10 years in

Note: Tonight I found this post sitting in my drafts folder. I wrote this back in January, and for some reason I never published it. I’m not sure what made me want to write it back then, but I definitely know that I feel this strongly right now.

Eight and a half years ago, my solitary goal in my career was to be able to write two years on my resume next to a job. Yes back then I thought of it as a job. I had also only lasted 18 or 19 months at my two previous employers before getting downsized (remember when that was all the rage?).

Eight and a half years later, and I am now celebrating 10 years with one company. I like where I work, I like the people and the product, and I can see room for growth and change in the way we do things. Much of the time in the middle, I spent without setting any real goals. Sure, I filled out my S.M.A.R.T. goals on my review each year, but I didn’t have a vision for where I wanted to go, or what I wanted to do. I didn’t see what value I could add to the organization or the people in it beyond accomplishing the tasks defined for me in the goals that were passed down from multiple levels of management.

Today, I stand at the beginning of a new decade. I find myself awakened to what I can and still need to learn, and find myself coming up with ideas of ways I can help educate others. I spent far too much of my past heads down completing tasks, or managing processes. I lost sight of my career; I was fumbling around with no real direction. Now I have it back, and I can see here I want to go.

If you feel lost, or directionless, WAKE UP! Sitting in a chair just to collect a check sucks. Going to work because you are excited to accomplish something is awesome. Basically, DO something. DO something that excites you, that fits with your passions. If you are out of ideas, there are lots of people out there who can give you some (like Pete or Huib or Michael or James or Twitter)

What a Year

Sooo…. yeah. It’s December. I realized this week as the year-in-review posts started popping up on Twitter that I hadn’t even thought about my year yet.

Though I’ve turned into a rather sporadic blogger, I have managed to write about some of the things I did this year that meant something to me.

For anyone who read last year’s post, I felt 2012 was an awesome year. It really was, don’t get me wrong. But it doesn’t compare to 2013.

I started NOTiCE. I setup and hosted Matt and Pete for some on site training at Hyland. I helped (I think) convince Paul to come to Westlake, Ohio of all places to run RST. I attended a couple of MMTMD events. I got published in Tea-time with Testers. I SPOKE AT CAST! I participated in TestRetreat, and the AST Leadership SIG TLC event. I put together and submitted 2 collaborative proposals for Let’s Test, which got turned down by Rob Sabourin (not hard feelings Rob). I managed to turn one of those into a collaborative workshop proposal for CAST 2014 and am trying to turn the other into something too. I successfully completed BBST Foundations 2.0. I joined the program committee for NOSQAA (get ready speakers, I’ll be looking for 2014-2015 season spots soon). I hosted and participated in the WHOSE workshop. I met a TON of awesome people, from all over the world. Some from right around the corner; some from far off lands.

The biggest problem I have with this year is it still doesn’t feel like enough. Especially when I compare it to 2014. Next year is gonna be huge for me, and I hope it’s just the start of a trend. QA or the Highway selected me to speak in Columbus next February. It’ll be my first talk in a kilt (it’s a long story, for the short version, just blame Keith and Hilary). I’m going to Agile and Beyond that same week. In March I’m attending PSL, which has been a goal for me since I first learned of it at CAST 2012. I’m going to Let’s Test in Sweden, and meeting Maria, my soon-to-be CAST co-presenter (I’m counting on you Paul, I’m gonna sound like a real ass if we don’t get in). Speaking of CAST, there’s that. Speaking gig or not, I am so going. I know there will be some pre and post stuff wrapped around CAST and I will definitely be attending. I may have some things with the guy about the stuff going on throughout the year, and who knows what else. I hope to stay connected with all sorts of people, and I hope to help out anyone I can. I really love having people come to me for help or advice, or just a sounding board for ideas. I like feeling like I can contribute something to help someone else.

Well, I know about one other thing. I hope I can write about it soon, but just know that it could be a big deal for me. Let’s stay in touch on that one.

So on to what one friend said was my end-of-year-post thing (I suppose now that I’m doing it twice, it is a thing huh?)

The people:

Thank you Matt Heusser and Pete Walen for spending so much time with me in and around the training opportunity I brought them in for. I really appreciated all of the time you afforded me, on and off the clock. I just wish I was closer for the GR Testers events. TestRetreat and WHOSE were awesome. You two have some great ideas and I hope I can tag a long for some of the adventures. You both have been there to help me work through things and I hope someday I can return the favor.

Paul Holland, you gave me a shot on this blog simply because I knew Eric and he didn’t say I was a douche. I got to spend a ton of time hanging out and learning from you in and around RST. I also loved your tutorial at CAST, and getting to hang out some more. The interview was great, even if you did forget to turn on your mic. You kind of got busy what with the whole Per Scholas thing and all, but you still managed to help me out a few times when I needed it. Thanks.

