End of an Era (for me)

On Friday I’ll be leaving my job at Automattic, and my position in the WordPress community. I’ve poured my life into WordPress for 8 years, longer than I’ve ever stuck around at anything else, and it will be super weird to lose a job, a social circle, and an all-encompassing everything all at once. But while this wasn’t a change I had planned on (well, only planned for 3 weeks, anyway) I know that it will be better for me.

For the next month I am going to focus on getting my health in shape under my doctor’s care — it went to hell during my a8c tenure for various reasons — and figuring out what I need to do to go back and finish up the degree I was a month from obtaining before I walked away from it to work on the prototype that would become WordPress 2.7. Also, I’ll finally rip up the invasive plants in my yard and put in a garden and some native plants. And I’ll keep doing acupuncture. I’ll probably start writing again. Practice Spanish. Maybe re-learn how to play the guitar enough for a backyard singalong or two.

After that, we’ll see. Maybe a new ux or product challenge. Maybe something different. Maybe leave tech altogether. I’m not really going to think about it much until a month has passed, because I don’t want to jump into something else right away and perpetuate the same overwork patterns I developed over the last 8 years. Habits take time to break. I might take some of that time to write up some of the thoughts I never got around to publishing while I was on the job or to answer any questions that I get asked more than once. Or I might just sit outside feeding stray cats. Who knows?

My wordpress.org email address will not work anymore. If you want to reach me and don’t have my personal email address, you can use the contact form on this site or @jenmylo on Twitter. If you’re a “But I want proof we are connected!” person, I’m on LinkedIn. If you’re a Facebook junkie, I really don’t use it — it gets my Twitter feed but I don’t monitor comments on Facebook or anything like that. I should really just turn off the Twitter feed, probably. So many things to think about when everything changes! Hey, and now I can update my gravatar when my hair changes color, since I won’t be going to WordCamps where I want people to recognize me from online. Maybe I’ll do that next week. Maybe I should pick a new color first. Or go back to purple. So many decisions!

Anyway, to everyone in the WordPress community who enriched my life in some way over the past 8 years, thank you, and maybe we’ll run into each other again sometime. If you’re ever in Portland (Oregon, not Maine) and want to get a chai or Ethiopian food or come feed a stray cat in the backyard, let me know!

57 thoughts on “End of an Era (for me)

  1. It is hilarious that people are leaving emojis as comments and this wordpress.com theme doesn’t support them. According to the .com notifications bar, they are hearts. :)

    Keep an eye out for a future post titled May All Your Emoji Die in a Fire.

    • I don’t understand. Did you mean 😵 in a 🔥❓

      I’ve said this to you before, but I’ll say it here since this is the place for melancholy memories…

      Our time on the Dotorg team was the best of the best and the worst of the worst. I’ll never forget Slicey Cup, Pancakes, almost shipping bbPress 2 without theme compatibility and you talking me out of it, long walks on the beach planning Profiles and WordCamp.org integration, and finally accepting that we weren’t very good at working together, which I still consider a personal and professional failure, because you are a gifted and valuable friend and colleague and I always appreciated your experience and perspectives.

      Whatever job is next (and remember we’ve both had many), I hope it exceeds your unrealistic expectations, because after all you’ve done to improve the web and WordPress community, you deserve to work less hard and be more appreciated.


  2. Wow, “end of an era” is an understatement, I think. Thanks so much for everything you’ve done for the WP community (WordCamps in particular), and for being so supportive when I needed it the most in December. I know whatever you end up doing next will be spectacular. Good luck with everything! :-)

  3. I know you’d rather me stay away but I couldn’t help writing a comment on this post. Thanks for all the hard work and dedication over the years and for everything you’ve given to the WordPress community. I can relate to the issue of declining health and its something I’m still working on reversing.

    Thanks for your dedication to WordCamp organizers and the behind the scenes office stuff that’s involved. Thanks for the out reach programs and for raising awareness on important issues. Thanks for being the driving force behind the Kim Parsell scholarship award.

    I don’t know if I’d call our history checkered but it doesn’t matter. I wish and hope for the best for you in your future endeavors.

  4. Thanks for enriching my life and the WordPress community in general. I’ve always enjoyed an opportunity to chat with you, and I hope they continue to crop up now and then!

    I think feeding stray cats sounds like a potentially rewarding career change ;)

    All the best!

  5. Good luck in all that you do. I feel like we are seeing the passing of another of the old guard from the halls of WordPress, and while that makes me sad, I’m happy that you are focusing on your health and happiness…it is something we should all strive to spend more time on.

  6. Congratulations and good luck, Jen. Looking back, you were the person from the WordPress community who gave me the most personal encouragement when I first started getting involved, helping me (whether you or I knew it at the time) to get over my impostor syndrome and stake out a leadership role. So thanks! Hope to see you around – look me up if you’re in Chicago.

  7. Thanks for making WP community a better place, Jen. I can very well relate to the health problem since at my end itnis more about the wrong kind of priorities.
    Good luck with your future endeavors.

  8. Jen: Thank you for everything you’ve contributed to WordPress. One of my earliest contributing memories was lurking in the core dev chats in IRC, watching you simultaneously wrangle core releases and the project leadership with such aplomb. I think there are more than a few of us in the contributor community who have drawn inspiration from your leadership style, returning the well time and again. Thank you for setting a positive example.

