This month hosted by Mr. Major (scribnasium / @RileyMajor), whose past #tsql2sday post I may have missed but I love it all the same (BeyondCompare FTW!). It’s about giving back to your community — mostly technical, i.e. the #SQLFamily / MS Data Platform community, but it can be about any community you’re a part of.
For starters, that’s what we blog for, at least partly. I mostly blog about things I’ve learned or found interesting in my work, so that I don’t forget them later! Of course, I’m always happy to learn that it helps someone else out there with a similar problem. But there’s so much more to a community ecosystem than that.
SQL Saturdays are the perfect example of this. I’ve been to 3 so far – 2 at Orange County, and 1 at San Diego. I have to call out OC’s organizers, Ted Stathakis & .. the other guy. Crap, I forgot his name. He’s awesome though. Srsly. I talked with Ted a bit after a session at the last one and he truly is as nice as he is busy – 3 boys, all kinds of volunteer work, AND a full time job as the BI Director at Del Taco! Wow!
I mean, it’s no Taco Bell, but still, Del Taco! (Sorry, I had to..) =P
I really want to volunteer to help at one of these. I’m not sure what I’d do, but I know when the time comes, it’ll be worth it.
Lunch & Learns
To get my feet wet, I hosted a couple “lunch & learns” at my company with my Business Analyst and Development teams. We talked about some basics, ranted about formatting a bit, tried to say goodbye to old habits from the SQL 2005 days (hello,
date type!), and even dived into a few juicy things like performance-testing with IO stats and why you should never use scalar or multi-statement
functions. We also had a couple heart-to-hearts about DevOps and what it means in our environment. (Hint: we’ve got a LOOONG way to go.)
At some point I’m going to scrub my slides and post them on SlideShare or something. I just have to remove any company-specific info first. ;o)
As with most teaching efforts, it helped me learn (and re-learn) some things myself! I had to read some documentation to get wording exactly right, and I built a few playground DBs on my local machine to try out different concepts & examples. Plus, it forced me to justify WHY I held certain opinions or notions on things, and in doing so, realize my own mistakes of the past. Thus, I became a better DBA just by reinforcing some good practices and updating my own assumptions.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the many tributes to our late #SQLFamily member SQLSoldier, it’s the importance of being generous with your time. Whether that means answering to the #sqlhelp tag on Twitter, participating in the SQL Community Slack, answering StackOverflow / DBA.StackExchange questions, or just taking a few moments to help someone at your workplace with a tech problem — it all makes a difference. I need to be better about this, as far as my “online presence” goes. In-person, I’m always eager to help, but because I work remotely most of the time (yay!), it’s a bit of a moving-target — the in-office days get packed with meetings and critical face-time (not FaceTime), so the peer-to-peer stuff is often postponed or relegated to Slack.
However, there’s a flip-side to this. In being generous, we can’t forget to prioritize ourselves and our families. I’m always being asked “Why are you working so much!?” — well, I could try to explain the difference between ‘work work’ and ‘tech community involvement’ and ‘self-betterment / career planning’ but… yeah.
I encourage you, dear reader, to give back to your own communities, in whatever form that takes — tech/online, real-life, etc. I promise that it will benefit you in some new & unexpected way. Plus, whenever you make a real solid connection with someone, that’s worth its weight in gold.