As 2020 comes to a close I had a desire to write a blog post about all the things and feelings I've had over this year. It's been a hard year for folks, and I'll admit that as a white male in tech, I've had it much easier than others. For me this year has been long stretches of time where the days and weeks blended and blurred together all punctuated by memorable events and experiences. For others it's meant lost jobs and lost loved ones, so I do feel fortunate.
The first thing I want to talk about is my "pandemic family", Andrew Pruski (B|T) and Anthony Nocentino (B|T). Without these two guys 2020 would have been a hell of a lot harder than it was. Even with Zoom fatigue, we were always available if anyone needed to hop on a chat about something (or about nothing). It was great having some people to lean on whenever I needed it. So big thanks goes out to both of them.
EightKB and Mixed Extents have been a blast to organize and take part in. While I am admittedly ready for in-person events to start back up, having virtual events to fill the time has been great. The time involved is a good distraction and I've gotten to meet a lot of folks in the community I've never had a chance to talk to before. I've also gotten to fulfill a long-time dream of mine: organizing a dedicated internals conference. I'm excited to see how events shape up in the future and of course look forward to future EightKB events and episodes of Mixed Extents.
As I said at the start, I'm a white male in tech, my life in tech is not hard. I hate to say that prior to this year I didn't really "get" diversity and inclusion. I thought of myself as a "non-racist" person, and someone that would give anyone a chance regardless of gender/race/sexual orientation/religion. This year I learned that it's not enough to just give people a fair chance, I need to use my position of privilege to make sure others are not overlooked. This is especially important as an event organizer and hiring manager. Making sure underrepresented groups get fair and equal access to all the opportunities others enjoy has to be a priority if we ever want anything to change.
What would a year in review be without talking about PASS? I've struggled to write a post about PASS, I know there are a lot feelings and opinions floating around out there and I of course have some of my own. I started my time with PASS in 2013-ish when I start attending a local user group in Detroit Michigan. I had no idea what PASS was at the time, but had heard it mentioned. From there I attended my first SQL Saturday (and spoke at it) which infected me with the speaking bug.
Since then I have spoken at several events, ran SQL Clinics, and helped others get up the nerve to start speaking. It's been a lot of fun but I've never had a really strong attachment to PASS itself, I think I came in at the wrong time. So when it started looking like PASS might not survive the year it didn't really hit me that hard. I knew the community would live on and the events would as well. I do have concerns about another central organization emerging and starting the cycle over again, but I have hope that the community will build something better this time around.
I'm under no delusions that 2021 is going to magically be a better year. I think it has potential though. With the COVID vaccine being administered to folks as I type this, and a new administration coming into the White House, I think we can expect better things to come. At a community level I think 2020 will have some hidden benefits that we'll see for years to come. This year has seen lots of new events and ideas, even if some of the old ones have gone away. To end this in true 2020 fashion I'll leave you with a quote from Jeff Goldblum's character from Jurassic Park:
No, I'm simply saying that life, uh, finds a way.
- Dr. Ian Malcolm