T-SQL Tuesday #009: Time Off

I once was told by my first development lead that his goal was to work himself out of a job. Being a bit younger and quite a bit less experienced, I thought it was an interesting perspective and a way to say there would always be something to do. But perspectives have a way of changing over the years. Now, with a family, broader exposure and a more experience, I have a different thought about his statement.

This brings me to this month’s T-SQL Tuesday, presented by Jason Brimhall (twitter|blog). The focus of this 9th installment is on vacation and what it means to be a database professional looking to get some much needed rest and relaxation. I think the real meaning behind working one’s self out of my job means less about all of the work out there and more about making sure the work you have doesn’t require you to keep it running. Sure the idea that we are needed and are the best is great. But whether this is true or not, this hero mentality is the bane of the IT professional’s existence.

The reality is that organizations don’t need heroes. They need people that can build solutions and that these can be done in such a way that they are easy to maintain and require little to no maintenance. Sure things break and sometimes changes need to be made. This should be the exception to the rule and not the norm. It is my belief that the best in the business will try to build solutions to be only as complex as necessary and in reality should be designed in such a way that anyone with a reasonable amount of skill can figure out later on.

This leads me to my resounding belief that if systems you design or administer require you in the picture to survive, you are doing it wrong. There are far too many tools and techniques in the world to make your life easier. To avoid using these tools and techniques might just indicate that enjoying a vacation or progressing in your career are not high enough in your list of priorities.  

As a DBA, Developer or any other IT Professional, focus on designing systems and processes that are as easy as possible to administer. Sure it is not always possible but the key is to keep it simple. Companies will see this as an asset and for you it means you can take on new projects, find time to do your own development, maybe get promoted and ultimately take a real vacation.

  1. The principle you’re discussing was clearly illustrated to me during a recent vacation I took to San Diego. I’d worked hard to automate every process I could before I left, but ended up with one silly SSIS package I had to manually execute each day while I was vacationing. After arriving in the hotel, I was disappointed to realize that I was unable to find a network that my company-issued laptop would consider secure enough for VPN login, and thus was unable to run the package.

    It had a minor impact on the business, but it was clear to me that providing automation must be part of any development plan and needs to be in place as an application, site, or process is put into production in order to deliver the best solution possible.

  2. Thanks. I agree on the heroes thought. I also agree that systems should require as little intervention as possible. This allows us to have more time to work on other projects.

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