I’m closing in on vacation – finally – and one of the things I’ll have in the back of my head while I’m re-energizing is deciding what I want to do next year. I’ve been a trainer for over three years now, and most of the time it’s fun and challenging, but there are times when I definitely have the itch to do something else. There’s no doubt that a slow economy has contributed to that itch a little, but it’s been nagging at me for a year, so I’m thinking I need to reassess what I want to do. With that in mind, I’m trying to look at as many options as I can within the context of my obligations. I have commitments to PASS and to my business partners, and it’s not that I would want to stop either of those efforts – but I might change how I work on them. It’s an interesting time, I’ve got some things up in the air that will impact some of the decision, making it hard to just decide now – have to wait on some of those variables!
I’m not expecting to step away from SQL, it’s entirely possible that I’ll opt to go deeper. Yet, I do have other interests and skills, and I need some industrial sized challenges! I definitely miss being part of a larger team. I’m torn on whether to play to my strengths or (does it have to be or?) strengthen my weak areas. I’m not interested in anything that requires extensive travel. Crystal clear, right? Part of the vacation is to just relax, see if I really do need to change anything, or is it just a stress response. But my hunch is that I’ve grown over these years, and with growth sometimes you come to a fork in the road. Or think you do anyway.
So while I’m trying to figure all that out, I do have two things that I want to do next year that I thought I’d solicit some feedback on.
The first isn’t huge, I want to put together an in depth PDF mini-book about how to participate in the SQL community. I want to start at why reading articles is participating, and go through as many areas as I can find, explaining why and how along the way. That kind of connects to my interest in networking, but I do see it as something just useful to point people to. Rather than just do my take, I’m hoping that I can publish that as I go, get comments, do revisions, and ultimately use the collective to make sure I get something as wide reaching as I can. I’m not expecting to sell it, so I think asking for that kind of participation might work.
The other one seems bigger, and that’s writing a book for first level/first time managers. Mainly with a focus on technology managers, but I think a lot of probably applies regardless of industry. I’ve accrued some experience, learned some harsh lessons as employee and manager, and I think that there isn’t a lot of practical, honest, useful information out for the person who gets ‘promoted’ to being a manager. Most of the management books are very formulaic – follow this formula and you’ll do fine. The problem is that you have to find you own style as a manager, you can’t just copy a style. Learn from it, but rarely just copy it. So instead, I hope to write something that says here’s a problem or situation, here are the challenges, here is what I might do – and what other people might do. Some of that will be slightly generic, but I’m hoping to do a lot of interviews to support that. As far as the writing, I’m not aiming for a stuffy textbook, thinking of it as about 100 blog posts broken into some major categories. Is that 15 pages or 250? I’m not sure, and not going to worry about it, I’m just going to write it. Can I sell it? That also remains to be seen, but certainly it’s my goal. Once reasonably close to done I’ll see about shopping it to a publisher or two, and compare that with what I think I can accomplish just going the PDF route on a supporting site. Would you buy that book? Recommend it to your boss?
Looking forward to your comments!