I friend recently pointed out to me that it’s been 1 year since I left my job. I hadn’t been paying particularly close attention, largely because it (apparently) wasn’t very important to me. But having someone congratulate me on it made me sit back and think about it a bit. After choosing to leave a job that burt me down to a withered stump (or, you could say, I allowed to burn me down to a withered stump), let’s have a retrospective, shall we?

It is my no-work birthday

I’ll be running this retrospective using my favorite 3-question format that I used every sprint with my prior team (miss you guys!):

  • What should I keep doing?
  • What should I start doing?
  • What should I stop doing?

What should I keep doing?

What have I been doing that helped me be succesful?

Keep enjoying time with my family

This has been a pretty amazing benefit of stopping work for a year. I could really focus on my family (my daughter in particular) and enjoy them on a daily basis.

That’s…about it for this one. Let’s keep it up!

Stay in contact with friends, old colleagues, etc

Getting out of the house and visiting friends and colleagues has (when I do it) helped me stay energized and kept fresh ideas and perspectives in mind. I don’t think I do this often enough or intentionally enough (talk to anyone who knows me about my love of the word “intentional”), but I know that this is something beneficial that I should keep doing. Don’t stay holed up at home - change your visuals and be around people who pump you up!

What should I start doing?

What should start I doing that would help me become more successful?

Play more video games

Which is to say, I should start making more time for myself.

I’m really good at serving others (or, I try to be). This trait made me, if I may say so, a very good manager, but meant that I ultimately burned myself out by not preserving my own sanity and needs. I prioritized the job and my teammates over my own well being, and in many ways I’m still doing that now at home.

Sure, I can’t ditch line items like “Feed my daughter” or “Take my father to his surgery”, but I can definitely reorganize other priorities to shift my needs up the list. Vesting myself of the internal belief that prioritizing my needs is selfish will help me realize that doing so will actually make the rest of my life better - I’ll probably be a more enjoyable person to be around and I can better delight in my other responsibilities if I’m treating myself as an equal priority.

What should I stop doing?

What have I been doing that’s prevented me from being successful?

Letting the lies of imposter syndrome make me less productive

I spent a lot of this year convincing myself that if I wasn’t constantly trying to do something with my technological work, my career was going to wither and die and I’d never have another job again.

Dramatic much? 🙄

I don’t think anyone would argue that staying in touch with technology is essential in web dev, but jumping all the way to the death of my entire career is…a bit much. I spent so much time trying to do something, I didn’t do a good job being smart about my choices; I was reacting out of stress and fear vs. thoughfulness and interest.

Imposter syndrome did was it does, completely discounting my experience, work, and knowledge thus far, and also ignored the fact that part of the reason I left my last job was to find something new. Allowing the lies I tell myself about my future to lead me to stress-induced seeking of work to fill my time is not the right solution.

So yeah, I’m going to try to stop doing that, and instead - in concert with playing more video games - be willing to believe that time spent not doing technical work is also valuable, thus taking pressure off of my actual technical working time.


1 year, not bad! I’m so lucky to have had this time - and to continue to have it - and I look forward to a future where I can be more intentional about my work and lifestyle, and hopefully make something out of it.