WordPress – Life changing experience
By the time you read this, I would have experienced my first international talk in WordCamp Europe 2019 at WPCafe. And would have moved to the next :). In this essay, I will be sharing how I found my career path, how WordPress changed my life, why I took challenges. I am a non-technical person, if you are a newbie, struggling with your career, stopped taking challenges, gave up and lose hope, especially women’s, then this may be your compelling decision to be here. I am sharing my short story towards WordPress and putting some points that make me take these decisions.
Who am I?
My name is Afsana Multani, an artist by hobby and a WordPress enthusiast. You must think, why and how I work with WordPress? WordPress wasn’t the first choice in my life. My very first choice was painting. I didn’t even know I will be starting working with WordPress. :) To learn and work with WordPress, became the dream of my life, to follow this, I started working as a Customer Support Executive at theDotstore, which is a Venture of MULTIDOTS.
I was born & brought up in a reserved middle-class family, residing in Bhavnagar, a small city of Gujarat, India. Currently, I live in Ahmedabad. The family thinking is one which follows age-old customs and traditions and has stayed away from innovations. Where, most of the time, children do not have the freedom to dream, to develop, or to choose their life, to do something new. As a child, I had everything needed to live a better life – food, shelter, and clothes. But one thing was missing – “freedom.” I am the second one of four kids in my family and was lucky enough to study further.
Though I never had a chance to talk with my father about my career, and what I want to do in life or how life will be after studies. I was sure I have to do something and make my parents proud.
Besides all the strict rules and conventional thinking, my parents trusted me and allowed me to study further.
My mother never pushed me to cook or do household chores, as she spends her entire life doing this stuff. She loved to study, but due to this old thinking pattern, she had to drop her studies after her 3rd Standard. She starts cooking at home, with all household chores, preparing to get married one day.
You would say, it’s not an age to do this. But it was her childhood, where other children were playing with toys, she continued playing with real-life. She determined never give up; whatever I am today because of her if she does not do that I would never have the courage to study further. I was good in studies, and get 1st in every Curriculum activity; the reason was my parents. I wanted to see them happy and proud. I learned one thing from her –
Never give up on your dreams, work harder for what you want, and help others.
I always have struggled for my future path, I wasn’t sure what to do and what not to, but I learned not to be afraid of taking challenges. During the time, I was about to step into the new phase of life – “Marriage.”
In my sweet 16, my wedding fixed already. And my father asked me to drop studies after 10th and plan for marriage. But my mother wanted me to study; so, she convinced him. Fortunately, my life partner was also so understanding and carrying. We never met before our engagement day, but I still remember, as soon as we had our first phone call, we fell in Love. Just like that – like a Fairy Tale.
Suddenly everything changes when the day came to leave my parents home. I got married early after my Higher Secondary School at the age of 18. I was a child with no idea how everything goes after marriage but has to take the responsibilities. It was a new challenge – family and household chores. Understanding new families make them happy and still living in a joint family was a challenge to decide on a career. I remember one my Grandpa says,
“life will never be better, but we have to make it better”
Can a Hobby be a Profession?
So, the answer is yes. If your hobby wakes you up in the middle of your sleep, it does. But if you let someone entering into your hobby, then it may be challenging for you to continue further. For me, the painting was my hobby, since childhood. I never found a tutor to polish my skills and learned it myself as an inspiration from my elder sister. It was a dream to be a great artist one day; I decided to join the institute after my marriage. I initiated my first painting classes name “AKSA,” I enjoy with kids; my motto was to encourage them to develop their skills.
I did not have a better teacher in my childhood, so I wanted them to have one and not to struggle much to follow their path. Destiny has some other plans.
Introduction to the computer world
I also have learned PHP for a couple of months. But that was not something I am happy with so I continued my journey, finding some more opportunities.
In 2012, I found my first job out of my hobby with a full-service WordPress agency – MULTIDOTS as a front-end developer; I had picked up quite a bit of Photoshop designing as well as HTML. Work with photoshop was fun to play with computer. I did not have a computer at home, so this job was fascinating. I decided it quickly and started building websites and learning HTML responsive coding, on my own – Google was my teacher. I love learning new things which match to my nature and interest :).
