Get the Door

Get the DoorOne of Atomic’s greatest strengths is its five foundational value mantras. As Atomic’s Office Coordinator, one who is not involved with the technical side of Atomic’s software development, I have the unique perspective of seeing these values played out, outside of the software development. I see these values lived out in the everyday, even in an event as simple as installing a doorbell.

Recently, at AO Headquarters, we made the decision to start keeping the ground floor entrance doors locked. It has taken some getting used to, as Atoms must now carry a key card to gain access into the building. Since we coincidentally made this decision in the middle of one of the snowiest winters on record, more than one Atom was locked, nearly frozen and buried, outside, with no where to turn for help. When the locked door, additionally, led to an important, missed delivery, the decision was made to install a doorbell.

I made the trip to our favorite local hardware store and asked Patrick to pair with me on wireless doorbell installation (Value #1: Teach and Learn). After a couple failed attempts, we had it installed and ringing in the main office, upstairs. With all of the technical knowledge around here, I am looking forward to the day that someone decides to change the ringer and adjust the sound!

There are only a few Atoms that don’t spend their time making software. I am one of those Atoms. And, since I am not a maker and Atomic Object is in the business of making software, I assumed it made sense for me to be the one to answer the door. Subsequently, when the doorbell gave its first alert, I jumped up from my desk to go downstairs and welcome the person at the door, because I give a shit (Value #2: Give a Shit).

A while later, while walking past Lisa’s desk she stopped me and said “Hey Terri, it does not always have to be your job to run and answer the door. We are all concentrating on our work at different times. I will stop and get the door sometimes and I’m sure lots of other people will, too.” That interaction surprised me, but it should not have. I have been here over a year and I should know by now that the employees at AO “share the pain” (Value #3: Share the Pain) Everyone knows if you kill the coffee pot, you make the new one. If you are the first one to open the dishwasher, full of clean dishes, you unload it. If you top off the trash, you take it out. It is nothing new around AO to share the pain, even with mundane daily housekeeping tasks.

It is hard for me to describe why that particular interaction was the one that inspired me to act more transparently (Value #4: Act Transparently) and actually sit down and write about the things I have been thinking about AO’s culture. However it is not hard for me to know why the culture at Atomic, and the people that I work with, suit me on a daily basis. I have valued and lived Atomic Object’s core values for as long as I can remember. It is important to me to work with people who truly care about their work, like I do. I like being supported when learning new things and I have always enjoyed sharing what I know. Thankfully, Atomic encourages and supports that openness. My colleagues are motivated, hardworking, and respectful. Our highly motivated but nurturing culture makes me strive to do my best on a daily basis. Looking around the office, it seems like everyone feels that way. Every day I am at work with a group of people who are continually striving to do their best, sharing wacky ideas, weighing the options, questioning the possibilities, pushing the envelope, getting better, and yes, definitely giving a shit. While we work at AO together, I think it is more accurately described as an Atomic Family. I like these people. Do you like the people you work with?

And by the way, that first doorbell ring? Yeah, that was just Micah noticing the new doorbell and “checking it out”. It’s all good. He “owned it” (Value #5: Own It) as soon as he met me on the stairs and, as it turns out, doing stairs is good for me!