2022 in Review: Highs and Lows

2022 in Review: Highs and Lows

I haven’t written anything in such a long while, so I really did not know how to start this Review. Well, I guess I started it already, anyway.

2022 has been a lot for me; I saw highs and lows. I wanted this Review to be organized, but I’ll write it as it comes.

Earlier this year, I attended a Twitter space where Parag, the former CEO, spoke about his journey to becoming a CEO. It was a wonderful session, and something I took from the story was a piece of advice he gave to the listeners: focusing on your strengths will get you the best.

At that time, I struggled with my job as a Technical Writer, so that statement struck me. I love writing, but not in the way that I want to make it a full-time job. On the other hand, if you speak about Open Source in Africa, I most likely would be among the first five names you’d mention (bragging rights, lol).

I thought about what he said, and I decided to quit my job as a Technical Writer and focus fully on Open Source. It wasn’t an easy decision, and it didn’t take just a day. I mean, quitting a well-paying job in this economy is ridiculous, right?

While I love money, I also value my peace of mind and mental health. I was genuinely burned out and needed time off. I quit my job and booked a solo trip to Dubai for my birthday. It was my first time out of Nigeria, and it helped me clear my head–an exciting experience indeed.

After my trip, I took two months to do nothing except eat, sleep, watch movies, and see friends. Toward the end of the second month, I started actively applying for jobs. Remember I said I wanted to focus on Open Source; the goal is to build a career in Open Source, specifically Open Source Program Management.

I interviewed with top companies like Amazon, Twitter, Cisco, and Mozilla, but it all came down to rejection emails. That was the first series of failures I experienced this year. Eventually, I realized that although I liked to contribute to Open Source, I still had a lot to learn about building a career in the space.

I started taking courses on the Linux Foundation platform and joined the TODO Group (a group of Open Source Program Offices that share best practices and guides). I also strengthened my contributions to the CHAOSS project (a project I’ve been working on since 2020). It led to me starting the African chapter of the CHAOSS project and participating in GSoD 2022.

While learning and gaining experience, I was still applying for roles and getting many rejection emails. In Q3, I decided to take a break from applications and focus on growing the community I started.

If you’re not Nigerian, Shege means problems.

Another phase of rejection for me was visa applications. I grew my speaker profile rapidly this year, and the highlight for me was delivering keynote speeches at OSCAFEST and DjangoCon US. I was supposed to go to conferences in Dublin and the US, but I was denied a visa after the rigorous application process.

It was tough processing these rejections, especially for the US visa, because I was supposed to speak at three conferences– All Things Open, DjangoCon, and GitHub Universe.

While I had a handful of rejections this year, some good things also happened:

  • I got two awards: GitHub Star of the Year (among the 100 stars globally) and the She Code Africa Rising Star Award.

  • I started investing in Real Estate, and it’s been going well.

  • I got paid Open Source contracts that sustained me financially.

  • I strengthened my relationship with God; He helped me through all the difficult times.

  • I had the best support system–friends, family, mentors, and colleagues.

In everything I experienced this year, I learned three valuable lessons:

  • Rejections don’t kill; nothing prepares you for rejections, but you get better after each one. After each rejection, I cry, wipe my eyes and think of how to do it better.

  • Protect your peace of mind at all costs. Resigning from my job was the best thing I did; that job drained me.

  • Do not lose yourself in the process of the storm. Regardless of how challenging my year was, I did not let go of my spark, jovialness, or smile.

What is 2023 looking like for Ruth?

I haven’t planned for the coming year yet, but I know that I want to support the African Open Source ecosystem.

I also want to support many women to start and grow their tech careers.

I want a soft life in 2023. I’m looking forward to a year filled with peace and happiness.

Thanks for reading my scattered Review. I wish you the best in 2023.