A few of my fellow colleagues have been releasing blog posts summarizing their year – sales, goals, achievements, etc. Although I don’t like talking numbers with strangers so I won’t be sharing income (sorry, internet reader), it’s an interesting idea and one I’d never done before – setting aside time for a reflection on the year. 2014 has been one hell of a whirlwind – so, let’s take a breath and talk about what things have changed since this time last year.
Warning: this won’t include any tips, tricks, or marketing hacks… This is the diary of a 25 year old man who hates to share his thoughts, so this is your last chance to bail. Here’s my review on the Hobbit. No judgement.
Back to December (get it?)
Last December, things were tense – working as a contractor, I only had one consistent ‘client’, though it was full time work… A bit of a raw deal in retrospect, but inexperience and lack of confidence had me stuck with a pay I could justify by simply being proud I had a job. That was the kicker, though – I had a job then, but I knew changes were on the horizon. The rumor mill was in full swing and a former side business partner had gone silent – it wouldn’t be until January 7th, 2014 that I fully understood I’d been replaced… My “partner” had made an under-the-table deal to make himself my boss, offering me a shady position lower than I’d had the day before.
It was a hard time. I hadn’t been on the hunt for a ‘real’ job yet – the current situation had evolved out of an internship from college, and other clients had been simple side jobs, with not many ongoing contracts. My resume was unclear, my interview skills rusty… Luckily, I had the support of my family and loved ones – without them, taking the next step would have been impossible. I rejected the ‘offer’ and never went back.
It’s an odd feeling to live on saved money alone – to see your money pile slowly deflate. I had been good with my spending the year before, so I did some math – I had a few months before I was really in the “screwed” category, a little breathing room. It wasn’t much, but it was enough, and the real job search began.
Application after application. Interview after interview. I found myself applying for a huge, wide range of jobs in 2014 – even night security was on the radar, and although offers were dripping in, none of them sat right. None of them would help my career. None of them felt like home.
Until, of course, I found WooThemes. Having used their software for client and personal projects before (Canvas is an awesome theme), when I saw an available position I leapt at the opportunity. After a long interview process, lots of nail biting, and brushing up on my WordPress, the good news came along – I officially started my position as a WooCommerce Support Ninja at WooThemes on March 1st, 2014.
The Les Grossman Era
Things were great. In addition to a conveniently planned company trip to Chicago where I got to meet all new people, I got to see just what sort of environment I thrive in. After the probationary period, my role evolved from Support – I got to participate in video, community, and marketing efforts. I felt as if I were flourishing – day-after-day I was learning new things, I had roles in important projects, and I felt like I was making a difference. I spoke at a conference! I wrote a plugin! I sparked the A/V team back into gear! It was exciting.
At the same time, I made strides to improve my personal well-being. I had the time to address long-term issues I’d been struggling with for years. I stepped out of my comfort zone to help with a local theater group to produce a (still in production) short film, with more to come in the Spring. I was rollin’ like Les Grossman.
I’ll skip over the rest of the sappy details here and end the segment with my take on a poetic analogy – much like the seasons, roles, responsibilities, and luck change, no matter how much you resist. As it got colder outside it got colder in business, and it was time to break out the winter jacket.
A Course in Divination
What the coming year has in store for me is as much of a mystery as it was in 2013. Will I have a steady paycheck? Will I be able to learn, grow, and improve? Will I be happy?
Although the feelings are all-too-familiar, something has changed. Not just in my personal business, which I continue to grow. Not just in my video interest, which is still ongoing with some great people. It wasn’t a physical change – it was a mental change. In 2014, I had grown into an adult.
With all of the ups and downs, 2014 was a huge was a lesson in reality – a course on just what was possible. This time last year I thought I was ready to take on whatever could be thrown at me, and only now in this reflection do I realize just how cocky I’d been.
The Greek philosopher Socrates once wrote that “True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.” It’s my resolution to take this motto in mind for the coming year – to remember that I may not be ready for every bump in the road, but to know that the trials of 2014 have given me the tools to overcome it. I’ve found my confidence, I’ve found my passions, and in the process I’ve found who I want to be – and every day from this point forward, I resolve to take a step towards that mantle.
Highs, lows, and in-betweens, bring it on, 2015… I’ll see you on the other side.
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