Halloween is my favorite holiday. It’s close to my Birthday and a free day off work in Nevada. My second favorite holiday? Cinco de Mayo. The locals call it the 5th of May. It’s also the day I was offered an actual WordPress position at WebDevStudios.com. If you have read any of my post on becoming a better role model, you know this was the missing piece of the puzzle. Working for a widely known WordPress Dev Shop opens doors for you. It also teaches you about life. I had no idea it was going to take me on an adventure and introduce me to talented individuals. Welcome to WDSCamp.
Before Cinco de Mayo, I was dabbling in WordPress. I built a few WordPress sites, competed in a plugin building competition and submitted two plugins to the WordPress repo. At that time, I was living on cloud nine. I felt accomplished. That was before I accepted a skype call with Dre Armeda. We talked, he asked me questions and gave me scenarios. The usual job interview questions. I must have done well as I was offered the job a couple of days later. My life is changing and I’m just here for the ride.
About WDS and WP
If you’ve been in the WordPress community for a short period of time, you’ve probably heard the name WebDevStudios. If you have not, you have probably followed an employee on Twitter. They’re one of the most popular WordPress Development Shops. We write awesome blog posts and created some amazing plugins. Simply put, the company is made up of talented individuals. We have big name clients and the best part is: I get to work on their sites.
From the Execs to the support staff, everyone on the team welcomes you on your first day and make you feel part of the team. It’s an awesome feeling. WebDevStudios is the kind of WordPress Dev Shop you have always imagined working for.
WDSCamp and meeting in person
I’ve met a few of the WDS’ers before. Heck, one of the guys who taught me a lot about WordPress lives right here in Vegas. If you have attended a WordCamp, you’ve probably met one or two. When I started working for WDS, I knew I would have the chance to meet more in person. I had no idea there was a thing called WDSCamp. WDSCamp is a week long retreat where all the employees meet up and talk about work, hang out and play games, and collaborate on workflows and projects. Simply put, it’s a week of fun and learning.
I landed in Newark, NJ. I met up with a few people and we jumped on a shuttle headed for the Poconos. We talked and shared some interesting stories. I blew everyone’s mind when I revealed a few details from my Ignite talk. We arrived at WDSCamp and that’s when I shook hands and gave a few hugs. The best part of the first day came when Greg shook my hand and stated my last name. I don’t usually share my last name with many people. I was shocked. Greg handed me this hoodie with the WDSCamp logo on it. On the back, was my last name. We had a few drinks and we headed towards the bar in our lodge.
Mama Birds Bar
After I put my things away, I headed to the common meeting room. It was a large conference style room with a tiny bar in the back. being from Vegas, I naturally headed that way. I was greeted by the bartender and Mr. Manager. Handed a beer, we started coming up with names for the bar. Brad Williams suggested we name the bar Mama Birds. We all looked at each other and asked him to explain. Mama Birds is where the bartender makes your drink, takes a sip and puts it in your mouth. Like a mama bird.
For a second, we all joked and cringed. Who names a bar Mama Birds? Apparently, we do at WDSCamp. The name stuck and became the central meeting place for the rest of the week-long camp. If we wanted to gather everyone for a meeting, a slack message went out as “Meeting at Mama Birds in 10 minutes”.
I don’t like setting expectations when I head to a new environment. It’s the easiest way to get let yourself down. I would just walk into the room and join in on the fun. At the start of each day, we started off by giving Ignite Talks. 5-minute talks about any subject you want and the slides change every 15 seconds. You can practice all you want. It won’t help.
After the Ignite talks, we broke into groups and talked about things related to WDS. I attended the Back End developers meeting and the Maintainn meeting. I also got to sit in and listen to the ideas John Hawkins had for upcoming plugin ideas. I learned a lot. From there, we had a small break before heading to our group activity. Mini golf, bowling, and billiards made up the group activities for the week. I got to know some interesting things about my fellow co-workers. It was a real team bonding experience.
Our company even grew during that week. One of the waiters became an instant friend. We put him on the team page and he’s been there ever since.
All in all, the week was amazing and I can’t wait for WDSCamp 2017. If you have a second, go read Jodies Post on WDSCamp. Now it’s time for some pictures.