I had been thinking of writing a blog post on the SQL Server community for the last couple of weeks.  Seeing Brent Ozar’s blog post “What Community Means to Me” helped me decide to go forward with it.

In my first draft of this post, I went into great detail about the beginning of my career, my quest for meaningful, reliable sources of information and my wish for a view of a larger community.  Unfortunately, I’m trying to get ready for a birthday party, Halloween, soccer games and, oh yes, the PASS Summit.  So that’s another story for another time.

 

When I first signed up to attend the PASS Summit, my hope was that my darling husband would be able to attend with me.  Regardless of what Tim might say, I’m not outgoing enough to walk up and talk with people I’ve never met.  Yet I know that those conversations will probably be the parts that I remember most and best from the Summit.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t in the cards for Tim and I’ll be attending solo.   I pictured three days of wandering around, trying to make conversations and going back to the hotel room to eat room service.

 

Enter the happy-happy-joy-joy land that is Twitter.  Tim and I both started using Twitter in April of this year.  It was interesting getting started – kind of like walking into a conference – you all have the same interests, but you don’t know anyone.  Slowly but surely we got involved.  Had some lively IM conversations at the spring SSWUG vConference in the Quest chat room, tried to write a rap song, got involved with PASS Virtual Chapters, started a blog, shared meals with a couple of great DBAs and got the kind of SQL Server advice and help that you can’t pay for.

 

Twitter is obviously not the only method for getting involved with the SQL Server community, but I’ve found it extremely helpful for becoming familiar with other people that do what we do.  By reading tweets and blog posts throughout the day, I’ve picked up tips and tricks as well as become exposed to features and functionality that I might not have been aware of.

 

Now, in addition to attending some excellent sessions, I’m also looking

It's not quite this, but close...

It's not quite this, but close...

forward to meeting a number of people that I’ve ‘met’ through Twitter.   I’ve felt more a part of the SQL Server community in the last six months than the previous 5 1/2 years of working as a DBA.  It’s a great community and I talk about the benefits of being involved any time I can.   I still wish Tim could have come along, but I also know that I won’t be feeling as alone.    Maybe when I’m there, I’ll meet someone who hasn’t yet had the chance to get involved in the community and be able to pass this along to them.

 | Posted by tledwards | Categories: DBAs, Miscellaneous, Personal | Tagged: , , , |

This weekend, one of my co-workers passed away.  He was 33 years old with a wife and toddler at home and a baby on the way.  I didn’t know him well, but we had worked together on a few projects and he was always very knowledgeable, thorough and helpful.  His passing was very unexpected and, as these things do, it caused me to think about my own life and my priorities.

 

Like many DBAs, the servers that Tim and I manage need to be available 24/7.  Tim is on call every third week, but being a lead, he often needs to step in on weeks that he isn’t on call.  I’m the sole DBA at my company.  We’re both proud of being dedicated professionals and we work hard to keep our current systems available as well as keeping our skills updated so that we can provide the best solutions possible.  I firmly believe that we’re setting a good example for our children in showing them the responsibility that we take in our positions.

 

The problem that we both face is in knowing when to step out of our work personas and focus on our family.  Tim is an excellent father and I work hard to be a good mom, but I know that there are many times that I’m talking about work, thinking about work, worrying about work when I should be more engaged as a wife and mother.  While I know that we both provide benefit to our businesses, I also recognize that, if we left, we would be replaced and work would continue as usual.  The time and effort that we put into our time together and our time as parents will shape all of us for the rest of our lives.

 

There isn’t an easy solution to this problem.  It’s not always that simple to walk out the door (especially for Tim, who works at home) and turn off the DBA part.  There will be times that I need to focus on an issue even after leaving work in order to sort it out, but I’m going to make the effort to do that only when it’s necessary.   I need to keep in mind that my first job is to take care of my family.  If I do that, the rest of life will work itself out.

A co-worker of mine had the following saying up on their wall:

 

                              Remember, the people that you work for are waiting for you at home.

 

I need to keep that in mind.

 | Posted by tledwards | Categories: DBAs, Miscellaneous, Personal | Tagged: , |

Being a helper

28 September 2009
They looked a little happer than this

They looked a little happer than this

Last Sunday, Tim and I started a four week session helping out the 4th and 5th grade Sunday School class at our church.  Our church prefers that there is more than one adult in each class and we’re switching off every four weeks with another member of the congregation.  Helping out in a Sunday School class is something that we had talked about doing for quite awhile.

 

During the class, the main instructor was in her groove.  She’s been teaching this class for some time and the kids are used to her and the curriculum.  While I know that it was helpful that we were there (at least in the kid wrangling department), I wasn’t sure that we were making that much of a difference.  We sat with the kids, played games with them, sang with them, but pretty much followed the teacher like they did.  I wondered (and I think that Tim did as well), if our being there mattered.

 

Before I go on, let me be clear on something.  We didn’t volunteer to help for the fame or glory or high-fives or whatever else volunteering for a Sunday School class might get you.  We know that it’s our responsibility and our honor to serve.  We’re also fallible humans…

 

In any case, after Sunday School, we went to the church service.  While we were there, I saw a couple of the students from class and they gave me huge, beaming smiles.  That’s when I remembered – the kids don’t measure what you did or how you did it, but that you took the time to be with them.  I thought back to when I went to Sunday School and, although I can’t remember who did what, I do remember the ‘grown-ups’ that participated.  I remembered thinking that it was great that they wanted to help us to learn. 

 

I’m glad that we’re taking part in this class and working with these kids.  The smiles from the kids are perks that you never get at the workplace.

 | Posted by tledwards | Categories: Miscellaneous, Personal | Tagged: , , |