T-SQL Tuesday #014: Resolutions!

Posted in #TSQL2sDay on January 11th, 2011 by admin – 1 Comment

In the past I was never one to make resolutions. Sure I might have had the thought of being healthier, quit smoking or working harder to manage my money. The reality though is that it always seemed self defeating. No one ever keeps a New Year’s resolution past about the second of January, right?

Even without any true resolutions I found other forms of motivation to get me where I am and that made it all seem good enough. Over the last decade I have to say I was pretty successful. I completed a bachelors and masters degree. I moved from working as a telephone representative into the role of a database professional. I married my awesome wife, had a beautiful little girl and am expecting a son in the coming months. I even quit smoking almost four years ago and will be running in my first half marathon this weekend. All based on the things I dreamt about that drove me to get where I am today and without ever making a resolution in the conventional sense.

So in that same manner, why start making resolutions now? In the past I had a vision and took many steps. Setbacks came up but I had a great vision and for the most part I made that vision a reality. But once I got to that point it was like climbing a mountain and coming to a shear drop off. No place to go, no plan and no new motivation to push me further.

Back to my question of why? Well, I decided to take a baby step (yes, pun intended) and try out setting a New Year’s resolution. It is to kick off the next journey in my life right by broadening my vision and continually setting goals for myself. Not just for 2011 but on for the rest of the time that I have.

To start down this path I am following the sage advice of so many in the SQL community. I purchased the book “Getting Things Done” by David Allen. So far this book has been nothing but inspiring. The idea of setting a 50,000 foot view that is the rest of my life is scary and overwhelming to say the least but I need (for lack of a better term)…a code to live by. The idea of top down goals always made sense in the business setting and thinking about them in a more personal setting seems to make sense as well.

This vision is still evolving and one that I am not yet fully ready to share. But as a challenge to myself I will be posting it out here in the very near future for all to see. Call it a challenge to make a vision and a life that is realistic, attainable and just might give a little inspiration to others to do the same.

T-SQL Tuesday #009: Time Off

Posted in #TSQL2sDay, Misc on August 10th, 2010 by admin – 2 Comments

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.