Showing posts with label Personal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Personal. Show all posts

Monday, September 5, 2011

Who Do You Work With, Who Drives You, Who Inspires You?

It is Labor Day here in the U.S.A. where we celebrate the folks that go to work every day by taking a day off.  Trust me the irony of the holiday is not lost on me. 

I was sitting around Casa De La Balls trying to think of a holiday themed blog.  Most holiday’s we are very busy.  There are Kiddos to attend to, meals to cook, and hopefully some football to watch.  So I have yet to do a “Holiday Themed Blog”.  And to be honest this one was a tricky one at first.

“So Balls,” you say “you’ll ramble on like this for a couple of pages and call it a day?”

I hear you Dear Reader, and I’ll get to the point.  Today is all about work, and there is a saying around the place that I currently work that comes to mind.  “The People Make the Difference.”  And there is a lot of truth to it.  For those of you who are not aware I’m currently a Sr. SQL DBA for Publix Supermarkets.  I studied this company before I decided to leave Washington to join them.  And I really liked what I found, I’m not going to blog about them as a company, but we are a very good one and if you’ve never heard of them I’d encourage you to read up on us.

But today it’s all about the people!


When you go to work every day you can probably close your eyes and tell me the routine.  I park here, I walk through these doors, I put my stuff down, I check email, I go get coffee, blah blah blah.  But when you think of work there should be some people that you think of right away.  

For the past several jobs that I’ve had I can very easily think of the people that when I saw them my day got better.  They were people who would be fun to hang around, were very intelligent at what they did, or had a great personality that made it a pleasure to work with them.

When you get a good team chemistry going you cannot beat it, and you cannot do that alone.  I started out my job history in the IT field as a programmer.  I learned a lot of great things as a programmer.  How to dissect code and look for patterns, how to figure out what is being done, how to look for resources to become familiar with code you’d never written, and how to make the seemingly impossible possible.  That kind of team chemistry requires trust and confidence. 

Trust that the people around you know what they are doing.  That trust frees you to be as good as you can be in your chosen field.  If you’re always worried about Database Performance then you are going to study it, and it is a field that takes a lot of study. 

You also need Confidence.  You should be confident that your teammates can handle their jobs.  You shouldn’t have to worry about your teammates, I learned about SAN’s from a SAN Engineer that was very smart and was eager to share.  I knew I was learning from him because I was confident in his abilities.  I probably babbled on about database just as much as he did about SAN’s.  That freed me up to become the best Programmer/DBA I could be.


But I didn’t get there overnight.  I had a lot of help.  I had some really good teachers, colleagues, and friends.  I remember one very smart friend in particular, who was my boss at the time, that whenever I hit upon a problem and I didn’t know the answer I would ask him, and he would never give me a straight answer.  It was incredibly frustrating.  I remember complaining about it a time or two twenty until one day I realized what he was doing.  When I would ask a question instead of giving me the answer right away he was leading me to the next logical step.

 After a while of this I realized that he was teaching me to troubleshoot the way he did.   My questions then changed from “What does it mean when I see X” to “Where would you go to find more information on X”, and eventually the questions stopped.  I had learned what he knew.  However, like any good mentor he always had some tricks up his sleeve that would impress me from time to time. 

As a manager he taught me to be self sufficient.  When I would mentor new people I would provide them with the information that I knew they needed, but then I would help them to ask the questions so they could learn for themselves.


I had another friend who sat right next to me for a couple of years.  My good pal Smitty.  When I first looked at getting certifications I was looking and getting the full suite of .NET programmer certifications.  Smitty kept saying to me, “Balls we should become DBA’s”.  He kept pushing me to go for DBA certifications instead of programming certifications.  I owe a lot to his persistence.
At first we both got the 70-431 book together, and my goal was to do a chapter a day.  As I got into the book I realized a lot of what was in there I already did every day.  I was what you would call an, “unintentional DBA”.  It just so happened those things that made up DBA work were my favorite things to do.  While studying for the certifications I found a lot of best practices and would go to our Sr. DBA’s and say “are we doing this”.  When they said no, I would say can I do it.  We were a small shop and the DBA’s were tasked to capacity.  I already had the permissions needed and they said sure.

At a job after the previous one, at a business meeting I met our Vice President of Microsoft Operations.  We had a really nice conversation and we discussed the areas of Microsoft technologies that I was most interested in.  Not surprisingly we discussed SQL Server quite a bit.  A couple months later out of the blue I got an email from the VP forwarding an invitation to the first 24 Hours of PASS.   I signed up and loved every minute of it. 