Keith Klain, you are the most personable, hipster, boss to hundreds of testers, I know. I still get a little intimidated by you at times, and then I remember you’ve made time for me to call you up on several occasions to ask inane questions. I am honored that you put me on the list of mentors for the next class of Per Scholas students (even if you didn’t tell me). Oh, and then there’s the bit on my talk that you dropped into your CAST post (come on man, I already have a hard time finding hats that fit). You rock, and I can’t wait to see you in February and at CAST.

Simon Peter Schrijver, I first learned of you when you Five Blogged some post of mine. I got to finally meet you at TestRetreat and then all during CAST (thanks to you and Ray for the ride to hibachi). I feel like I really got to know you preparing for, and then during WHOSE. You are an awesome facilitator and man are you ever dedicated to your craft.

Wow, this is getting long… OK let’s see.

Eric Proegler, we didn’t get to hang out at all this year, but next year will be better. A little time in Malmo (finger’s crossed) and at CAST (come one man… NYC). You helped me ton this year, whether you know it or not.

Martin Hynie, you pain in the ass Ottawanian you. You just love to poke at things to make stuff happen, which is what I love about you. I had an awesome time hanging out and getting to know you at CAST this year. Thanks to you, and our shared flight to Detroit, I now have a submitted workshop proposal for CAST 2014 with Maria Kedemo and, if we can get out shit together, a second collaborative proposal with you, also for CAST 2014. Yeah, I just wrote that. Is that enough of a push?

Maria Kedemo, the fact that you bothered to listen to me when I first sent you messages along the lines of “Hi, I know Martin, and he said you are awesome and we are similar and we should proposal a talk together, do ya wanna?” still sort of amazes me. It’s been an interesting exercise so far working on both iterations of our proposal, and I am super excited to run this thing at CAST (yes I know, I am crazy optimistic, but it’s going to be awesome, they HAVE to select it). I am really looking forward to meeting you before Let’s Test. How often will I get to say I did work while riding a train in Sweden?

Phil Kirkham, how could I forget you. Despite your threats, you failed to heckle me too much during my talk at CAST (work on that, will ya?). You’ve managed to keep me on a better-than-it-would-have-been-otherwise pace with my blog (which is sad to say). I hope to get to see you again at some more MMTMD events, and hopefully at CAST again.

Claire Moss, I am still dumbfounded at the rate at which you can tweet. You are the only person I know who runs tweet macros (for lack of a better term) to speed up your tweeting.

Ben Yaroch, you ran an awesome conference this year. I loved the tweet printer (even if others didn’t). Thanks for understanding when I utilized some of the down time during interviews to offer the interviewers beers. Somebody hire this dude already. Come on now.

Eric Brickarp, your CAST talk still sticks with me today. I’ve managed to complete everything on my list for this year. I am behind a bit on pulling from the backlog for next year, but it’ll happen soon.

Hilary, I’m so glad I got to see you come out of your shell a bit at the MMTMD events. YOU NEED TO RUN MORE OF THEM. You have an awesome, no-nonsense personality. I still don’t remember how exactly we got there, but knowing you’re doing your QA or the Highway talk in a corset while I’m in my kilt makes me smile. (do we need smoking jackets for this?)

Ahhh! OK It’s getting late and I want to submit this before I go to bed or else it won’t come out until 2014. Let’s do the lightening round:

Marcus Gärtner, I was honored to meet you at TestRetreat and CAST and I was very excited to learn that you were the lead instructor for my BBST Foundations course. Ilari, I’m still not sure what I may have done to make you interested in meeting me, but it was a pleasure. Nimesh, it was awesome finally meeting you in person. I wish we could have collaborated on BBST group work, but it was still awesome having you in my session. Julie, you are awesome, and you need to speak at events more. I am so glad you ended up having to do you CAST lightening talk in the big room (I promise I didn’t cheat too much in the voting). Nick, you really should get your ass on Twitter man. There’s a lot going on out here that isn’t just the same old same old going in inside our four walls at work. Keep at it. Anna, it was great getting to see you again at CAST and to work with you at the TLC event. I promise I will get going on the AST Leadership SIG video project soon (I finally have a camera). Meike, I couldn’t forget you. From the instant I met you, you seemed like an old friend. A very huggy friend that is good at hugging and enjoys giving hugs.

I know there are a ton of people I am missing here. If you are one of them, please know I really appreciated the stuff you did, but know that I am getting tired and I haven’t yet pasted all the links in this post yet. I’m kind of regretting name dropping so many people. This part is gonna suck.

Have a great New Year everyone, and an awesome 2014!