire Grow Remote team has been a delight to work with, and I have been humbled to have been asked to speak at some of the events. I’ve been delighted to contribute and ‘pay it forward’ where I can, and I hope I can continue to do so!
I’m looking forward to the co-working space springing back into action again soon and hope to hold more similar events in the future to help more people find ways to make living on the beautiful Mayo coast a real possibility!
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