Fast forward a couple of years and a new place of work and I had some friends, one of whom is none other than Dan Taylor (@DBABulldog | Blog),  that were constantly talking about this SQL Saturday thing.  Last year in Orlando was my first.  And the Impact that my First SQL Saturday had is reflected all over this blog.

When you look at where you are, you’ve got to look at where you’ve been.  Chances are you’ve worked with some people that helped you get there.  Even if it was just a chance email, a someone to study with, or a friend that recommended a new way to learn.  And maybe, just maybe you’ve made someone’s life better just by being you.  We’ve got a saying over at Publix that Mr. George used to say, Publix will be a little better place, or not quite as good, because of you.” 


I had a lot of little things that helped move me to where I am today.  But there was one person who is a constant influence and that is my wife.  How do you say Thank You to someone who constantly supports and encourages you? 

When I wanted to pack up the family move to a place in Virginia hundreds of miles from friends and family for a job, she let me do it.   When I wanted to move even further so I could work for the President, and she would have to give up working because my commute would be so long that I would be gone before the kids woke up and home just around dinner, she did it.   Participating in SQL Saturday’s, SQL Rally, the PASS Summit, SQL Server User Groups, when I do those things she’s pulling double duty with the kids, or taking off work, or re-arranging her schedule.  Raising a family is hard work, and I couldn’t do what I’ve done without her help and most definitely all of her hard work.

So today when we celebrate those who work in the good old U.S.A. take a look around you and think of the people that have touched your life in some way.  Say Happy Labor Day, and know that you appreciate their hard work.  Don’t forget about the hard work that those close to home put in as well, because they are the ones that make everything else possible.

Happy Labor Day Everybody (especially you my Wife)!



Thursday, July 14, 2011

2011 Half a Year in Review

I'm looking back and looking forward at the same time.  We're about halfway up the mountain, a lot has been accomplished and more is on the horizon.  And as long as we stay on track, the view at the top is going to be spectacular.

7.       MCITP DBA SQL 2008
a.        Still sitting at the same certification levels.  It doesn’t cost a lot of money, but I don’t want to spend the money until I’ve achieved the biggest goal on my list.  Still should have this taken care of before the end of the year.  But I ranked these backwards from least to most important.
6.       MCITP DBA Developer SQL 2008
a.     I’ve got the book, I’m reading and studying for the first one.  But this is in the same boat as number 1, the house, the dog, then the certifications.
5.       13 T-SQL Tuesdays
a.     I’ve missed 3 this year so the best I can do is 10 at this point.  I’ve gotten so busy with projects in and out of work that the second Tuesday of the month just keeps sneaking up on me.  I’ve got a reminder set in my calendar so I can start again next month.  This was a exercise to get me blogging more, to get into the practice of it, and it sure has helped! I know at this point it doesn't look good 2 put off, 1 not  going to happen, but never fear Dear Reader the best is still ahead!

4.       40 Blog Posts
a.     DONE!  And this was the goal for the YEAR!  I have a feeling we are just getting started.  We’ve got some great things cooked up for SQL Saturday 85, and the PASS Summit is yet to even happen.  And Thank You Dear Reader for stopping by!

3.       6 Presentations to the SQL Community
a.     DONE!  SQL Saturday 62 (January), MAGICPass (February), OPASS (March), PASS DBA Virtual Chapter (March), SQL Saturday 74 (April), SQL RALLY!!!! (May), I took June & July off, but planned for this year August 9th OPASS, SQL Saturday 79 (Submitted, August 13th),  Pragmatic Works Webinar (August 23rd), SQL Saturday 85 Orlando (September 24th Submitted), PASS Summit 2011!!! (October), SQL Saturday 86 Tampa BI Edition (November 5th Submitted).  Six presentations already and if I’m accepted at all of the SQL Saturdays I submitted to I’ll end up with 12.  WOW, better than I could have imagined
2.  MCM Prep
a. This is a constant and never ending effort to learn.  There is so much to learn about SQL.  Every year that I’ve spent as a DBA I look back on the previous year and think, “Wow I can’t believe I didn’t know that”.   If you ever make it to my desk you will see that for the last 3 jobs I’ve got a stack of flash cards.  I constantly keep blank ones there and work up questions.  I could get multiple flash card from the MCM video’s that SQL Skills did for Microsoft, another from a great question of the day on SQL Server Central, another from a PASS Virtual Chapter Webinar.  My list of flash cards is always growing, and my Prep is only beginning.  I don’t know that this will truly ever be Done, but I’ve benefited greatly just from taking a stab at it.
1.   A House and a Dog
a. This by far is the most important goal.  To have a home and a yard for the kids, and not to move them all over the place any more.  That was the whole point of the move to Florida, to put down roots and stay in one place.  So to that end we found a House!  We’re going through the process and should be closing before the End of July (Crossing toes, fingers, and any other body part that will cross).  We’ve found a great Lab rescue group that we have worked with, had our home visit, and gotten approved.  The only thing we are waiting on for the Dog is to have a house that we can all spread out in.

