The 2010s: A Decade in Review

2019-12-27 · 5 min read

With the decade wrapping up, I wanted to spend some time reflecting on the past few years. I grew a ton. I am proud of myself and the progress I’ve made, but I know I want to do so much more. I am so excited to see what the 2020s will bring.


  • I opted into a newly opened 🏫 high school.
  • Was a part of a professional development program in high school. I spent half my day at a separate facility in a hands-on learning environment. My program was for graphic design 👨‍🎨. The only reason I signed up was that I thought I would be able to continue the 3-D animation I was working on. I did not do any animation. I had no fun.
  • I met the love of my life 💗. I remember telling all my friends about this cool new girl. They knew immediately that she was special because I acted with way more confidence after meeting her.
  • 🥪 I was still working at Jersey Mike’s. I started working there when I was 14 and it is the best job I ever had. I grew so much from working there—how to talk to people, how to be responsible, etc.


  • My girlfriend finally decided we were dating 👫
  • Graduated high school with a class of ~90. I had no idea what I wanted to do and I would not believe you if you told me where I’d be nearly a decade later.
  • I left my first job and started a new job as a teller at a bank 🏦. I read more at that job than I ever had in my entire life 📖.
  • I started school at UMKC. I started as a 👮‍♂️ criminal justice major, moved to 💰 finance after I thought I wanted to move into white-collar crime.
  • I made no new friends at college 😢 (I was living at home) and seriously considered moving to a big school to be with friends—and my loving girlfriend was okay with it even though it would have moved me 2+ hours away.


  • I joined a student org and made some friends 😄. One of which went on to be my best friend and roommate.
  • I finally switched to ⚖️ accounting after I was intellectually beaten down in Accounting 101. I ❤️ accounting, I did not love being an accountant.
  • I started falling in love with Kansas City 💙. One day I will be back and will take over the city 🏙!


  • Moved out of my parent’s home to live with my best friend in Kansas City 🏠. We wrote a bunch of dumb songs 🎶 and had a lot of fun.
  • I left the teller gig and started an internship at a financial investment firm. It was a customer support gig 🤙. I worked nights and weekends only and had less responsibility than I did at the bank. No Bueno. It did not last long 👋.
  • I left the internship to work for a 👨‍🏫 professor at school. We did a bunch of research and he became a very important mentor for me—he literally helped change the trajectory of my life.
  • I traveled 🚉 to Chicago for the first time, 🕴️presented at a national competition, and ✔️ elected president for the student organization I was active in.
  • I started drinking coffee ☕.


  • I moved from my first apartment in Midtown to a super cool loft in the River Market. A ton of old factories converted to lofts, farmers' markets👨‍🌾, and the most walkable part of the city.
  • Went to China 🇨🇳. I have many stories.
  • I found out my organization advisor was falsely submitting data to the school 🚨. I approached them and was immediately shot down. I resigned from my position as president.
  • Doubled down on research. 🧠 I started looking more into the Optimal Distinctiveness Theory. I wrote about it here.
  • Applied, and was accepted, to London Business School’s Masters in Management program. It was a hedge. If I wanted to stay an accountant I would need another year of school anyway, if not I could round out by business education.


  • I graduated from college. 👨‍🎓 Honestly, I had no idea what I wanted to do when I graduated even though I spent the past 4 years studying accounting.
  • Summer internship at PwC. Had I wanted to stay in accounting, I had an offer to come back full time to one of the Big 4 firms in my hometown—I won accounting recruitment.
  • Moved to London, England 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿. My flat was something like £500 per month for my room. It was right across the street from campus, but it was also roughly 6x6 ft, had no windows, and I could not open the wardrobe without sitting in the middle of my bed. Best year ever.
  • I left my friends, family, and girlfriend for the first time. It was really hard 😫. I learned a lot about myself and I grew more than I could have ever imagined. I made so many great friends all over the world—I felt like the luckiest guy 🍀 in the world.
  • My first niece was born 👶.


  • I traveled around Europe. Scotch tours in the Scottish highlands 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿, exploring Berlin 🇩🇪 , and relaxing in Croatia 🇭🇷 were the best.
  • I had no job prospects after I graduated. It was exhausting. I moved back to the US 🇺🇸 , moved to NYC 🏙 to live with my girlfriend at her great aunt & great uncle’s house.
  • I applied for ~200 jobs in NYC and SF. Luckily, I did not get any of them 🙏. A good friend was working for Google in Dublin. He referred me for a job at Google’s Ann Arbor office. We moved to Ann Arbor in December 〽️ .


  • My girlfriend and I finally settled into Ann Arbor. It was our first place together and we grew so much as a couple 👫.
  • I learned how to work every day. No longer was it short shifts or summer/winter breaks off. I am a big boy now. 👦
  • I was poached to a new team ~6 months into starting. It was probably the coolest team at Google 💻. I learned the product better than anyone else and made a ton of friends with a shared perspective on personal growth 🧠 and betterment. I also realized that I wanted to start my own business 👷‍♂️ one day. Be on the lookout in the 2020s! 👀


  • I picked up my best friend, Tycho 🐶. I had no idea I could love another living thing like this. I’ll be an emotional wreck when I have kids.
  • We lost my second niece to a rare birth defect, Congenital diaphragmatic hernia. 💜
  • I realized I had an unhealthy work-life balance ⚖️. I was working too many hours making money for someone else. I started focusing on preparing myself for starting my own business. I spend hours everyday learning 🧠. Learn now so I can execute when needed.


  • Moved to Chicago 🌇. I love being in a big city—so does Tycho!
  • I taught myself how to program (for example, this blog!) 💻
  • I started to truly realize the privilege I have. I am one of the luckiest guys in the world 🌎.

Made with ❤️ by James Murray in Chicago 🏙️