Printed 2017/07/22 01:18PM

When SQLCommunity disappoints....

By Robert Pearl, 2012/05/08

Everyone who is involved in, and follows me in the SQL Server Community, and my blog, knows, that I am one of its most ardent cheerleaders and supporters.  I am not saying that I do more than others to contribute - that would not be true - I'm just saying that  I love this community, feel the excitement and passion, and know the wonders that it has done for me and so many others personally and professionally. 

Many, including myself, enjoy the events, the contributions, the networking, and pleasure to meet and know so many folks working in, and dedicated to the SQL profession.  In a countless number of cases, the networking pays off in business, and in landing your next full-time job, or contract gig. 

Really this blog is not about me, but my friend, let's call him/her SQLBif (please don't go searching on twitter, as I just made up this fictional name because he/she deserves my confidence.)  I totally feel SQLBif's frustration, and I'm sure many, even me, feel or have felt this frustration one time or another.  Let's face it, we all love to play on the SQL field, and is no doubt a critical part of our SQL Server professional development, but when we go home, we all need to feed the family and pay the bills.  The ability to turn the wonderful SQL Server community experience and network into a profitable opportunity, through contracts or working for a company is definitely a skill that many must develop.  I'm not always good at it, I definitely preach it, and continuously try to practice it.  It's an on-going process.

SQLCommunity has become and is #sqlfamily.  We give to one another, we speak, present, write and teach; we mentor and we coach up and coming eager SQL Server newbies, and cultivate the existing database professionals to learn more and reach for the SQL Stars.  (The professional career advice twist on that, is in order to get to the stars, you need to pass the clouds :-)

The people, the folks in the industry, the clients, the friends as a community, almost never disappoint.  I sometimes do a very good job of promoting SQL events, people, products, companies, community at the expense of promoting myself. That some times effects the bottom line. (I am a SQL MVP in NY offering expert SQLCentric remote/database services, monitoring, performance tuning assessments & optimization, best practice recommendations and implementations - visit for details. {End Plug}  There I did it, operators are standing by :-)

The natural expectation is that if you do good by people, then they will do good by you.  Sooner or later, by having your name out there, and expand your network, it will pay off.

I got an email from SQLBif - I had approached SQLBif about a project and to find out SQLBif's availability.  SQLBif's response was, for lack of a better word, heartbreaking.  I asked how are things, and SQLBif told me:

 "It's been tough.  I've been so close to calling it quits with SQL Server.  If this latest opportunity doesn't work out....well, that's it.  I've spent so much time on 'community' while I can't even find a decent DB job.....its ridiculous"

My initial reaction was like, wow, I'm sorry this individual is going through this, and want to support and help their career.  I don't know how much SQLBif has worked to promote him/herself, but I am aware of SQLBif's community presence, and involvement in various sqlcommunity projects and such.  I truly believe that SQLBif is an asset to the community.

My immediate words I conveyed were, "I know exactly how you are feeling, don't give up, and let's talk on the phone"  Too many words to convey a complex set of individual issues in an email.  Nonetheless, I think many of us are or have been in SQLBif's predicament.  We know the sqeaky wheel often gets the grease.  So maybe SQLBif needs to squeak more?

Sometimes, and many times, through out life and one's career, everyone needs guidance, and often everyone needs a coach or mentor.  At least everyone should have access to one.  I truly appreciate and think the Mentoring Experiment by Steve Jones and Andy Warren is a wonderful example of SQLCommunity and giving back.  The Mentoring Experiment reasons that "Most of us believe in the power of mentoring, but the fact remains that few of us have mentors. Why is that?"  Their valiant effort is to match mentors with eager and willing apprentices, and repeat this on a large scale. 

One of the reasons I decided to join Linchpin People, as announced here and here, is that it seeks to be a model of business built around the idea of bringing folks along up the ladder of success can benefit everyone involved.  We can offer the best services, while serving others by offering opportunity to them as well.  We also will be offering career coaching, as a pivotal part of our business goals.  Now, we're not quite there yet, but we are definitely practicing what we preach.  We recently announced the addition of a new teamate, Tim Radney, and expect more to be announced soon. 

As an offshoot to Linchpin People, the brainchild of long time SQL Server stalwart, and CSO of Linchpin People, Brian Moran, his emerging enterprise for L.E.A.P. - Leadership, Entrepreneurism and Professional development - blogs on the need for a coach.  In fact, he argues, "everyone, needs a coach. yes, this includes you" - from the college graduate, to the CEO of a company.  His recent article speaks to this: "Do you need a coach?"  His LEAP series appearing on SQLServerPro site are enlightening and offer guidance on professional development.

Now of course even the most valiant and well-meaning efforts, don't always succeed, and some may need to rethink their own lives and change career-paths.  I don't think, IMHO, that SQLBif has truly exhausted his/her potential in this field, or gave it their all to make SQLBif succeed in the field that has drawn SQLBif into the #sqlfamily.  If SQLBif, decides to give it up, and just become, well, Bif, then I would fully support that individual's decision.  I just want to make sure that SQLBif has truly made the right decision, and is given an opportunity before the proverbial towel get's thrown in. 

You must ask, are you disappointed in SQLCommunity, or disappointed in yourself?  Just hang in a little longer!  Hope this helps!

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