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When Times are Tough, Do You Rise to the Occasion? Expand / Collapse
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Posted Saturday, October 16, 2010 1:08 PM


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Comments posted to this topic are about the item When Times are Tough, Do You Rise to the Occasion?

Brad M. McGehee
Microsoft SQL Server MVP
Director of DBA Education, Red Gate Software
www.bradmcgehee.com
Post #1005784
Posted Saturday, October 16, 2010 1:35 PM
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As frustrating as such scenarios can be on a personal level it is important to remember that we are professionals and that we should conduct ourselves in a professional manner no matter what the situation is. Given whatever situation we should never take it personally and always give the best, most honest advice we can give based on the actual circumstances. With that being said I also know there are lots of politics played especially during tough times, so it is also important to point out all the reasons why an organization is in any given situation and how things could have been different, but always from the perspective of looking forward to find ways not to repeat the same mistakes again.
Post #1005786
Posted Saturday, October 16, 2010 3:57 PM
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I agree with the previous reply to be a professional, but definitely cannot agree with that fact, that you has to just accept the non fair under belt kick from your surroubding, what can be your company, manager etc.
I think the most important thing in this kind of situation is to identify what is important for you in life- what are your prioritees. Because maybe the fired DBA and the cutted headcount is the opportunity to show your qualiities. But maybe the unfairness pushes you to decide no to waste your time with those people and simply move on. Definitely if you have a clear vision about your goals and you are aware of your values, you know what to do.
Post #1005791
Posted Saturday, October 16, 2010 5:00 PM
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Scenario 1: As per this scenario, the DBA should gets hands on the new third party application and try to find out why it is performing poorly on the Sql Server and see upto what level things can be fixed. Also let the management know the problem exist in the third party application if there is any and try to involve that third party for fixing the issues.

Scenario 2: As per this scenario, there are two aspects
a. In tough time yes, person should show professionalism, but we should also remember that a company is not run by a single professional person (you), but it is run by all professional employees including the decision makers. If the decision makers try to become un-professional and if problems starts affecting your performance, work-life balance, they you need to sit and prioratize the important things ahead in your life and take course of action accordingly.

b. related to purchase of hardware, I think DBA responsibility is to inform the management about the current situation and tell him upto what limit he can go ahead and manage the things/performance and when the break down will happen. If management is dumb to understand the situation and ready to put entire operation/company into jeopardy it is better to leave company.
Post #1005796
Posted Saturday, October 16, 2010 5:07 PM
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A couple of things before we go on and on about professionalism.

What is professionalism? Does professionalism mean that I sacrifice my life for the good of the corporation? Does it mean that I subsume myself to the larger mission, regardless of the consequences? Nope. Didn't think so.

Here are three things my dad told me that I carry with me every day. They factor in every decision I make:

1. There are only twenty-four hours in a day.
2. You can't put ten pounds of potatoes in a five-pound bag.
3. If the situation is killing you, get the hell out.

Number 1 is immutable. Number 2 is your call as it applies to your situation. Number 3 is not negotiable.
Post #1005798
Posted Saturday, October 16, 2010 7:38 PM
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I was told many times in the past is it better to be right or employed?
Post #1005802
Posted Saturday, October 16, 2010 8:06 PM
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a. be thankful that you still have a job.
b. think like the manager and help him/her guide their decisions to suit you. They have to make
hard choices too and if you are there to help make those hard choices right, then it benefits
you as well.
- Prioritize the hardware purchases needed or create alternatives
- Discuss the pros/cons and risks associated with not replacing or doing the alternative
- Document the activities that the other DBA is doing and ask to purchase tools that
can alleviate the additional workload.

Post #1005804
Posted Saturday, October 16, 2010 9:53 PM


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is it better to be right or employed?


For the small day to day irritations, maybe it's better to be employed. Maybe. For the big issues it's better to be right - assuming being "right" means being true your standards and ethics and values.

Before you decide it's better to be employed, ask yourself what's going to happen when your boss asks you (out the side of her mouth) to alter that query for the annual report ever so slightly so that a "small problem" gets put to one side for the time being? Try explaining to the judge that you were just following orders. If your boss is smart she won't put it in writing and you're on your own.

Many years ago I was asked verbally to "optimise" data in order to take advantage of a particular government funding stream. Even as a pimply-faced callow youth I knew it stank so I said "I'm happy to do what ever you give me clear written instructions to do." Nothing more came of it. A few years later I read in the paper that staff at a similar organisation had been sacked for doing much the same thing that I had baulked at. The organisation had been caught with its hand in the government cookie jar and do you think it was management that carried the can? Of course not, it was the expendable plebs at the bottom of the food chain that got the boot because there was no paper trail and they did not question the verbal instructions they had been given.

So what's a "big issue"? Well, anything that smacks remotely of fraud is a good starting point. Trouble is that so few people involved with data (whether entry, administration or reporting) know what fraud is. In my part of the world (can't speak for anything more widely than that) you don't have to receive a cash (or any other tangible) benefit to be guilty of committing fraud. Any sort of intangible benefit you might get for misrepresenting the actual state of affairs can be deemed to be fraud. For example you might be trying to impress your boss to set yourself up for a nice promotion down the track, if you produce data that makes your boss look good. You'll be seen as "compliant" and "cooperative" and "helpful". Once you buy into that sort of behaviour at any level though, you can easily become trapped. Just don't do it. Sure, by “being right” you might miss a few promotions and you may even be encouraged to leave if you get a reputation for being difficult, but if you're both diligent and principled you will be employable. Maybe you won't get the fancy new convertible or the bragging rights over your friends, or the beachside villa. At the end of the day, who cares?




One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important.
Bertrand Russell
Post #1005806
Posted Sunday, October 17, 2010 4:44 AM
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GPO, I agree with your comments 100%. I am no longer with that company not by choice but it worked out anyway.
The good news on that is the pain in the *** manager got the boot with me.

I would never do anything unethical or load the data deck to change the outcome of anything. Now if I were asked to make such a change I would get it in writing print it out and forward it to my personnel email account. Always CYA

Now when it comes to CYA I TNO(trust no one) do not rely on files,email.... being saved on some network.
I have had whole email threads disappear when you go to reference them. Email administrators may be asked to do something off the record too.
Post #1005850
Posted Sunday, October 17, 2010 4:03 PM
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Wow,

sounds like you guys have worked for some shifty employers! In 10 years of working in IT I've never even heard of anyone being involved in any kind of cloak and dagger stuff. If someone asked me to get involved in anything unethical, I'd ask for the request in writing and then ensure that the "proper authorities" were made aware. . . now where did I put that whistle????
Post #1005929
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