It's been a long ass year, a lot has happened, a lot a lot and I'm supposed to share everything down to the tiny bits but I'm racing against time trying to finish this up before nightfall because life is a competition and I must win.
I'm still confused trying to decide if I should break this down according to months or according to Q1 - Q4 or according to a number of important aspects of my life. Last year's "2020: Everything I wanted" was epic, I did a January - December thing and it was nice but looking at that post right now lmaooo cringeeeeeeee. I hope I do well enough with this one so I can save myself a paragraph in 2022.
Okay let's get started.
The day before was new year's eve and everyone went to church except me. I stayed back and played music on my earphones to start the new year. I kicked off on a high note, full of hopes and ambition not knowing what the year holds.
I knew there was a lot to do, there was a lot to achieve and although I had no clear curt path of how everything will turn out, I was at peace with the though that I now had a skill and that alone was fulfilling.
For most part of January, I was in Lagos laying low and preparing for school resumption. I was also determined to skill up and get better and better at what I do so I remember taking a course on frontend masters immediately the new year started.
Getting to school towards the end of January, I had saved up enough money from last year and I rented a studio apartment close to school and moved in alone. It was a big win for me because I've always loved having my own space but was never able to afford one, I've always had to squat or share rooms with friends and even strangers sometimes lol.
After everyone was done with the start of the year activities and stuff, it was time to face reality - I was still very broke and my savings were going down weekly like Barcelona on the la liga table. Nobody told me paying rent was the tip of the iceberg, settling down and buying stuff for my new apartment almost got me wreckt.
I had a couple wordpress gigs that helped me keep my head afloat but I knew I didn't come all the way here just to continue surviving on wordpress gigs alone so I started applying for Jobs. I had no definition of the kind of Job I wanted or the kind of company I wanted to work for but I kept sending applications, writing cover letters and the usual "kindly find attached".
I have a tech friend used to come around during this period and he had a Job with a startup. He was comfortable and I was hoping I'd get a Job too that paid just as much.
Just when I was almost giving up, I got a gig to build a multivendor eCommerce store. The pay wasn't quite good for the kind of project but I accepted it anyways because I had no idea if I'll be surviving another week without money.
Exams & Eye Openers
I started working on the gig but I didn't give up on Job applications because I knew there was nothing compared to a stable source of income. I finally managed to get an interview with a fintech company in Lagos but it was during exams period so I wasn't so excited about it and didn't prepare.
Interview day came and I did really well even without preparations. The interviewers said 'Hope you're not using google to reply these question" lmaoo. They were mostly asking questions on vanillaJS, I spent over three whole months learning that shit what do you expect.
I got the Job. It was my first full-time offer and a big milestone for me. I knew i was going to get it even before they sent an offer of employment because both the interview and the test page I was asked to build, I did really well.
The pay was good, a little bit more than I hoped to get when I thought about getting a Job this year. I told my tech friend about my new offer and that was the start of an eye opening relay. He realised he needed to get a better Job too as he was being underpaid so he started applying too. About a week later, he got a new Job that pays double of what I was offered. It was thrilling and we were both happy because before now, none of us would have thought to aim for that much.
I wasn't to resume my new Job till about a month later so I had enough time to focus on exams until TobiJudah referred me for a contract Job at his former company. I accepted an offer the next day knowing that my exams will be over in a bit and keeping two jobs won't be a problem then.
A King Was Born - With bad news
Exams ended and I didn't get the results I hoped for but I wasn't sad because I passed all my courses. It was time to resume on full-time at the fintech company and double my income but bad news came just a few days to my birthday - The Job wasn't a remote and I was told I had to be physically present so the offer was withdrawn.
I was supposed to feel bad about it but I was even more determined because I now knew what was achievable. I was sure I'd get another one that pays double or even more because I was more aware of what the Job market is like at that point. I continued working on the contract job and it was enough to take care of my daily needs.
April 28th, my birthday, I took myself out and I had so much fun alone.
I have this *I don't know what to call it* of having just one romantic episode per annum and this year wasn't any different. I found a favourite person, we texted a lot, got really fund of each other and all.
I found myself in a relationship after about two days of nonstop texting. It was funny and even my close friends didn't believe at first because we literally skipped the talking stage and dived in head first into a relationship.
I found myself doing a lot of things I never thought I would ever do. I used to think I'm a very busy person and will never be able to make out time for the people I love but this year, I learnt that this was a big lie. I had more than enough time for my relationship and also my work and also for my friends. Things were coming to a satisfying balance and I was so happy, I was having the happiest days of my life.
After about a month, I finally got to meet the loml in person, I still can't believe I left my house and school and travelled inter-state because of woman. I'm actually finished lmaoo.
The trip, the experience and everything was so much fun. I even got to meet an online friend I've known for about three years and I couldn't have been happier than I was at these moments.
After working on the contract Job for about a month, I met Druids through Alison and it is one of the things I am most grateful for this year. Druids referred me for a Job with a crypto company he works for and I got my first full-time job offer in USD. It was a huge milestone for me and I was really excited.
