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The Poor Soul Expand / Collapse
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Posted Tuesday, May 10, 2011 10:16 PM


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Post #1106630
Posted Tuesday, May 10, 2011 11:31 PM


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"... you're being paid for that job, so you are responsible. That means you have to learn how the technology in your environment works and how to solve the problems you have."

Steve, there is a hidden flaw in this approach: people love to learn about things they already know, and they (usually) do not proactively learn about things they do not know but they might need. It implies that you need an outsider's look to help you see what you don't know, but in a company that would mean that your (hopefully) more experienced boss will tell you how much of your money you should spend and how, to a large degree for the benefit of the company.

So it makes sense if the company pays for your education but makes you sign an agreement that you will stay for a set time. Good companies do this even for contractors, if they want them to renew after the end of the fiscal year or whatever may be the arbitrary cut-off of their POs.

In many cases cost of good courses and time given for self-study is more than reasonable insurance. One minute of downtime of the app on which I am now is in four digits, and the first one is not necessarily '1'. It follows that an hour of (likely) prevented downtime pays for lots of courses and books.

Besides, from the management perspective, if you give people opportunity to learn - courses, books, whatever - and something goes wrong, your a** is covered.
Post #1106639
Posted Wednesday, May 11, 2011 6:37 AM
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Good training classes are very helpful, and I'm fortunate to work for a company that actively supports job specific training and cross training.

But, if that option is not available there is a LOT you can do between web articles and excellent books that can at least provide a functional handle on the stuff needed to get the job done.


...

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Post #1106845
Posted Wednesday, May 11, 2011 7:07 AM
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Revenant (5/10/2011)
"... you're being paid for that job, so you are responsible. That means you have to learn how the technology in your environment works and how to solve the problems you have."

Steve, there is a hidden flaw in this approach: people love to learn about things they already know, and they (usually) do not proactively learn about things they do not know but they might need. It implies that you need an outsider's look to help you see what you don't know, but in a company that would mean that your (hopefully) more experienced boss...


There are a lot of people that enjoy learning new things. That's how I got into DBA work. I was on a support team for a product and started diving into SQL to troubleshoot issues further before sending them to Dev. It's a little different than what Steve was talking about because it wasn't part of my job but something extra I could do.

Hopefully people in this situation will have someone else in the company that knows SQL well that can help out but I'm guessing that's frequently not the case. Which means knowing resources in the community can really help out. The forums here are good, I recently started testing a backup solution that's very thoroughly coded to use instead of coding a new one myself, and read blogs to get a feel for what's out there and what may be handy.
Post #1106874
Posted Wednesday, May 11, 2011 7:20 AM


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Of course the best way to learn is from peers and internal documentation. Unfortunately, in a small IT shop the new guy may not have anyone within the organization to turn to for questions about the technical or even operational aspects of their job. However, if you have a desk with an internet connection, and your supervisors arn't looking over your shoulder 9 hours a day, then they are giving you an opportunity to learn at least the technical stuff. As for the operational part, if there is no formal documention and noone seems to know for sure, then it looks like you're going to have to write it yourself.
If you have a NetFlix account, then watch a Clint Eastwood western movie for inspiration. You tell the townpeople how it's going to work from this point forward. Just for kicks, get yourself a cowboy hat and wear it to work.

Post #1106887
Posted Wednesday, May 11, 2011 7:21 AM
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I invest in my own training and certifications just like I did for my graduate and postgraduate degrees. There are a couple of reasons:
1. When I invest in myself I can choose what I want to learn. Often it is directly related to my job, but not always.
2. I do not want to "owe" a certain amount of employment to a company I'm working for. If I want to move on I can without strings attached.
3. I often ask for training and sometimes get it paid for, but that is never going to provide as much knowledge as I want and need.
4. It's good for a career to "save the day" when something is going terribly wrong and no one at the company has been trained in how to resolve the issue. For you Star Trek fans, that's what Mr. Scott does.

Should a company pay for job specific training? Yes, I think they should. Is that the real world? Not so much. I can growl about it or do something about it. I choose the latter - usually.
Post #1106889
Posted Wednesday, May 11, 2011 7:25 AM
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It is amazing how ingrained in the culture of IT the idea of always being ready to quit is. Steve's expression of it as the first thing you need to do when put into a no-win situation is one of the more honest expressions of it that I have seen. It makes me wonder if there is a forum for managers where they discuss how to deal with high turnover rates. My guess there is there isn't one.
Post #1106899
Posted Wednesday, May 11, 2011 7:40 AM
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First, the assumption is that the person has some background that prompted management to make them "responsible". Classes and seminars are not the only way to learn. Being "responsible" means taking advantage of all of the opportunities to learn: books, manuals, mentors, web, forums, etc.

I have often been responsible for assessing or implementing new technology/software. The first thing I do is look for manuals or books to use as a reference and to get the big picture before trying to deal with the details.

Fortunately, you can find the answer or guidance to most anything on the web these days. There are a lot of DBA "cookbooks" out there. Figure out what is most important and start there - backup and recovery most likely. And, don't forget networking and firewall basics.

I have seen many people who simply refuse to take any initiative to learn on their own. They wait to be trained by the "company" until they are no longer a needed resource or their salary stagnates.

Post #1106926
Posted Wednesday, May 11, 2011 7:43 AM


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Eric M Russell (5/11/2011)
Of course the best way to learn is from peers and internal documentation. Unfortunately, in a small IT shop the new guy may not have anyone within the organization to turn to for questions about the technical or even operational aspects of their job. However, if you have a desk with an internet connection, and your supervisors arn't looking over your shoulder 9 hours a day, then they are giving you an opportunity to learn at least the technical stuff. As for the operational part, if there is no formal documention and noone seems to know for sure, then it looks like you're going to have to write it yourself.
If you have a NetFlix account, then watch a Clint Eastwood western movie for inspiration. You tell the townpeople how it's going to work from this point forward. Just for kicks, get yourself a cowboy hat and wear it to work.

Just so I'm following this -
1) buy a cowboy hat and poncho
2) rarely talk (probably not a stretch for most of us)
3) inform users how it's going to work from now on, don't ask them
4) shoot everyone. Women, children, dogs, whatever.

That about right?


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"stewsterl 80804 (10/16/2009)I guess when you stop and try to understand the solution provided you not only learn, but save yourself some headaches when you need to make any slight changes."
Post #1106932
Posted Wednesday, May 11, 2011 7:46 AM


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WolforthJ (5/11/2011)
It is amazing how ingrained in the culture of IT the idea of always being ready to quit is. Steve's expression of it as the first thing you need to do when put into a no-win situation is one of the more honest expressions of it that I have seen. It makes me wonder if there is a forum for managers where they discuss how to deal with high turnover rates. My guess there is there isn't one.
I don't think Steve is saying you should be ready to quit, he's saying that if something blows up, and you're "responsible" for it, then you should realize that the company may fire you. All jobs are temporary, even the ones that don't act like it. It just makes good sense to always have your resume updated, *especially* if you're in a position where you may have to take the fall.


---------------------------------------------------------
How best to post your question
How to post performance problems
Tally Table:What it is and how it replaces a loop

"stewsterl 80804 (10/16/2009)I guess when you stop and try to understand the solution provided you not only learn, but save yourself some headaches when you need to make any slight changes."
Post #1106938
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