I had said in a previous Blog that if getting a House and a Dog was the only thing that we accomplished this year it would be a win.  This house is about much more than setting a goal or marking a check box from a list.  I fumble at the words to even describe how important this is, but I know it in my heart.  I feel it in my bones.  This is the biggest and the best one of the year!

So Two done, one that won’t happen, and everything else is in flight.  Not bad.  Hopefully the next update on goals will be soon!



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.



Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Looking For A Job: The Dreaded Money Conversation

A couple of days on Twitter I had an exchange with some fellow Twitterer’s (sp?).  One of them had re-tweeted someone, repeated what someone had posted, with regards to how an interviewee was obviously not a good fit because the first question they had asked was what was the Salary Range for the position and they were obviously just in it for the money.

I took exception to this.  Having recently changed jobs within the last year, and being the interviewee & interviewer plenty of times in the past, the importance of the money conversation was still fresh in my mind.

“So Balls,” you say, “it’s all about the money?”

Glad you asked Dear Reader, you need to have more that moves and motivates you than money, but it is important never to underestimate its importance.   I love what I do, but if I could not support my family and do it, I’d do something else.  Family is first to me, and that means money is pretty important when I look at taking a job.


Maybe you’re under paid, maybe you’re overworked and underappreciated, or maybe you’re looking for better opportunities.  There is nothing wrong with any of that.  When you go on Monster, Dice, or [insert job board of choice] and you start looking, eventually, you will probably type in your position and sort by Salary.

This is a good thing to do, you should look at what the posted range is out there.  You should probably go on and look at what your position range is for your area.  You should get an idea of what you are worth.  Perhaps you’ve been with your company so long that you are getting paid more than the average person in your area.  Perhaps you are way underpaid.  This knowledge will help you decide what you are looking for and what you should expect to get.


So eventually you find a post, get an email with a job description, or a recruiter contacts you with an opportunity.   You’re psyched, you’re stoked, you’re…….wondering where the salary description is.  Did I miss it?  Did they forget to put it in the information they sent?  You look at the numbers description the averages for your area and you HOPE that this job will come with the salary you want.

This is the point where I will say shame on you COMPANY X or shame on you RECRUITER, not that they are bad people but they are playing the game.  Everyone wants to get good people for the BEST DEAL possible.  You want money from them, they want you to kick butt, take names, and work cheap.  So you have to play the game as well.

The money talk is uncomfortable, we don’t like asking about it.  If you are working with a good recruiter they will share this information with you. 

“But Balls”, you say “I feel a little uncomfortable about asking, how do I do it”



You may be tempted to yell show me the money but that would be the wrong approach.  There are a couple approaches.  If there are questions that you have about the job or the position in an email or a phone call put those up front. 

I’m the kind of guy that I won’t be turned off from a Candidate if money is the first question, but most people aren’t like that, they want to believe in their heart of hearts that you want this jobs for bigger reasons than the money.   So let’s use a little etiquette.

  1.  Make sure and research the company if they have a website visit it, and mention how you are interested to work for this company (And I hope you are!)
  2. Ask a question about the job, or ask to clarify anything that seems ambiguous to you
  3. Politely point out that the salary and salary range information was missing and state that as excited as you are about this opportunity you wouldn’t want to waste the Companies time or yours perusing a position that isn’t right for either of you.


It’s all about the manners, I mean after all you’re excited for this job, you do want it, but the money does need to be there.  If you ask the right way they will tell you, if they are good and upfront company.

Occasionally you’ll get a response along the lines of “what are you looking for salary range?”, they are being purposely vague.  It’s not bad, but it is someone who is trying to cleverly find out what you want without showing you their cards.  I would respond with the following:

“ a salary range that is fair for my position and experience and allows room to grow and continue to support my family, here is what I’ve seen is the typical range in this area, insert numbers from what your research shows, can you tell me what the specific range for this position is?”


