A few years ago my wife started a yearly journal where we write about the last year and set goals for the new year. I was going about doing my bit for 2021 but that led me to reflect upon my whole career. I read this excellent article about wasting your career and got inspired to go through the exercise. I soon realised that while it’s excellent advice, the indicators don’t exactly match my criteria of defining a wasteful period so, obviously, I decided to define my own.
Indicators of a useful period in your career
What did you learn in the last six months?
You can grow at work by picking up skills like writing good documents, getting better at database optimisations or doing performance reviews. These directly make you more employable and are usually listed down as requirements in job ads.
You can also grow by gaining unique experiences e.g. helping grow your org from 5 to 20 engineers or working on a service that scales from 100k to 5 million users. In both of these examples you are likely to face and solve problems that will help form a playbook for the future. These experiences aren’t always easy to quantify but they will define your career.
I try not to associate growth with promotions because they mean different things in different jobs but if you have stayed in the same job for very long, you could use that as a complementary indicator.
I grew up in a vegetarian household and burgers meant mince vegetable patties. I loved eating them but the flavour profile was all about the crunchy exterior and spices, which made them taste like a fried snack. After I discovered real burgers, I pretty much stopped ordering vegetarian burgers. I don’t think I would hate a McVeggie or the good old McAloo Tikki, it’s just that there are much better options easily available at good burger chains, independent burger restaurants and farmer’s markets.
Sometime last year I stumbled upon a few veggie burger recipes that got me interested. I tried making a bean burger and that wasn’t bad at all so I started trying out different veggie burger recipes every Sunday. After a few trials and errors I landed onto my new favourite veggie burger recipe. It’s based on a recipe from Chef John at FoodWishes but I’ve tweaked the process and ingredients to my liking. These burgers are healthy, tasty and everyone at home really enjoys them so give it a try.
I used to blog regularly back in the day when people followed RSS feeds instead of timelines and Google Reader was still a thing. I blogged for almost a decade on various platforms before giving up to the ease and brevity of Twitter.
Over last few weeks, there were multiple moments when I felt like writing, but Twitter just didn’t seem like the right place because I wanted to write something longer, something I could come back to in the future. I considered using Medium but I want more control over my posts. Using popular blogging tools has resulted in my posts spread across four different websites. I want something self-hosted this time.
I can’t be bothered to write my own right now, so I looked for popular markdown-based blogging platforms and Jekyll and Hugo were the top choices. I ended up choosing Jekyll because it’s a tad simpler and the default theme is really lean and customisable. I’ve inlined the gem based theme into my blog because I basically wanted to override most of it. I’ve made it open source so feel free to take a look. I used Netlify for hosting - it’s hassle-free, costs nothing and that’s all I need.
Anyway, that’s enough talk about blogging. Hello again!