2022 Retrospective

Instructions

2022 has been difficult for many, so celebrate 🥳 you made it to the end of the year! Use the time to reflect on the year that passed, and consider the possibilities of the year ahead of you.

When you run this retrospective, make sure you:

  • Have enough time (a min 2-3 hour block of continuous focus time is recommended)
  • Sit in a quiet space without interruptions
  • Turn off notifications on your phone, slack or laptop
  • Have access to your calendar, journal or other tools that you can mine for data
  • Consider playing relaxing or non-distracting music

Goals Of A Yearly Retrospective

We are often so focused on being busy, or the now or next. We rarely take time to look back, particularly over a longer period. The passing of a calendar year is a great time to take stock, recognise what happened, to celebrate and acknowledge how you felt and maybe even changed throughout the year.

A personal retrospective prime directive

Start this yearly retrospective with an adaptation of the Retrospective Prime Directive :

Regardless of what happened, how I reacted or how I felt, I understand and truly believe I did the best I could, given what I knew at the time, my skills and abilities, what context, information and resources I had, and given the situation at hand.

What Happened During Your Year 2022?

Go through your planning tools (e.g. personal and work calendars, to-do lists, journals, etc) and list any events or activities (by month) of significance to you. Capture these as if you were a neutral bystander. Examples might include: “Moved house”, “Took part in a virtual panel”, or “Read Lord of the Rings for the 2nd time”

January

  • CrowdStrike Interview for Data Service Engineer. The 2nd Round is to meet Hiring Manager based at Canberra, they were looking for someone with DevOps background, but had prior working experience in Data & Analytics team, or welling to work in Data Team.
  • New Zealand Citizen. Later this month, I met all the criteria for New Zealand Citizen. But at that stage we haven’t fully made up our decision.
  • Neighbour moved to Australia. Oliver Zhuang from 17 KBD had relocated their whole family to Golden Coast, Australia. This triggered us to start to think about move to Australia, and had embed this idea throughout the course of 2022.

February

  • Countdown Interview for Data Modeller.
    • I applied this position around later January, and started the interview process with them. Overall I did pretty good, and got an offer from Countdown eventually.
    • However I declined their offer with few reasons: 1) The overall compensation package from Countdown was way lower than my current one. 2) At that stage I haven’t decided to move on from Loyalty.
    • Again, and I want to use the Countdown offer to ask for a Counter Offer from Loyalty. I did and got good result in the end.
  • Beijing Winter Olympic Games. Watched few speed skiing games.
  • Asian Cup of Women Football. Watched few games of Chinese National team, and congratulations to them to win the champion!

March

  • Refinance mortage for 19KBD+75ABR. Missed out the 1 year 2.99% Interest rate promotion for BNZ new customers.
  • Brought some flowers and cake for mom.
  • Had a small car accident with our Nissan Tiida.
    • Friday night we finished our dog walk and on our way back to home, our car got hit on the driver side by another car. The car was still able to drive but the car door had a big scratch.
    • It would need another $1000 dollars to fix the broken car door and alloy, while our car just valued around $2500 dollars.
    • Therefore, we decided to directly sell the car with that condition, and brough another one. After few attempts, we sold the Nissan Tiida around $1000 dollars and bought a 2nd-hand VW Golf 6.

April

  • Fix VW Golf. There were some alert lights turning on with the new Golf, and we had to fix them.
  • Glossary shopping from Amazon Australia. Cost for living at New Zealand was getting more and more expensive, and I started to explore the option of purchasing glossaries from Amazon Australia. The overall shopping experience was pretty easy and smooth.

May

  • Terry’s farewell. Terry decided to leave Loyalty, and I flied to Wellington to have a final farewell for him.

June

  • Sally started her Master courses at University of Auckland, and had her first exam early this June.

July

  • Nothing important.

