What Keeps You Employed?

I get asked this question regularly each year as I start coaching volleyball: “what do you do?” New parents are always interested in what the coach does outside of running their kids around a court. This year, I actually got asked this question a couple weekends ago at the final tournament by a parent that I’d talked to many times, but this was the first time we had an extended conversation. It’s always a little funny to explain what I do, since it’s a mix of quite a few jobs, most of which are somewhat out or the ordinary.

There was an interesting post from Pamela Mooney recently that reminded me that many of us perform jobs that are a little harder to describe to others. Or maybe we are a bit too literal in how we communicate and struggle to concisely express our job responsibilities. In any case, I like the analogies that Pamela makes to the medical industry where there are many specialties with vastly different skills. It’s similar for data professionals, though there are really many less potential specialties. Pamela has a general definition that covers lots of things:

DBAs are the guardians and facilitators of the company’s data.

Guardians covers most of the administrative responsibilities. Protect it with backups and security, ensure it’s still there, and more. Facilitator might be more development focused, but availability and performance would certainly fall under this description as well. The more I think about it, the more I think this is a good general description.

One that’s not likely to mean much to laymen.

I’m sure most of you have had to answer the question at some point in the past. Thinking about it now, without the pressure to respond in real time, how would you easily describe what you do? What do you say about your job? Perhaps you talk about the parts that you really like, or that things you are proud to do. Maybe you mention the things that annoy you the most.

Let us know today what you respond with, and try to do better than the generic I often give: “I’m a computer guy.”

Steve Jones

Listen to the podcast at Libsyn

Posted in Editorial | Tagged | 1 Comment

Update Your PASS Profile

If you haven’t logged into your PASS profile, please do so now. You should be able to get to this page: https://www.pass.org/myPASS.aspx

Once you’re here, there’s an announcement:

2019-05-17 12_23_38-PASS _ MYPASS

Voting is coming this year, and no matter what you think of PASS, I do ask you to vote and make your voice heard.

You can check on your profile in the lower left side of the page, where you ought to see this:

2019-05-17 12_24_25-PASS _ MYPASS

The required items should be complete, though in my mind, the colors are backwards. Still, get to 100%.

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Burning Out

We tend to work a lot of hours as data professionals, developers, even IT management. It seems that we often are in the office at night, on weekends, and anytime there is a crisis. Even when we don’t have down systems, it seems the pressure to continue to build new features, functions, and ensure systems are operating well leads many of us to work longer hours than the expected 40 hour week. In fact, there are no shortage of companies that expect IT employees to work more than 40 hours every week.

This isn’t limited to IT. Doctors, lawyers, and plenty of other professions put in extra hours at work. Even teachers often do work at home. I’ve seen this first hand this past year with my oldest son teaching 5th grade. He spends a fair amount of time doing work at the kitchen counter, not unlike what I used to do when I worked as a DBA in a few companies.

I have an amazing job. Along with Grant, Kathi, and Kendra, we all have good positions. We work for an amazing employer, Redgate Software, and we get to travel around, speaking at various events and meeting lots of you in the SQL Server community. We also all work from home, which is becoming more common, but it still a luxury for many. In the era of double, or triple, digits of minutes to commute to an office, that’s a blessing.

Recently, I saw this note from Kendra, and I get it. I’ve been there and I have a tendency to work too much. I like my job, and I’ve enjoyed both being a DBA and Developer, as well as running SQLServerCentral. I enjoyed it so much that there were a number of years where I struggled to take much vacation, much to the dismay of my wife. Even while on vacation, I’d be checking email and the status of the site. Early on, I was afraid to take any time away from this site, scheduling time to log on, answer a few questions, write an editorial, and even edit a submission on weekends and during vacations.

I got better over time, balancing out work, though a few years ago, I was where Kendra is now. I had made too many commitments and really, too much travel.  I’ve felt what Andy described here, feeling tired and short tempered. I re-read some of my own thoughts and eventually talked with my manager. I scaled back travel, found a new hobby coaching, and I’ve felt much more balanced across the last year. Life is still chaotic, but it’s a variety of things I enjoy. Plus, I still have trouble sitting still for more than a few days.

Working hard feels good. There’s a sense of accomplishment from completing tasks and solving problems. Many of us enjoy this, but it’s easy to become unbalanced with work and life. It’s also easy to allow your boss to overwork you when we feel pressure to stay employed. Those are hard situations in which to find yourself, and I can only advise you that you can push back to find some balance. Most bosses, even bad ones, don’t want to fire people. It’s disruptive, expensive, and makes a bad situation even worse.

Remember, we work to live, not the other way around. Keep that advise close by in times of stress and learn to take time off, enjoy time with friends and families, and ensure you have something outside of work in which you can sink some passionate time.

Steve Jones

Listen to the podcast at Libsyn.

Posted in Editorial | Tagged | 2 Comments

The SQL Change Automation in SSMS Beta

Give it a try, as the beta is out. I’ve been watching this product and getting updates for the last six months or so and lately I’ve been pushing to get this out. It’s close enough to be useful and helpful for me, and I wanted to get other feedback.

Someone listened and you can now try this. If you’ve been using SCA (SQL Change Automation) in VS, now you can work in SSMS as well.  give it a try and let us have your feedback. I’m excited to get migration based development into SSMS.

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