Taking Stock of Your Career

Yesterday was Thanksgiving in the US, a day where families typically celebrate together and many people give thanks for what is going well in their lives. It’s also one of the days when more businesses and services are closed than any other day of the year.

This is the time of year when most businesses look forward and plan the future. It’s also a time when lots of individuals may do the same thing, getting ready to make resolutions or attempt to change their lives in the new year.

Today, I want to do something a little different. Rather than taking stock of your career and looking forward, let’s look back and find gratitude.

Is there a situation, a person, a job that you were grateful for that helped your career for the better? Who would you thank? What helped you become the person you are today? It doesn’t matter if you are an older professional like me or someone starting your career. What are you grateful for in your past to put you where you are today?

For me, there are lots of things to choose from. I’ve been very blessed and lucky. I’ve worked hard to take advantage of opportunities, but things have worked out well. There are a few things that stand out in my mind.

First, I got a job interning at a nuclear power plant while in graduate school. That job changed my life. Someone recognized my value and gave me a chance to program, to learn how to run a network, and helped me learn SQL Server (on OS/2). I also met my wife there, so perhaps that’s the situation I’m most grateful for in my life.

The other situation was the job that moved me to Denver. It allowed my family to change locations and my kids to grow up in a wonderful place. The job wasn’t great, long hours, and I slept in my office far too many nights, but I learned how not to do a lot of things. From poor management, poor software processes, and bad operations practices. It was a tough period of growth that I still value today.

What are you thankful for in your career? Let us know in the discussion today.

Steve Jones

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

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Daily Coping 26 Nov 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 learn a new skill from a friend or share one of yours with them.

I tend to be someone that does quite a bit myself. I’ve changed oil, brakes, replaced fence posts, built sheds, wired electrical lights. I tend to use YouTube and forums to learn how to do things, and as long as I’m not placing someone in danger or trying to work in a hurry, I usually see if I can fix things myself. I’ll share a skill I learned recently.

I have had a tractor for about 15 years. I can grease fittings and fill fluids, but I use a local handyman to do service on the tractor. I don’t want to make mistakes here. In that time, he’s replaced the hoses from the controller to the various lift points on the front loaded. I’ve watched and helped him do that, but had never messed with the hydraulic system.

A couple weeks ago, I was cutting grass and went to life the loaded higher. Fluid spurted out from some hoses and it wouldn’t life. I finished cutting the small area left and then drove back to the house. I got a stool and looked over the forks (I couldn’t reposition things) and saw that one of the metal hydraulic lines was split. I’ve never worked on these, and never had to deal with the combination of flexible hose and rigid metal pipe.

It didn’t look too complex, and I called my guy. He says that he couldn’t get out for a few days, but that I should be able to use a couple wrenches and loosen things, but be careful about bending the pipes. I looked online at a few message boards, and they had similar advice, noting that I shouldn’t need to bleed this particular system. I was worried about that.

I ended up taking apart a bunch of nuts and bolts, getting the pipe loose from the flexible hoses on each side and drove to an auto parts store in town that makes hydraulic hoses. He didn’t have rigid pipe, nor did he have the connectors. Supply chains being what they are. He did recommend a place in the next town.

I got up at 630a the next day and drove over, getting a flexible hose built. They didn’t have the right compression fitting for rigid. I managed to get back, and then had to re-install the guides, thread the flexible hose over top, since it was thicker, and then then zip-tying the hose down. You can kind of see it here.


I added fluid, ran the engine a bit, went up and down a few times, then rechecked fluid. Things seemed to work, and I learned that working with the hydraulics isn’t that hard, but it is messy. Have lots of rags nearby, wear older clothes, and make sure fittings are tight.

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Daily Coping 25 Nov 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 pick a moment of joy from this year and give thanks for it.


The picture doesn’t show much, but this was one of the most relaxing and enjoyable afternoons of the year. My wife and I were in Belgium, no commitments or responsibilities. We stopped in the Grand Place in Brussels after walking around the city a bit. We sat, watching people in the afternoon, listening to the University graduation ceremonies taking place, enjoying the time with each other, and tasting the wonderful beer. My wife loved a Cherry Sour and I had a darker brew, but it was vacation, contentment, and joy for me.

I am thankful that my life is so wonderful on a regular basis, and this was one of those moments that I am very grateful for having.

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Unexpected Speaker Gifts

I got two packages this week, both unexpected. They were nice surprises.

First, a huge thanks to the Cloud Summit and Stephen Simon for running a great event and for allowing me to speak. This was quite an event, across many days with lots of sessions. I opened a package and found these items:


A nice commemorative trophy for my desk, a shirt, a few stickers, and a neat spinner keychain. I also got a charging cord with a key ring that has UCB A, C, and micro B. Quite handy to keep these around, as I always find a time or place I’m missing one.

A second package came from a corporate conference I was involved in. A beautiful overnight bag, an erasable notebook, and a keyring with a BT tracker.


I’m honored and pleased when I get chosen to speak. I don’t expect gifts, but I’m always happy when someone goes to the effort to send something.

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