Thanks Kathi and Mala

I have to thank Kathi and Mala for putting on the WIT Mental Health and Wellness today today.  I was honored to present, but I was more glad that I got to watch most of the other presentations. I was glad they asked me, and to me, this was the best conference I’ve been to in many years.

If you missed this, go watch these recordings. I was touched and emotional from the other presentations, as well as mine. Links should be available next week, so check their page.

I overslept a bit, and actually woke up about 30 minutes before my talk. I was already nervous about this presentation, as it’s a bit of showing vulnerability for me, so I had a hard start to the morning. I went downstairs, checked in with Mala to verify the link and then went to get coffee and try to relax a touch.

The presentation went fine for me, which is good, though I certainly had a lot of emotions while thinking back about the past year. I had a few tears in my eyes during the talk and was exhausted after. Fortunately, my boss was understanding and told me to just take it easy today. I had a few things to get done, and then watched a number of other talks before giving up in the early afternoon.

I hit the gym (one of my coping tips), went to the store, and started cooking (another tip). Homemade lasagna and brookies (brownie cookies) for the family tonight.

It helped me relax.

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Goal Progress for April 2021

I set goals at the beginning of the year, and I’m tracking my progress in these updates during 2021.

As I look at goal progress for 2021, I’m going to follow a similar pattern as last year. I’ll give myself a current grade and report on overall progress in of the areas where I set goals.

Current Grade: C

I haven’t spend enough time on things. Life has gotten busy as I get into the thick of volleyball coaching, spring chores, and then some coping. I have been reading a touch more, but not enough. I should be done with this book and I’ve let it drag.


The goal was 4 books (3 non-fiction, 1 tech). Here’s the current progress:

Technical Skills

I’m solving the Advent of Code three times.  I’m also studying for certification. In terms of work here, I did do some coding, but not enough. I’m behind here and #7 is daunting, which slowed me a bit.

  • Certification –  AZ-900 – 5%
  • Certification – DP-200 – 0%
  • Skills – T-SQL – 2020 Advent of Code – 5/25
  • Skills – Python – 2020 Advent of Code – 6/25
  • Skills – PowerShell – 2020 Advent of Code – 5/25
  • Skills – TBD


I had a few projects for myself. Most of January was supporting SQL Memorial as well as doing some SQL Saturday/Data Saturday stuff. So far things appear to be working fine.

  • SQL Saturday Foundation – 70%
  • Support events: I’m speaking at an event and submitted to more.
  • Speak at the 3 local user groups, at least one live presentation – 0%
  • Help organize a Denver/Colorado event, live or virtual – 10% (conversations)
  • Complete my Power BI Volleyball report – I know lots of kids will use this, so I need to get it done – 20%
  • SQL Memorial – 80%

The SQL Saturday stuff has eaten some time as I try to plan, work with a lawyer, and more, but it’s not moving enough.

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Getting Started Remotely

My middle kid is about to graduate from college and is starting to look for a job. I suspect he won’t have too much trouble, as an aeronautical engineer near the top of his class, but I do think that it’s going to be more challenging to find employment than it was two years ago. Though likely better than last year.

While my employer has continued to hire people throughout the last year, we definitely know it’s been a challenge for some of them to get up to speed, build relationships, and get productive. It’s likely easier for technical people, especially for those with experience, but not necessarily easy for those just getting their careers going.

If you were starting your career now, I’m sure many of you would be better prepared than when you did begin. I’m wondering if there were things you might recommend to those getting started if they were doing your job. Tips, tricks, or habits to build?

I was listening to a few people recently talking about this topic, and they gave advice that I followed early on. Keep working on your skills, growing your knowledge and ability to be better in your field. If you’re a programmer, practice and learn more about how to better build systems. If you are on the admin side, be sure you are learning to script and manage with code, rather than GUI clicks. If you are in some other area, like marketing, learn to better analyze what you do and how to manipulate data.

No matter what, the one thing I always recommend to others is to learn to present an idea clearly to others. Communication, both written and spoken, is a prized skill, and one I find lacking in many people. Being able to present something in a coherent and cogent manner is important.

Along with that, I emphasize the other half of communication. Learn to listen well and process what others say. This is as important as being able to present your ideas, especially in today’s world where much of our communication occurs with fewer body language cues and less context.

Steve Jones

Listen to the podcast at Libsyn, Stitcher, Spotify, or iTunes.

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Daily Coping 7 May 2021

I started to add a daily coping tip to the SQLServerCentral newsletter and to the Community Circle, which is helping me deal with the issues in the world. I’m adding my responses for each day here. All my coping tips are under this tag.

Today’s tip is to talk to someone else and get some advice from them on how to cope with life.

I have a couple people I talk to regularly in my life. They are close friend or family, and people I trust. Lately I’ve had a couple rough patches in life. Nothing major, but just down, unmotivated, and a little frustrated with the state of the world.

It’s easy to get caught up in your own head and lose perspective on the world. I’ve been able to unload some thoughts on friends and have them remind me of good things, or where I may be overreacting, or just give me support by listening. It’s helped me to work through a tough few days and improve me outlook and attitude.

This last year has been hard, and while my life overall has been great and easy, I still get stressed or sad or frustrated with the world. I bounce back and forth a bit, and helping able to talk with others has helped me cope.

Reminder: Today is the WIT Data Platform Mental Health and Wellness Day. I’m speaking, and if you want a few minutes to hear how others cope or deal with life, register and join us.

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