Category Archives: Encouragement

Communication – is it key?

Communication2Communication is easier now than it has ever been. Whenever we need to get in touch with somebody, we can call, e-mail, or text, regardless of where we are and where they are. Geography isn’t an issue; we can instantly send a message to somebody halfway around the world. Some people even text each other while they are in the same house – just because they don’t want to get up and go to another room. Without much effort, we are almost always “connected” if we want to be.

But have you thought about what we may be losing when we depend more on electronic contact and less on face-to-face communication? When we’re with others, we understand them much better. We can read facial expressions, pick up on emotional responses, and communicate our own feelings very clearly. The results is more interaction, more depth, and more substance.

The communication tools available to us today are wonderful. It’s great to be able to get in touch with people anywhere, anytime, and I wouldn’t want to go back to being unable to contact someone easily when I’m out of town or need a quick response on an urgent matter. I like being able to keep in touch with my family regardless of where they are. But when we start to depend on technology as a substitute for one-one-one time with each other, we are missing an important key to relationships. In forming virtual bonds, we may be forsaking the benefits of true human interaction. We need to make sure we are not so connected with everything out there that we miss the chance to connect with the people directly in front of us. Being connected means thinking of others and reaching out. Make that happen as often as you can.

Each person, and or leader, is different and has different methodologies and view points. One of the key components or attributes I have found in leadership is communication and having an open communication with other team members and business units. When was the last time you had effective communication in a meeting? When was the last time you had effective communication about an idea with a team member? Let’s take it a step further, when was the last time you had an open dialogue with your team? Building confidence and building a team takes a strong and discipline element composed of communication.

Don’t settle for the status quo; become an exceptional leader and/or an exceptional Data Professional. Be the game changer and motivator your team needs today.

Growth In The Face Of Adversity

 

StumbleAdversity as described in Webster’s Dictionary is a state, condition, or instance of serious or continued difficulty or adverse fortune.

Not really a topic most want to talk about, but nonetheless is something we experience on any given day. There are all types of adversity if you think about it. The Data Professional might face adversity on the job, one may face adversity with their health, or one may have ongoing issues with family. Whatever the case may be adversity at some point in ones life will come.

How does the Data Professional handle adversity when it rears it’s ugly head?

You look at your board and you see over 20 initiatives waiting to get completed, a process on one of your SQL Servers is executing extremely slow and you need to figure out why, log shipping decided to croak and you need to ensure that you get this back up and operational, and to top it off your core business server decided to fail over to another node all of a sudden.

All that ever hit at once? If you’ve worked in this business long enough than you realize that adversity will present itself in some form or fashion ~ it’s inevitable. If you have not had to be faced with adversity before than you will at some point.

With all that said adversity does not have to be viewed as a negative occurrence. Looking back, in my own circumstances of being a Data Professional, I see that in some of these instances it is where I have grown and built the experience that I longed to obtain.

Get your learn on

Let me ask this question; when is the last time you ventured out and really dug in and started to learn something? If you had down to learn CMS or Policy Based Management would you depend on others to facilitate that or would you install it on a local machine or spin up a VM and start tinkering around with it and how it works?

In today’s work environment we have so many tools at our disposal; so many community members who are willing to help and offer advice. One of the best phrases I ever read stated, “Failure to learn is not an option”.

The Peaks and the Valleys

Careers can be a set of peaks and a set of valleys. Have you ever heard someone say, “I’m stuck in the same old mundane rut”. How do you break that? One great thing about being a data professional is that we have so much that goes on in a given day. If you really step back and look at it you can start your morning on SSIS, follow it up with some log shipping or disaster recovery planning, review capacity planning, heck why not even throw in some learning of Always On and column store indexes.

I’ve seen the gamut from professionals who are on fire, the flame starts to dwindle, they get burned out, and then you never see them anymore as they move on to other things. Will that be you?

