For my own sanity I usually do a year end Health Check on the business and see what went well and what didn’t. This blog post has went so well I’m on the 7th re-write. The first post was exceptionally dark and put me in a funk for a week….the next six became increasingly easier to deal with by acknowledging the current situation…..and that situation is covid-19. Covid and Me. Life in general.
I decided to do this one last time – and this will be the final attempt whether it’s rambling or to the point….who knows. I did some editing because I’m me.
I feel like I’ve lost sight of what makes me tick and why I started this business. The last 6 months of 2020 was like a giant spotlight on a lot of things that were making me uneasy.
- There’s a ton of things I enjoy doing I’ve stopped doing. There are interests I’ve stopped pursuing that bring me a lot of joy. Reading. Camping. Intellectual pursuits grow dusty. Tech for the sake of tech.
- The business was a money making endeavor that was going to occasionally allow me to do some fun things and “help”. It turned into a struggle this year – and 95% of that wasn’t caused by me – but it was and continues to be tough.
If you came here for glorious tales of awesome business stuff…….stop here. If you haven’t noticed this year has been…well….A giant flaming pile. I’ve had worse years – but not where the entire Flat Earth was having them too. I’ve been lucky as I’ve not gotten sick nor had any friends pass from Covid. It did wreck business a bit. It has caused a lot of stress on my end for multiple reasons. From arguing with friends and family to watching job after job stop and go on hold. I’ve watched several on social media lose friends and family and had friends lose people they care about. That made this post a bit hard to write as the first post was filled with complaining and that didn’t feel right. Each subsequent iteration got lengthier as I tried to convince myself and you – that I had a handle on things.
I don’t. That’s fine. I’m not sure many do.
I’m still here though.
By the time summer had arrived we had been in lock down 2 months. I think. Honestly I can’t remember. I have a general policy that if a job makes no movement in 90 days it’s dead. It’s not always the case – but in this case they ended. When you do consulting and the phone just stops ringing it’s a bit unnerving. So there wasn’t much to do but:
- Do some Hiking
- Do some Canoeing
- Do some Bike riding
- Do some Thinking
After leaving a job this summer for non-payment I had to take a step back. I usually don’t stop for non-payment. Which is stupid on my part. I try to make things work and finally I got to the point of “I can sit here getting yelled at and not getting paid or I can go for a hike and not get paid”. At the end of the hike I sat down and made a list of things I love and hate. Things I hate and things I like and Why am I doing or not doing those things. Why am I letting this startup make me miserable. Why Why Why………
I found myself working on the weekends part time for the non-profit for which I volunteer. They run an outdoor store full of camping and hiking gear. So during the week I would scream at NRGS and covid and on the weekends I lived a life I wanted 30 years ago…back when I was more familiar with Geology and the best spots to camp in the southeast. During that time I had a lot of invites for camping, canoeing, and hiking. It was a nice change.
There were come positives this year – so all wasn’t lost:
- Work continued on the 911 project – I added more functionality and branched into the NENA standard.
- Renewed one contract that will help fund the 911 project
- Conquered my fear of github
- Docker is less mysterious as I’ve got it working with minimal screaming.
- I fell more in love with PostGIS and did more things with it. Really if my life just boiled down to QGIS and PostGIS I’d be happy until I was dead.
There were enough loss to fill out several pages. It is frustrating when things spin out of control. Especially when you can’t do anything about it. If you were sick there was nothing I could do. In general there wasn’t much of anything you could do. Out of all of this and the sitting and the fidgeting I did find things that absolutely fascinated me. Like:
……..as well as a whole host of youtube videos and other small bit of information that made this all a little more bearable. I rebuilt an 50 year old coleman stove. I fixed several things on my jeep that were broken. I have so curated my twitter feed that what was termed “doom scrolling” really wasn’t for me. I had all this information from blogs, github, and videos that appeared on twitter and I could watch it night and feel…well….better. Twitter is still a dumpster fire – but a fire I’ve seemed to curate into something enjoyable.
Many of you hate virtual conferences. I completely get it – BUT the things I had the chance to attend this year were awesome. From England to the US to Canada. I didn’t even have to put on pants. I did though. I know virtual conferences are different and not what you want. You want small Danishes and coffee and the chance to hassle people in person…..BUT – I would have never gotten to see different talks live (and yeah I could go rewatch but I like ‘live’).
NRGS is getting a reboot of sorts. It’s not the end. Covid has changed things. I’ve changed. We scream “Get things back to Normal” but I don’t think things will…or really they should. We say the new normal with some hope it’s not. I think in general it is – and that new normal means the way I was working won’t be sustainable anymore…or if it is – It’s still half a year from being back to normal or maybe longer. Plus I have this great list of things I need for personal and professional peace of mind. Jeep – you’re gonna do a road trip shortly. Yosemite National Park – I’m coming for you. Probably not both at the same time. Maybe. Although………
Good People we all must change some. Here’s to a better 2021. To all of you – I thank you immensely.