Are You a Good Engineer?

I would guess that many of us think we’re good at our jobs, or at least that we do a good job. Whether you’re a system administrator or software engineer, I’m sure you think you earn the compensation you get.  I wonder if others in your company would see you this way? If they know what you do as a job, and understand the role, then you should hope they see you a good engineer/admin. Perhaps you should even ask a few people if they do.

There is a good thread about software engineers, talking about some of the things that make a good developer. It’s from a longtime engineer, and the thread talks about the things that you might consider important in a good software developer.  Actually, I think most of these items would apply to admins and even other business people.

The first item in the thread really caught my eye because I see many people taking requirements as facts and then working to meet them exactly, or complaining and trying to avoid meeting them exactly. It isn’t often that I find people really digging in and trying to be a partner with their clients. Too often we’re too accepting or too argumentative, without trying to find a solution that makes the entire system better.

The second item about not being a jerk is also important. It took me some time to learn that, and I still find too many people that think being right, or more talented, makes up for poor behavior. I’m sure it does in some places, but none where I’d want to work. Instead, follow the other advice and build relationships with others. That’s important, especially over time in your career. I know plenty of people who get poor recommendations from peers, and that causes them issues when looking for a job in their local area.

There are some other items, but the one I find especially important is work ethic. Often hires need to be taught about our environment, even if they are the 10x engineer. I’d rather have someone willing to learn, someone I like working with, and someone that isn’t going to be afraid to work hard and help improve things. I’ll take those skills over past “expertise” in most situations.

Steve Jones

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VS Live Cancelled

I got a note this week from the organizers of VS Live. They let me know the March event in Las Vegas was being cancelled.  That was disappointing to me, as I enjoy going to Vegas for a couple days and was looking forward to the getaway.

Their reasoning was the escalation of the Omicron variant. It was slightly surprising to me, as I think the Omicron wave is receding, as South Africa and the UK. In fact, the UK has removed some restrictions. Our Governor in Colorado has been reporting similar news, expecting the rise in cases in my state to start dropping soon.

I’m glad, as it seems that this variant is closer to the normal flu and people are learning to live with it. Most of life is fairly normal, albeit with some minor precautions and masking, and some evidence of vaccine/negative test/past infection required in places. I think those are sensible and allow us to move forward with life.

However, a conference is different than living life. Conferences have to make a bet on space, hotels, and more, with financial payments due before attendees pay for registration. I completely understand that the last few months likely had many attendees (and their employers) hesitant to travel to, and pay for, a large event. Despite the requirements for vaccine or negative tests, I am guessing few people were willing to take the chance.

A few weeks ago the VS Live staff actually emailed to ask if I was still planning to attend as a speaker. I let them know I was, but apparently some speakers were asking to switch to remote presentations. That’s been offered for SQL Bits speakers as well, and I completely understand the decisions others make.

I think that we will get back to in person conferences, or perhaps hybrid ones, but it is going to take time. Planning an event is hard, and it can be scary if you are not sure of whether or now people will come. I was luck to attend the SQL Server and Azure SQL Conference in Las Vegas in December, with plenty of others that wanted to also come. I expect that the fall will include more events, and VS Live has said their summer and fall events will go on.

There are a few SQL Saturday events in planning, but quite a few more have pulled back with the concerns of Omicron. Understandable, but I do hope that we start to move forward as we find safe ways to do so.

Since I now have a small hole in my schedule, I’m starting to look for a different getaway with my wife. Hopefully something in the mountains of Colorado.

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Daily Coping 28 Jan 2022

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 try out something new to get out of your comfort zone.

I like my comfort zone. I’m very slow to try new things in much of my life. I like new places, and I’ll try new foods, but I often retreat into something that’s comfortable for me. I tried to change this when I put together this tip.

In this case, my change was to do nothing. Or little. Usually, I try to get things done and push through the hours. I go from work to a second job coaching to the gym to fixing things on the weekend. If there are extra chores, I’ll tackle them.

I typically do this even when I’m a bit run down. In fact, during the second week of the year, I was starting to feel like I’d caught cold. I took some meds, tried to sleep a bit more, but kept to my routine and working through the week. I felt OK, but constantly a bit run down. I didn’t do my best work, nor did I really get as much done as I’d like. I even did an hour bike ride (indoors), but I was slow and not sure I got as much benefit out of that work as I would have during 20 minutes.

Finally the next Monday I decided to stop fighting and working at 2/3 speed. I took a meeting in bed and then called it a day, sleeping for most of the time.

The next day I felt almost normal, and decided to take things slow for another day. Working, but not as much as usual and allowing myself the chance to keep healing.

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Daily Coping 27 Jan 2022

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 plan something fun and invite others.

It might not seem that way, but I am not that social most of the time. So planning things and bringing along others is usually reserved f0r family.

My wife and I did this over the holidays, and I’m sharing here because I think it’s a good idea for others to think about.

Just after Thanksgiving, a friend noted that they couldn’t get their adult son to come home for the holidays from Texas, so they ended up renting an AirBnB in Miami, buying a ticket for the adult, and bringing their current family down to Miami for the holiday weekend. An expensive weekend, but one that brought them together.

My wife and I decided to do that with our family. Two of our three adult kids have partners, and we don’t see them as often as we’d like. We looked around and decided we could afford to rent a house in Las Vegas and fly the kids and their partners in for a week after Christmas.

We had a great time, sharing time together, playing games, seeing a few shows, some hiking, but mostly just getting time with our extended family in a way that’s been difficult.

I don’t know that we’d do it every year, but it was fun to invite others and do it this year.

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