2015 – The Year in Review

Jeep Snow DriveA few things before I get started:

  1. This post is not strictly related to Information Management, but I’ve got nowhere else that I post, so, it is what it is;
  2. This will meander and be disjointed;
  3. This post was partially inspired by Michael Wekerle (from an exchange we had on twitter – image below) and Jennifer Langston.


Wek and Walker

It’s December, the last month of the year depending on what calendar you follow. This post is bit of a retrospective of a, for me, less than stellar 2015. That said, I’m justifiably optimistic that 2016 is going to be better.

The tweet exchange pictured above got me to thinking about how I got to where I am professionally. To make a long story short:

  • Around 1987 or so I finally decided I wanted to be a chartered accountant;
  • Couldn’t afford full time school, so went at night after work;
  • My Cal II mark was below the cut-off for year two university by two (2) friggin’ percent;
  • I bailed on university and focused on work (IT support at a public accountancy firm);
  • Found I liked IT and in 1991 went to one of those tech type schools for a year (one of the firm’s partners warned that there might not be much of a future in IT);
  • Went back to work and found I like the business side of IT better than the tech side;
  • Went back to university at night (while working and raising my first son);
  • Graduated in 1996 with a certificate (bachelor’s w/out the fluff)
  • Fast forward to 2007 and I got into all the joy that is ECM (finally found my calling at 43);
  • More education, but this time from a variety of sources including professional orgs, peers, industry experts, vendors, … you get the idea;
  • Attained some level of respect and credibility in the Information Management space, gotta keep learning to keep it up.

I offer up the above for two reasons: 1) it kinda supports some points made in the twitter exchange, and; 2) it relates to the professional (financial, really) debacle that 2015 was for me.

The economy in Alberta has been horrible since the price of oil has taken a nose dive. I won’t get into details, but it ended up costing me a few projects and a lot of money. Fortunately I was able to get some other pieces of work, but they didn’t come remotely close to making up for the revenue I lost due to cancelled projects. While this work related mess is happening, there’s some pretty significant upheaval starting in my personal life. As is often the case, family finances are a contributing factor.

It was pointed out to me that had I made some different career choices years ago, we may not be in this mess. Sure. However, had I made those choices (get into being a PM or into a technical role – neither of which I have much of an aptitude for or desire to do) I likely would have been fired multiple times, and I certainly would be a miserable bastard coming home from a job I hated.

Whatever … I’m not getting into too many details here – way too personal unless we’re sharing some pints. 2015 didn’t turn out like I’d expected, so I focused on learning and proposing projects that made sense under the current economic conditions. Is someone gonna bite soon? Dunno. I’ll hound them.

2015 pretty much sucked, professionally and personally. There was one exception, of a personal nature, that was unexpected, makes me extremely happy, and for which I am grateful that I recognized and acted upon. Things are looking up, though. Closing out 2015 and starting 2016 look like the corner’s been turned. No guarantees, but I’m optimistic.

Here’s some things that I’ve learned, or re-learned, over the past year. Some of them are things that others have said.

  • I have a really good, supportive network of friends, colleagues, and peers;
  • Don’t be so tied or dependent on an outcome that you can’t continue if it doesn’t happen;
  • If you can’t accept or deal with the consequences, don’t do it;
  • Barring a fatality, there’s nothing I can’t or won’t recover from;
  • Just get back up and keep pushing;
  • It’s okay to feel overwhelmed, despondent, discouraged, whatever for a few minutes but no more;
  • You are responsible for you;
  • If you’re not willing to be part of the solution, don’t whine to me about the problem;
  • Every day, week, month, and year is another chance for your optimism to be justified;
  • Whether it’s professionally, personally, or romantically, be smart enough and open enough to recognize the opportunities in front of you. Then act.

Anyways, that’s it. To you and yours, whatever you do or don’t celebrate at this time of year, be healthy, happy, and safe. Not just now, but, you know, the other 11 months of the year as well.

7 Comments on “2015 – The Year in Review

  1. Chris; retrospective, closure, cleansing of the soul? Not a bad thing really. I am sorry to hear of the problems you encountered this year even though your ending points show that you will work through it. In the past, I’ve was in financial difficulties due to employment/economic conditions. I’ll never forget having to eat the grocery store brand mac & cheese 3-4 times a week for dinner (23 cents a box then). I’ve been unable to put that stuff near my mouth since including home made versions that all fawned over.

    You are respected in the information community. Your knowledge and POV are given honestly and openly which is appreciated by all. I believe you have high standards and follow them ethically in approaching clients. Those who have a solid reputation always land on their feet.

    You’re right about recognizing opportunities which also includes knowing when to step out of your comfort zone (and doing it). Take a chance. For me it was the best thing I did. Life is a string of positive and negative moments, which do not always seem connected. Who knows? All I know is that everyday there is a sunrise and sunset; and they are beautiful.



    Liked by 1 person

  2. I had that professional year last year and the personal version 8 or 9 years ago now. Sometimes, whatever doesn’t kill you just doesn’t kill you, but picking up the pieces and moving on does forge incredible resilience for whatever comes in the future.

    Hang in, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The two comments received thus far certainly do prove your first point, you do “have a really good, supportive network of friends, colleagues, and peers”.
    As the song goes, “we get by with a little help from our friends”, and your honesty and vulnerability in this post is an opportunity for people to show up as part of your support network. It is, however, by no means a one-way street: your optimism and good choices benefit not just you but also those around you. I’m glad to count myself among those you call colleague, peer, friend. I look forward to ongoing updates on your very successful and happy 2016.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Tale of opportunity: my friend’s son was a really good basketball player. But he got his mom’s short stature instead of his dad’ 6’5′. So he didn’t even make the jr. varsity. He was mad. Mad at God and thought he was dealt a raw deal. His middle school teacher told his mom he showed some musical talent in their basic flutaphone lessons. So his mom got him a saxaphone. Turns out he had real talent. He has now graduated from the UW with a degree in music on a full ride scholarship, is very successful and has gotten a lot of attention and play with some big names. If he was tall? He’d still be trying to make the NBA. So…when life gives you lemons, look for your saxaphone! :>).

    Liked by 1 person

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