LaFarge Lake Light Festival, Coquitlam BC — Lawrence Manickam

A Rolling Update Plan for 2020

2019: It’s a long year for most of us. As the year come to an end, friends and family often ask each other about their goals and resolutions for 2020.

Life goals must be progressive. The human kind tries to build something better on what they already have in place.

Here are few ways to further your career and inner peace in 2020.


Cultivating and practicing gratitude brings enormous benefits to the practitioner. The research shows gratitude can improve physical and mental health; Improves self-esteem and give better sleep.

Neuroscience researchers found that when we express gratitude and receive the same, our brain releases dopamine and serotonin, the two crucial neurotransmitters responsible for our emotions, and they make us feel ‘good’. They enhance our mood immediately, making us feel happy from the inside.

Appreciation boosts morality. Mark Twain said “I can live for two months on a good compliment.”

Here are some ways to cultivate gratitude on a regular basis in 2020;

  • Thank your family, bosses and co-workers.
  • Thank someone mentally.
  • Learn to say ‘Please’.
  • Keep a gratitude journal.
  • Count your blessings.
  • Stop whining.
  • Meditate.

Keep in touch

A personal experience from Toronto where we lived for a decade. P. Eng application process has a very stringent reference check process. One of my neighbors wanted to pursue this certification. He immigrated to Canada and lost touch with most of his past employers, and I saw his struggle to locate them for the period of six months. He lost a promotion in between due to the lack of certification.

We often see people who approach us when they need something. My college principal Major. K. Srinivasan told me this “Lawrence, you will go places. Make sure you keep in touch with people. Write down their birthdays, wedding anniversaries, their children names and send greeting cards.” A very wise man.

It was hard to keep in touch in 90’s India. Mostly physical mails, people migrate, and long-distance calls were expensive. Many of us practiced it well with those hurdles.

In modern times, the art ‘Keep in touch’ is easy. All we need is few minutes at our smart phone and an egoless heart.

Here are some ways to practice the ‘Keep in touch’ art in 2020;

  • Like your network posts and articles at LinkedIn.
  • Share a useful content.
  • Mark your calendar with their birthdays, wedding anniversaries with reminder and send a quick greeting message.
  • Update your social status often (Don’t go cold).
  • Make a courtesy phone call at least once a year.
  • Use festival days to wish them.

If you follow the above, your connections will not see you as an opportunist. Most importantly, learn to say ‘I will keep in touch’ instead of saying ‘Keep in touch’.

Be a giver, Not a taker

Recently I met a guy who currently works as a Consultant. Just few days in contract, he ran to the (client) boss man asking for a job, asked others for documents, technical materials, free astrology predictions (from Larry Astro Services) and HTML code of my website for free to build his own. He also claimed that he writes a lot at LinkedIn and insisted to connect with him.

Guess what! With 30 years in IT (and 10 years at LinkedIn), he wrote just two articles and commented on a few.

Don’t be like this guy!

Remember, Social media especially LinkedIn shows your character to the viewers and they build a fine judgement about you very quickly. So, keep it as appropriate.

Here are some ways to cultivate the ‘giving’ habit in 2020;

  • Content is the king. Share, Share and Share.
  • Write recommendations at LinkedIn. Do not wait for them to ask you.
  • Endorse your connections often.
  • Write articles at LinkedIn, Medium or your favorite blog.
  • Answer some questions at Quora.
  • Don’t just be a Wikipedia reader. Donate at least $10 in 2020 to this free, community service.
  • Go out and teach those hard-earned technologies to poor and unemployed.
  • Donate to your favorite charities as much as you want.
  • Don’t ask anything for free. Offer a price or something in return.


Racism exists from Genesis. Most of the religious books encourages racism, class system, Anti-LGBT rhetoric, discrimination and oppression against women. Color, religion, nationality, age, sexuality and gender-based discrimination is ever growing.

Industries are globalized and people are moving around. In 2019, 1.5 billion traveled around the word and the expected travelers are 2 billion in 2020 worldwide.

Cultural inclusion is the new norm in multi-national companies.

A dark-skinned traveling consultant like me often see racism than a person who works at the same place for the whole year. Though they are not violent, I can understand the meaning behind the look and certain body language. Remember the habits of racism is not belonging to one race. Every race shows a specific type of discrimination on other minorities. It varies from place to place.

However, I never let this to make me feel inferior. I’m a tax payer, job creator, contribute to the economy by traveling (Hotel, Rental Car, Flights, Meals, Tips), social worker, continuous learner and a giver. My clients respect me for the merits that I hold.

Louis Nizer famously quoted ‘When a man points a finger at someone else, he should remember that four of his fingers are pointing at himself.’

You fail when you relate every unfortunate event of your life with racism. Never blame color, religion, nationality, look, sexual orientation for failures. Do not have a victim mentality. Keep doing all good things you do, be proud of your accomplishments and merits then watch how life gives you an opportunity to enjoy the fruits. If you are in doubt, look at the lives of Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Ken Chenault, Sundar Pichai, Thomas Kurian, George Kurian etc.


Zig Ziglar quoted ‘Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.’

Most of the time, lack of professional attitude gets people fired from their job, lose customers and burn bridges. A positive attitude is mandatory to grow your career in 2020.

