The Worst Day

I challenged people to write about their daily work a few weeks ago. I haven’t see a lot of posts, but I am still hopeful some of you will document your day, as Iris Classon has done a few times. It’s not that I expect a lot of the same posts, but rather, I’d like you to talk about the way a specific day has flowed for you. Did you work on a problem? Just pick up tickets and perform routine scripting? Learn a specific thing? Give us some details. I expect everyone’s day to be different.

Jon Shaulis broke his series in a few parts, one of which was his worst days as a DBA. I thought that was interesting and it brought back from memories for me. Overall, I’ve had mostly good days, and even the crisis situations weren’t that bad.  That being said, there are some tough days, both physically and mentally, and worse, tough for my family.

This week, I wanted to ask you what was the worst day in your career? Or maybe the worst event, since some of the tough times I’ve had actually spanned multiple days. Let us know what happened, but also, what the challenge was for you?

I’ve got a couple items. My first exposure to SQL Server was as a network admin. I helped a group of 4 other FTEs run a large Novell Netware environment of over 1000 nodes. We handled the servers (6 or 7), email, and more for hundreds of employees. We managed Netware servers, Windows (and DOS) desktops, and way too many printers. As a part of a government mandated change, we rolled out a new system at midnight on Jan 1, backed by this new database, SQL Server. We installed an OS/2 server at the end of December and prepared for the cutover from the old system. Since this was a mandated change, we weren’t going to roll back. Ever.

I arrived at work on Dec 31, around 6pm. I planned on getting setup, checking with developers, and being ready. We cut over at midnight and people began using the system. Within 30 minutes, we had problems, including an overloaded SQL Server that would freeze up. We ended up babysitting the server to reboot it regularly, as well as trying to determine the problems. I left work on Jan 2, around noon. That was a bad day.

Another bad way was with a SQL Server 6.5 instance that ran financial services. We detected corruption in a table and got on the phone with Microsoft one afternoon. I worked with support, being handed off from the west coast to Asia to North Carolina throughout the night, trying to debug the problems and extract data. A nice 30+ hour, high stress day for me. After that I kept a pillow and blanket in my desk, which I used a few more times that year.

Those were tough times, but most of my days are great. Some are long, some stressful, but overall, I’ve enjoyed my time doing database work. Can you say the same thing?

Steve Jones

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  1. Pingback: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times – Welcome to Ray Kim's 'blog

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