DBA

Epic Life Quest – looking back

This will be my last post for the year. In this am going to look back on goals I set for myself over past two years, how well I’ve done, and what I plan to do in the year ahead.

The idea of epic life quest was started (in community) by Steve Jones and Brent Ozar – it is about writing down goals and calling yourself to account on how you met them every year. My first post on those lines is here. I wrote this in early 2017. I did not write one in 2018, and that was because last winter was a pretty chaotic time for me and was waiting for things to look in better shape before setting more goals for myself. This year things are looking better, and below is my summary of goals I set, and how I did.

2017:

1 Complete Microsoft Data Science Program and Diploma in Healthcare Analytics from UCDavis.

got the second one done partially. I could not complete the first due to lack of time. And it wasn’t as great as I thought it would be. It was expensive, quality wasn’t up to the mark and practical gains out of it were none. I learned from this is not to commit to expensive learning programs without fully understanding if they are worth it. 


2 Stick to blogging goals – one blog post per week, one contribution to sqlservercentral.com per two weeks.

I was able to keep up with this in 2017 and part of 2018. My blogging got rather irregular half way through 2018 because of a relocation and job change, I think I can excuse myself for that. Plan to pick this back up in 2019.

3 Keep up exercise goals of 10,00 steps per day and one yoga workout per week.

I am doing fine here and this will continue as a permanent goal.


4 Speak at local user group as often as I can (my limitations with travel do not allow me to speak at too many sql saturdays or out of town events)

I did not do good on this one. Partly because my job and other personal obligations left little time to even prepare a good talk, let alone present it. Also partly because I was in a very confused place on what to talk about. Things have cleared up a bit now.


5 Submit to speak at PASS speaker idol event.

This did not happen either,for same reasons as above. Hope to make it happen in 2019.


6 Hike the Grand Canyon with my sister, we are travelling companions and love to see places together.

YES! We made and hiked several other parks too in these two years. This will be an ongoing goal.


7 See two new countries atleast – Mexico with SQL Cruise, one more towards end of the year – remains undecided for now. But two countries it is.

YES! I saw two new countries – Mexico and Jamaica. 


8 Blog on books read so that I can understand the time I devote to reading and range I read in that time.

I did not get to blogging much on what I read but managed to read quite a few books. Also contemplated on reading strategy and this will be a different type of goal (not number based) in the days to come.


9 Get home renovation work done – am undecided on if I want to keep this condo or sell it, but either way, I’d have to get work done on it. Best if it got done this year, but involves considerable financial commitment that am not sure I can meet. As of now it looks doable for this year, but may move to next year if I have to reset goals.

YES! I also sold the home after renovation. This has also changed, don’t plan to own a home anytime soon. Too much money and effort maintaining it and very limiting in so many ways.

10 Increase collection of annotated classics by year end. This is an ongoing goal to build a library for retirement. The only books I buy in print are annotated ones or those with pictures. There are not many of those and my collection is upto 30-40% of what I need already. I keep adding to it @3-4 books a year.

I am doing good on this and don’t think this should be a yearly goal, more like a long term one. I got rid of many books which I thought I did not need in paper form at all.


10 Take a course on cartooning and short story writing – both of these are my pet hobbies and never had as much time for them as I’d like – this year would like to atleast take a course on each to deepen my love and interest.
This did not happen. Too many conflicting priorities. But I did get to writing my first book and plan to pursue writing seriously in the years to come.


2018:

1  Submit to speak at PASS Summit.
This did not happen for same reasons cited above. I do not plan on this being a goal until 2020.

2 Organize SQL Saturday #10 at Louisville (not clear how different this will be yet…).
YES! SQL Saturday Louisville #10 was a phenomenal success – handed over reins of running it to new team and finding other things to do with the time I spent on it.

3 Keep up same goals for exercising.
YES! This is going on well.


4 Visit one new country with my sister – am looking at Bali/Indonesia now.

We visited three national parks as opposed to one originally planned (Zion and Quinault Rainforest). So this was  not met in theory but substituted with other valid fun things to do.

5 Visit one more new country on SQLCruise, hopefully, or on my own. Either way, I do it.
YES! I visited Mexico in 2017 and Jamaica in 2018 with SQLCruise.

6  Biggie – Pay off my mortgage. Yes, this is important and am not that far away. The only thing that keeps me from it is a bit undecided on how long I can live here with job opportunities being what they are. But I will assume those will be the same and in that case, the house will be ready to be paid off in 2018.
The house was sold instead of being paid off as I relocated to another state. I consider this goal as met although in a different way.

7 Do actual analytics work – by this time I will have a reasonable understanding of R/SAS/Microsoft Data science related skills, and expect it to take me to the next level professionally.

This was a bad goal to set, to begin with. My interviewing experience told me that very few places are doing analytics seriously to begin with, and those few places are looking for ph ds and people with a decade or more of experience to fill the role. I was able to get off pager carrying DBA role and get into doing more of data architect/coding type of work, which was what I wanted to do. Future goals will not be so specific, instead focus on what direction I want to go and where am going, instead of landing actual work which will happen on its own with time.


Goals for 2019 are as below:
1 Finish off Microsoft Big Data Certification. I am already working my way through it. I will devote every saturday evening to it and hope to get it done.
2 Continue with watching pluralsight/pass summit videos and listening to podcasts whenever time permits.
3 Complete writing second book I have committed to. 
4 Read two pages of a tech book every day evening with tea. I am intentionally keeping this goal very small and doable. This is also based on a few experiences with reading.
I do not have to read a tech book page-to-page.
There are parts that are more interesting and useful than others. 
I need to keep notes to recall/reinforce what I read. 
I will be resuming reading with this in mind. 
5 Blog @ one post every two weeks – again, scaled down from one post per week and trying to keep it modest and consistent. 
6 I am planning on 4 tech events – SQL Saturdays at Raleigh, neighboring Charlotte, Louisville and then the PASS Summit towards end of the year. 

On personal front – 
1 I plan to continue with hiking and exploring national parks. I am planning a trip in Spring/early summer with some visiting family members.
I do not think an overseas trip will materialise this year.
2 I plan to continue with healthy eating and exercising goals. 

That is my rather simple goal list. If there is one lesson i have learned with writing this down is that – it helps improve my personal commitment level, it helps keeping the list small and simple. I think with a short list, commitment and simplicity, we can all get there. Happy 2019!

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