2020 was not the year that any of us were expecting, but one of the things I am thankful for this year is the fact that my work life was not that interrupted. Yes, it took me some time to adjust to remote work and I miss the office, but I'm fortunate to still have my job and to have been able to do my job without too much interruption. At the beginning of the year I set some career goals for 2020, and I thought it would be interesting to go back and see if I was able to accomplish some of those goal despite that chaos that was 2020.
Advance to Engineer 2
My first goal for the year felt ambitious but acheievable - I wanted to get promoted to the next level at my company, engineer 2. Any hope of this happening was squashed before my July performance review, when I was told that I was not going to be eligible for a promotion until April of 2021. The good news is, my manager and I have been working on a plan to ensure that I am ready for a promotion when I'm eligible in April.
I'm not setting a promotion as a goal for 2021, because I see it as more of an expectation than something I should aspire to. If April comes I don't get that promotion, I will need to do some self-evaluation and determine what changes I need to make to ensure that I am setting myself up for a successful career and work experience.
Speak At A Meetup or Conference
Remember when people got together in-person in a room (or multiple rooms) to talk about tech and learn new things? Wow, that seems like such a long time ago.
Most in-person meetups and conferences did not happen this year, so I had limited opportunities for an in-person talk. While many of these conferences did go virtual, I didn't attend any of them, and I also didn't take the time to apply to speak or even really develop a potential topic for a talk.
I don't think I will carry this goal over in 2021. One thing I learned this year is that I want to focus on balance and not making tech things take over my life, and I think that speaking at an event might be too much of a commitment to me. Maybe one day I'll feel that I want to speak at a conference or meetup, but for now, it's not a goal. I share myself, my journey, and my knowledge in the ways that feel most organic to me, and public speaking is not one of those ways. I'm much more comfortable with blogging my journey, and if that's what works for me, I'm going to stick with it.
Feel Comfortable Sharing My Voice and Experience
This is a tough one. I don't know how much of this is my lack of confidence and how much reflects how I am treated at work, but I do sometimes feel like my voice and my opinion are not valued. That said, I do occasionally try to overcome that feeling and share my voice and my ideas for our work, but I wouldn't say that I'm comfortable sharing my voice at work. Most of the time I only feel comfortable sharing my voice when I am specifically asked to share (and sometimes not even then).
For 2021, I want to take a new approach to sharing my voice. For next year, I want to feel more comfortable taking a leadership role at work. I think that if I act like a leader and take on leadership opportunities, others will treat me like a leader and will give more value to my voice and my opinions.
Write About Technical Topics
My original goal was to write a technical blog once a month. That didn't happen, and I'm glad it didn't, because I think that goal put too much pressure on me. However, I did write a few technical blogs, and I'm really proud of both the fact that I wrote those blogs and the content of those blogs.
Here are all of the technical blog posts I wrote this year:
- Typescript: Learning Through Doing The Basics (January 2020)
- React-Router Hooks: A Brief Introduction (May 2020)
- Series: In Which Sarah Learns Web Security (September-October 2020): Part One Part Two Part Three Part Four
- Props Are Not Forever: Preventing Props From Being Passed to the DOM with styled-components v5.1 (November 2020)
In 2021 I'd like to continue writing technical blogs, but I'm not setting a defined pace at which I want to write those blogs. When I have an idea or a topic I'd like to write about, I'll start working on a blog post. I may write 12 posts, or I may write two. All I know is that I want to continue to feel comfortable writing about technical topics.
Overall, I wouldn't consider 2020 to be a year where I reached all of my goals. In fact, I didn't fully reach any of my goals. But I don't know how much of that is related to 2020. I think it's more a matter of the fact that I'm still growing into my career. This year I learned a lot about me and what is most important to me in my career, and that's more important than reaching any goal. I'm hoping I can internalize these lessons and use them to set myself up for a successful 2021.