The Opportunities

Now here is the great part that is just lying around the bend. Opportunities abound ~ daily. When adversity strikes don’t get faint hearted or weary. I have first hand knowledge that inspiration is rampant through the SQL Community. When we fall we pick each other up, when you least expect it someone that you works with SQL from overseas will say one encouraging word that will ignite that flame that was about to go out.

Yes, I know it won’t always be a bed of roses for this is the game called life, but how do you handle adversity when it comes your way. Tackle adversity head on, it is in times when you are faced with something great that character is built and learning abounds.

Game Time

It’s fourth quarter and game is on the line. It’s now time as a Data Professional to “D” up. Tackle every day as if it were your last and when you seem to faced with adversity whether it revolves around SQL, learning in general, Cubes, Azure or whatever the case may be – stop, assess, learn, and grow from it.

Be Challenged

Don’t let that flame burn out

Keep Pressing Onward

Making A Difference

MakeADifferenceA father was awoken by his wife to check on their son who was asleep but making noises that they could hear through his room monitor. The father, half a sleep and thinking his son was dreaming, wondered into his room and called out to his son only to find that his son wouldn’t answer him. The dad stumbled over to his son’s bed to find that his eyes were rolled back in his head and he was stiff as a board. Panic set in, the worst scenario for the parents was coming true. The son, who had type 1 diabetes, had gone into a diabetic shock – his blood sugar had dipped to low while sleeping. The father feeling for a pulse; scooped the son up and rushed him down stairs to apply an emergency Glucagon shot while the wife called for an ambulance.

Why am I sharing this you may ask? Simple, the father of that boy is me and from that night on he has been my hero which leads me into this article…….

I was fortunate and blessed to attend my first PASS SUMMIT in 2011. After getting passed the complete awesomeness and the many renowned speakers I found myself wanting to ask questions and kicking myself in the tail for not asking them. Come on, let’s be honest, you’ve been there with various things in your life. You don’t want to ask questions because you don’t want to feel not as smart, or you see someone who has years’ experience and think why would they want to waste time on what I think. I know I felt that same thing and then it all kind of just clicked in my head.

I got to thinking about my boy while at that PASS Summit and the inspiration he had given me that night, then sitting in a session and looking over and seeing Brent Ozar in the class actually learning (floored me; in my eyes this guy knows everything SQL related), or Paul Randal sitting in on a session a few seats away, or asking advice from Chris Shaw on a presentation he did on Utility Databases. I found out a few things at the Summit about myself that otherwise I would have stayed in my shell.

  • The people that you look up to in the industry are 9 times out of 10 the most down to earth people you would ever meet and are willing to offer advice if you ask.
  • Step out of that comfort zone; this blog was started based on attending the PASS Summit and thinking if I can help one person along my SQL journey as a DBA then it is all worth-while.
  • Speaking – never thought I’d do it but found out I truly enjoy it and helps me interact with a lot of faces and people.
  • Learn from the SQL Community as a whole; have you been to any forums, blogs on a regular schedule?
  • Not one question is a dumb question; everyone learns so go ahead and ask that question  you are hesitant about.
  • Hard work – it does pay off. Don’t short cut anything – dig in, dive in, and give it all you got.

If you have thought about stepping out and starting your own technical blog – DO IT

If you have thought about going up to someone and asking them for advice – DO IT

If you are at a conference and you have a question but the speaker is what you call a Master Jedi in our industry – DO IT

It takes one to make a difference in someone’s career, it takes one to make a difference to someone who might not yet be comfortable in asking the question to solve the problem, it takes one to encourage the person just starting out to get the most out of their potential.

For those of us who have been in the SQL industry for years; when is the last time we put away our ego’s and  helped the one starting out? Or maybe we have a wealth of  knowledge and need to step out and be a voice in the SQL Community.

It takes one ~ will you be that one?

Success Is Journey Not A……

I’ve ofSuccess or Failureten heard the quote “Success is not a journey, but a destination”. Over the course of the last few weeks that quote has taken on a life like form in many fashions. To name a few things that have come to light to make this quote a very real thing are the MCM retiring, having a VMAX overloaded by maintenance plans across the board, upcoming DR Testing, planned Power outages (better than non planned ones eh!).

