Last year didn’t seem so far away. I was in my twenties, my daughter was in kindergarten, and I was working from home as an independent contractor on project that involved converting a PSD to a responsive Bootstrap WordPress theme. Now I’m in my thirties, my daughter is a first-grader, and I’m still working from home, but as an employee with health insurance and paid time off for the first time since 2008. The year 2014 had its ups and downs and ended up being one large roller coaster ride that I am happy to be off of (at least I hope).

Changing Jobs

I left my position at a vacation rental marketing firm after four years of service. I enjoyed my tenure there, but felt it was time for me to move on after being burned out for so long. I became an independent contractor for a bed and breakfast marketing firm doing WordPress build-outs. After accepting a conditional sign-on bonus (that I had to pay back upon quitting), which was supposed to be used for new hardware but was used to pay the mortgage instead, I was off and running. While this gig worked well for the first few months of the year, I found that the workload tapered off significantly and I found myself in dire need of a paycheck. In the span of two months, It was clearly apparent that this absence of a steady income was hurting my little family.

After scrambling to find more contract work and wondering what I was going to do next, the answer came in the form of a tweet:

After chatting with Grant for a bit on Skype, he passed my information to Paul Clark, 10up’s Director of Recruiting and a Google Hangout was scheduled. Paul and I chatted a bit about my past work history and some of my code that still makes me cringe. [Side note: be sure to have good examples on GitHub, otherwise you will have to do some really hard convincing]. A few days later, I got my opportunity to trial at 10up, which at that time was not common. After four weeks of miscellaneous projects, I received an official job offer. Working at 10up has made me a far better developer. Not only am I surrounded by some of the most knowledgeable people in the WordPress community, I am involved with some very prominent client sites which is just plain awesome. [Another Note: It feels really strange to have a holiday off and to be paid for it.]

Travel

Last February for Valentine’s Day, my wife and I went to Las Vegas with some friends of ours. It was a fun little trip and the first we had taken since 2011. We made it a point to get our picture taken with a wax Elvis to pretend we were having a third wedding; my mother-in-law was not thrilled.

In November, I flew to Toronto to meet my coworkers. It was the first solo trip I had ever taken, so I was a bit nervous. Thankfully, everyone on the team was even more cooler than they appeared on our daily Google Hangout. (Minus the heckling Canadian in the hotel lobby.  Just kidding, David is pretty awesome.) Overall, the trip was fun, minus the jet lag and getting sick to my stomach at the Swiss Chalet the first night (due to being an idiot and not eating anything that entire day). It was still pretty amazing to actually meet everyone in person instead of a video chat.

 

Education

I’m still enrolled at Colorado Christian University working to finish my bachelor degree. Hopefully by the Summer of 2016 my degree will be framed on my office wall making me the first one in my family to complete college.

 

Volunteering

I became a board member for the local animal shelter/wellness organization, but had to withdraw from my position last Summer due to the lack of time I could devote to the organization. I also help my wife out with the local homeless shelter.

 

Bowling

2014 marked the year that I got my first 700 series in league last Spring and then a second one just a few weeks ago [December]. I ended the 2013-2014 season with a 190 average at the Montrose Rose Bowl.  Currently, I’m sitting at a 193 for the 2014-2015 season.

 

What’s Next?

With a good portion of setbacks from 2014 out of the way, 2015 should be smooth sailing.  So I’m going to  grab my hoverboard, power lace up my shoes, hop into my flying car and grab my sunglasses, because this year will be bright.