Reflecting on 2020

Published May 23, 2021

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I’m publishing my year in review for 2020 in (almost) June 2021, although it was mostly written (and just in the backburner state) as I spun up in a new role.

2020 was quite a year. In early 2020 I had taken time off for work and was bug bounty hunting for fun and profit. Taking time off from work meant that I also spent significant time reading the news (moreso than a full-time-employed version of myself would). As a result, I felt like I saw the coronavirus coming to the US in slow motion, then all at once.

Post March 2020, life changed significantly in many ways. My partner came home from law school for Spring Break, and never went back She graduated! . Great things happened - we moved in together and got engaged in early 2021!

Workwise, I started a new role at Mapbox in the first few weeks of the Bay Area’s stay at home orders. It could have been extremely stressful, but I think Mapbox’s culture was uniquely suited to enabling the onboarding to happen as smoothly as it did. Over a year later in early 2021 (while I was having a great time working at Mapbox), a Google recruiter reached out about a dream job on the SRE team. That call led to interviews and an offer - now I am amazingly on the Google Geo SRE team! I will leave it to the SRE book to describe what my role entails: “SRE is what you get when you treat operations as if it’s a software problem. Our mission is to protect, provide for, and progress the software and systems behind all of Google’s public services — Google Search, Ads, Gmail, Android, YouTube, and App Engine, to name just a few — with an ever-watchful eye on their availability, latency, performance, and capacity.”

In other words, much happened (which brings me back to the traditional section of a year-in-review).

What didn’t go well

Much of what I envisioned with respect to goals in my last yearly review had to be tossed out the window.

I’m not too hard on myself for not achieving every goal I set for myself in 2020. Goal setting is an important (and useful) exercise in and of itself, and I am of the school of thought that achieving 100% of one’s goals means that the goals were not lofty enough!

That said, I am resolving to make the learning goals I set in the future more focused and measurable than they have been in the past. Other life goals not featured here. :)

What went well

I did achieve certain learning goals, even in the middle of a global pandemic.

Looking ahead to (the rest of) 2021

In a previous edition of my yearly reflections, I wrote that I thought learning shouldn’t be bound by goals because “learning isn’t work”. I have since changed my tune on this. In fact, I think that in this distracted world, having goals for learning that you have written up on the wall can be helpful for focusing oneself (in particular, myself)

On that note, I have made a few goals for myself:

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