Wrapping up 2023
2023 has been as I predicted: unsettled and tense. It’s why I set this as my only resolution:
Focus on building foundations and going slow. Move deliberately and end the year happy and healthy, ready to kick on in 2024.
I think I’ve done that but damn, it’s been a tough year.
I’ve quietly struggled this year. I’ve been fighting burnout for about half of the year — something I’ve unfortunately been prone to for nearly a decade.
The trigger was getting caught up in a climate disaster in July. It really fucked me up mentally and the resulting PTSD for me and my family triggered a burnout flare-up.
I think I’m mostly fine now — thanks to a proper relaxing Xmas break and working on resolving it in the latter months of the year — but I’ll step into the new year cautiously and focus on things that make me feel good about myself.
It’s been a hard year to work in client services. It’s definitely been the slowest in terms of enquiries, but I’ve not really panicked because it seems to be a shared experience across the industry. It has been super stressful though at times.
This year has been a foundation setting year anyway, which has gone exactly to plan. Set Studio has chugged along nice and smoothly. In fact, it’s flourished thanks to the amazing people that I’m lucky to have working there.
We’ve hired another person: Jason, who is a designer. It’s going to be a game changing hire for me because he’s stepping up to do a lot of the strategy work I do with clients, which frees me up to do more production work. The combination of Leanne and Jason is going to be unreal in the new year too. They’re both outrageously talented people.
Liridon, the junior developer — who this time last year, had not written a single line of code — has come on really well. He’s now on client work full time too. This year will be a crucial year for him and I’m looking forward to helping him improve. I don’t think I’ll be training up a developer from scratch again though. It’s been great, but really tough.
A key factor in my burnout this year has been my lack of actually making things. I’m changing my role in the company because of that and will be hiring an account manager of sorts to free me up from the day-to-day client comms stuff and fuckin’ spreadsheets. Instead, I actually am going to be producing lots of content (I mean it this year lol). Piccalilli is coming back and friends, I will be producing a new CSS course in 2024, along with a workshop. I’d quite like to write a new talk too, so hit me up, conference pals.
All of this content is going to be about being a better CSS developer in real life with a view to levelling you up, unrecognisably, and importantly, getting you paid more. I see a shift in CSS in the real world, in terms of technology, but also away from certain methodology/framework choices. The industry is maturing with the language and I want to share my experience and knowledge to help y’all with that transition.
Embarking on a course is daunting — especially coming out of burnout — but I’ve got plenty of experience now, so I’m also feeling pretty damn confident about it. The studio is re-designing the CUBE CSS site, so that’s going to give me a chance to warm up, as it were, with writing properly again.
I also see a gap in publications. CSS-Tricks is done now, and unfortunately, been abandoned. A List Apart has seemingly experienced the same too. At least Smashing is flourishing, but there’s a hole that’s been left by CSS-Tricks especially and I think I might know how to fill it. More on that as the year progresses.
I’ve really enjoyed gaming this year. I wanna give Zelda Tears of the Kingdom a shout out. It’s almost certainly the best game I’ve ever played and it’s helped me through a rough year. Also, I treated myself to the remake of Link’s Awakening. I bloody loved that game as a kid and it was great to complete it again in its beautifully remastered form.
Music-wise, I’m not sure this year has been one of the greats, but I’ve listened to loads. I’ll write about that when my last.fm “wrapped” lands tomorrow.
- Aim to double the team at Set Studio
- Release a course
- Get back to being a prolific writer and content creator
- Try to be calmer about finance (working class upbringing never rubs off)
- Quit nicotine
It’s quite an ambitious list, but I feel like I can smash it.
I’ve limped to the finish line of 2023 but I’m in a good place at the end. I feel like 2024 could be a banger for me, so I’m rested, refreshed and ready to take it head-on.
I hope you all have a happy, healthy 2024 💜
👋 Hello, I’m Andy and I’ll help you build fast & visually stunning websites.
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