Update: There’s now a video recap of this meetup. 😀
Last month, I was in a company meetup in Park City, Utah. We were warned of some differences in how we feel once we get there because of altitude. Although we have mountainous areas in Bangladesh, I haven’t really been to any place in high altitude. This company trip to Park City was to be my first one.
I was mostly stressed out about meeting 400 people who happen to be my colleague. I’m stressed out by the presence of people around me even if I know them. I’m freaked out if I’m surrounded by people I don’t know. I didn’t have any idea how I’d feel to be surrounded by people who are only new but also don’t speak my language.
It was to be my first week (well, technically, second, as I went to India with colleagues the month before) I’d spend without anyone who spoke Bangla. In India, I could understand folks as there are some similarities between Bangla and Hindi, and I do understand quite a bit of Hindi thanks to the movies.
In the US, I understand communicative English, but I don’t speak well. And oftentimes I have trouble understanding what’s being spoken to me. I need subtitles for all of the movies and TV shows that I watch.
In the end, though, it all turned out pretty well. The upside of having 400 people around me is that I’m too small to be noticed. 😀 Also, everyone that I’ve met over lunches, dinners, and other activities over the period of a week has been super friendly. It felt as though everyone had something to share. Even for an introverted person like me, I had no shortage of topics to talk about. I felt that it really was interesting to talk to the people who have little to no idea about the country and culture you’re from.
As a result of the fact that Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com and many other awesome stuff, is a distributed company and hired people from all over the globe, there was always this feeling that everyone was unique and had unique things to share over lunch and dinner.
In case you weren’t sure what this is all about, Automattic brings all of its employees together once a year so that everyone can get a face time with everyone else. All of us work from home, cafes, on the roads, wherever we like to work from as long as we have a computer with internet connection. But the company values the importance of meeting at a physical location and the Grand Meetup is the result of that.
After the full week of chaos, various classes and projects that we chose to attend, and onsite and offsite activities that we signed up for, the Grand Meetup came to an end. It’s been over two weeks since the meetup and I still miss everything about it: The people, the dinners, the activities, the location, the chilly weather (coming from a warm climate, chilly weather was comfortable to me), and of course, all the airports that I had a layover in. 😀
Why can’t life always be this interesting? 😛