As it’s the first day of 2020 (well at the time of writing it’s 2019, because I’m assuming I’ll be hungover on 01/01/20 and in no mood to write) I figured I’d do a retrospective of my 2019.
I’m a forward-looking person so it’s been quite hard for me to remember what happened in 2019 and especially hard to remember any bad stuff as I tend to get through that and completely forget it ever happened.
2019 was a good year for me in general.
I joined The Silph Road as an app developer which gave me focus on what to do with my spare time as well as provided a number of subjects for my blog.
Talking of blogs, 2019 was the year I set out to blog every week and I’ve managed it so far, posting every week has taught me a lot about project management and having back up plans if things fall through.
Blogging has also led to me being more aware of some of the tech and processes I’ve worked with in my job(s) and allowed me to turn some subjects into talks which has led to me helping organise my local Ministry of Testing meet-up.
Professionally, I passed my ISTQB exam, took on some more line management duties, started to lead a development cell on a new project and I was even invited to talk about React Native, Jest and Pokemon Go on an internal podcast.
The work I do for The Silph Road is based around React Native and I’ve built a number of React projects, as well as an Electron app that used the Awair API and in my day job I used Jest extensively to end-to-end test a microservice-based Kafka consumer/producer app.
I do feel however that React Native’s
0.60.x change really wasn’t a minor release and I’d hope that the React team learn how Semver works at some point.
For the last 3 months in my day job however I’ve been working with PHP, Drupal 7 and a very misused Composer set that makes me really happy that React team at least version their library in a semi-consistent manner!
On the ‘consumer’ side of tech, 2019 was my device refresh year so I’ve dropped way too much money to get the latest and greatest Apple offerings and while I love iOS, I do think 2020 may be the year I go back to Linux as my daily driver.
Before you get the idea I’m a jet-setter, travelling the globe to get that ultimate Instagram shot in order to make everyone jealous, you need to understand why I travelled— To play Pokemon Go.
Not exactly the cultural person you thought I was am I?
That being said I did manage to get back over the US this year in order to attend my first Pokemon Go Fest and to meet The Silph Road crew in Chicago.
It was a great trip with two of my Pokemon Go friends where I stayed in my first AirBnB (it wasn’t too bad), walked about 120km in 5 days around Chicago and won a medal for coming first at PvP.
A couple of weeks later I went back to Dortmund for the European Pokemon Go Fest but instead of last year which saw me go solo to meet others there, I took my girlfriend along for the ride and she had a really good time.
We spent most days eating Currywurst or Poutine from Frittenwerk and had some great beer in the evening, we also explored Dortmund a lot which was really fun.
The badness that happened in 2019 is mostly around burning out and struggling to get a decent work / life balance.
This is especially true when it comes my actual job at the moment where it’s not been unknown for me to be doing 50+ hour weeks as deadlines loom or the client requires work to be done on the weekends.
But it’s not my day job that causes the burn out, it’s the stuff I set myself up to do outside of those working hours that wears me down and while I’ve figured out how to manage this better I haven’t quite got to the root issue.
When I set myself the goal to post a weekly blog I had these great topics that would allow me to hit some long-held projects that I wanted to do but as the deadlines for posts loomed I started to dread working on those projects and instead had to pull random subjects out of the blue to meet publishing slots.
Another issue I’ve had since joining my new project in September is that as someone who’s meant to lead a team but also as a night owl it can be really hard to lead a team of morning people.
I tend to work 9–6 while everyone else works 7–4 which makes it really awkward as my working day is full of meetings without the time to prepare for them in the morning.
Any attempts I make to get up early never last more than a week before the weekend hits and I slump back into my old sleeping pattern.