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Never Stop Learning

By Andy Leonard,

Today we have a guest editorial as Steve is away on sabbatical.

Shortly after the Professional SSIS 2005 book (Wrox, 2006) was released, I was asked to autograph a copy after presenting at a SQL Server User Group meeting. I cannot remember which UG, but I remember my (poor) reaction to the request. With a mixture of surprise and confusion I asked the requestor, "Why?!" 

I described the encounter to my lovely bride, Christy, and she said, "Andy, that was a fan." "I don't have fans," I responded, "I'm not one of those people." "Tell me about those people," she said. I mentioned tht they wrote articles and books and presented at events... as she stood there with her arms extended in a "Hello!" gesture. "OK," I admitted, "but I thought I would feel smarter if I ever became one of those people."

Since that time, I've learned to respond with more empathy and grace to such requests. At the heart of my initial reaction is my belief that I'm not special; that everyone has something to contribute and that anyone can write a book. It's merely a matter of time and determination.

Do I believe in opportunity? Absolutely. I believe we are surrounded by opportunity and that opportunities present themselves to those who work hard and are prepared. 

"So how do you prepare, Andy?" I get asked that question - or a variation of that question - regularly. My first response is: "How much television do you watch?" Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong or bad about watching television (well, most television, anyway). I watch my fair share - at least six hours per week. I cannot remember the last time I watched something on live television, though - we record shows and watch them when it's convenient.  But I digress...

My point? Most people watch a lot more television than six hours per week. What do I do with that time instead? I read books and blogs. I "tinker" with SSIS and SQL Server and software development. I study our craft and trends and tools. 

I promise I am not obsessed. I spend time with my family and engaged in activites that I deem important: farming, hobbies, faith. But continuous education has defined my career and the careers of every person (inside or outside of IT) I consider successful.

Like those successful people, I consider continuous education "part of the job." If you're reading this editorial, you may already realize this. But if you're new to SQLServerCentral, this site is full of excellent information for advancing your knowledge about Microsoft SQL Server, databases, and IT in general - and, thereby, your career. I encourage you to sign up to receive the (free!) daily newsletter, visit this site regularly, and continuously learn!

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