2022 has simultaneously been both my most productive and unproductive year at the same time, which really doesn’t make sense. But, I say that because my definition of what it means to be productive and making progress is changing. It used to be solely career focused, for example, how much tech knowledge am I learning? Am I working towards promotion? Is my personal brand growing? How many people am I helping? That was fine, but there was a whole area of my life that it didn’t include. The “life” part of the sought after “work/life balance”. This year life became my main priority and work and work related interests took a back seat.
I’ve been trying not to feel guilty about this, but I have spent so many years focused on growing my career that it’s been pretty difficult to put it on pause. It’s like seeing an F1 car whizzing around a track at 200mph on its way to their first win and saying wait, pause for a second, why don’t you focus on this other thing while every other driver passes them. But, it was necessary. In an ideal world, work would be a means to an end, not my whole identity. Even though I have fewer tech related milestones to talk about this year, in reality that’s actually a good thing.
I got promoted! In 2021 I left the Financial Times and joined Google Health, I now work on a product for Clinicians. I got to go on my first ever business trip to San Francisco where many of my colleagues are based. I visited the HQ in Mountain View and a bunch of the new offices they’ve just built out there.
One of the coolest projects I got to work on was part of the Black Googler Network. We ran our annual hackathon and invited students from across the UK to join, and win prizes. Around 40 students came to the offices, worked all weekend to design and create their ideas and they presented them to a panel of judges who are senior leaders at Google. One of them was an angel investor that wanted to invest in the winning team’s idea because he thought it could be a great business.
I was on a podcast! My public speaking this year was almost non-existent, but I was invited by the lovely Glowing in tech team to talk about a range of tech topics. I also spoke at a school for their careers day about what it’s like to be a Software Engineer, which I often get invited to do and love doing.
Meh? Honestly this has been my biggest fail! I’ve had a draft article in progress since October 2021, but could I bring myself to finish it and post? No. But, 2023 is the year. I’ve already put in place lots of dedicated time to focus on writing and sharing what I’ve been learning, starting with this review of the year! I’m looking forward to doing this more.
Also meh? I would love to get back into teaching, but since my role as a bootcamp instructor for the Black Codher bootcamp finished, I haven’t made the time. I met some previous students at Google and it’s so cool to see the girls I taught progressing in their new tech roles and say they remembered what I taught them 🥲. I would love to do this more. I have taken on some mentees and have been flexing my mentoring muscles. Though, this is a skill I definitely need to get better at!
I became a wife! Planning a wedding is something I would very happily never do again, but maybe it improved my project management skills? In hindsight a small, intimate (and cheaper) wedding would have been the way to go.
We also moved into our own place, so it was the double whammy of life updates, getting married and moving house, within the space of a few months was pretty stressful.
Other cool things
I travelled! All cancelled trips were back on and as well as my work trip to America, I had a beautiful honeymoon in Santorini and also visited Paris and Barcelona. I went to so many weddings (Love is sweet o!). And I really enjoyed the Google perks. The Black Googler Network had a cool party to celebrate Black History Month with Stonebwoy and Adekunle Gold, and the tech Christmas party was probably one of the biggest parties I’ve ever been too.
This year I’ve relaxed my goals. I still have them but they are higher level instead of the detailed goals I’ve had in previous years. I want to see where God takes me. I did set a word for the year inspired by a show I watched recently — my word is “growth”. I want to see growth in all dimensions, spiritually, mentally, physically, career wise, health wise, marriage, everything. Let’s see what this year brings. God willing, it will be another great one.
Sometimes life takes over and you just have to go with it. I’m honestly so glad I did. 2022 has been amazing.