2020 Year in review

2020 has been quite a year for all of us. This is the look back on my year from a personal and professional level.

Crumpled 2020 numbers
Photo by Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash

I believe that 2020 has been a unique, interesting, difficult, weird, strange, upsetting, fun, pain in the ass year for all of us. Every year of our lives always has it's ups and downs. However this year, those ups and downs, have seemed to have increased in frequency and intensity.

An unstable start

The beginning of the year was not the best start to a year I have had. The company I was with was in an unsure state. Trying to relaunch a company, with a new product is always hard. However, things were just not where they needed to be.

Soon my resume was updated and I started applying to different job postings. Being a technology leader, the landscape is a little more unique and difficult to navigate. Technology leaders have a wide variety of titles and salary ranges for every area. While I was on the search for a new job, the first few cases of COVID-19 were making it's way into the headlines here in the U.S.

In February, the blow of being laid off came swiftly and was delivered on Valentine's Day. A wonderful gift! How could being laid off on Valentine's Day be worse in 2020? February 14th, is also my wife's birthday AND our first born son's birthday. What great news to hear on a day that we usually save for celebrations.

When this happened, my wife and I started discussing the possibility of re-location for my career. This was a big discussion and decision for us. We live in a rural part of Michigan, so a drive to Downtown Detroit (where most tech jobs are) is over a 2.5 hour commute for me. We expanded our horizons and the job search kicked into overdrive.

A fresh start

Within a couple of weeks I was offered a position at Qinship as their Vice President of Engineering. This came as a wonderful relief for us and I was beyond grateful for being able to find a job so quickly. Little did I know how grateful I was going to be in just a few short weeks after starting.

Starting a new job always has it's quirks and time to figure things out. Joining Qinship was also my first position as a 100% remote position. I've worked remotely in the past, however being a Technology Leader, I was usually in the office. I enjoy both remote work and working an office with colleagues. This was a transition. It was also a change for my wife, who now had me home all day long.

I quickly adjusted to the remote position, the new schedule for our family and began setting up my home office. My office was not really an office, but a room with a desk and junk accumulated over the years. A new monitor, a new chair, things started forming and looking like an office.

Now the kids are remote?

Shortly into this new position, the U.S. became a breeding ground for COVID-19. The numbers started soaring and the lockdown began. Michigan declared a state of emergency on March 10, 2020 and the schools went to online/remote learning. Our kids quickly had to learn how to goto school remotely, and my wife and I had to quickly learn and adjust our schedule now that all of us were home. All day. Every Day.

Unemployment rises

As businesses closed and people began losing their jobs I became grateful that I still had my job. Since my company is mostly remote, the lockdown did not immediately affect us. We were able to continue "business as usual" as others were starting to struggle with being closed and laying people off.

A lot of friends and family lost their jobs, income and more as the lockdown continued. Everyday I got up, I counted my stars that I was a lucky one that had a job.

Stir Crazy

As the lockdown was extended and become more restrictive, our family was becoming more and more stir crazy. Lucky for us, being in a rural area, we were able to enjoy being outside on our property and that helped us, a little.

A summer of camping?

One of our goals in 2020 was to get a camper of our own to take our family camping. We have a membership at Outdoor Adventure Resorts here in Michigan and we wanted to utilize it more this year. With everything being closed, that goal and dream was slowly slipping away. That is until some restrictions started lifting, allowing campgrounds to open back up.

My wife and I ran out to run some errands and while we were in the area of a General RV center I called them to see if they had any appointments to go look at campers. Sure enough, they had an opening. We headed over to the RV showroom and met our salesperson. We all talked and joked about the pandemic, how it was affecting things and how our family was going stir crazy.

After the end of a few hours, we walked out purchasing our very own camper with the intent of using it this year. Below is a look at our 121 days of camping we did from June through October. This was most fun part of the year.

Teacher's don't get paid enough

Ok, we are back home and school is starting, remotely for our kids. There is only one thing that I can safely say after 3 months of remote learning. Teachers don't get paid enough. I've never thought that teachers were overpaid to begin with, but after working with my kids every day and seeing the struggles that they and their teachers are going through this year, wow.

Teachers are struggling just like all of us. The quick shift into a hybrid environment, remote learning and face to face learning is something that is new for all of us. I commend them for the effort they are putting forth and what they are doing. It's not easy being a teacher, and from the looks of it in true 2020 fashion, it's even harder this year.

Will things change? I hope so. I hope that the tools become easier, the new way of teaching this year will be easier and that things will sort themselves out. But for now, it is rough. And you should vote to increase that school millage and give your teachers in your community a little extra.

Will Santa beat COVID-19?

To round out the year, will Santa and the holiday season be affected by COVID? I knew going into the holiday season there was no way that it would not be affected.

For those of you reading this that do not know me, I am a professional Santa Claus during the holiday season. Being a Santa Claus in 2020 was going to be different. I knew it, my clients knew it, the kids knew it. None of us were prepared for it. Well, some of us tried to prepare for it.

Aside from the normal "social distancing" protocols that were put in place a lot of people just could not go out to see Santa. This year was a lot of firsts for me. I did a few video calls, pre recorded messages and a handful of in-person events wearing a mask and being socially distanced from my visitors. To read more about how COVID affected me and other Santa's check out this article: How the pandemic stole Christmas but Santa Claus got it back

All in all, Santa beat COVID. At least, this Santa beat COVID. I tried my best to send good vibes and spread holiday cheer in a completely different method this year. Did it work? I believe so. Was it different? Completely. Did I enjoy it? Most definitely.

Photo of Santa Roger
Santa Roger

Conclusion - 2020 what a year

All in all, 2020 was quite a year. Things were different, things changed, for the good and the bad. It was a rollercoaster ride.

Come January 1st, 2020 @ 12:01 am - Hindsight will officially be 2020.

Thanks for reading this long review of my adventurous (ok to me it is) life and the quick route through an unforgettable year.