Inspired by Scott Lowe’s goals for 2015, I’ve decided to be more rigorous about my own work-related goals. In this post, I’ll give a recap of my unofficial plans for 2014. I never wrote these down or otherwise formalized them, so they are a bit rough.
- Start a blog
This one I achieved pretty early in the year. I started collecting material during the holiday and started publishing content on February. Grade: Pass
- Post a Monday morning blog article every week
I had mixed success here. My initial aim really was to have one article a week and I made it for about 10 months, with the help of Jason (@hawkbox), who contributed some Hyper-V content during August. Things started to fall apart in November, though. I participated in the 30in30 challenge for November and didn’t quite make the mark, and it got me away from the weekly post. In December, I didn’t post weekly. So I failed, only hitting this about 70% of the time. Grade: C
However, I consider the results a success. I learned a few things. One, how difficult it is to get content ready every week without fail. I would have done much poorer if Jason had not helped me in August, as I was reaching burnout. Learning new things can be fun, but the pressure to do it continually does suck some of the enjoyment out. It also has a high cost on your free time, you need to spend a lot of it on the blog and it can intrude upon time with family and friends (you’ll note that blog content has been almost nil since the holiday season began, for this reason). Second, a weekly article isn’t needed. I managed to have 100 blog articles in 11 months, which is more than one per week. Some were really short, some very lengthy technical articles, and some were opinion pieces. People found the articles and I get a note from readers once in a while. Thank you all for reading, it really makes it worthwhile.
Even though I missed my original mark, I’ll regrade it as a B as I met the real, unwritten goal – create helpful content and post it on my blog frequently.
- Learn Puppet
On this goal, I did very well. I wrote some 35+ articles, created three forge modules, and it spawned a project ‘Puppetinabox’. It also had some unrecognized synergy with using and learning Git, which I now feel adept with. I still have a lot of things to learn about Puppet, but my efforts clearly paid off. Grade: A
- Present publicly
A goal I added midway through the year was to present something publicly. It didn’t matter what, but it had to be in front of real live human beings. I had done an Auto Deploy Deep Dive on the vBrownBag podcast earlier in the year and loved it. A podcast can make you nervous, but no-one can see you and you can’t see the attendees. I wanted to really push myself as I know I’m not good at public speaking. I ended up giving two public presentations. The first was a Virtual Design Master followup at the annual Indianapolis VMUG conference in July and the second was about DevOps for SysAdmins in November at a regular VMUG meeting. I had a lot of fun with both and I think I got past much of my stage fright. I also presented with Byron Schaller both times, who really helped with getting the presentations together. Of course, both presentations were to small groups. I had applied to give my Auto Deploy presentation at VMworld and presenting to (hopefully!) a few hundred people would have been a much different experience. There’s always next year! Grade: B+
For someone without a solid set of goals for the year, I think I did fairly well! I’m going to try and improve on this for 2015 by documenting the goals publicly and posting them here. Stay tuned.