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2010 for the Win

With a new year comes new initiatives. Learning from past experience, we can develop plans for future success.

Looking back:

A quick review of highlights from the past five years:

May 2005: Graduate UT Austin

June or July 2005: Travel Mid-West US solo

July 2005: Begin work with MAXIMUS

November 2005: First Running Event

February 2006: First Marathon

May 2006: First Triathlon

September 2006: Visit Europe

November 2006: Begin work with NetQoS

February 2007: Second Marathon

May 2007: Complete first Ironman

December 2007: Visit Antarctica

February 2008: Third Marathon

March 2008: Visit India

April 2008: Complete second Ironman

May 2008: Graduate St. Edward’s

July 2008: Leave NetQoS – Travel Africa

August 2008: Land in Australia

October 2008: First job in Australia, Mail Call

November 2008: Second job in Australia, Staff it

November 2008: Get lifeguard certified, third job, Lifeguard

March 2009: Finish first off-road marathon

April 2009: Complete third Ironman

May 2009: Fifth job in Australia, Global Asset Systems

August 2009: Land in New Zealand

September 2009: Complete touring New Zealand

December 2009: Get first job in New Zealand, Allied Work Force

I feel peak output was just prior to graduating from St. Edward’s. During this time I was taking 9 hours of graduate level courses and training for a second Ironman in 2008….and working full time. While things have slowed down since they peaked in 2008, the moves have become bigger and I believe the quality and sanity of my life has increased. Some of my priorities have remained the same, some have changed, and some have been translated to new outcomes. Additionally, in 2009 I have made progress in continuing to modify some previous behaviours that I felt and still feel were undesirable, inefficient, and inappropriate for future plans. As an individual, I like to travel light, streamline, and optimise. If it is not adding value, it doesn’t belong. Well, at least that is what I’d like to think.

Some less than ideal performances from last year:

I did not get permanent residence in New Zealand. I was offered Work to Residence. This seems to be the norm now that NZ unemployment is around 6.5%. They are making people get jobs before giving them permanent residence. Not a fan of carrots, but would like the permanent residence visa.

I did not complete the GMAT. I did not apply to business school. I didn’t make any progress on learning Chinese.

I wanted to complete a sub 3:30 marathon and a sub 5 hour Half Ironman. I did not do either of these or make much progress towards either one. Based on current training, I am still at previous levels.

It took me way too long to get a place in New Zealand. I didn’t move into a private residence for over 3 months. I did have some good times and definitely took it easy, but this was not was what was planned or prepared for. An obvious indicator of a breakdown in discipline and focus. Unfortunately, this was costly physically, mentally, and financially.

Analysis:

I could have submitted a better application for permanent residence, but it is up to the Immigration Officer to make the final call on which visa to grant. I know for certain that if I had been more focused I could have completed the GMAT and submitted an application for business school. I could have also been close to and possibly have completed a sub 3:30 marathon. The last shortcoming listed above could have easily have been avoided. In 2009 I lived day by day, something I hadn’t done in years. 2010 is looking to bring back more rigidity, but still maintain sanity and quality of life achieved in 2009.

Looking forward:

I have developed a list of goals for 2010. They are not ranked by priority.

Professional Employment

CCNA

ISTQB

Fourth Ironman – International

Fluent in Spanish

Conversational in German or Mandarin (both would be nice)

Adventure Racing

Programming languages

3:30 Marathon – Current best is 3:40 – End goal is to get 3:15 for Boston

Sobriety – no alcohol – Failed on this one in 2009 – Made it to April 5th.

No Caffeine

Expand diet in healthy ways and expand variety of meals I cook

Travel Southeast Asia, Japan, China, and/or Central Europe/UK

Three/Five year plans

Develop idea of ideal living environment – make progress towards getting it

Daily discipline

The previous goals are a first draft and I will be coming up with a GANTT chart or some kind of diagram to aid in organizing efforts to achieving these goals. I know for certain that some of my goals have not been achieved because of lack of sufficient detail in estimating and planning for achieving goals.

Below are some random ramblings I have made on the idea of goals, immigrating to New Zealand and Australia, and the future. Please excuse this lazy post. The rest is literally ramblings. Organized post on 2010 will come shortly.

Main ideas are growing technological capabilities (more competitive in job market and for personal projects) – I still want to focus on managerial skills through the attainment of an MBA (but this has taken back seat(guess it is not really highest priority))

I am switching focus to running instead of triathlon. Looking forward to growing into Adventure Racing.

Thinking of coming up with cut off date for New Zealand (probably mid April) – I have some things I would like to accomplish in the next 3-5 years and as much as I like New Zealand and strongly desire obtaining permanent residence here, I need to get some professional work with professional level resources to obtain these goals. Furthermore, with more experience I will be more able to get permanent residence if I try again (whether in New Zealand or Australia or somewhere else) I think if I try again I will try Australia. If I knew things would have turned out the way they are now, I probably would have pursued a position with Global Asset Systems or headed back Stateside after Ironman Australia. Regardless the time spent in OZ and the time spent here in NZ has been invaluable in terms of lessons learned and experience.

Finally. with the unfortunate realization that I might not be able to make NZ work the first time around I will develop a list of items I value in a living environment and then search for a suitable place to relocate. It might end up being Austin due to strength of network there, but probably Portland. I am thinking Boston, Seattle, California, or somewhere in Colorado is also a possibility. The IT job market looks decently strong, but US unemployment is at 10% and NZ is at ~ 6% so it might be the same story in the States. I believe I am better suited to compete in the US right now though. New Zealand is a completely different ball game than Australia. They are very similar in many ways, but the ways they differ economically and culturally make it a huge challenge for a newcomer. I have been reading forums on the Internet about immigrating to NZ and they are full of bitter people with horror stories from trying to make it here. I won’t be bitter, but it is definitely a testament to the challenges. Finally on the subject, I do not think I have been fully applying myself to this initiative. I think that this is because of the size and nature of the initiative I am still analyzing the implications of it and this is detracting from identifiable forward progress in getting professional work, the first step in the New Zealand scenario. New Zealand seems right, but unfortunately might be premature at this time.

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