Here are some ways to cultivate the ‘positive attitude’.

  • Attitude comes from your subconscious mind. Think positive.
  • Avoid angry and negative (social) media posts.
  • Ignore whiners, water cooler conversation.
  • Do not talk politics and religion at work.
  • Never say ‘We <specific ethnicity> are good at <something>’ at work place.
  • Do not forget to insert Hi, please, thanks and regards in your emails.
  • Never say ‘This is the way we do things around here.’.
  • Attend meetings with an open mind.
  • Do not dodge your colleagues work related questions.
  • Be an active listener.
  • Keep your social media responses aside and respond to them after work hours. Remember they have big impact on your mood.

Overly Empathetic

Empathy seems like a good quality in human beings. It allows us to consider the perspective of others — to put ourselves in their shoes and imagine their experiences.

Fritz Breithaupt, the author of ‘The Dark Sides of Empathy’ says, “Sometimes we commit atrocities not out of a failure of empathy but rather as a direct consequence of successful, even overly successful, empathy,”.

Overly empathetic nature will destroy your career progress. It invites troubled people in your life and they use you as an outlet to clear their issues. Some may become jealous and act against you.

Divorce is contagious; Suicide is contagious; Drug addiction is contagious.

Research shows overly empathetic people may work well in teams and get help. But they do not grow in their career. You may become the reason for a major data breach with your overly empathetic nature. A co-worker may make you a victim. You may end up hiring someone with no qualifications.

Here are some ways to trim the ‘overly empathetic’ nature in 2020.

  • Learn to say ‘No’.
  • Practice Self-Awareness.
  • Don’t take anything personal.
  • Keep it professional. Your employer pays you to work and deliver results.
  • Follow the play book of your company.
  • Keep your feelings in order.
  • Never commit any assistance outside of your comfort zone.
  • Spend time in nature.

Allocate a specific time in a month to hear your friend’s visa problems, financial issues, heart ache, break up stories etc. Not every day.


I have this problem. I know what I should do but simply don’t do it. It took 3 hours to write this blog but have thought of writing it for the last one month.

Procrastination affected me a lot.

This what I plan to do in 2020 to avoid procrastination;

  • Set simple, achievable goal
  • One task at a time
  • Set a deadline
  • Prioritize tasks
  • Get rid of distractions (Especially WhatsApp)
  • Get the hard stuff done first
  • Mark the tasks at calendar with reminders
  • Don’t be too proud to ask for help
  • Stop over-complicating things
  • Stop over-thinking

Continuous Learning

Deloitte says ‘The simultaneous ascent of millennial and retirement of baby boomers can create unforeseen workforce-management challenges, particularly for organizations that use legacy applications for core business functions.’

Moreover, long term (legacy) employees hesitate to hone their skill sets in #4IR era. They are not keen on learning new technologies. On the other hand, I see a generation who never had a chance to work in a physical server environment. The gap is a big challenge in 2020 and beyond.

The layoffs at major IT outsourcing organizations continues because the legacy employees are not billable anymore.

Continuous learning is the preferred approach to save your job in 2020;

  • Have a learning goal (Complete reading a book, build a Linux VM etc.)
  • Do not expect your employer to send you for a training. It’s your life. Use educational tools such as Udemy, Linux academy, Safaribooksonline to learn.
  • Use your PTO to attend a technology conference if the company don’t sponsor you.
  • Be social, become friend with people who knows new technologies, and learn from them.
  • Space it out (There is no need to absorb all in a month. Spend one week to learn computing engine, pause, another week to learn App engine)
  • Have a growth mindset.
  • Teach (you learn more when you teach)
  • Prepare and pass a certification.
  • Read books outside of your profession to stay relevant.


Multitasking seems like a great way to get a lot done at once. While it might seem like you are accomplishing many things at once, some researchers suggest that multitasking can actually reduce productivity by as much as 40 percent.

I did multitask when I was a Production Support Engineer at IBM and other data centers. I used to have 20 remote terminal windows (Putty) at my desktop to execute change tickets for various environments simultaneously. It worked well because I spent 12 years in IT Operations Support for Web Applications.

Later when I became an Architect, the multitask didn’t work well at all. Just a different type of work. A lot of straight, vertical product road-maps to think of; Mostly collaborative work than an individual hands-on job.

Multitasking affects your brain with negative consequences. Exercise caution before you commit to multitask. Deal with something only once.

About the Rolling update

Rolling update is one of the Kubernetes (A Cloud operating system) application deployments strategy. It aims to prevent application downtime by keeping at least some application instances up-and-running (old application) while performing the updates (new application) gradually. Old application instances are only shutdown after new application instances have started-up and became ready to handle the traffic.

Hopefully this article helps you to build new good habits in 2020 gradually.

David Willbrand just shared this quote at his status

“How long are you going to wait before you demand the best for yourself?” — Epictetus, philosopher”

Happy new year 2020!

Lawrence Manickam is the Founder of Kuberiter Inc, a Seattle based Start-up that provide Enterprise/SaaS DevOps Services (Kubernetes, Docker, Helm, Istio and CyberArk Conjur) for MultiCloud.

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