Eight On A Hawaiian Date – Getting To Know Prospress

As January hurtles by at an alarming speed the people of Prospress are beginning to let their minds drift to warmer climes – and think of the May 2019 company meetup in Hawaii. However, before we hit the beach again, we still have time for a little reflection on last year’s Hawaii meetup. At that point some of the people who are now firmly ensconced into Prospress legend were brand spanking new. So let’s get a little insight into a Prospress meetup, from the perspective of the once fresh eyes of last year’s crop of newbies.

On that last company meetup, in March 2018, Prospress had recently doubled in size, with a grand total of eight new members of the Prospress family. We also brought along two friends of Prospress – Manos from SomewhereWarm and Dan from AutomateWoo.

With the eight Prospress veterans this meant that it was a crew of eighteen that wandered into a boardroom, Mai Tai in hand, to sit around a table together for the very first time. A table overlooking a beach…in Hawaii!

We had gathered there from all around the world – some after an epic journey – and, for myself, having perilously navigated airports on crutches with a broken ankle! However, as we convened on that first morning, with the sound of lapping waves in our ears, and sun on our faces, all our tribulations faded away. Or most of them at least. Speaking to some of the then newbies, there were some initial nerves upon first meeting the rest of the company. Walking into a room to meet a whole bunch of strangers can be a daunting prospect. However, it seems that those anxieties were soon laid to rest.

Carolyn: What was the first IRL meetup like for the new people?

I was a little anxious at first, but that feeling quickly went away once I started meeting everyone. Despite all of our different backgrounds and nationalities, it was quite easy to just get along with everyone. The whole team, without exception, was awesome: incredibly friendly and warm people, genuinely interested in what you had to say. – Jorge

Everyone was very kind and seemed just as excited as I was to be there. This is a special group of people who seem to genuinely like the company and their work. – Zach

I honestly really liked everybody in the company. These are all people I would enjoy hanging out with outside of work. – Austin

It was really great to match voices to faces and names, and everyone was just like they are online. – Sarah

Man giving presentation in front of projector

I’m not the most outgoing person, so it took a lot of energy to ensure that people knew I was happy to meet them. But as time went on, I realised I didn’t need to do that. It’s good to know I can be myself. – Joey

One could think that being a distributed company, Prospress could not care less about their people, but it’s totally the opposite situation. We already knew it, but once you meet and spend some time with each other, you quickly confirm that the best attributes of this company are the human assets. It really felt like being surrounded by friends and family! – Bernat

Man standing in front of laptop

First encounters have such eternal value. It’s funny to see reality crush into our expectations and all the baggage we carry. – Manos

Carolyn: The main aim of a Prospress meetup is to get to know each other better, but we also hope that people learn a little bit as well. What did the first-timers learn from their week in Hawaii?

I learned a lot about what kind of people work at Prospress, what the goals are of the organisation, and the collaborative nature of the WP community. – Zach

The biggest thing was just getting to know everybody better, but I also feel I learned something about the company as a whole and even some more about WordPress/WooCommerce development. – Austin

Group of people all working at laptops

I learned a lot more about everyone I work with and where the company as a whole is going. – Sarah

The meetup served as a nice reminder that we’re all part of a company where our voice is heard and the work we do is really valued. – Jorge

I learned that I am not alone. While everyone tries to make us feel that we are not, it’s really hard to know until you experience it. – Joey

I gained perspective. Now, I understand where my work and I fit in the grand scheme of things. – Menaka

I like to think that apart from all the interesting sessions and the motivating company goals, I learned something from each of the company members. Somehow, I feel even more attached to the company now and my empathy has increased. – Bernat

I loved to watch how Prospress works together as a group and try to figure out where you shine and maybe hurt – and learn from that. It’s a great place to be, where everyone can have a big impact. – Manos

People gathered round a window with sticky notes on it

Carolyn: We had some awesome activities on this trip, from waterfall hikes to a luau, to swimming with turtles. So what were the favourite moments from the week?

I really enjoyed our dinners out. Breaking bread together is such a human condition and I thought that getting out of the hotel, the variety of restaurants, and mix of people allowed for an intimate shared experience and personal conversation. – Zach

Probably the dinners or other points that were just about socialising. The hike with the 1 on 1s was really good for this as well. – Austin

I don’t have just one favourite, as there were so many! I loved all the new inside jokes we made, and the unplanned moments we had – such as traveling to restaurants and people hanging out when we had free time. I found I was comfortable talking to everyone and was always talking to someone different on our journeys. – Sarah

Woman giving presentation in front of projector

It’s difficult to pick just one, but I’d say the Lightning Talks, which were 5-minute sessions in which each of us talked about whatever we wanted. The presentations were very funny and also allowed everyone to show a different side of their personality. I really liked finding out about everybody’s background, hobbies, and interests. – Jorge

I thoroughly enjoyed the food and good times with people. I liked the ‘simple’ walks back to the hotel, where I had unplanned time to talk to people. I tend to learn more when conversing is unexpected. – Menaka

Reaching the Manoa falls, panting and puffing, to be showered with a light drizzle and a splendid view of the falls. – Joey

It’s hard to choose, but I’d definitely choose any of the moments where we spent time together conversing and learning more about each other. These are the situations that are hard to experience working remotely and it is really satisfying to get the opportunity to enjoy them. – Bernat

Watching you interact and work with each other! 🙂 The small things, mostly. – Manos

sun setting on the beach

Carolyn: After all that socialising, learning, and having fun, we hoped that the newbies had got a true sense of what Prospress is about. Therefore, after spending a week with the company IRL, would they recommend working here to a friend?

Prospress is a diamond in the rough. A business with a truly collaborative group of individuals. – Zach

Do it, It’s an awesome company full of awesome people – Austin

Just do it! – Sarah

Why are you still waiting? Go for it. – Jorge

No one expects you to be any more than you. People go ages looking for that ‘perfect’ job. Nowhere is perfect, but this is the closest I have been to it in a very long time.’ – Joey

People laughing at a talk

It’s a nice space to work in. Their work culture and mine fit well. – Menaka

Working for Prospress is one of those unique opportunities that you don’t want to miss! Great job in a great company that really cares about people. – Bernat

Depends on who would ask. I’d need to be absolutely certain he/she would be a good fit to such a wonderful team. Such friends are hard to come by.- Manos

Carolyn: While we hide our blushes from all this praise, and reminisce about drinking fruity cocktails on the beach, you can apply to be the next new person on a Prospress meetup by checking out our job opportunities here.

Many thanks to our ‘old newbies,’ Austin, Menaka, Bernat, Joey, Sarah, Jorge and Zach, and to our friend Manos, for their contributions to this post!

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