In our little geocaching universe, we don’t really have many ‘celebrities’ as such, but in April 2014, I was very excited to meet Lackey Love at a Maker Madness event in Dublin and it occurred to me that Lackeys are sort of our celebrities. If we meet celebs, most of us want to get our photo taken with them (see my post about Pierce Brosnan turning up at the location of one of my events). When I met Love for the first time, I absolutely had to get my photo taken with her, so that makes her a geo-celeb in my eyes!
When I was planning my trip to Seattle, I contacted Love and we subsequently met again, this time on her home turf. She very kindly brought me ‘backstage’ to show me where all the magic happens at Groundspeak.
And now, she has agreed to do me another favour and talk to me about playing where she works.
sarahmur: How long have you worked for Groundspeak?
Love: I started working at Geocaching HQ in January of 2007. So this January will start my 9th year of working at my dream job.
S: What exactly is your role and what does it entail?
L: My title is Partner Programs Manager. As the company has grown over the years, my roles have changed. There were about 15 people when I started working in community relations and greeting geocachers at the front desk. Today there are about 80 employees at Geocaching HQ between our main office and our Shop Geocaching warehouse. I now manage our International Retailers (distributors that resell Shop Geocaching merchandise) as well as manage our tracking codes program. This means I approve all trackable designs and process orders for codes. My day to day can vary from answering emails, taking and editing pictures of merchandise, discussing the future of trackables with other departments or taking a break to play foosball with my coworkers.
S: Were you a geocacher before you worked there?
L: Yes, I started geocaching in 2004. My dad was obsessed with the game so on my University graduation day, I asked him to take our family geocaching. Even though I was hooked instantly, I didn’t get my first GPS and create my Geocaching account until October of that year.
S: Is being a geocacher a prerequisite to get hired at Groundspeak?
L: Geocaching is not a requirement to work at Geocaching HQ, though in some departments it can certainly help you to learn your role more quickly. For all of us, it can help us understand our products (website and apps) and what the community expects those products to provide. Since we often win “Best Places to Work” awards, Geocaching HQ is able to draw some pretty stellar employees. The culture fit is key here and often that means new employees are quick to embrace the game of geocaching.
S: What’s the best part of your job?
L: I have to pick two best parts. I like coming to work every day, and I know I’m incredibly fortunate to feel that way. Partly it’s because I enjoy my work but more importantly it’s the people I get to work with. They’re all pretty amazing here. The second part is something I grew to love about the game after I started working here – the community. Because of this game and this job, I have friends all over the world. Through the friendships built and my work partnerships, I’ve had some amazing experiences. Our community is so caring and so excited about getting outdoors and having fun – it’s really refreshing.
S: What’s the worst part?
L: Gosh, there really isn’t a worst part. Bad days at work here are so few and far between. I guess I’d say the days where I’m only sitting at my desk answering emails can feel a bit tedious, but half the time the emails I get inspire me for my next geocaching adventure.
S: How did you come up with your geocaching username?
L: My geocaching username is Love – which is also my last name. Since Love is all you need, I figured it was appropriate to use for my username :).
S: How often do you get out geocaching?
L: As many would say “not as often as I’d like.” I’m finding that my yearly cache find count is growing each year, so I know I’m caching more these days than ever before. With personal goals, I’ve been pushing myself more and more to get out caching each weekend if I can.
S: Do you have a favourite type of cache?
L: Traditional geocaches are my preference in the game, especially those with a good view. I’m also fond of EarthCaches – even if I don’t end up logging the EarthCache I search for, I know the coordinates will take me to an interesting place to visit. In general I like caches that will get me to accomplish a challenge, like climbing a big mountain or kayaking out to an island, etc. For example, climbing Carrauntoohil to find GCJ39P a few years back was one of the caches I enjoyed finding most. I like having the bragging rights knowing I found Ireland’s highest elevation geocache :).
S: What do you think makes a good geocache?
L: I think picking a good location is key to making a good geocache as the game is about the experience. There needs to be a reason why a geocacher would want to visit a certain place. I don’t really want to visit a dark corner of a dodgy part of town for a smiley. I would like to climb a mountain with a spectacular view for a smiley however. The other important feature of a geocache is the container. A waterlogged cache container with a soggy cache log can definitely take away from a good caching experience.
For a lot of geocachers, working at Groundspeak would be a dream job and after chatting with Love, it sounds like it might just be all we imagine it to be. From what I saw when I visited, it certainly looks like a cool place to work. Do you think you would like to be a Lackey? Let me know in the comments!
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