There are so many opportunities for many of you to learn more about SQL Server. It's amazing to think how many more choices we have today than I did early in my career. When I moved to Denver, we had a user group that met somewhat sporadically, an MSDN lunch hour every month, the PASS Summit, and training classes from various vendors like New Horizons. That was about it, with only a few online resources. SQLServerCentral didn't even exist then.
That's changed today and when I look at my schedule, it's incredible to think how many of them I'm going to be a part of this fall. I've got a busy travel schedule the rest of the year, and I'll only touch a small portion of the events that you could use to increase your SQL Server knowledge.
There are quite a few conferences this year. DevConnections in a few weeks, the PASS Summit mid month, and SQL Intersection at the end of October. I'll be speaking at the former and latter, skipping the middle one this year. There are two SQL Rallys, Nordic and Amsterdam in Europe. There are also lots of pre- and post-cons and other workshops sessions around the events. There are even amazing training classes from vendors like SQLskills and Brent Ozar Unlimited that will teach you a tremendous amount about SQL Server. I'm hoping to attend one of these sessions in the next year.
If your boss won't pay for a conference or class, there are plenty of free events as well. SQL Saturdays are everywhere, almost every weekend. I'll be at San Diego, Denver, Charleston, Portland, and Washington DC this year, but there are plenty more. Many of them offer pre-cons, at low costs. You might consider covering the cost yourself and asking your boss to pay for the time off.
My employer, Red Gate Software, is putting on some of their own events. We are doing seminars before some of the SQL Saturdays and I have SQL in the City events in Pasadena, Atlanta, and Charlotte this year. These are free events, just register and come.
If you aren't close to any events, there are more and more online resources. SQLServerCentral should be your first stop, but there are videos, webinars, virtual chapter meetings, and great subscriptions from vendors. If you want to self-study, there are great books you can buy as well as online challenges to help you learn.
There are all levels of costs, online, local, worldwide, etc. resources that you can use to learn more about SQL Server. I'd highly encourage you to make a plan and improve your SQL Server skills over the next year. I guarentee there's something for every budget and situation.