As another month comes to an end, so does another year…and boy, am I glad that’s the case.
I had high hopes that my career would finally get back on track this year and that I would recover from a nearly three-year-long personal and professional slump. Neither turned out to be the case. More on the year that was in my year-in-review post next week.
Right now, let’s look back at the month that was and look ahead to the start of 2014.
Christmas – Last month, I missed my second Thanksgiving in 12 years. On Thursday, I wound up missing out on Christmas as well. The last time I had no formal plans for Christmas was when I was 12 in 2001.
The continued financial constraints as a result of not being able to find work for much of the year left me unable to travel to San Diego to spend time with my family there — something I have done every year since 2010. It would have been a welcome sight to see my family again in an already challenging year but that was not to be.
I never saw Thanksgiving as much of a loss. Missing out on Christmas is a big loss as it was the first time in 13 years that I could not spend time with anyone. I spent what little capital I had left to move to the Bay Area from L.A. in order to salvage my dismal career prospects. Although things are already looking up on that front based on my own efforts, it came at the great expense of being able to spend quality time with the few people in the world I value and cherish most. I’m betting on 2015 to be the year when my life finally turns around so I don’t wind up missing any more holidays again.
In lieu of traditional Christmas plans, I visited the same Chinese buffet restaurant that I went to for Thanksgiving for a late lunch followed by getting in touch with my family via Google Hangout later in the evening. Great to see everyone’s faces through that medium but still isn’t the same as spending time with them in person. Next year, I hope.
Graduate school – I completed my first year and fourth class in the Master of Science in Transportation Management program, administered by the Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State University. The class I completed dealt with marketing and communications in transportation — which is right up my alley as it centers around my professional background and interest.
A year and a half left and six more classes to go until I graduate from the MSTM program, which is expected to happen in June 2016. Already, I’m learning a lot about transportation and its management aspects, preparing me to become a part of the next generation of competent and effective transportation managers. For me, I still maintain an abiding interest in public information — as a specialist in the near term, public information officer (PIO) or a community relations manager in the long term. I’m getting there.
New job (sort of) — Through a staffing agency in the Bay Area, I landed an opportunity to work as a data entry specialist for Reputation.com in Redwood City.
This was only a five-day gig that ran from Dec. 15 to Dec. 19. Although it is the shortest-held job I ever had, I still enjoyed the experience and the work at hand. It’s also one of the best work environments I’ve ever found myself in and the folks there are fantastic to work with as well. I wish it lasted a little longer than a week.
I’m expected to start another short-term assignment doing the same line of work at a different company just after the New Year. I expect I can handle the work and enjoy the experience there as much as I did with Reputation.com.
Networking with local transportation professionals – The Bay Area is a terrific place to network with transportation professionals as transit is already big here and has the potential to become bigger and better.
I continue to do so by attending public meetings for transit projects that an area contact of mine usually invites me to — BART Silicon Valley extension project and a proposed bus rapid transit project along El Camino Real Boulevard. I mainly go there to observe and listen to the presentations and the public comments from residents as well as meet with some of the transportation professionals that are involved with the projects. It’s part of my ongoing efforts to better familiarize myself with the major projects going on in the county and getting to know the professionals involved to better position myself for future opportunities where I can potentially work with them.
- Graduate school – Spring semester starts up next week with a class on transportation finance and funding. It will be my fifth class in the program with five more to go after that. I’m already halfway through!
- The beginning of a better year – 2015 is the year that I hope will finally bring forth the recovery, stability and happiness that diminished dramatically in my life over the last three years. Here’s to hoping January marks the beginning of something better for all of us.
How did you fare this holiday season? What are you looking forward to this new year? Share your thoughts below. I’d love to hear from you.