Rants about 2023 - Year in review.
I initially wrote a detailed review of my year, splitting the year into quarters (Q1 to Q4) then I figured my year was too complex and long to split into 4 quarters. I am going to split it into stages instead.
Before we go into this, I am sure you are wondering how did 2022 end? Where was Tay on the 1st of January 2023.
I remember sitting on my chair where my workspace is placed in my apartment in between breaking into tears and thanking God for everything he has done in my life. I had just been laid off from two of my jobs in December, this brought a lot of fear into me considering I knew how difficult it was to get a new role at that time. I also had exams coming up soon and I needed to focus on them because my CGPA had been on a constant decline since my 200 level (I am a finalist now). I was broken, I was optimistic, I was scared.
The year began with Discovery
Some time in January, we had an exam and I was seated outside of the exam venue few hours before the it began. I was having a conversation with two friends about how lost and confused I was in my career path. By this time I had gathered decent experience to call myself a mid-level software engineer but I felt unaccomplished. It felt like I had spent majority of my career building products with little impacts and complexity. I felt I was no different from a backend engineer who completed that NodeJS course a week ago.
I had the impression that I needed to be doing more than building APIs, building CRUD applications filled with business logic I didn’t find complex.
When I got home, I wrote down a list of people who inspired me as an engineer and I set out to have a conversation with them.
Bakare Emmanuel (Bakman)
Oluwaleke Fakorede (Hashcode)
Speaking to these four about my confusions and trying to get tips from them on how they discovered their specialties in software engineering really inspired me. I was looking towards moving away from the basic CRUD development into a world of complex problem solving.
I noticed I had a slight inclination towards resolving and understanding the performance capabilities of a distributed system. I decided to get some courses on them then followed it.
While doing this, I was in between taking a career break to focus on the new things I wanted to learn and job hunting. I decided to get back to job hunting because I was scared I might never find a job.
This takes us to the next phase of the year - Struggle
Early February, I got a new role to build a fintech solution from scratch with a team of people scattered around the world. I took it because I felt it would have a huge impact on me building a complex fintech solution from ground up with people from across the world. I slowly began to hate the job because nothing was structured. The code was all over the place and I was trying so hard to bring everything back together, the CTO and CEO grew a liking for me because I asked questions no one ever thought of, I came up with solutions nobody thought about, I challenged things nobody saw problems with. Even though the C level managers loved me, I didn’t like the company. It felt like I was being the leader and I wasn’t being led.
Before I go further, lemme give you a little back story on my career history. I got my first role in September 2019, it was an internship so I was meant to be mentored and taught. The issue is I didn’t stay long in that company because Corona happened (we all got laid off in 2020) and I worked on very little things (to be honest, nothing) before leaving. Since then, every role I have picked up has involved me being the only engineer in the team or the main engineer on the team. Times where I have had leads, it was either the lead barely had my time for me, or I barely learnt anything from them for one reason or the other.
I knew I needed mentorship and support into becoming a better engineer and I knew this company wasn’t going to offer me that so I was looking to move as fast as possible.
Luckily for me, I got a new job offer barely a month into this job. I was referred by a friend, went through 5 stages of interview then got hired.
Why do I call this part of the year struggle??
It's because I was trying to juggle my IT(Siwes II), new learning goals, new complicated job and job hunting all at the same time. I found myself waking up early, sitting on the chair and remaining there still Mahgrib (evening prayer at 6:30 pm). I developed back aches because I was working my ass off every single day.
As soon as I got the new job, I immediately resigned from the old one while being excited about how the year could turn out with this new company.
New company, new me right ??
I drafted a plan on how I wanted to live my life. I got myself a car hoping it would help me navigate my plans easier. I wanted to sleep better, eat better, hit the gym, and work better while managing the little 24 hours God had given to us. Ramadan kicked in and it was difficult keeping up with everything but I did pretty well.
I was slowly becoming consistent with a lot of things, I became a regular at the gym, slept and ate well, worked decently well and continued my learning goals for the year.
I spent a huge part of the year in this stage, going through several sub stages but I kept being tenacious. Work slowly became complicated but I kept getting better and better at it. I got a bad review from my team lead for Q2 because I was underperforming, this didn’t break me as I put in more effort into the next quarter and earned a better review the next quarter.
I slowly improved myself in the gym, aiming at a PR of 100kg of bench press before the end of the year (I later did 110kg). All of these consistency came crashing a day before my birthday. Why ??
I injured my knee, it was a really bad injury as I had to do X-ray to write-off concerns on fractures. Just around this time, school resumed and I had to focus on school and work at the same time.
I could not hit the gym regularly because of my injury, work slightly got affected because I had to rush to school several times. It was hard but I kept doing the well until the next phase.
I broke down, work became more demanding, school became more demanding, had to work on final year project and at the same time write assignments and attend classes. I gave up on my fitness journey and began to stress eat to cope with the heavy amount of stress I was going through. Gained huge amount of weight in the process and ruined my confidence (no worries, I'm fine).
There were days I would shut down from everything and just try to recover mentally, I have had days I would sit alone in the car and break down into tears because I could barely handle everything being thrown at me at the same time.
Even though there were ups and downs, I really won this year, I set goals and tried to achieve them, even if I didn't stay consistent for long, I consider the fact that I tried really hard as a win.
This year taught me a lot of things about myself and my potential;
I got closer to Allah, reading the Qur’an more, paying more attention to my Salah and Tahajjud.
I tasted what it felt to be consistent with a good fitness plan. I felt good when I hit the gym and ate well.
I learnt a lot of random things by reading articles and watching videos. Grew a liking for economic conversations.
Learnt how to interact with people more, regularly spending the weekends with friends I love so much.
Crazy year but I survived. Cheers.