We all have somebody to take care of, ourselves or our family and it is hard to work at a job and not enjoy the labors.  We all start at the bottom, it is rare that someone is so brilliant they go straight to the top.  But finding the right job for you is the mixture of a lot of good things, the people around you, the team you work on, your manager, and yes the money.

Money is very important and it should not be over looked because people are afraid of being greedy.  Remember it's not greedy to feed your family, pay your bills on time, or earn an good wage.  Don't be afraid Dear Reader ask when it is important.

The fact is it is a bit of a dance, but if you have to dace be as polite and direct as possible, the end goal is to find a job, get the money, and do the you complete me speech in the living room work happily ever after.



Friday, May 20, 2011


Hello Dear Reader, this is a quick post to ask for your vote, or just for you to vote in general.  Today is the last day of voting for sessions for the 2011 PASS SUMIT.
Here is the link to follow CLICK HERE TO VOTE. (You will need a PASS account to vote, but they are FREE!)
And here is a list of the Sessions I have submitted.  I’ve presented on Compression at SQL Saturday 62, SQL Saturday 74, SQL Rally, for the MAGICPASS SSUG, and for the Virtual DBA Chapter of PASS.  If you’ve viewed the presentation and can spare the time I’d appreciate it.

Page and Row Compression How, When, and Why

Page and Row Compression are powerful new tools. Vardecimal shipped with SQL 2005 SP2, Page & Row with SQL 2008 RTM, and Page & Row with Unicode Compression with SQL 2008 R2. Get an overview into how each version of compression works internally. Learn how your Allocation Units will determine if your data is a candidate for compression. Understand how your tables Update and Scan pattern’s affect the compression types you should consider. And what you should you take into consideration for additional overhead.

Page & Row Compression Deep Dive

Page and Row Compression are powerful new tools. Page & Row with SQL 2008 RTM, and Page & Row with Unicode Compression with SQL 2008 R2.  We can turn it on, we can turn it off, but we want more!  What are Access Methods and how in the SQL Engine do they affect Compression?  What are the “Gotchas” of Page Compression?  How does Compression differ in the way it treats Non-Leaf & Leaf Level pages?  What additional functionality did we get in DBCC Page, DMV’s, Perfmon Counters, and Extended Events to support our usage of Compression?  How do complex query plans affect Compression?  Come find out!

Transparent Data Encryption Inside and Out

Security is a very important part of your job and in how data is utilized.  We have many tools to make data more secure, and starting in SQL 2008 we were able to add Transparent Data Encryption to that list.  Find out What it does, What it doesn’t do, how it effects Read-Only Filegroups, Performance, Compression (Backup and Row/Page), and other Advance Features as well as some tips on how to manage it.


Friday, May 6, 2011

SQL Saturday 74 Round Up

This past Saturday was SQL Saturday 74 in Jacksonville.  And like most great trips it started out with a road trip.  Kendal Van Dyke (blog|@SQLDBA) and I had discussed driving up together, my buddy Dan Taylor (blogY b|@DBABulldog) had decided to join us by mid week, and Karen Lopez (blog|@DataChick) rounded out our cast on Friday.

Dan started his drive at 3:30 in the morning, making it to my house by 4:15, we left around 4:35 to go over to Orlando and pickup Kendal, and then we added Karen to our traveling road show around 6ish.  The road trip was one of the great highlights, that made for a very enjoyable day.  The conversations flowed like hot coffee, and the coffee flowed like......well hot coffee.

Before I knew it we were getting off the exit and heading over to the scenic campus of the University of North Florida.  This wasn't my first time in Jacksonville, but it was the first time I'd been on this University before, Dan had been to this SQL Saturday in the past and was quick to offer up directions of where to go, and at the parking garage, pictured above, we exited the car to make our way down to SQL Saturday! 


So I know the Picture is blurry, but I swear this is really him.




at this point I should have taken more photos





Thursday, April 14, 2011

Don't Be Afraid, Not Being The Smartest Person In The Room

"I don't have to be the smartest person in the room". I once didn't take a job because of this phrase.  It was probably one of the best things that ever happened to me and it worked out quite well for a friend of mine.  But I'm getting ahead of myself, let me tell the story from the beginning.


