As I’m reflecting on 2022, I can’t help but going back to December 2021.
I recall how desperate and insecure I was back then: unemployed since February 2021, having applied for many positions, and just being rejected for another role. Honestly, as I approached the holidays, I felt like giving up.
But what on earth happened in 2022?
January 1st, 2022. I decided to start the new year with a fresh mind and with a “f— it, we’ll see what happens”-mindset. The job hunt continued. I applied to as many positions as possible — even the ones I felt less qualified for. In the third week of January, I already had three interviews scheduled in one week.
Another week and two interviews later, I was given a job offer. The vibe felt good and I would be given many responsibilities and opportunities. I decided to just go for it.
And then 2022 just took off like a rocket, with many challenges ahead.
Jetzt geht’s los
One of this year’s challenges was to learn a ‘new’ language: German.
I needed to use German for my job: to communicate with stakeholders, to update our website, to write blogs and to create social media posts. Now the last time I had seriously spoken German was in 2016, when I was in high school. So I had to brush up on my German (and I had to learn a lot more).
From the moment I got the job, I decided to immerse myself in the language as often as possible. I went on a short trip to Berlin and forced myself to talk German. I bought dictionaries and grammar books. I downloaded podcasts and I just started writing blogs (which was a painful experience, by the way, especially because my first blogs were loaded with mistakes).
I frequently doubted about myself. Did I make the right choice? Couldn’t they just have hired someone who was more fluent? During high school, I hadn’t even thought of using German in a professional context (I hated the course, haha). Struggling with the language 6 years later was rough.
But now it’s December, and I realize by how much I’ve improved my German proficiency. I’ve published more German content than English and Dutch blog posts. I feel way more comfortable speaking the language, too.
And one year before, I hadn’t even thought of being so involved in the German language and culture. Crazy, right?
Back in 2021, I thought my portfolio wasn’t impressive at all. I knew I had some marketing experience, but I felt like my portfolio couldn’t show all the things I’d done and learned.
Of course, I had already worked for 4 months for another company, I had a couple of freelancing projects, and I worked on my personal brand — but was that impressive enough?
My goal for 2023 was to learn as much as possible and to create a lot of new things that were worthy of adding to my portfolio. And I did.
I gave both the English and German website a rehaul. I solved grammar mistakes, localized content, made pages SEO-friendlier, rewrote headlines, and I posted a lot of blogs. These efforts surely paid off, because we saw the amount of impressions, clicks, and leads grow.
We also launched our first promotion campaign together with German stakeholders, and it was really cool to see stakeholders actually using the promotion material we created.
I also collected a lot of information from consumers and stakeholders (I took my Twitter Space notetaking skills to the next level). This information, we could use not only for our marketing strategy, but we could also share valuable lessons with other departments.
This year, I learned a lot more about SEO, Copywriting, Technical Writing, Social Listening, Sales, Translating, Project Management, and much more. All valuable skills I can work on during the next couple of years.
On top of that, I spoke at Kevin Berry’s podcast and I wrote a couple of articles for The Social Media Pulse Community. In 2021, I hadn’t even thought of being asked for these things. Apparently, people really do find my content valuable!
Looking back, I realize I have a lot of blogs, social media posts, campaigns and projects to add to my portfolio (and I only realized it when I was updating it).
Traveling and friends
The end of the COVID-19 pandemic marked the beginning of my travel season. 2021-me saw me either visiting Canada or the U.S. in 2022.
But 2022 didn’t go as planned, obviously. I’d be spending most of my time abroad in Germany — also for work. I had one big tour across Europe by train and a lot of smaller trips. One of the most memorable trips was the one to London. There, I met up with three Marketers I connected with on Twitter (crazy, right?!).
I also made so many new friends during my vacation trips — and often at the most random occasions.
- When I was taking pictures of the famous castle in Bratislava, a group of internationals asked me to take some pictures of them too. We went for dinner and drinks afterwards.
- I did free walking tours in Bruges and Munich, met people, and had drinks and dinner with them.
- A pub crawl in Prague resulted in me twisting my ankle (don’t do drunk, kids). However, I also met a group of Belgians, with whom I watched Formula 1 in an Irish Pub two days after.
- In Cologne, I did a beer brewery tour, met a couple of locals, and had dinner with them.
All things I hadn’t even thought of before traveling all by myself.
In 2022, I have grown so much, experienced so many cool things, met a lot of new (and existing) friends, and learned a lot. This was something I hadn’t expected back in 2021 (in a positive way).
Now, as I wrap up 2022, I’m a little bit insecure again. I know that I cannot stay at my current employer for that long anymore, despite of my contract being extended. It was a tough pill to swallow. At the same time, it allowed me to start looking for new and exciting opportunities outside of The Netherlands. Yes, I want to pursue my dream of moving abroad.
And looking forward
Who knows if I’m moving abroad and where I’m moving to? One year ago, I wouldn’t even see myself living in Germany. Now, I would. But I’m keeping all my options open. And maybe, in a year or so, I’m writing the next year recap in a country I haven’t even thought of.
But first, I’m taking the holidays off to recharge and reflect. 2022 has been a chaotic good year for me, but my mental and social batteries are empty.
But I know I’ll start 2023 just like I started 2022: with a fresh mind, an “f— it, let’s see what happens”-mentality, and with more confidence.
And sharing one advice
If there’s one lesson I can share with all of you: Life doesn’t go as planned. As long as you go with the flow, believe in yourself, set the right goals for yourself, fight for them, don’t worry too much about circumstances you can’t control, and see setbacks as opportunities for something new, you’ll be fine. And don’t forget to regularly reflect on your growth and successes. Because you’ve done a lot more than you thought you had.