I resumed a few days later as a frontend engineer and I fell in love with the company, the team, the idea, my boss was lit asf and he knew a lot about what we were building and I couldn't ask for more. I now had a full-time Job alongside the contract Job I got previously.
A few weeks later, the contract Job started stressing me out and then I knew it was time to say goodbye but greed didn't let me. I continued with the two jobs and had to keep late nights in order to meet up with targets and deadlines.
I was doing great for a while until I lost my relationship and I had to take a break. I requested for a one week break at the contract Job and the boss there wasn't having it because we were at a vital stage of the project and very close to launching an MVP so I got fired. I didn't think much about the sad news because I already had a lot going on and also, I still had my full-time Job so financially, I wasn't worried at all but I was sad that I let my personal life affect my work and I was determined never to let it happen again.
While I was thinking of what to do next and how to recover very quickly, I got a mail from a startup in London a day after I got fired. They wanted me to Join them to build an interesting product. I accepted the offer and I was back to sleepless nights and long screen time once again.
I maintained a star employee status at both Jobs and I greatly improved in my craft. I channeled more energy into writing quality code and I became better and better every day in-fact, I was on a roll. Sometimes when I'm writing code, I just get up all of a sudden to scream because likeeee, I'm really getting so fucking good at this thing.
At the start of the year, I was determined to level up. I always had Seyi to keep me in check and anytime I wasn't feeling very motivated, all I had to do was text Seyi and i get a refuel of premium motivation. Although I didn't take as much courses or learn as much skills as I planned to, I am almost satisfied with the level I got to.
I started becoming aware of what i was worth and oh, even before I met druids and got my first full-time USD offer, I had landed two gigs that were worth a little over half a million naira each. This here is another milestone because I because I have always been undercharging for gigs and contracts but this year, I made it clear that I was going to level up and I did just that.
It was funny and also a moment of self realisation because on both gigs, I stated my price with confidence and both clients didn't try to beat it down or negotiate, they accepted even a little too fast, I started to think maybe my new confidence charge was actually still an undercharge.
Towards the end of the year, at the start of Q4, I realised I wasn't superman and can't do two Jobs alongside gigs and I was on a steep highway to burnout, in-fact I experienced a mini burnout, I couldn't work anymore so I had to take a very important decision that helped me maintain my sanity till this moment.
I decided to stop overworking myself and stay away from anything that will affect my peace of mind. I realised that peace of mind is better than any amount of money you could get so I tried to outsource the gigs I got and also started cutting myself some slack at work.
Eventually, I had to quit my Job at the company in London and also, I had managed to outsource all the gigs I got. One thing I got very lucky with were the clients who owned those projects, they were very understanding and I'm very grateful for that.
I picked up new skills this year, I levelled up massively and grew more confident in my craft. I also broke into the web3 space unplanned and I found myself doing just fine or even better. I was able to solve complex problems, I started being conscious of the effects of each line of code I wrote, I started worrying a lot about performance and code quality, I learnt to understand and make use of good architecture to an extent. My knowledge on more advanced frontend concepts generally improved and I felt like a real "Engineer" for the first time.
First, I must say that I have the best friends in the world. I honestly don't know how on earth I would have pulled through certain points in my life this year without my friends.
I didn't make a lot of new friends this year but the ones I had before now became even more rock solid. People say that those friends who you've never met before are the ones who root for you the most and while this statement is very true, I got lucky enough to experience a balance this year. All my friends were rooting for me, both online, real life, school friends, even acquaintances were rooting for me.
I got closer to the small circle of real life friends I have and it was happiness all the way. At certain points, I had fallouts with a few of my friends but it was never serious enough to cut ties. We always got back together even stronger.
I figured don't really like talking so much about family so I'll keep this section brief.
Generally, my family are proud of me. I did 10x more than I did last year and was able to come through a lot of times. Majority of my savings this year was invested in my family and even though it made me very broke at the end of the year, I am very proud of myself for everything.
And for the first time since secondary school days when I used to come home at the end of every term as the best in my class, my dad was visibly proud of me, like I could see it. My dad is a hardcore hard guy and would never show emotions but this time, he couldn't hide it anymore.
I also relived my parents of school fees for my junior siblings a couple of times. They're triplets and it can be quite a burden sometimes because anything my parents have to pay for, they have to to pay for it thrice. I'm happy I was able to ease the stress for them a little and in 2022, I'll be doing more of that.
Next year, I want to get laptops and/or iPads for each of them so they can find out early if they want to be creatives or not. I wouldn't be forcing the tech agenda on them because that's so 1970, I'll just get them gadgets and introduce them to the creative world and it's left for them to figure out what kind of creative they want to be or if they want to be creatives at all.
School wasn't so much of a burden this year; There was never a time I though of giving up. I think maybe this is because I was very comfortable and didn't have to worry about a lot of things that tend do make school a lot more stressful.
I wrote 400LVL first semester exams while working on a contract Job as I mentioned earlier; I also did my 6months SIWES internship program and internship defence and all. I resumed final year with a lot of enthusiasm knowing that this is the last episode of this horror movie called university.
First semester final exams came too suddenly for me because my school that is diligent in maintaining a clean record of postponing exams failed to come through this time. I wasn't fully prepared but I was still at ease because I knew I wasn't going to fail if i study and this time, I was determined to study.