A little philosophy first.  I'm not going to go Ayn Rand or Immanuel Kant on you, but as Louis Davidson (Blog|Twitter) would say, "We're drinking my flavor of Kool-AID today.

I don't have to be the smartest person in the room.  I don't, just don't need to.  Sometimes you will be, sometimes you won't.  If you don't worry about it, then it takes a lot of pressure and stress off.

"But Balls", you say, "Why are you afraid of being smart!?"

Ahh but that's just it Dear Reader, I'm not Afraid.

We've all been in the room with someone that THINKS they know everything.  We've all worked with someone, that just always had to be right.  Have you ever worked with someone like this on the day they were wrong?  

I have a better question would you want to be them on the day they are proven wrong?  No I wouldn't either.  If you always HAVE to be right, then being wrong is a crushing blow.

People can be afraid of a lot of things.  They can let themselves be ruled by fear, fear that your boss won't listen, fear that you don't know as much as the guy sitting next to you, Fear of Not Being the Smartest Person in the room.

I've seen this back fire on so many people that I've always wanted to take a different approach.  I find that you never know where the best idea will come from on a team.  It could be the developer that has been written off as lazy, that has a great out of the box idea.  It could be the obnoxious DBA that has some insight into the best way to layout a project's architecture.  It could be a Server Engineer that has really good insight on code management and migration.

If you make yourself open to the possibility that everyone has something to contribute, then you don't close yourself off to ideas.  And again you take a lot of weight off of your shoulders.


A couple jobs ago I was looking for a new position.  I had reached what I felt was a ceiling.  I had been a Sr. Developer, mentored others, gotten my SQL Certifications, and filled the roles of a Sr. DBA & Sr. Developer.  I had worked on some cool projects, and really loved the people I had worked with.  

However, I wanted to grow and we were a very top heavy team.  A lot of people had been with the company for years, many had their Masters in IT or MBA's, MCAD's, and MCSE's brilliant people that I'm still very happy to call friends.  But with a great experienced group the only way to move into the full time job I wanted was for someone to leave.


So I struck out to find greener pastures.  One particular job had advertised itself as Sr. DBA position.  I applied, and found that the person leaving the job was Awesome.  The company hated to loose Awesome, the client that Awesome served was thrilled with them, and Awesome had no desire to go but was moving to follow his wife's career.

We met several times over a month, and I went on-sight to meet the client.  The more I learned about the position, the more it didn't feel like a good fit.  I found that the only reason they wanted a DBA and were requiring an MCITP for SQL was because Awesome had that and they wanted Awesome II.  It was more of an Analyst/Team Lead position.

While meeting the client, I was asked to explain how I would describe myself as a Manger.  And I said "I'm not afraid, not to be the smartest person in the room.  I think everyone brings something to the table, I like to listen, I like to consider what the boots on the ground have to say, I don't think that my position entitles me to ideas that are more brilliant than anyone else, and as a Manager I'm not afraid to cheer someone on who's smarter than I am in a subject.  If I find someone smarter than I am, I want to learn from them, so I can be as educated as possible on the subject at hand."


To be honest I thought it was a pretty good answer, and I'm still satisfied with it.  When we left the client site, the person who would have been my future manager, tore into me. 

I believe the coversation started out with "I DON'T KNOW WHAT IN THE HELL THAT SHUCK'S GOOD OLD BOY, HUMBLE CRAP WAS......" Needless to say I was taken back.   But I stuck to my guns, which probably only served to enrich the colorful nature of the rest of our conversation.  

The remainder of the conversation centered on how I always, ALWAYS, needed to be the smartest person in the room.  As I explained a little earlier, this flies in the face of how I work.  You can take a job where you compromise yourself, but I can't see how you can do that and be happy.

I told my wife later, that had I already taken the job the tone of the conversation would have left me worried that I would have been fired.  We talked about it that evening, and even though it would have been a significant raise, SIGNIFICANT RAISE, I asked if she would be alright with me passing.  My very wise and beautiful wife replied by saying that she didn't know why I was still even considering it.


The day before I decided to pass a brilliant friend of mine, Perfect, found themselves without a job.  When I had worked with Perfect previously, Perfect had been an Analyst that had been a Team Lead over Developers, and was a perfect for this job.

I got Perfect's resume, and called and informed the recruiter I had been dealing with that I wouldn't be taking the job replacing Awesome.  Despite protests, I told them it may not seem like it, but I've got a person for this job whose Perfect.  I didn't have any hard feelings.  I wasn't the right person, and they weren't the right fit for me.  But I was going to send them Perfect's resume, and they should set up a meeting as soon as possible.