August

  • Started to learn Scala again.
    • Planned to pair up with Michael together to work on the Scala course on Coursera. In the end, I quit this attempt again after 3 weeks.
  • ToastMaster.
    • After planting the item in my calendar over 3 years, I finally made the first move to attend sessions from ToastMaster club. I found Sunnynook ToastMaster club that supported both online and offline session, which was very convenient to me.
    • After 3 initial session, I decided to join with them and paid my annual subscription fees.
  • Catchup with previous colleagues.
    • I had a catchup with Shawn and Chao, and had heard from Shawn that apart from his current contracting position, he also worked as a contractor with another America company remotely from New Zealand.
    • Chao, on the other side, seems like not happy with his new job.

September

  • 5 day trips to Queenstown and Wanaka. We did our very first bungee jump from the original bungee jump bridge. It was fantastic!

October

  • 3 days business trip to Wellington. I had chance to meet Laraib in person, and she was definitely getting better.
  • Badminton with Sally.

November

  • AC3 Interview for Data & App Solution Architect.
    • This was my first proper interview series for an Australia position. The overall interview process with the company was okay and straightforward.
    • However, the negotiation process of compensation package was quite frustration. Not sure whether it was from the recruiter side, or from the company side, that they seemed not very straightforward, and presented me the feeling of trying to cut off things here and there.
    • I could easily enumerate examples like inconsistent job title (Solution Architect vs Lead Solution Architect), inconsistent bonus percentage (8% vs 10%), inconsistent superannuation percentage between Australia and New Zealand (10.5% vs 3%), lack of relocation support. Every single bit was a small one and I didn’t care, but if everything came as a whole then that was something there.

December

  • Australia trip.
    • We spent 7 days at Melbourne, and 8 days at Sydney. It was a good trip overall with good weather condition, relative loose travel plans, lots of good food options.
    • I felt a bit of travel fatigue around the 2nd part of the trip, and cannot really sit down and enjoy the experience at Sydney.

What did 2022 Mean To You?

Reflect on the events and activities of the past and use the questions below to guide and capture your reactions. Add or remove questions that you feel comfortable answering. Add more bullets if you would like to list more.

What were 3 things you did for the first time?

  1. After applying and receiving my NZ citizenship, I started to seriously consider my life plans for next 5 years.
  2. I started to join local ToastMaster clubs in a regular manner.
  3. I started to seriously use my blog, and built up habit to note down in public.
  4. I started to seriously think about running as a hobby, and willing to learn, build up, and invest into this hobby for long-term.
  5. I did my first bungee jump at Queenstown.

What 3 events/activities brought you extreme joy this year?

  1. Joining local ToastMaster helps me to get out of my comfortable zone.
  2. Regular running helps me to concentrate the inner-talk with myself.
  3. Overall, the feeling of observing my life (clear future plan, mental health, physical health) gradually improving and marching to the right direction make me happy, and reflect I am on the right direction.

What 3 events/activities (if relevant) made you sad?

  1. Being rejected by other interviewed companies, especially these I am confident to get offer from.
  2. Consistent debating and arguing about the plan to relocate to Australia with Sally.
  3. Not accomplish any tangible outcomes around study and self-improvement.
  4. Missed out the 1 year 2.99% interest rate promotion for BNZ.

What events/activities helped you grow? Describe how each experience helped you grow

  1. ToastMaster helps me to realise public speaking is not that hard, you just need to be well prepared, and practice, practice, practice!
  2. Regular running helps me to lose weight, but more importantly build up a way to talk to myself, and concentrate on my body. It also helps me to fix my sleeping issue.
  3. Interviewing with other companies helps me to value myself from other’s perspective, and also help me to find the blind spot of my skills and capabilities.

Lock back at your goals for 2022 - 1. List each goal out here. For each, did you accomplish your goal? If not, how did you progress and what stopped you from reaching your goals?

  1. Join a FAANG-level company. failed.
    1. Initially I started with SQL questions from HackerRank around January, and then shifted my goal to work on the 75 Blind Leetcode List. Eventually, I shifted to Leetcode questions from February, and lose momentum around end of May.
    2. It seems like I lost the perseverance of doing something consistently for a long-term.
    3. And it’s hard to convince myself to continue investing lots of efforts into Leetcode problems, even through I was super clear about the lucrative return in future.
  2. Have a baby. failed / de-prioritised.
  3. Annual income increase. achieved. I used a counter offer to gain approx x% increase around February, 2022.
  4. Continue study and self-improvement. failed. I didn’t work on any certification this year. I read few managerial books but didn’t complete them. I started to jog down my thoughts with my blog. I started to practice keyboard piano at the beginning of the year, but didn’t persist through out 2022.

