Denny Cherry tagged me in a blog thread with a question asking “What do you wish you knew when you started?”. So here you go. As you know I am still relatively new to the SQL profession so I’m still figuring out what I don’t know. I seem to find several every day, so I’m going to step back to my IT career in general. I think some will continue to ring true.
Don’t be afraid of new technology.
For a long time I had a love/hate relationship with new technology. I love getting into it, learning about it, and deploying it. It’s quite a rush to be the first one to attain knowledge and being the go-to person for something cutting edge. But I also had a fear of new technology. “Will this technology and automation make me obsolete?” A few years ago blades started to trickle into the datacenters. This was one of those times. I can take a blade out of a box and slide it into a chassis, boot from the SAN image, and a failed server is fixed. Wow, they don’t need someone of my salary to do that. No more messing with cables, world wide names, KVM swaps. But I found just the opposite is true. They needed someone of my salary level to get it working and stable. Hey guess what, others can do the break/fix, I get to do more fun stuff. Linux and virtualization at that time. I’m wondering how the cloud will fit this model.
The manual is not the enemy.
I don’t know why I do it, I guess it’s a macho thing. I would never read the manuals, in public. But somehow the CD would slip into my backpack when we were having a problem and somehow magically I would have a brilliant idea over night that would solve the problem. If I would have just grabbed the CD and gone to my desk I could have saved hours of “poke and hope” troubleshooting. Now I have no problem saying “lets see if we are doing this the way the people who built it wants it done.” I always hate it after struggling for hours to get something working, I look at the manual and in big black print I read something like this “before installing the flux capacitor make sure the knueter valve is set to 42% or the capacitor will not initially charge” and I think “crap I cranked that puppy all the way up, no wonder it didn’t work.”
See the big picture
I used to just worry about my piece of the puzzle. Give me a task and a due date and get the heck out of my way. But I learned to take a step back and see how my piece fit into the whole puzzle and look to see how my knowledge and experience can assist the project as a whole. What is hard for some may be easy for me, or I have a different approach that make it easier for everyone. Ask questions respectively, which will lead into my next topic.
Watch my mouth
This one got me into real trouble. I was in a meeting and a manager was describing a problem and had some pronoun problems. “It” referred to 4 or 5 different things. I couldn’t follow the description with a GPS and a big orange “you are here” arrow. Not thinking about how it would sound, I asked if they could explain it again using a few less pronouns. That was offensive to that manager, and to my manager who wasn’t even in the meeting to hear it. I do believe there is a note in my personnel file about this one. Asking better questions in private would have been a much better path. That manager and I are back to being friends, but that experience is never out of my mind.
So now it’s my turn to pass this along. Let see, who hasn’t been hit…. How about
Jimmy May (@aspiringgeek on Twitter)
Kevin Hill (@kevin3NF on Twitter)