In early November Chris Shaw started a chain blog of sorts called SQL Quiz where he called out two well known members of the SQL Community Brent Ozar and Jason Massie to post about their two biggest mistakes as SQL Server DBA's. I subscribe to both of their blog feeds and thought it was interesting to read about other peoples mistakes. Chris's intent was to create a chain of posts from well known people in the SQL Community that the community could learn from. The chain circled around a fairly large group of people including SQLBatman. It did not however, include me, which I was just fine with.
Well our would be phantom of the night decided to call me out on Chris Shaw's new SQL Quiz Part 2. The Questions for this quiz…What are the largest challenges that you have faced in your career and how did you overcome those?
Here are my answers...
The largest challenge I have faced in my career has to be making the decision to leave a stable job where I wasn't being allowed to progress in my career as I wanted to, and find another job. I tend to be a very loyal person, almost to a fault. I stick it out with through thick and thin, and dedicate myself 100% to anything that I do. I can always find the half full side of the glass, though it may not seem like it is there. When I made the decision to leave my last job, it was at the start of the real estate market decline, and moving jobs also meant moving cities, and having to sell my condo.
After contacting a recruiter, I immediately had two great interviews, one with a Christian motivational speaking and marketing company, and one with my current employer OSI Restaurant Partners. The first company was immediately interested and made an offer on the spot that paid more than the job I was leaving, but the environment felt like the same old same old to me. OSI on the other hand had a excellent atmosphere, much larger environment, and I would be treading new path as the first SQL DBA they had hired, but they wanted to interview other candidates before deciding anything.
No real big deal there, I still had my job, and I wasn't really in a rush since I was leaving under my own terms. Recruiters being what they are, they wanted to close the deal and place me in the first job that presented an offer. I informed them that I would like to wait until the following Monday and see if OSI had made any decisions yet. This was on a Wednesday, but I still got a call asking if I had decided about the job offer on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday because the company needed to interview other candidates if I wasn't interested. Same story every call, same answers from me each time, though I got more and more nervous about my decision with each and every call.
Monday morning, and yet another call, at which point I decided I wasn't interested in this company, just because I really wanted to know if I could get a job at a major corporation like OSI at this point, so I told the recruiter thanks, but I would wait for an answer from OSI. Fast forward two hours, and I get a call back again, this time I'm kind of aggravated because I am at work during the day, and all these calls are distracting. Turns out OSI decided to offer me the job which I immediately accepted and turned in my two weeks notice, which later had to be extended to three weeks so I could complete my current development project.
A lesson learned from this was not to be wow'd by additional money, and that if you really want something, then you will be willing to wait for it. It was definitely hard to wait for an offer when I already had one. Did I happen to mention that my wife kept saying to just take the other job? I try not to be at odds with my wife, and this caused even more turmoil in the decision process.
My Second Anecdote:
The second hardest thing I have encountered in my career is actually maintaining balance between being a company man, a family man, a military man, an entrepreneur, and a all around geek. Most people who know me, and all that I am involved with don't know how I keep up with it all. Setting priorities, and scheduling things appropriately is one of the greatest challenges I have after 4:30pm everyday (I am at work until 4:30pm).
First thing of importance is my family, and I almost always get my daughter from school (daycare) on my way home. Then it is off to the house to cook dinner before mommy gets home from grad school. Sometimes we get side tracked and go to the playground or I chase her around the neighborhood on her Barbie Powerwheel and we go feed the ducks. While dinner cooks, I jump online and catch up on email from the drive home, trust me it stacks up pretty fast sometimes, responses to Newsgroups and forums postings, and new entries in my blog reader. After dinner is bath time which my wife and I trade off nights for, but my daughters favorite nights are when I put on my swimsuit and play in the tub with her. Then we do Dora and Diego, book/playtime, and bedtime. After bedtime is when I usually get to do most of my playing online, consulting/contract work, and learning while my wife studies and works on her papers and homework.
Trust me, there is never a dull moment in my life. One weekend a month I do Army Reserves training, and in 2009, I will be away for 2 months in school for the Army. The trick for me is, I have fun doing it all. If it wasn't fun, I wouldn't be doing it.
As for this SQL Quiz thing, I am not sure that I have actually followed the intent of the challenge, but to me those are the two biggest challenges in my career so far.