I'm a forty-something Microsoft SQL Server DBA of 12+ years, a devoted husband, and a father of two young boys (with another coming soon!). I have been a DBA at a university, at a major bank, at a healthcare system, and I now work as a consultant with customers across the United States.
It's T-SQL Tuesday again (Thanks go to Adam Machanic (B/T)) and this month the host is Wendy Pastrick (B/T). Wendy's excellent subject is "the long and winding road" - changes in our work lives and how they impact us.
I am luckier than most in that many of the changes in my work life over the years have been self-induced - I have never been fired, laid off, downsized, or any of those other HR terms. I started as a help desk support admin who got the opportunity to learn Microsoft SQL Server when our group at the University went to a Microsoft development model (Visual Basic 6.0 on SQL Server 7.0 at the time - yes, I'm old). Since then I have changed jobs from working for a major public University to a large regional bank to a regional healthcare system then back to that bank and then on to my current consulting gig, and all along I have changed positions on my terms - not always exactly when I would have preferred, but at least on my say-so.
Most of the direct changes in my work life over the years have been changes of technology and role - learning MSSQL 2000-2012, gaining experience in different industries and interacting with different side technologies such as VMware, becoming a senior/lead DBA and then a consultant, building amazing relationships with my #sqlfamily, and meeting some of the most brilliant (and nicest) people on the planet.
All of that aside, the biggest change in my 13+ year DBA work life is an indirect change that has nothing to do with any of the above. Six years ago I married my best friend, and over the last three-and-a-half years we have had three amazing boys (Noah 3 years, Jonah 20 months, and Micah 3 months).
Wow - this really all I can say - Wow.
I am lucky enough that what I do is sufficiently lucrative that my wife can stay home with our boys, but an unfortunate side effect of what I do is that I have to go on the road for my job - both to consult and for training - sometimes for days, and sometimes for weeks in a row. I am writing this in a hotel room in Chicago while they are 500 miles away at home. My growing desire to be involved with SQL Saturdays and the community (my #sqlfamily) just infringes on my real family even more. It has become an amazing balancing act and many days I don't feel like I do one side or the other justice, but I keep trying.
I am at the point in my career life where nothing is more important than my wife and kids, and getting further ahead in my job is less important than getting a raise/promotion/whatever at work. My job is merely a means to an end to allow me to support my family - it is not my reason for being. This is a double-edged sword as it can be difficult to even keep up in our field without excessive time off-clock keeping our knowledge updated, and it also makes me painfully aware of the times I bring work frustrations home and how that impacts my wife and sons (even as little as they are). I begrudge every minute I am on-call or have to work an after-hours release because I know I am missing some first in my boys' little lives, but that's the job, and I know that.
No matter what, I will always keep trying - they are my everything and they are definitely worth it.