Last year I was fortunate to be invited to the 2014 WordPress Community Summit and this year in Philadelphia I’m going again. Tomorrow morning Lily and I will wake up around 4 AM. She’ll drive me to the train station where I’ll take a 5 AM train to Penn Station. From there it’s an Amtrak ride to Philadelphia.
I’ll be a little late to the event. 😉 It can’t be avoided, I had too much going on at work to be there the night before. The 4 AM is rough on Lily but I’m often awake at that time waiting for 5:30 to get up. She’s much more sensible than I am and I wouldn’t be going but for her support and tolerating my hobbies.
I’m excited and it’s interesting to me that I explain why.
Everyday I go to work and with a great team of people and I deal with conflict. Projects that are in-flight, new commitments are made, deadlines are met or extended or flat-out missed (which is not good). Sometimes work is a disappointment and there’s always someone that’s upset or really pissed off. Sometimes I unintentionally let people down.
“Work sucks” or so the saying goes. It’s a challenge and it’s a constant test and conflict. How will I deal with this problem? Will someone or something piss me off and what drama will happen today?
I don’t think it sucks at all.
I’m one of the people in the middle of that organized chaos. When the alarm bell rings and it’s on me to figure it out and make it all work, I am one of the best firefighters there is. I’ll find the problem, I’ll get to the solution, I’ll have a dozen eyes on me all talking at the same time. I’ll have the support of my boss and co-workers. I won’t have any fear or hesitation. I’ll stand there on the call and get the job done. And I’ll do it with my characteristic and occasionally inappropriate sense of humor.
It’s not really different from a lot of jobs. My participation in the WordPress community is nothing like this at all.
Tomorrow I’ll be surrounded by developers, support people, designers and people I respect and admire and, most importantly, a number of friends. This will be my fourth WordCamp. I’ll be having great fun.
I will, once again, be intimidated. That’s not a bad thing.
You see, for me providing support for WordPress started out as therapy. Answering a topic in the forums and helping someone is fun and addictive. I occasionally help people out of a hole and that’s always cool.
Later on getting more involved meant helping people as well going behind the bar and moderating the forums. Cleaning out the spam queue, closing an occasional run away topic, stuff like that. I’m big on routines and I’m used to looking at the forums before the coffee set in.
My WordPress involvement went from being a form of therapy to using that involvement to becoming better at my job.
Collaborating with people in person and online improves me as a professional. The reason I’m intimidated is that, while I don’t think that my involvement is bad, I’m sure that I can improve. Or perhaps someone else can do it better than I do.
I’m comfortable with my intimidation. I don’t always have to be the one putting out the fires and I can learn more when I don’t have all the answers.
I’ll have a great time. I can’t wait to see the gang in person.