Kissing 2013 Goodbye

stingraykiss

The end of the year is here, which means it’s time to look back and review my goals and reflect on the highlights and lowlights of the year. I can’t say that I’m sorry to see this year come to an end. 2013 was a tough, ugly year. Tension between developers and the operations team, on-call demands, and generally high stress levels nearly forced me to leave my job of 8 years in search of greener pastures. I’ve chosen instead to accept that maybe I’m part of the problem, and as such, 2014 is going to be a growth year for me.

rumisgoodIt wasn’t all bad, not by a long shot. After postponing once due to a delayed SQL Server upgrade, my wife and I took our first cruise, where I discovered that I really like rum-based drinks. One kid moved out into his own place (soon after moving back in again), the other shipped out to college, which drastically reduced our grocery expenses and gave me control over the television. We also visited Las Vegas for the first time, which subsequently led to the creation of the RealSQLGuy M&Ms. I’m entitled to some candy – according to the Fitbit that I purchased this year, I’ll have walked nearly 4 million steps (1700 miles) by the end of the year. This, plus running my first ever official 5K (and several unofficial ones), led to a loss of 40 pounds. In spite of the stress at work, I’ve made my personal health and fitness a priority.

Enough of that, we all have our problems, and you don’t want to hear about mine. Let’s look at the goals that I set for myself in 2013, and how I fared on meeting them:

  • attend 6 local PASS meetings. According to Foursquare, I only attended three meetings. However, I ran for, and was elected to, the executive board. I’ll be the Director of Program Development for the local PASS chapter. I’m calling this goal DONE.
  • help out with the local SQL Saturday event. DONE.
  • present at the local SQL Saturday event. DONE, I gave my Subqueries For Superheroes presentation.
  • write a minimum of one new blog post per month. I didn’t actually write a new post each month, but I did give the blog a major facelift. Since October, I’ve written more than a dozen new posts, and have breathed new life into the blog. This in turn led to a couple of unexpected perks – I made it back onto Thomas LaRock’s ranked bloggers list, and Dell honored me with their Toad World SQL Pro Of The Month distinction for December. I’m calling this one DONE.
  • conduct 6 in-house trainings, perhaps dual-purposing blog post or SQL Saturday content, to minimize prep time needed. This didn’t happen, I only conducted two in-house sessions. As I said, it’s been a tough year at work, and my heart just wasn’t in it.
  • read and review 4 non-fiction books. I did manage to read 4 non-fiction books, but I didn’t write reviews for any of them. I’ll take half-credit for this one, and it looks like I have some writing to do.
  • pass exam 70-463 (obtaining both MCSA and MCSE: Data Platform for SQL 2012). Didn’t happen, and truthfully probably won’t. I walked in and passed the other four exams as betas, with no prep time, so I’ve proven to myself what I needed to prove.

Presented this way, I guess it wasn’t so bad. An average year, some successes, some failures, I survived but I can do better…

Diving Into 2014

dive

As I stated above, 2014 is going to be a growth year for me (professionally and personally, not physically). I fully intend to continue the new fitness habits that I’ve started, no more “fat SQL guy with high blood pressure” for me please. I also intend to change some bad behaviors that caused some of the professional damage that I suffered this year. Don’t worry, posting stupid stuff on Twitter isn’t one of them.

Without further ado, here’s my list of goals for 2014:

  • present again at the local SQL Saturday event, plus three others.
  • attend the PASS Summit. I’ve been told that I can attend this year. Woohoo!!!
  • keep the blog alive and fresh. If I’m still on LaRock’s ranked bloggers list at the end of the year, that will be the success indicator for this goal.
  • review 4 non-fiction books. I’ve already done the hard part, reading them, the reviews should be easy. Right?
  • collaborate with local SQL professionals to produce a book or eBook. Will it be about SQL Server? You betcha!
  • I don’t know how to make this a measurable goal, but a major focus for me this year will be on finding better ways of dealing with work pressures and problems. Those pressures and problems are beyond my control, but my reaction to them is not. Did I just write that? What’s happening to me?
  • oh, one more. That stingray that you see me locking lips with above? I plan to repeat that experience again – yeah, it was that good. Once you’ve gone stingray, you never go back. Seriously though, we will be repeating the cruise that we took. We’re hooked on the experience.

That’ll do for now. Farewell 2013, hello 2014. Here’s hoping it’s a good one for everyone…