    You taught me to think diversity-first, and to approach every leadership problem with an outside-in philosophy, something that’s helped me inside and out of the community. I will always be grateful for the example you set as a model leader in our community. I’m honored to have had your support, advice, and friendship over these past few years.

    It’s definitely the end of an era, to be sure, but also the beginning of a new one. I wish you the best wherever you may land.

  9. Hey Jen,

    I’m glad to hear you’re leaving the WP community for reasons that are at least somewhat good, although I’m sad to see you go. You’ve been such a huge help to the community as a whole, and the WordPress Accessibility Team in particular, and we’ll miss you. I’m sure you’ll still be on all our Twitters, so we’l be keeping up with what you’re doing. Thanks for all you’ve done.

  10. If today I’m in this ecosystem it is thanks to you and your warm welcome every time we met.

    Thanks for the fish, and I hope that whatever you do next makes you happy without stress.

    I know that we haven’t met in the last years, but if some day in the future you want to practice your Spanish, you have a home in the south in Spain.

  11. Sadface. I wish I’d gotten the chance to know you better, but I’m grateful for getting the opportunity to watch and learn from you for the short time our paths crossed. Thank you for your many contributions to WordPress and Automattic. Everything will be different without you, but I think we’ll all see to it, in our own ways, that your legacy is carried on.

  12. Please take care of yourself as well as you took care of the WordPress community: this way, you should be back in your feet in a jiffy! :)

    Looking forward to reading good news from you!

    So long, and thanks for all the fish!

  13. Wherever your future leads you, I am sure you will rock it. Health is always the most important thing and kudos to you making the leap. You will definitely be missed by many. Best wishes to you and the new roads that lay ahead.

  14. Hey Jen! We only spoke a few times but you’ve always been marvelous. You made it so much better for all of us in the WordPress community.

    Cheers to all the new fun you’ll be having!

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  16. Hey Jen,

    We haven’t had too much interaction, but like everyone else said – you’ve been an amazing driving force in the community. A true leader, and well loved. Where-ever life brings you, you’ll do amazing things. Stay humble. Stay kind. Keep being you.


  17. The class and grace you dedicated to the WordPress community has been incredibly inspiring. I wouldn’t be where I’m at today without folks like you leading as solid examples of what it means to be a great person. Thank you.

  18. [copied and pasted from the internal goodbye thread, as requested]

    Thank you for everything.

    Thank you for being a friend (yes, feel free to cue the Golden Girls theme song as you read this, and — naturally — sing along).

    Were it not for you suggesting areas to help in, I’d likely have never followed through contributing to Core beyond a small patch here and there that I personally needed.

    Were it not for your invitation, I’d probably never have followed my passion and applied to Automattic, and had the opportunity to give so much back.

    Were it not for your encouragement, I’d never have organized the first WordCamp Lancaster (which just completed our third year).

    While work may be redistributable, you will never be replaceable. We are all diminished for not having your chiding, your directions, your sing-a-longs, your love (occasionally applied forcefully), or your uncanny ability to find problems when we could have sworn that we had everything sorted.

    I’ll wash your dishes any time.

  19. I’ll miss talking to you in the back corners of WCWhereverWe’dEndUp! One of these days I’ll finally make it up to Oregon (been trying for a decade), and I’ll take you up on the Chai and critter feeding. Stay brave, as this sort of unknown frontier is always frightening, but I know in my heart that you’ll find a way.

  20. Thank you for your leadership, contributions, and the huge mark you’ve left on our project and community.

    My personal two cents: find something entirely new and different to tackle. 8 years is a very long time to for an innovator to pour her soul into something. I bet you’ll do your most inspiring work with a fresh, brand new challenge.

    Best of luck!

  21. Thank you for every contribution you made to WordPress. Bigger “thank you” on behalf of millions of people whose lives you’ve changed by putting in those long and hard 8 years. You probably don’t even know it fully, but your work and commitment have bettered lives.

  22. Jen- Sorry I missed the farewell drinks, I was afk on spring break last week. Like you were for so many others – you were my first introduction into the a8c/.org world at OSCON – and the first a12 I had a burrito with :) – I will miss running into you at community events but I’m sure our paths will cross somewhere closer to home here in Oregon. Take care friend.

  23. Jen- also sorry to miss the farewell drinks/P2 post! Huge thanks for everything you’ve done for A8c and the WP community, for all the conversations and learning over the years, for helping WP take important product leaps forward, and best of luck to your future endeavors!

  24. Best of luck for the future Jen! Your impact on WordPress and the WP community has been immeasurable. I hope you find lots of happiness, and that we can meet some time for drinks in Portland.

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  27. Jen, just a brief note to wish you the best of luck with whatever you do. I’m glad we got the chance to meet a few times and I simply appreciate the connection. Like you, I am well aware of what the tech startup lifestyle can do to one’s body/mind/spirit. I struggle with Diabetes and my wife has helped me to get on a better lifestyle track, even though I go kicking and screaming. It sounds like it will be good to let go and take a break. It will be difficult to disconnect entirely and I’m sure you’ll go through many phases of decompression after this announcement. Whatever you do, I hope it suits you the way you will envision it to.

  28. Pingback: WPTavern: In Case You Missed It – Issue 6 | WordPress Planet

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