2021-in-Review: The Categorical Leap
5 min read
A friend used the phrase "Categorical Leap" to describe my progress this year, and it was so cool I stole it for a title. According to Cambridge Dictionary, Categorical means "without any doubt or the possibility of being changed," and leap means "to make a large jump."
Whew! It has been a fantastic year, and this phrase describes how things went for my career, relationships, and personal life. I made a significant jump without any doubt. Of course, after a year of so much brilliant work and efforts (2020, I mean).
Before going into specific details, let's go down my memory lane about how tough the first quarter was. I started the year with so much energy only to realize I was burned out a few weeks in. It was a tough decision to take care of myself because I already had set goals for the year (who takes a break in January👀).
Eventually, I took time off and wrote about the burnout experience. After resting, I continued job-hunting carried over from the previous year. But this time, in a different light, getting into the interviewing stage and positive feedback before the almighty rejections. That was progress, at least.
I went through the first quarter applying to different companies, learning and battling my mental health (a personal issue I will share later). In all this, my mantra, "there is light at the end of the tunnel," kept me moving regardless of the disappointments and rejections.
Now let's go into specifics (wins and challenges) in three important areas:
Oh well, there was light at the end of my tunnel. I got a remote job from a US agency with a 5-figure in dollars offer (you can keep guessing), but mehn, I am a millionaire in naira, no be chaise (a Port Harcourt slang for "it is not a small thing"). After so much hard work, it was well deserved. It turned my finances and life around (money gives happiness o 😂).
But mehn, the job is not easy o, it was a technical writing role and first three months were tough (to whom much is given, much is expected 😩😂😭). There were days I thought I would be fired honestly (not my fault, first job after school). I had to learn and unlearn, find ways to improve my writing, ask many questions, practice how to take feedback from clients, and a lot more. I am so thankful to my colleagues, Maryam, Linda, and my awesome manager at the time, Meredith. You all are the best.
Remember my mantra, "light at the end of the tunnel; I am 7 months now at work and got a $500 employee bonus for my progress so far.
Feedback from my manager; "Over the last year, you have: Improved your writing on a sentence level and a structural level, Improved your confidence and customer management skills, Taken initiative by digging into developer marketing research on your own"
Even in uncertainty and fear, I gradually made a significant jump in my job.
Other highlights from my career:
- I got two awards from GitHub
- I gave my first in-person talk at DevFest Lagos
First, my relationship with God improved (I am a Christain). He pulled me through these challenges, and I am grateful for every part of it. I read my Bible more and leaned on God for direction in every area of my life.
Second, after three years of being single, I fell in love and started a beautiful relationship. Although it did not work out in the end, the few months it lasted were beautiful. He supported me so much with my job, personal life, especially the plenty wahala Lagos showed me during the first few months of moving here.
Third, my friendships grew stronger. I learned how to have hard conversations with my best girl, Lulu. We learned how to go through each phase, supporting each other and, more exciting, gifting each other. I started a beautiful friendship with my coach and mentor, Ada (if you see her, squeeze $1k in her hands 😂), she has taught me many life lessons, and most importantly, we created beautiful memories. I also have fantastic support from friends that will listen to me cry and complain. Shoutout to Obinna, Burah, Steve, David, Brownie, and Anita.
Lastly, my relationship with my family became better too. I feel so happy I can support them monthly with a percentage of my salary because my dad is my MVP and sacrificed a lot for me to get here.
The highlight is "I am a spec, and I drip glory 😩😩😂." I have learned a lot about myself this year and, most importantly, being kind and treating myself better.
One of my proudest moments is breaking through and coming out to my parents about long-term sexual abuse (I will share this story someday). I came out of that shit! Shout out to Tosan, my therapist, and Doctors without borders.
I learned not always to see the negative side of things but to keep a positive spirit. I learned to advocate for myself and take care of my body and health (skincare and all that).
In the last quarter of this year, I partied, had fun, went on a vacation trip, enjoyed my money and all. It felt so good doing all this. Lastly, I learned to make myself happy with gifting, dancing around my house, singing, and smiling a lot.
While this is a lot of wins, I hope you see it was not just a magical jump or overnight success, but I worked my ass off for every bit of it last year. Even in the wins, there were challenges, but I prevailed because that's what stars do.
I am a living testimony that "it all works out in the end." And with a big beautiful smile ☺️😍, Ruth Ikegah had a fantastic year!
Cheers to 2022!