Reflecting Back On 2018

As has become a bit of a tradition for me, I’m taking the time to review my 2018 and set some goals for 2019. Why do I do this, particularly, why do I do it publicly on my blog? Well for one, it’s my blog so I can do what I want 😉 But seriously, I have found that if I write something down I am far more accountable. There are especially some folks within the vCommunity who I know will hold me accountable as well. So in short, I think it is a great way to get things done.

A second reason that I do it is that I know I enjoy reading other folks posts on topics like this. It gives me an idea of where folks are focussing time, and why. It also gives me an idea of whether I am pushing myself hard enough, too little, etc. So hopefully you, the reader, find some value in this, and if you don’t, just close the browser tab 🙂

2018 Re-cap

Before I jump into the individual goals I laid out, I wanted to take time to reflect on what were definitely some of the highlights for me. Note that these are in no particular order.

VMware UserCons

Back in March, I had the opportunity to present at the Toronto VMUG UserCon for the second time. It’s always great to catch up with the local community folks, but with UserCons you can usually get a chance to meet some out-of-towners. Nigel Hickey was in town (we chatted at VeeamON 2017, courtesy of Tim Smith), which was awesome because he was able to sit in on my VCP7-DTM session. Why was this awesome? He was one of the author’s of the exam. Nothing like being able to say mid-presentation “I’m not sure about that – why don’t we ask one of the guys who authored the exam?”.

Camp Rubrik Group PhotoIt was also great to finally sit down and have some great chats with Phoummala Schmitt, who due to flight issues was stuck in Toronto longer than expected. I’m always going on about networking at events like this, and this was a perfect example. In May I was invited to Camp Rubrik: Insider’s Edition where Phoummala was a guest as well. My point is that you never know when you’ll bump into these folks again, and you can create some great friendships.

Also on the UserCon front, in October I had the privilege of presenting the vDocumentation community session on behalf of Ariel Sanchez Mora. This time it was the Upstate New York UserCon, located in Buffalo, New York. Not only was it fun to present someone else’s material, I was also able to cross “attend an international VMUG” off of my wish list.

Veeam & The Veeam Vanguard

Being a part of the Veeam Vanguard has been one of the most important things that has happened to me career-wise. On a personal side, it has introduced me to folks who I would consider close friends. It really has become like a tight-knit family, and for that I am grateful. There are two events that really stand out to me for 2018.

First up is presenting at VeeamON in Chicago. It was great to go there and see friends, new and old. But what was really awesome was my session. I was scheduled right around lunch time and I honestly figured that I would have maybe 20 folks show up – and I was more than OK with that. Imagine my surprise when I got to the room 15 minutes early and there were already ~50 folks there. By the time it was all said and done, it was standing room only for a session that had 225 seats. What was even more amazing was how much I enjoyed presenting this session. This event was really high up there for me on my personal and career goals. Time to set the bar higher.

Of course, I couldn’t write a post about 2018 highlights without mentioning the Vanguard Summit in Prague. So many awesome people, fantastic conversations, and a location and venue that I will have memories of for a long time. I really can’t speaking highly enough of the program or the people involved.

Career & Personal

VMware WWSKO 2018I was done with my existing job going into 2018. Don’t get me wrong, I had some great growth career-wise and it was far from a terrible place to work. I needed a change though, for my sanity and for my family’s because they had to deal with me being at wits end on multiple occasions.  Through lots of support I was able to join VMware as a Technical Account Manager. What stands out to me is how quickly things can change. This picture is from March at VMware’s WWKO event in Toronto. I was the only non-VMware employee in that picture; pretty crazy to think that 3 months later I would have an offer in hand.

Despite all of the great stuff above, 2018 hit me hard in the wee hours of August 18th. At about 12:30 AM I received a call that my brother, and only sibling, had passed away. He lived in Jasper, Alberta, which is no easy place to get to. Despite living so far away, we always made time for our twice-weekly gaming sessions, or for the random text messages throughout the day. It’s been rough without him, and it has taken a chunk of who am I away. This has definitely had effects on social media (Twitter, blogging, etc.) and is likely something I will be dealing with for a long time.

2018 Goal Scoring & 2019 Goals

This post has gone on long enough – it turned into a bit of a therapy session. But let’s quickly see how I did for 2018:

  • An Advanced Certification – This didn’t happen; however, with the new role there is a lot more drive to get one in 2019.
  • Public presentation(s) – Between VMUGs and VeeamON, I think I did pretty good on this.
  • Submit 3 talks for larger conferences – I think I only submitted for VMWorld and VeeamON, so 2/3
  • Career Growth / Changes – Given the jump to the vendor-land, I think I nailed it.

5K Run

So, let’s set some 2019 goals:

  • A VCAP – I’m still not sure on what track, but now is the time finally getting around to earning one.
  • Submit 3 sessions for VMWorld – Given that I work for VMware now and my role, presenting at other conferences may be a bit tougher.
  • At least 15 technical blog posts – I’ve definitely fallen behind on the blogging; that is something I would like to get rectified.
  • Run a 5K – With the passing of my brother, I’ve been getting fairly strict about getting into shape. Time to do something that I never thought I could do. I recently managed to break 5K on the treadmill, which was a huge personal breakthrough.

Let’s Wrap This Up

So yeah, with one painful event, 2018 was pretty rough for me, and to be frank I’m still figuring things out. But let’s brighten the mood. This painful experience has had the effect of making me look at each and every day differently. It may sound cliché, but it is true. With that in mind, one of the absolute coolest moments I had in 2018 came from my couch. I let my 8 year-old stay up late one night and watch Ant-Man with me (he’s just getting into the Marvel movies). He was a chatter box the whole time; “hey Dad, look at this”, “hey Dad, what would happen if …” … you get the idea. What was really cool was at one point I just had the raw reaction of “why are you calling me Dad? We’re friends right now”. It may sound small, but having that relationship with my son is one of the things that keeps me going at the moment.

So with that, let those close to you know what they mean to you. Give folks a hug, because you never know when you might not be able to. And if I may offer one more piece of advice, take some video. We all take lots and lots of pictures, but how many videos do we take of our loved ones, especially those who are not our kids? This is one of the very few regrets I have in life … I have next to no recent videos of my brother, and that is something that can’t be changed.

Be safe and be kind to each other in 2019 🙂

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