2019 Review: The good, the bad and the ugly!

Happy New Year, welcome to 2020! At the start of this year I want to take a moment to look back at the last year and reflect. 2019 was full of ups and downs, there were some great moments but equally there were some real lows.

The Good

  • I’m going to be a dad! Yup, we are expecting our first child in just a few more weeks, so the last 7 months have been a strange journey, but I am excited to see how this all works out.
  • NetApp University – once again I was lucky enough to work with some great people across the industry to write exams. I was also able to be a learning ambassador at NetApp Insight Vegas.
  • Cloud Field Day – I was honoured to be asked to participate as a Field Day delegate. I met such an awesome group of people and I’ve never felt as much imposter syndrome in my life, but the experience was worth every moment.
  • Learning new skills – This year I’ve really been able to embrace and cement a whole new skill set. I was able to build on all the previous automation experience and apply all of that in Azure DevOps. I’ve also expanded skills in software development and Kubernetes.

The Bad

  • Being independent…. This is a strange one, I mean I love the work and I love the freedom, what I didn’t really handle well this year was the workload, I have at times taken on far too much or cared too much and it has effected both my physical and mental health at times.
  • Commuting – This really shouldn’t be an issue in the modern world, but the reality is a 33-mile commute can really take way too much out of your day. Trains just aren’t reliable, and I can spend between 3-4 hours a day travelling.
  • Hobbies and downtime – This year I’ve not found the time or energy to keep up the things I’ve almost always enjoyed doing. I think the amount of time I’ve spent playing games (which is one of my biggest passions) has been down to the lowest its been since I was a teenager.
  • Fitness – I have not made the time to exercise or keep in shape this year, there really isn’t much more to say than that, I just haven’t done it.

The Ugly

  • Mental Health – I really don’t think any of us in the industry talk about this enough. This year has been tough on my mental health and that of my partners. We both suffer with ADHD, that makes things more complicated, when both parties in a relationship have the same weaknesses then somethings that should be simple for a couple turn out to be paralysing. For example, deciding what to eat or what to buy when you are grocery shopping is one of the most challenging tasks we undertake on a regular basis. The first six months of this year my partner really suffered with mental health issues and had to take some time off work to focus on getting better, I am happy to say things are better but the journey was tough and there will always been times when we have to keep an eye on avoiding relapses. The thing about mental health struggles are they affect everyone around you not just you, when one of you is suffering the other is trying to be stronger to help keep things balanced. Sometimes just trying to be the strong one is enough to cause anxiety or stress, that can lead to issues. I am incredibly lucky to have a great support network around me, both friends and family. We’ve really learned who our friends are this year.
  • Burnout – I don’t think I’ve ever really noticed being burned out before; I probably have been that way, but I’ve powered on through it. This year I’ve noticed the change, I am not as interested in anything as I was before. I think it is a little of everything that I’ve mentioned in the bad and this section. Outside of working I’ve just not had the mental or emotional capacity to do much of anything.

What’s in store for 2020?

I am not one for new years resolutions, I feel that you should be able to make changes at any point in your life and not need to wait until a certain point in time to do it. However, the holidays have been a good time for me to reflect and get my thoughts together.

  • New Project – In a few weeks’ time I am starting a new project with a new customer closer to home. I think getting back the time spent on commuting each day will help a lot and allow me to spend a bit more time on myself.
  • Hobbies – I’m going to get back into gaming to give myself some downtime, I am also going to start a few little passion projects at home around IT, learning new stuff, home labs, home automation that sort of thing.
  • Community – I want to do more; I really haven’t done enough this past year in sharing the knowledge or helping others elevate their game. I don’t know how I am going to fit it in but I’m going to try.
  • Time Management – This one will be the hardest, but I really need to learn to allocate my time more effectively and reduce the amount of time I spend on procrastination or reduce the amount of decisions I must make.
  • Microsoft MVP – With all the work I’ve been doing with Azure DevOps over the last 18 months I really want to learn more about the MVP program and what it takes to be a part of it, I’ve learned a whole lot about the product and I really would like to share that with the community as a whole.

That seems like a lot and I probably won’t get it all achieved straight away, it’s a process, but I want to have a set of goals to work on and something to keep me focused.

Here’s to 2020! Best of luck to you all.


I am a seasoned IT professional with over 20 years experience. Currently focusing on Kubernetes and Cloud-Native technologies. My aim is to help others along the journey I have taken and continue to travel. Going from traditional infrastructure to modern cloud application deployment, and whatever the next big changes might be!