2021 Check-in: Professional Development

Recently, I finished reading 97 Things Every Engineering Manager Should Know and I was inspired by one of the essays (“Focus on Growth to Improve Employee Engagement” by Amy Rich) to do (most) of a professional development plan - mainly minus the “plan” bit, that’s between me, my manager and a council of therapists. It’s a lead on from something Cian Synnott introduced me to a couple years back as a sort of “professional check-in” to make sure that 1) you’re heading in the direction you want; and 2) that you take some time to reflect on who you are and where you are, drawing whatever relevant conclusions you can from that.

I’m a big fan of introspection and understanding oneself. It’s one of the greatest gifts therapy will ever give you and I can’t overstate its importance in growing personally and professionally. With the world the way it is right now, seems like a great time to reflect on where I am and where I’m going - hopefully this helps you too.

This will change over time and I hope to do this at least once a year. If you’ve stumbled across this years from now, it’s likely who I am and what I want has changed.

What motivates you? / What are your values? / What do you want?


  • Solve interesting people problems
  • Delight people, to help & support people
  • Work remotely
  • Work with a team I trust
  • Build & manage a team
  • Feel welcome
  • Have autonomy over my day
  • Joke around with my colleagues

What demotivates you? / What don’t you want to do?

  • Insensitive, unkind or rude feedback
  • Database work (bleuch!)
  • Product features & sprints
  • Stakeholders who only deal in absolutes (“it fits 100% of our requirements or it isn’t fit for purpose”)

What are your strengths?

  • Kind Engineer
  • Quick learner, very adaptable to a changing landscape
  • Calm under pressure (important to note: apparently this is a common trauma response)
  • Automater
  • Speaker
  • Good englisher
  • A leader
  • Self-aware

What are your goals?

  • Lead a DevOps/SRE team and migrate to the Engineering Manager track
  • Do more speaking and learning about kind engineering

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