What was particularly challenging you this year? How did you cope or overcome the challenge? What did you learn from that challenge?

  1. Perseverance and concentration on long-term goals.
    1. It seems like my maximum focus window is approximately 3 months, and it’s very hard for me to always keep a high energy on something that needs a long-term investment.
  2. It’s very easy for me to get distracted.
    1. Even I tried to turn off notifications as much as I can, sometimes I still have the habit to wonder around other things and apps rather than focusing on what I am doing (It also happens when I writing this particular summary :( ).
  3. Terrible sleeping quality is a problem for me this year.
    1. I often woke up at the middle of night and cannot go back to sleep. I became very sensitive with sounds and very easily wake up around 3am~6am.

What are 3 things in 2022 you are grateful for? Why are you grateful? Consider where you have come from reflect on what you have that others may not have

  1. Healthy parents, Sally, and family members.
  2. Sally’s perseverance about study at UoA.
  3. Being able to purchase things I really want.

What did I change my mind on?

  1. Sydney and Melbourne are more like the cities that provide you the feeling of being and living abroad, while Auckland doesn’t give you such feeling.
  2. I decided to relocate to Sydney, rather than hesitating between Sydney and Melbourne.

What created energy?

  1. running, gym
  2. clear goals with plan

What drained energy?

  1. Unplanned, unpurposed, unconsciously waste of time.
  2. Inconsistent ideas and opinions about relocating to Australia.

What were the boat anchors?

What did I not do because of fear?

  1. Continue working on Leetcode, because It’s hard for me to see the short-term outcome.

What were my greatest hits/misses?

  1. BNZ promotion. Be fast on mind and body! Execution, execution, execution!
  2. Reject offer from AC3. Have internal discussion and get aligned first.

What did I learn?

  1. Being comfortable of discomfort.
  2. The world is bigger than you can see normally. Step higher, and think bigger!
  3. Convincing yourself to focus on long-term goals is hard! If you cannot do it yourself, then find a team!

What Could 2023 Mean For You?

You’ve looked at the past. Acknowledge what has passed. Now focus on the future. A new year is a new beginning. An opportunity to reset. An opportunity to refocus. Use this section to consider the year ahead of you.

What are 3 habits from 2022 you should CONTINUE doing?

  1. ToastMaster.
  2. Regular running, and gym.
  3. Regular blog post.

Image yourself at the end of 2023 (it’s a long time), What are 3 big accomplishments you finished that you are proud of?

  1. Successfully find a good job and relocate to Sydney.
    1. AWS Data & Analytics Certification
    2. AWS DevOps Certification
    3. Azure Data Engineer Certification
    4. GCP Data Engineer Certification
  2. Finish first Marathon (Sep 2023, Sydney).
    1. Run 1000KM.
  3. Write 10 posts, read 10 books.
  4. Cultivate a new hobby.
    1. Practice keyboard 100 hours.
    2. Learn Spanish 100 hours.

Open up your calendar and add these goals as a calendar entry (maybe around Dec 15).

Break this down into quarterly steps and actions

For each accomplishment in the previous section, think about at least one step per quarter you completed that took you one step closer to your goal. Consider listing more specific steps. You should have something that looks like the following.

Example: I would be proud if I had read 30 books by the end of 2022.

  • End of March - Established my reading list for the year. Read 5 books.
  • End of June - Read 10 books
  • End of September - Read 10 books
  • End of December - Read 5 books

Add checkpoints to your calendar

Use the following text to add reminders of your goal for each quarterly goal:

1
To have reached my goal of [], I should have [].

Given the example above, I would have created a calendar entry on March 31, 2022 with the following text:

1
To have reached my goal of reading 30 books by the end of 2022, I should have established my reading list for the year and read 5 books.

For bonus points, use your calendar system to send you a reminder 4 weeks in advance to receive a reminder 🔔.

Reference