All these things as I look back on them screams to me that Success is a journey, not a destination. For SQL Data Professionals our jobs are ever changing and growing as we grow with it. Each day is an opportunity to learn something within SQL that you or I didn’t know yesterday, each day presents it’s own opportunities to reach resolutions that you or I didn’t know yesterday, and each day represents that during our failures we can discover the true desire for success.

To the beginner who is starting out who doesn’t know about the sp_configure, the proper use of ORDER BY, or what Table Scan vs. Indexing; the answer is not to just ignore or give up. Dig in and discover what that solution is; it’s how we learn.

To the seasoned SQL Data Professional vet who has been putting off getting on the speaking circuit, taking a newbie under your wing and mentoring them, or simply are just comfortable; challenge yourself. Step outside that normal box and tackle new things head on.

When you have that replication issue that goes awry and you don’t have that big enough wrench to fix it (I use this analogy all the time thanks to Robert Davis a.k.a. SQLSoldier (B|T), stay the course and work your way through it.

I get asked a lot of questions when speaking, email traffic etc., where individuals feel defeated in the problems they are facing within SQL. Every problem has a solution; every solution is waiting to be found it’s up to us as SQL Data Professionals to buckle down and find the answer.

If you are not active in the community I’ve listed some of what I call top tier SQL Data Professionals on the right of this blog site that I follow who have helped me in my DBA career. Forums are also a great place to increase ones learning…to name a few you can check out these:

One last note; when is the last time you just said a simple thanks to someone who has helped you in your career? This past week that has weighed on my mind greatly. A former boss, a mentor, a person who you get newsfeeds from…..I fall in the boat where I get wrapped up in the work I do; I often overlook the simple thank you that in reality goes a long way.

Tackle obstacles, Tackle your fears, and Tackle the solution head one.

Being Hectic With The Thrill

thrillIt happens every time anyone goes to an amusement park. The one park that sticks out to me is Disneyworld just because I was there on a recent family vacation. You know what I’m talking about – the crazy rides, the masses of people, the running to and fro. Vacation is supposed to be a relaxing time yet when you get into a park of any sort, at times, one can get caught up with the hustling and bustling – I know I’ve been there done that. While being on vacation a couple of things stuck out to me so much so that I think it does apply to the DBA life or any data professional for that matter. Below is a representation of what thoughts flowed through my head.

The Hectic

Have you ever noticed when you are in an amusement park people are rushing around as fast as they can to get to the next ride before the other person? While on vacation I was enamored to watch the bustling and running of people almost to the point of it being comical. I would watch the dad’s pushing the double wide strollers around basically at a run with the two kids in the stroller and one on his shoulders as they rushed to the next ride. The families that would run as soon as the park opens to get the famous “fast pass” to secure a time frame that they would not have to wait in line for hours on end.

How does that pertain to the DBA life? Easily enough the DBA life can at times be very hectic with several things going on all around them. It is just not one thing we focus on but a multitude of things that more times than not seem to go awry all at once. How do you react when those situations arise?

The Thrill

A long with the hectic aspect comes the thrill. You get to the that ride you’ve been waiting to ride and you’re next. You get on the ride and off you go down an 80 ft. drop or into that dark tunnel you never think  you’ll come out of. The unknown aspects and the thrill of the ride keeps you coming back for more.

As I am a SQL DBA, I think that same thought process can be applied. The thrill of solving that problem that has been unknown, working with other teams to find common ground to push forward on a project, getting that new index in place that takes a process running 45 minutes down to 10 seconds. It’s the thrill of the game that keeps you coming back for more.

The End Game

Have you taken inventory lately? When you get to work are you excited about your work? Do you always have that continuous desire to improve yourself as a data professional? Is that thrill still there like when you solved your first issue and you said, “I think I can do this!” If not recapture that fire you once had – enjoy what you do. There are a lot of people that would love to have the opportunities that we as data professionals have. Enjoy the time you have with it!