2009 Year in Review

Its amazing how much has changed in my life this decade, even in the last year. We all know how 2009 was bad for a lot of people and at the start there was much we wondered about.  For me, 2009 was a year of redemption, a chance to make my mark and advance in my industry.  When 2008 ended I had narrowly avoided being laid off from my company, and now as we ring in 2010, I feel that I can breath easy with a fair amount of job security.  Many other things occurred so I thought I would publish a year in review posting for this pivotal year.

Job Questions
As December of 2008 came around I already had a feeling that I would be included in the layoffs.  I hadn’t really been on a billable project in quite some time and though the work I had done was valuable from a process standpoint, as a consultant it really comes down to billable hours. I steeled myself for the outcome which came to fruition.  But all was not lost to me, I continued to work even after I was told I didn’t have to, I wanted to finish this final feature I was working on, as a token of thanks to the company that gave me my start.  As I started looking around I had garnered much interest from the tech community and my transition to a new company seemed assured when I caught a most fortunate break. I received a phone call from our head manager in Grand Rapids who asked me if I would like my job back.  I was taken aback by this and asked for some time as I was considering other offers.  But the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to be at RCM, I felt it was the best place to learn and grow.

So I had a conversation in which I asked the reasons behind the decision to let me go, it was because they had not put me on work because of the good work I was doing to improve process.  I said to them that if I were to come back, I would not like it if I were simply laid off again for the same reasons, something must change.  And so it did.  From the get-go they were true to their words and through work at me and I thrived.  I worked on one of the biggest projects the company had that year, and it became the most successful, a testament to good planning and a well organized team.

Then came another challenge, we had a client who wanted something done but only PHP could be used due to the existing technologies. This time I pulled out the skills that I had not used since converting to a .NET programmer (heavily anyway) and created a well architected easily extensible enhancement to an existing software product, this time working remotely in more of a leadership role for my potion of the project, again I thrived.  My boss, who had always believed in me, was thrilled, I was starting to really carve out a niche for myself.  Then it came, the need for someone to go to New York to work on a huge project for another division in RCM, one under the direct supervision of the RCM brass.  After a long interview process, I was chosen and so as I close 2009, I look back on the great breaks I had knowing full well that my positioning had a lot more to do with getting them then luck.

Preparations for Japan
With questions about my employment swirling at the end of 2008, my Japan trip for 2010 was also placed in doubt.  Once the employment situation stabilized, the stability led to me beginning to take the steps to prepare for my trip to Japan.  The first step was to refresh my knowledge of the Japanese language through study.  To aid in this study I purchased Rosetta stone with levels 1, 2, & 3 and immediately began my training.  The remote work in New York helped bolster my accounts and allowed me to purchase a new camera which is something that I indicated was necessary for my trip.  And now, as we enter the new year I am preparing final preparations for plane tickets and ryokan, hostel, and hotel reservations following CodeMash.  In addition, I am preparing for the final purchase, a Netbook to help with blogging details of my journey.  Truly 2009, was a great year that saw me take great strides in preparing for my trip.  The final detail that solidified my desire to go was learning that my host brother and sister would be graduating from juugaku (middle school) and shogaku (elementary school) and thus I would be in country and able to attend a juugaku entrance ceremony, and a kookoo (high school) entrance ceremony.  This is very exciting.

Final Reflections
I generally tend to think that each year should bring knowledge and new experiences from which you should grow as a person.  And you should be proactive in seeking these experiences and seeking new challenges to increase your knowledge.  I feel that in the past year I have done this and grown as a person.  I hope to continue to increase my experience and knowledge in 2010 by continuing to challenge myself professionally and grown from the experiences I will have in Japan.  Happy New Year everyone, have a happy 2010.

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