I know. 2016 was a rough year for a lot of people. Some shitty things happened and a lot of celebrities passed away.
If I’m being honest though, 2016 was a great year for both myself and my family.
The Thompson family got a new member:
If you haven’t already, meet Abbie! My wife and I rescued Abbie in February 2016. Abbie, like her brother Rascal, was a stray on a native reserve in Southern Ontario. They were both rescued by the wonderful people at ARF Ontario. Unlike her brother, Abbie spent far longer out there on her own. While Rascal was picked up when he was only a few weeks old, Abbie wasn’t picked up until she was already a year old with a litter of 10 puppies.
When Abbie joined our family, she was just like a 3month old pup. You could tell that she hadn’t received the socialization and life experiences needed to develop her mentally and emotionally. That didn’t stop her from fitting right in 🙂
Rascal and Abbie were inseparable from the moment they met. We actually had to force them to stop playing the first night otherwise, they would have been wrestling until the sun came up.
She was the perfect match for our playful and energetic Rascal, she was also the perfect match for me and my wife.
Rascal, our first dog – has never been much of a “People” dog. He cares about treats, other dogs, and toys that squeak (in that order). He’s never been a fan of getting pet, or cuddling up with you.
Abbie comes from a different school of thought 😛
Abbie, while also loving dogs and treats, absolutely LOVES getting pet and cuddles. She will sit and get pet all day and night. If you have the nerve to stop, she has no problem letting you know that your job isn’t finished. She was the perfect Ying & Yang match to Rascal and we couldn’t possibly imagine our family without her!
New Jobs lead to new Adventures!
2016 also saw some job changes for my Family. My wife received a promotion that she had been working towards for a long time. While she was busy with that, I changed companies!
After four years, I made a very difficult decision to leave FreshBooks. A year ago, if someone asked me where I’d be working in ten years – I would have said FreshBooks. I have nothing but great things to say about that company and it’s people. I looked forward to the work that I did at FreshBooks and made several best friends in the process. Being able to say that after four years with a company is an incredible feeling and speaks volumes to the company culture. FreshBooks was the greatest example I had seen, of how much an awesome company culture can impact your work.
“I looked forward to the work that I did at FreshBooks and made several best friends in the process.”
I had the opportunity to not only pursue my passion in custom service, but to learn and develop as our team grew. When I joined FreshBooks in 2012, the company consisted of 70 people, with a 10 person customer support team. When I left FreshBooks, the customer support team alone was over 60 people and the company nearing 300! It was an amazing opportunity to see and learn from that much growth. The surprises, the problems, the creative solutions.. Every day was a new lesson in development and learning.
So why did I leave?
When I made the decision to leave FreshBooks, it was the hardest I had made in my working life. I however, felt the opportunity that I was presented with was too good to pass up. My new role at Automattic gives me room to continue my pursuit of growing a career in customer service. I have the chance to work with a large team (more than double the size), covering both; a much larger customer base, as well as several different product lines (instead of a singular offering). It also meant working in a completely remote environment of over 500 employees, which is something I had never done before.
Six months later, I’m happy to report that I’ve made the right decision. My time so far with Automattic & the WordPress / WooCommerce teams has been amazing. We have the strongest company culture that I’ve seen in a remote company. I truly feel part of a team, despite being hundreds (or even thousands) of kilometers from my coworkers. As well, working for a company with multiple product offers has been a really insightful journey. Learning how to support users that have very different questions and needs, across various offerings is a great way to speed up the learning process. Every day is a challenge and that is very welcomed.
Oh the place you’ll go…
With my new job came the opportunity for more travelling, both for work and for pleasure (thanks to an unlimited vacation policy). A month after joining Automattic, I flew to Whistler, British Columbia for our companies yearly Grand Meetup. Each year our entire company gets together for a whole week to mingle, learn, team build, have fun, and get valuable face to face time.
During the rest of the year, individual teams have their own meet-ups. I just booked the airfare for my first team meetup, which will be in Lisbon, Portugal. Thanks to our unlimited vacation policy, after I’m done my week with the team, my wife is flying over so that we can vacation in Portugal and then Italy.
There will be no shortage of travelling in my future and that’s very exciting 🙂
Settling into our new Hometown!
September of 2015 we sold our place in Toronto and moved to Newmarket, Ontario. In 2016 we spent as might time as we could outside, taking in everything our new neighbourhood has to offer!
We spend most of our free time hiking through the local York Regional forests with the dogs. Despite spending an entire year exploring, we always find a new path or trail. I’m constantly amazed at the beauty that is so close to our home.
I look forward to expanding our adventures to new areas in 2017!
There you have it, I hope your year was as good as mine. If not, then all the best from my family to yours in 2017!!!