Unfortunately, the day of my first paper was the day my company was launching the crypto product we've been working on for the past few months. It was a tough moment, I had been on back to back calls for a couple of days before and since I was the only frontend dev in the team, I couldn't afford to disappoint. I had to pick between studying for my exams or getting our app to production. I made the right decision.
Sitting in the exam hall for my first paper with an empty head, I started laughing because it was very funny. One moment you're handling deployment, pushing code to production, fixing bugs and merging pull requests, the next moment you're in an exam hall because an apple fell on Newton's head and he has since then refused to let the world rest.
Of course I flopped and could only answer one question out of five but I had no regrets because the sacrifice was worth it.
I had a lot of fun this year and left the house more. I'll just highlight a few of my notable experiences.
- Had fun all by my myself on my birthday
- Had my first "real" relationship
- Traveled to in two new cities - Benin & Abuja and had fun.
- Got on an airplane for the first time.
- Had a lot of fun and went out a lot with my friend who stayed at my place for a while, Netflix and Chill and sleepovers and lots of food.
- Attended the Lagos Comicon event and it was fun, I also got to meet folks from the tech community I joined.
- Attended two social events in school and had fun.
This year was one with a lot of good news. Although I had a lot of downtimes and setbacks once a while, I think the good moments outnumber the bad ones.
Also, despite having a lot of moments that showed significant progress in my life, I still feel like I haven't done enough and have a whole lot more to achieve. I will put in the work in 2022 and see how I feel at the end of the year again. Anyways, here's a summary of notable wins for this year.
- Got my first full-time offer and it wasn't the last.
- Started earning in USD.
- Made my first million through tech and remained a millionaire (in naira) till end of the year expenses took the privilege away from me.
- Travelled to new places.
- Got myself an M1 Mac.
- Got new pairs of shoe (I still haven't worn them till today lmao).
- Three products I have worked on went live (Playarone, Caketools & Fress).
- My skills became more solid and I grew more confidence.
- I learnt how to say no to side gigs that were not worth it.
- Supported my dad financially on a housing project.
- Supported my friends in areas where they needed me the most.
- Did 700% increase from my previous annual income.
- Became more expressive with my feelings.
- I was happy for most parts of the year.
- I completed two frontend courses.
- I didn't have any failed courses in 400LVL.
- Joined an amazing team and worked with amazing people.
- I updated my portfolio multiple times.
- Asides the first paper which I had to sacrifice due to our project launch, the rest if my first semester final year exams all went well.
I just spent a few minutes trying to think of setbacks I've had throughout the year but the list is very scanty. I'll try to squeeze in a few.
- Failed to up-skill as much as I planned to.
- Once again, I failed to master web animations, the project I tried to practice with ended up being a disaster.
- I had to withdraw from a number of gigs I got and disappointed a few clients.
- I turned down about three different Job offers because I was hoping for salary raise but ended up getting nothing and I eventually had to quit the Job i was putting my hopes on.
- I didn't do as much as I planned for my mum and I hope to correct that in 2022.
- I spent money extremely carelessly and was eating out every single day and buying unnecessary stuff because I thought I had arrived.
- I lost some money to crypto investments towards the end of the year and it affected me a little.
- I failed to learn a lot about cryptocurrency/trading/investments despite working for a crypto company.
- I'm ending the year with zero investments, very tiny savings that'll barely last a month, and nothing to hold on to asides my Job.
- I got a lot of rejections from foreign companies I applied to.
- I flopped woefully at an interview I managed to get with a crypto payments company in the UK in Q2 because I didn't prepare, I felt like I had everything in my head already. They loved my profile and I got to the technical interview stage but I disappointed myself and the recruiter who had high hopes for me.
- Got fired from a Job for the first time.
Isn't scanty afterall lol.
Major Lessons I learnt
- Peace Of Mind >>>> Money.
- You can't save your way to riches with a low income.
- Doing good work and not keeping quiet about it brings you a lot of opportunities.
- Any job/project that takes away your freedom and not giving anything significant in return isn't worth doing.
- Investing in yourself is always worth it at the end.
Said N Done - 21
This year, I was happy, happier than I have ever been in my life. I found peace and I learnt how to maintain it. Most of my guys in tech recorded massive wins. I'm actually looking forward to read their year in reviews so I can have some adrenaline boost to kickstart the new year.
I spent Christmas and New Year alone because I needed some 'me time' to reflect on the year and I've been thinking about life a lot. Sometimes I wonder where I'd be right now if I never learnt how to code; Sometimes, I wonder if i'd have learnt how to code at all if I didn't meet some people I met in my second year in the university; Sometimes, I wonder where I'd be now if I hadn't joined twitter and and the end of it all, I can only say - It is what it is.
I achieved over 70% of my unofficial and undocumented goals this year and I'll do well to document and achieve to the fullest my goals for 2022. I did quality work and my resume generally improved. I recorded professional and personal growth and I'm stepping into the new year with lots of excitement, hopes and enthusiasm because right now, I am convinced that from this point, the only way is UP.