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The Stubborn DBA Expand / Collapse
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Posted Monday, January 9, 2012 9:46 AM
Right there with Babe

Right there with BabeRight there with BabeRight there with BabeRight there with BabeRight there with BabeRight there with BabeRight there with BabeRight there with Babe

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This editorial sure hits the nail on the head!
Post #1232592
Posted Monday, January 9, 2012 10:21 AM


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I have another, unmentioned form of satisfaction: when I am the first to report an SQLS bug. That does not solve the porobelm at hand - I still have to find a circumvention -, but it gives me (seldom exercised) bragging rights.
Post #1232638
Posted Monday, January 9, 2012 10:35 AM
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While I share similar instincts; these urges have to be mastered so that there is a balance between solving the unimportant and getting productive work done.

It's all too easy to get sucked into a multiple-day effort on something that yields no immediate benefit to the company while trying to solve these things. While the type of effort always contributes to ones long-term problem solving skills and the specific task *might* someday payoff they do not happen in a void.

There are other tasks competing with these intellectual exercises that have tangible, immediate benefits to the company and should get priority.
Post #1232651
Posted Monday, January 9, 2012 10:40 AM


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Sounds like the best of my days.

Recently spent a significant amount of time solving a trivial database problem "the hard way". Beat on it till it worked. Could have solved the same problem more easily by bypassing certain tools I'm less familiar with.

Ended up with a solution that worked better than a "do it the simple way" solution would have. Much more imporantly, ended up with an insight into a seemingly disrelated problem, and was able to save the company $10,000 that would have been spent on third-party software, 2 months of dev time that would have been spent integrating that software, and came up with a solution that actually works faster, on a wider set of cases, than that software would have worked on.

Had no idea going into the thing that the bigger problem had any relationship to it. Wasn't expecting to get anything that useful out of it. But ended up with much more value than I expected.

Knowledge works that way.

And, even without that possibility, there was NO WAY this smaller problem was going to kick my butt! Not gonna happen! No way!


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Post #1232654
Posted Monday, January 9, 2012 10:45 AM
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I'm glad to see there are so many others with the "stubbornness" bug!

For me the worst feeling is when I get stuck in one of these weird, frustrating problems when it's close to time to go home and I cannot stay any longer at the office because, say, I need to pick up the kids from school at a certain hour and cannot delay. I end up thinking about the unresolved problem throughout the drive home and through the evening. My wife gives me annoyed glances while we are watching tv and I'm working on my laptop and it's always the same question: "Are you on call again?".

On the flip side, I get a tremendous feeling of satisfaction when I have been able to figure out a difficult problem on the same day. Then the drive home is glorious!


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Post #1232662
Posted Monday, January 9, 2012 11:36 AM
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I agree with several posters. I like to say, "Once I pick up the stick, I can't put it down until I've figure it out."
That said, these challenges do fall into different categories. The ones I really enjoy are the ones where I am learning new techniques, etc. (and are easier to set aside to work on during my own time). The ones that drive me crazy are the ones where some strange error has occurred, and we work around it (so I need to just put it down), but I'd still like to know WHY.

This looks like it would be a good question to pose to an interviewee. (i'll have to keep that in mind.)
Post #1232698
Posted Monday, January 9, 2012 2:04 PM
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because we not only like challenges, we don't like to be proven that we can't do something, even to ourselves
Post #1232799
Posted Monday, January 9, 2012 2:14 PM
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Hmm... it's a double-edged sword sometimes, too... Just ask our (ex-)spouses...

Post #1232803
Posted Monday, January 9, 2012 3:08 PM
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Let's face it, most jobs don't allow us the luxury to be our creative best. So solving the occasional challenge offers a nice break from the monotonous drudgery of a typical day's work.


James Stover, McDBA
Post #1232835
Posted Tuesday, January 10, 2012 4:41 AM


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hoekma (1/9/2012)
Ok, I have to be the first one to throw a monkey wrench into the conversation. For full disclosure, I'm not a fulltime DBA. I work in TSQL quite a bit, but also do a lot of work in other application tiers (business logic, ui).

Don't you think sometimes when getting into one of these situations it's time to step back and decide whether you are using a the wrong tool? (like a hammer when you need a screwdriver). Sometimes when things are this hard it is an indication that maybe the task should be moved to a different application tier. Solving the problem in the wrong place (not saying that's always the case or necessarily the programming case that started this discuss) just for the sake of not letting the computer win may just make the app harder to maintain over time.


Hey, monkey wrench one, that's all part of solving the problem - working out the optimal refactoring, even if you do not actually implement it there and then. If it's feasible you can so do at the time, otherwise you make a mental note and say 'Should we need to work on this, or if we need to do X or Y, then we need to move this to a different tier.'

In fact as a general observation if I get an intractable problem that is hackily circumvented (don't deny you do this folks!) in the interest of other activity, I'll mentally make a note. If it nags irritatingly then next available moment I'll get stuck in. If I've thankfully forgotten about it, well, then I have forgotten about it.
Post #1233051
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