Preparing for Winter Break 2013

Since I haven’t blogged much this year, it seemed appropriate to me to write a bit of a catch-up post. I’ve also been planning on writing Christmas Letters to send to people, but here we are on the last day of work before Winter Break, and just five days from Christmas, and it seems increasingly unlikely that I will do so.

Similarly, I had planned on writing a retrospective on the year. I had thought of half a dozen blog posts I could write to catch up anyone who wanted to be caught up on what has been going on at work, and at church, and with school. But as I began to write it, it felt more like whinging and less like sharing.

This year has been hard. It has been fulfilling, and we’ve done a lot of great things, but it has involved more hours of work than I’ve put in before. And since I already worked a lot, turning that up a notch made things uncomfortable. My team is fantastic, and I’m glad we did everything we did, I just wish it hadn’t all been so hard. I guess that’s what it takes to make great things, though.

My master’s in project management is going well. I’m learning a ton and I enjoy it. Subsequently, I have begun looking for opportunities to practice and refine those skills outside of my job, and I’m reaching out to both some indie game people I know and to local small businesses. There are a lot of smaller shops that could benefit significantly from a little management advice and structure, but they can’t afford (or haven’t thought to) hire a consultant. Most PM consultants charge a pretty heft price per hour, but I already have a good job with benefits, so I can work with people for a lot less. I’d still charge, because people value more what they pay for, and the time and advice is worthless if it’s not heeded, but I could charge a third or a quarter what many consultants would.

I want to guard my time, though. I’m not looking for a second job or to build an empire. I just want to help people and gain experience, and I think I am well-positioned to do that.

On the topic of education, I dropped the idea of getting a graduate certificate in Educational Technology. That program is more for teachers who want to learn a bit about tech, which isn’t of interest to me. I am instead going to get a graduate certificate in Conflict and Dispute Resolution, which seems like a good fit with Project Management.

My goal for next year is to delegate a bit more to my team and lead them in learning how to do some of the things I do. This will actually take more time and work than just doing those things myself, but when I looked over my list of everything I’ve done this year, I realized that a lot of those things were tasks that other people should and could have been doing. It doesn’t do my team any favours to not give them opportunities to learn those tasks and technologies, and I need to start passing along some of that knowledge. Unfortunately, the reason I was the one doing a lot of that work was that my team’s time was already filled, and I’m overtime exempt while they are not, so I could do it on night’s and weekends. I am hopeful that, with more advanced planning, those crunch times can be better avoided and mitigated.

I also need to start blogging more. I wrote an after-action-report for work last month that was a lot of help to people, and it reminded me that taking the time to write and share the things I do has value. I should be sharing how and why I use the tools that I use, and the things that I learn, because I’m often doing things that either nobody else has done or nobody else has written about. It just takes so much time, and that is a resource with a finite supply and dwindling availability.

But in regards to Winter Break, I’m looking forward to taking some time off. It appears that Kindle ebook prices have dropped dramatically, so I picked up half a dozen books to read for between $2.99 and $6.99. I hope to finally finish Bioshock 2 so I can move on to Bioshock Infinite. I want to explore Arkham City some more, and continue working towards world completion in Guild Wars 2, and finish Papers, Please for the first time, and drink a lot of coffee and at least a little whiskey. Napping will occur at least once.

I hope you all manage to rest, visit your families, and recharge. For those of us in higher education, whose schedules are defined by semesters, we value this break between the fall and spring immensely. The next wave will come soon, but for now, we can catch our breath.

Have a merry Christmas, a happy holidays, or a good break–whichever seems most appropriate to you. Next year, we’ll choose our own adventures all over again.

2 thoughts on “Preparing for Winter Break 2013

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