At this time each year, I tend to reflect a little on how my life has been in the past year. It’s a nice little way of reminding me of the little joys that I’ve experienced and the lessons that I’ve learnt along the way.

This year has been a good one for personal achievements- I’ve finally become a CFA charterholder. This has been something that I’ve worked towards for quite some time now and I’m happy to say that I’ve finally made it. The going wasn’t easy and it really took a huge commitment on my part to put in the time and effort to study almost every weekend for at least half a year so I’m really glad that it’s over.

The question now as far as investing is, what’s next? Do I continue in the job that I’m in, divorced from equities in the professional sense or should I make a switch to a career in equities and the financial markets even though it means starting all over at the ripe old age of 30-something? I don’t really have an answer to that yet.

Job-wise, there’s finally been a little progress although professional progression in my current field was never my intention when I joined. I’m really happy to be teaching but there’s a problem with the system when they keep giving you things to do that aren’t related to teaching or getting better at your job.

Too many of my colleagues are now not just proficient at teaching but also being emcees, tour organisers, filling out paperwork, calling for tenders, getting quotes from vendors, event planning, event conceptualising and so much more. To top it off, the school expects us to take time to learn new tools or techniques to improve our lessons, to set perfect test and exam questions, make no errors when marking or processing exam results and oh, while you’re at it, take students on trips and make sure that they come back in one piece.

Is it really our bosses’ faults? Not really. They need to justify why someone gets promoted over someone else and for many long serving staff, they don’t see the need for any changes to the lessons every year. In that case, how are the bosses going to make sure that these long-serving staff get promoted? Well, that’s where all these other things come in. After all, at the level that we’re teaching, we’re not going to make any academic or industry-wide achievements. And after so many years, all the low-hanging fruit have been plucked. Therefore, the kind of things that people do to signal that they’ve done something extra outside of their intended job scope is to come up with lousy, marginal ideas that have really low return on investment (of time).

That’s the main gripe for my workplace but otherwise, colleagues are great and the job is fun. However, now that I have some years of lecturing under my belt as well as being a CFA charterholder, I won’t deny that I am tempted to explore better teaching opportunities.

What I am definitely going to do is try and make life a little better. My fabulous wife bought me a book for my birthday that is unexpected because a) I’ve never heard of it and b) it’s Adam Smith’s take on self-help. Economics and self-help. Who would have thought?

I’m going to write a stock report every week as well as create a study-guide version of economics for high-school study level. Those will probably be my main projects for next year.