2009 has been a really good year for me, and it is nice to think of all the good things that have happened to be in the past year.
I finally got my first foot onto the career ladder with a job interview in late February leading to me joining a well-respected environmental economics consultancy in March. I’ve learnt a lot in my current role and even managed to simultaneously fulfill a childhood dream as well as get my name on some semi-popular published material. I even got to be interviewed on the EUSci podcast! I’ve completed 10 months at work, which is seven months longer than my last longest job (temping as a secretary at Morgan Stanley Quilter), have business cards to hand out (not that I’ve ever had occasion to do so), met Tim Harford, and implemented and posted multiple times on the work blog. Next steps are to complete my personal project at work (I’m setting myself a deadline for the end of January!), get a new title, and be even more awesome.
Financially, my job has led to me being able to pay off my bank overdraft and starting to pay off my not inconsiderable student loan. My salary has also allowed me to help out other hard-working people in developing countries through microlending with Kiva. It is not much, but I have managed to lend $25 a month for every month that I have been working. Although loans have already been disbursed by the time they make it to Kiva, I attempt to ‘lend’ to profiles which I believe will increase economic activity in the developing countries. These include agriculture, transportation, and construction. Next step is to explore other microfinance sites and see what other models are available.
Socially, I have done amazingly. One of my good friends from university moved down to London and I have been spending a lot of missed time with her. Earning a steady salary enabled me to restart swing dancing classes which, in the first place, set a time to meet up with a friend from uni weekly, and later, set the scene for me to meet a lot of amazing people. I also enjoy the company of my colleagues, including out-of-the-office time with a colleague who joined the company in August. Next steps are to keep things going and to regularly keep in touch with old friends.
Self-developmentally, I have done a bit although I feel I could do better. This is something to work on this year. I managed to attend a few lectures to do with the environment and economics as well as a workshop on using arduinos. Using a range finder and an mp3 player I developed a small media project to demonstrate ‘environmental sin’, playing on the workshop’s theme of ‘sinful machines’. I didn’t manage to get through any textbooks however, and this is a goal for next year. Self-organisation will help this.
Travelling-wise, after the glut of long-distance plane journeys I undertook in 2008, 2009 was thankfully a relatively peaceful year for journeys. I managed a short hop to Iceland and back before starting work, and several trips up to Scotland, including a biking trip around Aviemore and the Cairngorms. Unfortunately 2010 will start off with another long-distance plane trip to Malaysia for Chinese New Year, but hopefully those will be the only plane trips I take. I’m also hoping to do a bit of train journeying around Europe.
So, in sum, it’s been a very good year and though some of it has been due to luck, to be fair to myself some of it has been the fruition of a lot of hard work I have put in. I hope 2010 brings me similar joy.