I have a lot to be thankful for as we just passed the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. While there is the obvious – my family, many of who gathered at our house on Thursday, as well as friends – there is something that stands out right now in this realm a well.

It is what has transpired over the past nearly six months. I’m not sure I’ve had a six-month stretch quite like it, with so many great things that have transpired and set me up in a better place than I was six months ago.

Of course, it can be easy to think this is just putting a happy face on things. After all, I was laid off nearly six months ago, which was not news I wanted to receive. There have been some very real ups and downs since that day. However, one has to play with the hand they are dealt and make the most of it, which I feel I did over this time. I kept a very active calendar, and I feel it has and will continue to pay dividends.

Just look at what I have done since the beginning of June when this happened:

  • Attended numerous professional networking meetings/events

  • Launched a personal web site and wrote blog entries on most weekdays

  • Met with a career coach

  • Attended the Boston TechJam

  • Attended a meeting of the Boston Linux/Unix User Group and Agile New England

  • Attended a Red Hat event about API management

  • Attended the ReDev B0st0n Conference by MassTLC

  • Attended the 100th Mass Innovation Nights, as well as two others

  • Attended several events as part of Boston Startup Week

  • Attended a training session on Ruby at Launch Academy in Boston

  • Attended the Habitude Warrior Conference in Boston

  • Taught two classes (Algorithms and Data Structures, Nailing the Technical Interview) at The Startup Institute

  • Read some of Jump Start Git (Shaumik Daityari), a book about the git SCM tool, as well as Simply Javascript

  • Made significant progress on a lengthy Udemy course I signed up for

  • Caught up on reading of Harvard Business Review and Inc., and continued to read the Boston Business Journal every week

  • Ran two 5K road races (Finish at the 50, Bridge of Flowers road race)

I won’t elaborate on everything here, but some of it deserves a little expansion.

The Boston TechJam was a wonderful event I look forward to checking out in future years. It is a fun, laid back setting to celebrate the technology scene in the area, a sort of break in the action, if you will. That actually led me to the ReDev B0st0n Conference, which was a great day as I chronicled here, here and here. I have relayed a lot of thoughts and observations from that day in conversations in the months that have followed, including during interviews.

Those events were run by MassTLC, who also alerted me to Boston Startup Week, and that event led me in a couple of directions including the Ruby training session at Launch Academy. Through them, I also learned about The Startup Institute and General Assembly, which like Launch Academy are located in downtown Boston and devoted to better technical education/training, and through people I met at The Startup Institute, I’ve had opportunities to teach, which I never really thought much about before. I’ve been fortunate to meet some of the MassTLC staff, including a heavy hitter with their events who has been nothing but helpful this entire time.

I’ve spent a lot of time around great professionals who have helped me in ways big and small. Some have helped me make other connections, while others have been valuable just to engage and for me to help. Many had valuable insights of their own. In general, it helped me stay positive and further hone my value proposition when I had to go in front of someone in a position to hire me. And those interviews were all experiences I gained from. I learned about companies I did not know about before, and enjoyed that process.

Through all of this, I have many more great connections, and not just the 120+ new LinkedIn connections I have since that fateful day in early June. I have more connections, new resources at my disposal and more overall knowledge (I have learned a good deal about git and Javascript, among many other subjects) – and most of all, a lot of positive energy I will bring to my new employer starting a week from today.

That’s a segue to one other thing to be thankful for – I have landed a new position, with a start date of a week from today. More on that is to come.

I am ready to start and be better than I was in my last job. Indeed, the idea is to always get better – athletic coaches talk about that all the time, and rightly so – and I have done that. I owe that to being constantly in the presence of others and in settings where I could gain something, and then I made sure I gained what was there for the taking.

I am thankful for what the last nearly six months has brought to me.

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