I started slowly settling into the new role. I've been working a lot harder than earlier in the year, though not a whole lot compared to other points in my life. I've been doing some reading about this ("Mythical Man-Month," "Managing Humans," "Phoenix Project," "The Goal," "The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team", and some HBR essays), overall pretty enjoyable though nothing ground-breaking so far. I still have a lot to learn, but I think I'm doing the right things overall right now. I expect January to be really important, for a number of reasons (transitioning out of "2020 planning" into more IC work, building relationships with team members, establishing track record, etc). Probably the most difficult thing for me is that most of the people on the team are either my age or older, and all have more tenure in the area, sometimes by 8 years. So it feels a bit weird to step in as a newcomer.
I was able to step away from work for about 10 days during the Christmas period. Also, only one trip during the month, to Texas (work/visiting family). It was pretty quiet - it can be difficult to connect with friends during the holidays, and mostly I lounged around the house with the gf, played board games, watched some TV, noodled on guitar, etc. It was more productive than some similar periods in the past, but also I was definitely not productivity-minded. The new year is pushing that into gear for me.
Well, I didn't do much in December. Honestly, I forgot to do some end-of-year tax optimization stuff and just realized last night after the NYE fireworks went off... too late! But, I don't think I would have made many changes overall.
How can I summarize the year? Net worth went up 20.6%, no small feat, though a lot of it is the bull market. I shifted to a slightly more conservative strategy, and will make more adjustments this year. I donated a LOT of money, two years worth of donations in a single year as part of a tax optimization strategy around donations.
I hadn't run "ERE numbers" recently, and also don't have a good picture of my expenses recently, which are certainly higher than in the past, but if I guesstimate high expenses I still see that my lifestyle is sustainable right now. I really need to run through expenses to see if I understand what's going on - a goal for January/February of 2020.
I got strong raises at work as well. I was definitely underpaid, maybe by 10-15%. I think I was slightly underpaid relative to experience/performance when in NYC, and then took a cost-of-living adjustment moving to Seattle (basically nullifying the lack of state income tax), and also some equity compensation wasn't great due to my year off. I have a good relationship with my boss, who I think appreciates what I can do, which is one reason for the raise; on other teams I either did not stick out or the team itself was somewhat marginalized. Also as the promotion/side-motion takes effect, I'll have exposure to my reports' salaries, which I expect is another incentive to get mine up to par. The net effect is that I'm expecting to see a lot more payroll contributions to net worth in 2020 relative to 2019.
In November/December as I shifted to the management focus, my goal-logging tailed off. Nonetheless, let's look at what I did during the year:
* My goal was to study Spanish for 300 hours. I logged 204, and probably totalled around 210 for the year, or 70% of my goal.
* I was aiming for 200 hours studying guitar. I logged 166, and practiced a lot in November/December, so I'd estimate I hit 190-200 hours. I'll say I completed this goal.
* I aimed to run 400 miles, but only ran 144, or 36%. I could have easily hit this goal just running part of my commute, but was very cautious with back problems (and then in the fall I was lazy).
* I aimed to do several tens of thousands of pushups, and ended up doing almost zero.
* I aimed to lose a significant amount of weight and ended up gaining about a pound. Essentially no progress.
* I aimed to read 25 graphic novels or series, and read 26, so completed this goal. My favorites were: Saga of the Swamp Thing, Akira, Transmetropolitan, Acme Novelty #20, Essex County, and American Splendor.
* I aimed to watch 53 important movies, and watched 16, or 30% of the way to this goal. I deprioritized this goal midway through the year because I simply don't have the patience to watch a lot of movies.
* I aimed to complete 15 video games (or campaigns within them) that were interesting to me and maybe significant, and completed 7, or 47%. I enjoyed Sniper Elite 4, Doom (original), Raptor: Call of the Shadows and some of the AoE2 campaigns the most (I started playing old 90s games in December and wanted to complete some classics I loved as a kid but was never good at).
* I aimed to make a number of Kiva loans and hit my goal there.
So overall, I hit a number of goals, made very good progress on others, and basically discarded a few. I had attempted to define concrete things I wanted to do (eg "record an album") but never really made progress on this. My approach was reasonably focused, but in 2020 I'm going to be even more focused, and my goals will be in four areas, listed here in descending importance:
* Fitness - I really deserve to be healthier; this is a drain on energy, motivation, and I can see that my mediocre health and poor fitness habits will catch up to my this decade if I'm not careful. There's a lot of easy stuff I can change about my lifestyle to hit this goal if I am disciplined.
* Guitar/Music - I enjoy this, there's a lot to learn, I generally have enough energy to work on this after work. It's a fun way to meditate or express myself, however clumsily. Primarily I want to keep working on guitar, but maybe throw in a few other instruments/programs to record an album.
* Spanish - I enjoy this and have made progress over the years, but it can be tiring after work - hence the lower ranking.
* Consuming "creative works" - I'm just bucketing movies, games, books, graphic novels as interchangeable. This is nice to explore, but it's definitely less impactful to me than really working on other goals. I don't want to hit these goals and miss goals that require more effort.
I'll go more into 2020 goals in my January update.