I was perfectly happy as a front-end developer, yet I always felt as if there were some other types of work that I would adore more. “I just didn’t know what it was,” in 2017, I started working with WordPress.
The decision to start working with WordPress comes with challenges. It feels like going back to the first-level of schooling, taking classes to pick up necessary qualification.
For me, everything changed in my early 20’s. At 25, my brain woke up – it certainly feels like that. And I managed to win a job as a “Customer Support Executive” at thedotstore. I am a talkative person, and chatting with people around the world was amazing. As my Mom says, – help, support, and make people happy. Working freely with fun was one of my visions that comes true.
Thedotstore develops free and premium plugins for WooCommerce, with a focus on scalability, performance, and security. Customer satisfaction is the key success to thedotstore or any businesses. While working with IT company being a frontend developer, I came into contact with WordPress and found we can create a blog easily. But it was way far knowing about its vast community.
My first WordPress Blog
It was an enjoyable experience working on my first WordPress painting blog in 2014. :) I do not have an active link, because it was on a local server for practice.
But I have recently created a new Blog “afsanamultani.com” – which is live and active :) Where I have shared my journey being with Painting Studio as well as my experiences in contribution to WordPress.
My First interaction with WordPress Community
WordPress Ahmedabad community already started Organizing WPMeetups and also planning for the first WordCamp in 2017. I participated as Volunteer in my first WordCamp Ahmedabad 2017, Also have created a beautiful Selfie Booth with the team. During the day, for the first time in my life, I took the initiative to talk to different people about WordPress, got an opportunity to meet WordPress lovers, Automattician – Happiness Engineer, Nomad, people working remotely. Those words were new to me, and I was like- what are you saying! For me, it was a dream, “I was born for this man.” At the same time, I decided to be a Happiness Engineer one day. WordPress is not only a platform for a techie guy; it also helps a person like me to select their career path with WordPress. Doesn’t sound interesting?
A break that got me where I am today
It was my first day when I started learning more about WordPress and its community. In November 2017, WordPress was at version 4.9.1, and I was getting in. I spend days tweaking and learning about customer support, forums, and how to get involved. I wanted to be a part of the WordPress team.
Steps I followed
Step one:- with understanding the code of conduct and how the community works.
Step two:- How to get involved – make.wordpress.org
Step three:- What are the channels and how it works.
Step Four:- Go to the team channels and start surfing.
Step Five:- Join the slack channels, where you get the support and knowledge. It’s easy to join the public slack channel #forums #community-events #community-team and more.
As we know, it is not easy to get started and understand everything overnight. At first, when I joined these slack channels, I found lots of people chatting and sharing information, some asking for help and some are staff who helped people to solve their problems.
First Week with WordPress
My very first week went only on reviewing those chat conversations and how to get involved. So if you are new and want to get into this, be there for a while, don’t try to understand everything at first. Please go through all the chat conversations, and gradually, you will know how it works.
It’s a great platform to work; if you ask me how long I can work with WordPress, I would like to work with WordPress forever. It’s like I never think to change the platform since WordPress helps me to work freely and who does not love Freedom? :)
Dedication, Hard work, Patience, and Reading will always make you successful in any Career you choose.
I was a newbie, and I didn’t even imagine it will be a fantastic journey. It took me a year to understand the community. I am now working as a customer support executive, still learning and exploring new ways of contributing to WordPress.
During this time, I have attended several WordCamps, and I got opportunities in organizing, speaking, and volunteering.
WordCamp Organizing Experience
After WordCamp Ahmedabad 2017, it was time for our second WordCamp. We started planning for the next Lead Organiser for the event. By the time of deciding for the woman candidate. Everyone asked me if I am ready to take this challenge. My first expression was – What? Are you kidding me? It’s a dream, someone, please wake me up, :D I asked many questions at the same time. I asked myself for a while, Am I ready for the big challenge? What if I could not make it? And I recall those words – never give up, take a challenge, and try harder than what you want.
