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Cover image for my 2022 was not as bad as I thought after reading all other people's yearly retrospectives
Davide de Paolis
Davide de Paolis

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my 2022 was not as bad as I thought after reading all other people's yearly retrospectives

Last year I decided on purpose to not write a review of 2021 and not set openly any yearly resolution.

I must admit I got a bit tired of trying to push myself harder every single time I reached whatever goal and comparing myself to others.

But I kinda regret not having kept track of achievements and failures because in retrospective, they are very important to be grateful of what you have and what you have become and are a great boost in times when you feel overwhelmed.

Therefore, even though Imposter Syndrome and Fear of Missing Out kick in every time I read these posts of people, who in 2022 wrote a post a week, talked at a couple events each month, worked on super cool serverless projects and got promotions, I decided to keep track and share my achievements and failures anyway.

Work related stuff

Public Speaking

I finally completed my Toastmaster's Pathway, after almost 3 years and more than 20 speeches held at our club. I wrote what it meant to me and all the benefits it brought in this post.


If you are interested in public speaking ( and in improving soft skills and leadership skills) I really suggest checking out if Toastmasters has a club near you ( it probably has!)

In the past I always had the goal of giving tech talks at conferences but never actually applied to any (I never felt I was ready, that my topics were interesting enough or that my experience entitled me to do so, and ultimately I had no clue how to find conferences to speak at - most of the time a conf is advertised, most slots are already assigned.
Last year I finally applied to a couple of events, both online and offline, but I was rejected (which is absolutely normal) - now I have a few sources of Call For Papers and this year I will apply to more and hopefully I will achieve this personal and professional goal!

The best way to ensure that lucky things happen is to make sure a lot of things happen (Bo Peabody)


Year started in a very excitingly since I got to the final stage of the interview process for the role of Technical Director / CTO in a small startup.
I the end I declined the offer because I saw more potential in my current position/company, considering size of teams and complexity/variety of projects ( and because I got a convincing counter-offer).

In the first months I had the opportunity to work on a couple of very interesting projects.
I was very busy in the hiring process to increase my team's size, took on more people management responsibilities while still contributing to the codebase, after having designed the architecture introducing serverless in a legacy application.

Uncomfortable conversations

Unfortunately having to manage a team, and not just lead the technical aspect, brought me not just to screen dozens of applicants and hire a few, but also to terminate a couple of contracts of low performing employees. Redacting Performance Improvement Plans, constantly reviewing low performance and providing bad feedback, until the delivery of the unpleasant news was rather stressful but still a great learning experience.

Role identity crisis

Then a company re-orga put me in charge of a new project on a completely new tech stack. Team was smaller and I had the opportunity to get back to more individual contribution.

Project was in the end shelved, which was a pity (but also a relief, because I was never so thrilled neither by that tech stack nor the product), and my team was again split and my role shift again.

Right now I feel I am kinda stuck and concerned about my future career steps, as Will Larson properly describes in his article Tech Lead Management roles are a trap.

I really enjoy coding, designing the architecture, reviewing, and mentoring. I like being hands on in a project, but still having the eagle eye view and the global picture of the dependencies and interactions with other teams, departments and projects.
And I also like to take care of the people management part: hiring, onboarding, feedback talks and salary negotiations, one on ones are interesting and challenging ( sometimes, due to the unpredictability of human nature, even more difficult than coding).

But I would not like to be doing that 100% of my time and give up coding entirely. Unfortunately, it seems that Technical Lead is really at a career fork road: the available options from this point on is on one side giving up to the people management aspect and become Principal/Staff Engineer, or give up the coding part and become an Engineering Manager.

Furthermore, when teams and projects get bigger you often end up either burn-out or doing a poor job because you don't have the time to execute properly your technical tasks and to take care of the people.

So it really seems I will have to make a choice this year, either at my company or somewhere else, let's see.
(Feel free to share tips and experience if you are or you have been in a similar situation)


This year I wrote 40 posts - which now that I looked at the numbers is not even that bad ( see, keeping track of our progresses and reviewing what we have done and how far we have got can really reframe our perception of how a year went).

Since I started the blog on on 28. Jan. 2019 I have totalled 150 posts published (and 131 drafts waiting to be completed and published... πŸ˜…)

These are the stats:

  • 150 posts
  • 5,838 Total post reactions
  • 599,661 Total post views

Honestly I don't know if it's good or bad, honestly I would like to see a greater ratio of reaction per view.