Perfect still works there, Perfect loves their job and is very successful.  And me, I found a little job up in D.C. working for the President, that led me to the Great State of Florida where I was very happy to land.

I guess my only parting advice Dear Reader would be don't be afraid of a someone who is smarter than you.  Embrace them, learn from them, and work hard.  At the end of the day how can anybody be unhappy with learning something new, and making themselves better.




Monday, January 10, 2011

A House and a Dog! T-SQL Tuesday 14: Techie New Year’s Resolutions

So T-SQL Tuesday is back again already, the first of 2011, and the  theme is techie resolutions.  This topic is courtesy of the Jen 1/2 of the MidnightDBA (twitter)(blog). 

I really like the idea for this topic, because we all have a lot of personal goals when it comes to a new year, but this is all about techie resolutions and what you want to achieve as it relates to technology. 

You might be wondering how does a House and a Dog make the list of techie goodness?  Houses are great and the can be tech savvy, but a dog….. really a dog…..!?

Look at those eyes, they can be techie if they want to.  So here we go! 

1.       MCITP DBA SQL 2008
I’ve got my MCTS for SQL 2008, so one test to go on this one, this will be the first resolution I wrap up this year.
2.       MCITP DBA Developer SQL 2008
I will start this track as soon as I finish the MCITP for the SQL 2008 DBA, my birthday is in late January and I’ll be getting the 70-433 book  and a Prometric 2 Pack  to help with this.
3.       13 T-SQL Tuesdays
This will be a year long project, I did my very first T-SQL Tuesday last month a full year will put me at 13, so the goal is 13 T-SQL Tuesdays by the end of the year J!

4.       40 Blog Posts
I’m new to blogging, and it is not as easy as it looks when you are casually visiting a site.  Each post requires quite a bit of work.  I have 4 kids, I’m married, and work a full time job.  Needless to say the one thing I’m not lacking on is boredom.  The thing I like most about blogging it is forcing me to keep tight priorities and my goal is to do at least 40 blogs for the year.  That is less than 4 a month.  I’d like to do more but I’m of the under promise over deliver line of thinking.

5.       6 Presentations to the SQL Community
I don’t know how, but I missed most of the SQL Community, except for, while I was breaking into and becoming a DBA.  It wasn’t until 2009 while I was working in D.C. that our Vice President of Microsoft Technologies came to me and said, “Your really interested in SQL Server right?”  “Yes”, was my simple response to him.  I had already gotten my MCITP SQL DBA for 2005 and was working on my MCTS for 2008, so I thought "like" was an understatement.  You like a sandwhich, you like a joke, you like a movie, but I have a deep rooted desire to know SQL like I know comic books.

He said he was going to forward me this link he got for something call 24 hours of PASS.  Needless to say I was hooked.  Not only did I love presentations from folks like Brent Ozar (twitter) (blog) and Louis Davidson (twitter) (blog), but I thought about what I did every day and felt I had things I could share as well.
Working for the Office of the President I was a little leery to put myself out there, so when I left and I wanted to find a company that would encourage me to be active in the SQL Community, heck I didn’t need encouragement I just needed the thumbs up!  And yes I got the big thumbs up.
My first presentation will be at SQL Saturday 62 in Tampa this Saturday, January 15th, I’ll be presenting on Page and Row Compression How, When, and Why.  I’ve presented internally for my company and also for previous audiences.  But this will be my first venture into the SQL Community and I’m very excited.  I’m going to be giving a 30 minute presentation at OPASS on March 8th, Transparent Data Encryption the Lightning Round.  So that is 2 down, 4 to go.
6.       MCM Prep
This is a yearlong goal for me, I’m already watching all the MCM videos, taking notes, and buying books.  Come 2012 I want to tackle this head on, but this is an expensive proposition, especially when you’re a family of 4 (six including Mrs. Balls and myself).  Mrs. Balls is super awesome, very supportive, quite beautiful, and she said I could go for it as long as I get her a House and a Dog.  So believe it or not
7.       A House and a Dog are techie goals!
My kids will be so happy to hear this!  The kids have wanted a Dog for quite sometime and this move was all about putting down roots long term.  To be quite honest, if I only achieve one thing on this list, this is by far the most importiant.

So there it is, not quite a top 10, but 7 will do for this year for me.  So Dear Reader, thanks for stopping by and Happy New Year!