Thursday, June 23, 2011

Stay Positive Kiddo

I say this to my kids whenever I see them getting frustrated, or if a negative attitude is threatening a good time.  No parent wants to go to Disney World and hear, “When are we going to do something fun?”  It is a good way not to go back.  Everyone likes to be appreciated.  When you’re treated poorly there is not a lot of incentive to act in a positive way.

We work in a field where things are constantly changing.  We have to constantly keep learning.  For the majority of people out there, Learning is not our day job.  We have another job that we work, where there are demands on our time.  Hopefully we get chances to use the knowledge we spend our time working so hard to learn.  Learning is tough, it takes time, away from our family’s and away from places like Disney World.

In our quest to continue to learn, and to possibly implement we will hit challenges.  You might try to be an early adopter of a new software product, you may be pushing to get productivity tools like Redgate, or you may be pushing to get best practices adopted.  In our job that is outside of learning you are sure to face challenges.  The most important thing is to stay positive.

“But Balls”, you say, “My Boss Doesn’t Listen, my work place has BAD habits, we don’t follow best practices, when I make a point in a meeting no one listens even though I’m right.  They are never going to change why should I keep trying”

I hear you Dear Reader, and if someone in the IT field hasn’t been in the position you are then they are new to the IT field.  It will happen one day.  But when you Stay Positive, you’re not always doing it for the other guy, sometimes you’re doing it for yourself.


If you’ve ever been in the spot where you are the one in the room that is always right, but nobody wants to listen to you, it is very frustrating. 

You can feel like you are shouting at the sky, for all the good that you are doing, and you may be tempted to just quit trying.

You’ve got two choices one choice in this case Blame Everyone Else or Take a Long Hard Look at yourself.  Look at the way you try to lead a conversation.  Is it an Argument between two parties or is it a civil discourse? 

When your Manager or Co-worker's say no to an idea of yours, perhaps they have genuine concerns.  When they speak listen, and see if those are concerns you know how to relieve. 

My outlook is that if I don’t know a technology well enough to alleviate those concerns then I shouldn’t be trying to push it on them.  That my require more learning on my part. 

I like to work up Demo’s, it allows me to learn something and then turn around and have something to show.  They can ask questions, and if you don’t have the answers you go an learn and come back with them.

This all get’s back to Trust.   If you spend a lot  of time shouting, or talking normally but with a lot of disdain then that is exactly what people will expect from you.  If they trust they will have a negative experience with you, you have to over come that first and formost.

Stay Positive Kiddo find a better way, it is out there and you can do it!


Whatever you do, don’t start spewing negativity like a sprinkler.    Back when I was in college I was part of a Fraternity and we needed to host an event to get people to show up, and consider joining. 

I liked to think that I came up with the plans, that I was the “idea guy”.  Eventually I stopped listening to others because I thought my ideas were right.  One day we were having a meeting and one of the guys suggested, in order to get people to show up to our reqruitment event, having a BBQ in front of the Student Union building, buying glow in the dark cup’s to give away with our phone number and letters on it, a theme for it and T-shirts as well.   To top it off that evening we would have a party and use the BBQ to get people excited and show up.

At first I didn’t like it, I was looking at all the NEGATIVES of what could go wrong.  We would be doing this during lunch time in the middle of a school day, people are going to class not a BBQ.  We are doing this on short notice we need to advertise. People are busy running to class they won't want to stop by.  But I stopped and realized that I was the problem, as I looked around the room all of the other guys were very excited about this idea.  I slowly went around the room and realized everyone was on board with this.  Everyone wanted to do it.  I was the only problem. We did it and It turned out great!

I realized that ENTHUSIASIM was key to this.  We went out and had a great time.  The guys all had a blast.  Win or lose this was a great team building moment for us.  Everybody loves ENTHUSIASIM.  If you see a lot of people having fun, our natural incliantion is to look over and say, WOW what are they doing that looks great!

 You’ve got to have a little fun with it Dear Reader, or at least you need to pull together for the good of the team. 

Sometimes when a user says “Why don’t we try X,Y, or Z?”, even if you know your right instead of just saying no, if there is time and Production isn’t on fire in the background, then take the time to give it a try.  Walk them through it and treat it as an opportunity to learn/teach.  Nobody likes to be told “NO” all the time, sometimes you’ve got to give it a shot. 

Deep down we are all SQL Geek's, PROUDLY, you can always make learning and Demo's fun!  Just Stay Positive Kiddo, you can do this!


Under this same argument I will put down sometimes you need to find a better job.  Let’s say you take a good hard look at how the conversations are going, and you find you are positive, you’re growing as a professional, but there is a culture at your work that is hostile or even negative.

There are Pro’s and Con’s to any big decision and I would say look at it hard.  But remember that when you interviewed to work for a company, they INTERVIEWED you, and you INTERVIEWED them.  If they didn’t offer you something you wouldn’t be there.   And if that offer turned out to be smoke and mirrors, then use that to learn in your job search.

Look at the good, look at the bad, and make an educated decision.  After the honeymoon phase of a new job you should have certain expectations of your work place, just as they should have of you.



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