A few 2019 highlights.

Good work stuff

  • I feel like I learned more in 2019 than the previous 2-3 years combined, which suggests I’m in the right job and stayed too long in the last one
  • I enjoyed being involved in hiring
  • I became a line manager (the one thing I’d change about my career would be to have done this sooner)
  • Our new (and first) user researcher Clare has been outstanding - it’s fantastic having more research at the heart of what we do
  • Design-wise there are some things I’d do differently, but overall I feel like I did good work, engaged a lot of colleagues in the process, and we ended up in a good place
  • Farewill is doing brilliantly (we got our Series A funding and grew from about 20 to 50 people), and culturally it’s still a good place to work - my colleagues are wonderful (mostly)
  • We launched our probate service in March and it’s gone from strength to strength. NPS isn’t the only way to measure success, but right now it’s 100 (which means every single customer has given us the best possible mark).
  • I rebuilt my website the hard way and learned a lot by doing it
  • I started learning Javascript with Codecademy
  • Farewill continues to evolve and we’re always trying new things, which means I’m learning a lot

Farewill office moveThe Farewill team moving into the new office in March

Good personal stuff

  • I ran my first ever half marathon and marathon
  • We had our best ever holiday - in Sri Lanka, with our 3-yr-old daughter Lottie
  • Lottie started school and she’s very happy there
  • Lottie brings a huge amount of joy to our lives. One of a thousand things I could mention is her newfound love of Strictly - she can name all the judges and couples this year, and has been doing a lot of singing and dancing at home.
  • Overall I had a good work-life balance
  • We bought a piano and I’ve been playing it a lot
  • 2019 was the first full year in our new house - I still think very fondly of all the effort we put in to renovate it, and how much more special that makes living here
  • I bumped into Noel Fielding in a cafe and took a selfie. I still pretend he’s my friend.

Yorkshire MarathonRunning the Yorkshire Marathon Marshmallows on a beachToasting marshmallows on an Isle of Man beach Lottie in Sri LankaLottie loving the Sri Lanka adventure

The not so good

  • Working remotely 3 days a week has its downsides - I feel I’m not exposed to quite as many learning opportunities as my colleagues. But I wouldn’t change it - I work well at home and my work-life balance in those days is excellent
  • Travelling to London from York can be tiring and it takes out a chunk of my week
  • Farewill has changed a bit in the last year or so - not always for the better. Only natural for a company growing so quickly. I don’t like that service owners are called ‘Profit and loss leads’ - we seem to have a lost a little something in terms of customer/design-first thinking. Nevertheless, customer satisfaction is outstanding, and it’s still a very creative, user-focused place to work.
  • I had a rollercoaster couple of months with a colleague at work, which was very frustrating at times, but we worked things out and reached a good place
  • I was too stressed at times, which affected my sleep
  • I didn’t spend enough time cooking and baking
  • I didn’t spend enough time with friends
  • I feel like I wasted quite a few evenings this year through tiredness
  • My health has slipped a bit since the marathon

Remote workingRemote working - a mixed bag

Too Long Didn’t Read

New experiences and lots of learning. I give 2019…

Strictly judges score 8