2020

March 1, 2021

Welp, it’s March. No better time to write a 2020 wrap-up, right? I could pretend like I’ve been working on this for a while and just got around to finishing it, but I haven’t. This is just the first time I’ve managed to force myself to sit down and write.

Assuming you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ll remember that 2020 was the year of COVID-19, aka “The Coronavirus”, aka the pandemic. Coming off of a surprise departure from my employer and some family issues at the end of 2019, I was hopeful that 2020 would be a much better year. For me, in many ways, it was a much better year, though my heart goes out to those who were much more affected by the virus than we were.

Freelance, SkyVerge, and GoDaddy

When I quit working at Thrive around Thanksgiving of 2019, I wasn’t sure what I’d be doing next. Although we’re on good terms, my last few months (maybe a year?) at Thrive were difficult. I won’t go into details here, but it was time for all of us to make some changes.

At first, I did what I could to find some freelance work. Thanks to some amazing people at Grace Church and family friends, I was able to land a couple of website redesign projects for Grace Church and 8 Coed Sports. Combined with a few smaller projects, these kept the lights on and food on that table, to steal some cliché phrases.

A longer-than-expected interview process shortly followed with a company called Sandhills Development. I had applied to a couple dozen companies online, but this was the one I really wanted. It was remote (before remote was a thing for many people) and seemed to have a great company culture – with an emphasis on family time and environmental conservation. It was a customer support position, which was new to me, but required skills I had cultivated at Thrive and through my freelance projects. I was certain that I could do the job and I was excited to help as many people as I could.

Though I lasted to the final round of interviews, Sandhills ultimately passed on my for someone else. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t crushed, but God had something different in store for me!

Right at the time Sandhills made their decision, the same position opened up at a similar company called SkyVerge. I hadn’t heard of SkyVerge, but was familiar with a number of their WooCommerce plugin products from building sites for Thrive clients. Kyle at Sandhills not only recommended I apply, but sent a referral to SkyVerge saying that I’d be a great fit!

Getting to the point, I interviewed through several rounds with the SkyVerge team and was offered a job at the end of April! With the pandemic in full swing now, I was ecstatic to find a remote job for a company that was doing quite well due to the nature of the WooCommerce plugins they sold and the need for every business to move online quickly.

The first few months were an adjustment, not only to the SkyVerge way of doing things, but also to customer support in general and working from home for the first time. I got the hang of it, though, and was able to quickly start to have an impact on the team and the work we were producing.

In September, we were all shocked to learn that our company, SkyVerge, was being acquired by GoDaddy. With the success that the company had seen, GoDaddy took notice and wanted to acquire a company with a solid foundation in e-commerce, specifically on the WooCommerce side. Many discussions were ha by the SkyVerge leadership team, ultimately agreeing that GoDaddy had the same goals in mind.

So, here I am at the start of 2021, working for customer support at GoDaddy for our WooCommerce plugins and the re-imagined Managed WooCommerce platform. I’ve mostly adjusted to remote work and am looking forward to how I can create an impact for GoDaddy and the web as a whole!

Family

Coming out of a rocky 2019, this year was a chance to rebuild and reconnect. Who knew that we’d be blessed with all this time together once the world shut down?!

I’ve heard many stories of couples and families who have struggled in this time of lockdown and quarantine. I’m so thankful that this is not the story for us!

In March of 2020, most of the country, including schools, moved to a work-from-home model. The first couple of weeks of school were hard to manage, but we ultimately took a step back and let the girls handle their own schoolwork. Wow did they step up! Not only did they manage to get their work done, they did it well!

When I started at SkyVerge in April, we were all officially working from home. It was so great to be able to have lunches together and drop the commutes to and from work that take up time we could otherwise have to go for walks, ride bikes, or hop over to a park/trail. In fact, those were the only things we could do, but it was great!

In the end, I think the pandemic has helped our immediate family grow closer. The girls adapted to seeing only us quite well (though they still wanted to see friends eventually) and we enjoyed being able to have this time together.

That being said, we did only see my parents twice once the pandemic lockdowns began – July 4th and Christmas Eve. We did get to see Bobby, Katie, and the cousins some, but it would have been great to be able to see more family, more often.

Looking Ahead

So what’s in store for 2021? Well, vaccines for COVID-19 have begun to roll out, so I imagine enough people will be vaccinated this year to start to see some places loosen up on mask wearing. Our small group (bible study group/friends) will hopefully be able to meet up again as whole families. We’ve been meeting separately as ladies and gentlemen, but it would be great to have us all together again with our kids. I don’t think that’ll happen until later on in the Summer, but we’ll see.

Professionally, I’m excited for the community-focused project I’ve been tasked with at work. I plan to speak at meetups and the like this year to grow my presence in the community, ultimately pointing that back to GoDaddy as being the experts in WooCommerce. I’m getting promoted in early April, so that’s a good thing, but I’m most interested in how I can grow in the WooCommerce space for GoDaddy.

As a family, we’re only a few months away from summertime. This is always a much more relaxing time with the family. No need to track homework and make daily lunches. The girls tend to stay up later and sleep in the same room. Sister sleepovers ❤️! Plus, Lisa is always ready for a break and some time to recharge for the next school year.

Overall, I’m excited for what 2021 has in store. I’m a little nervous to put myself out there and speak for work engagements, but it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while, so I just need to embrace it!

Here’s to 2021, returning to some level of normalcy, and doing great work!

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