AWS Community Builder

This year I got chosen/was accepted/became AWS Community Builder which is a great honour, and a great experience. You have the opportunity to share thoughts and ideas with other enthusiastic and skilled people all over the world, and it is a great boost for my blogging motivation. ( specific post will follow! )

AWS Community Builder SWAG

Remote work

This year I have been in the office only 4 times, 2 days for a Leadership workshop and 2 other times for social events and seeing colleagues in person after such long time. Besides that I only worked from home (or from many other places in Germany I liked to be!) and after 3 years I find it amazing. I am way more focused and more productive and it allows incredible work-life balance.

I really hope that companies will not retreat on that ( nor all agree on the forced 3 days in office and 2 voluntary WFH - which would completely screw the concept of being able to work for any company from anywhere without having to commute).

Private life

Relocation: I moved with my family to a bigger and nicer apartment!

It was stressful and tiring to relocate ( even if just a couple of streets down the road ) but we love our new place, and by working from home, I have my own space, and can live my home more than being outside most of my day,.

Used an Angle Grinder for the first time

As much as I love to build stuff with code, I always shied away from manual tools and work (too much risk of injuring myself, or breaking things with costly consequences). During our relocation, I found myself having to cut off some metal bars we had in the wall to hold our small Boulder Wall.

grinder tool

It was scary as fuck with all that noise and sparks, but it was a great satisfaction too!


With my wife and kids we love to travel a lot, visit new places and do hiking. With Covid we kinda had to stop and this year too, we didn't feel like booking again an international flight to have it then cancelled.
Since during COVID we decided to finally buy ourself a VAN we were still able to visit great places and have our share amount of outdoor adventures, around Germany, Luxembourg, South of France and on the border of Czech Republic.


Love Anniversary

My wife and I are not actually married, but this year we reached 20 years together!

20 years ago

Citizenship test

I have been living in Germany for 9 years now, and I started the process to get citizenship. Prerequisite is passing an exam - similar to the driving license one - where you are asked a lot of tricky questions. It proved quite easy in the end and I passed with 100% correct answers!


Since I am not commuting any longer, and I started reading A LOT of Blogs and listening to Podcasts, unfortunately the number of books I have been reading had increasingly going down year after year.

This year I read 9 books. Some of them were very interesting graphic novels, but mostly were books about climbing - after reading The Push a couple of years ago, I started this reading cycle: climbing books are interesting because I love climbing of course, and because they are great stories about success and failure, hardship and pushing yourselves out of the comfort zone.

Alone on the wall


Despite training (at least) 3 times a week, I still consider myself a rather mediocre climber/boulderer and I haven't achieved my goals - but it is not only about the Grades you are able to climb.

This year I definitely got better and climbed harder grades, but more importantly I realised I climb more efficiently, improved a bit my style, I have less fear of falling and because of all that, I can have more fun while still challenging myself.

Since I think that climbing teaches me a lot in terms of focus, commitment, facing fear and obstacles and I find many similarities with software engineering I decided to open an Instagram account where I keep track of some cool moves and quotes about climbing and software engineering.
You can check it out under solving.problems


It took me some time to recollect all the highlights of last year, there were some up and downs, but overall I am very satisfied and grateful, and I am happy this year I took some time to be more mindful and track it down, despite the initial feeling of "everyone seems to achieve a lot and I did nothing..."

As Addy Osmani - Engineering manager at Google - says in his post:

You are your own greatest competition - focus on competing with the you of yesterday, your own goals and progress, rather than trying to keep up with others or measure yourself against them.

Some related posts you might find interesting:

Foto von bruce mars auf Unsplash

Top comments (6)

moopet profile image
Ben Sinclair

Honestly, this reads like the sort of collection of achievements made by 0.001% of the population.

dvddpl profile image
Davide de Paolis


cloutierjo profile image
cloutierjo • Edited

Thank for your point of view on the tech lead management. I'm currently working that role since the last year and I do quit enjoy it. But with the team increasing, the tipping point of going the management road or technical one seam to get closer every quarter.

Keep us in the loop in your evolution it does make me think about where I'm also heading.

sandordargo profile image
Sandor Dargo

You had a great year, congrats! Those pics with the camper van were made in the South of France, right? Where were you?

dvddpl profile image
Davide de Paolis

thanks Sandor!
the pics are actually not from our trip to south france this october ( when we visited Camargue and Montpellier area) but from this summer - we always go to West Liguria in summer and we did a weekend climbing trip here which is anyway really on the border with haute provence so.. you were quite right anyway!!

sandordargo profile image
Sandor Dargo

Ah okay! Nice! Indeed, the mountains, the green are quite similar compared to what we have here (I live around Nice/Cannes).

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