I accepted the challenge, started reading WordCamp Organizer HandBook from WordPress.org site. There’s each and everything mentioned very clear from Applying Application to the WordCamp Central, where you find all the upcoming WordCamp lists and the End of the event process. It was a fantastic experience of WordCamp Ahmedabad 2018. There is one thing that I learn from this event, if you are ready to take the challenge, everyone will help you to fulfill that challenge. And it was never possible without my team and Aditya Kane, who was the mentor for the event. We are an excellent team of organizers.
WordCamp Speaking Experience
After volunteering, organizing, it was my dream to be a speaker. And I was fortunate to speak in WordCamp Kolkata 2019. I was so happy when I got an Email with “Congratulations.” Now, what? Let us prepare.
Sharing “20 Effective Ways to Build a Better Customer Experience” was a great experience in my life; I never imagined such a huge audience and a great team. By this time I have also contributed to upload WordCamp video on WordPress.tv. Learning Never Ends!
If you are reading this, and also have a dream to be a speaker, the first thing you need to do is, write your topic and send it over. Do not think much; push that Share Button, that’s all. Sometimes, we’re afraid to push that button and miss the excellent opportunity. If you think next time, write everything, and I would be happy to push that button for you. :D Especially women, it would be so lovely to see you, take this challenge and start living your dreams. Do not be afraid of making mistakes, remember – “every successful person made mistakes” even Gandhiji, but he learned from his mistakes and promised never to repeat.
“Take new challenges, make mistakes, learn, and improve.”
Moving further to contributions, it is always fun working with your love. I believe – “Love what you do and do what you Love,” and it works.
- WordPress Support Forums
- WordPress TV Contributor
- WordPress Polyglots Editor
- WordPress Polyglots Contributor
- WordPress Meetup Organizer
- WordCamp Volunteer
- WordCamp Lead Organizer
- WordCamp Speaker
- WordPress Polyglots Translation Team
I have done what I love, and what about you?
Most importantly, I am glad to be a contributor. There’s one more thing – The badges are the best part of WordPress I have ever seen, and it’s like a volunteer reward.
So ladies and gentleman, How many badges have you collected? Share your list in comments :)
After experiencing my contribution to WordPress, people come up with various questions, – how you have done this, and how to get involved in the community, what steps to be followed to contribute. So that makes me start this initiative iamwplearner as a knowledge sharing activity with a dream of helping the local as well as WordPress community through different channels and languages.
Good Takeaways – iamwplearner helps beginners, startup, and college students, who are looking for the opportunity and how to involve with WordPress.
Everything was possible only with the help of Aslam Multani. He is my supporter, my backbone, and my reason for life, he is the person who always guides me and motivates me in all situations.
Like me, most late achievers will discover that they have more significant opportunities to succeed on alternative paths. But, today’s obsessive way for new achievement is the fear of failure for those who do not attain it. They waste our national talent and stunted creativity.
If I can do this, You can do this even better. :)
All of us love someone and something, and the thing is we cannot give up on ourselves or others- especially if society has made it harder to catch up. Most people recently born will live in the 22nd century, and they will accept the modernization in the community. This is us; a healthy society needs all of its people to recognize that they can bloom and re-bloom, grow, and succeed throughout their lives.
I like to address this commitment, to all WordPress fans, especially a local womens community, to show your real talent, and break the stereotypes. Let people speak, there will be a doubt, a mistake, but if you are confident in you, no one can stop doing your best. :)
I wish you Good Luck.
What’s in the Future?
I would say, the future is yet to come. Be yourself, there are many opportunities, challenges, and learnings. I try myself ready for better today than yesterday. Keep learning is the key to success… After many trial and error, I am here with WordPress, and most important is, I love what I do. :)
Thanking Note:- I like to thank Topher and HeroPress for allowing me to write and share my story with you all. There’s always a best in everyone’s story, what’s in you? Share your thoughts, or say – Hi in comments below.