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Why I Don’t Run for the PASS Board

It’s getting close to that time of year when you can apply to run for the PASS Board of Directors. Each year we have 3-4 openings that need to be filled as the current board members move on. Last year there was a bit of controversy when Tim Ford applied to run, but wasn’t chosen to be on the slate. More than a few people, myself included, noted that it didn’t seem to make sense that someone that has spent a lot of time volunteering for PASS wouldn’t get on the slate.

This year I hope the nominations are more open, with more transparency for the process of selecting candidates, or weeding them out if you prefer. I also hope that we do get more people who actually decide to participate in the community and help run the organization.

So why don’t I run?

I get that question a lot, since I’m someone that believes in, and supports, the community. I’m paid to be out in the SQL world, talking to people, promoting SQL Server, and helping to teach people more about the product. I work for Red Gate Software, but they pay me to to promote SQL Server. Actually, now that I think about it, maybe Microsoft ought to pick up a piece of my paycheck every month? (Steve B, I’m happy to forward on my Paypal address to you)

When you volunteer, you commit. You ought to treat that the same as a paid position and do a professional job. I’d have to approach things in that manner, and honestly, I don’t have the time. I know I could make the time, but something else in my life would lose time, and in this case, it would be my family.

My wife is more successful than I, having a busy career. Her job takes her around the US quite often, and many times on short notice. That becomes a problem for my career when I need to travel. I’ve cancelled two trips in the last year, and it’s likely I would need to cancel out of some PASS board meetings since even with long term notice I can’t always count on her job to respect those downtimes. I also handle more of the kid duties in our lives, moving kids to events, helping with homework, etc. As an idea of our craziness this year, my wife traveled 3 days the weeks of:

  • Feb 8
  • Feb 15 ( I canceled the MVP Summit this week
  • Feb 22

I was gone 3 days the week of Mar 1, got home Sat night at 11pm. My wife left for 9 days at 6am Sun for a horse event. She returned Tues at 2am, Mar 16th and left Thur Mar 18th for a two day trip. She returned Fri night and I left for the UK on Sat morning.

Then there are my kids. I travel a little for work, but adding in another responsibility means that family time takes a hit. I would have to spend more time looking at PASS business, and less time on other family events. As it is I work a lot at night, weekends, etc. to make sure things are running smoothly, and for now I’m not willing to reduce the amount of family time. I spend a lot of time with my kids, but I miss a lot as well.

My kids are growing up, and their need to have me around diminishes every year. That’s good and bad, but it does mean that I can see that I’ll have more time in the future and being a Type-A person, I’ll need to find something to do in that time.

I’d like to run for the PASS board at some point, just not this year.

The Voice of the DBA

Steve Jones is the editor of SQLServerCentral.com and visits a wide variety of data related topics in his daily editorial. Steve has spent years working as a DBA and general purpose Windows administrator, primarily working with SQL Server since it was ported from Sybase in 1990. You can follow Steve on Twitter at twitter.com/way0utwest


Posted by Jack Corbett on 24 March 2010

You already know I'd love to see you run for the board, but I understand where you are coming from.  With your personality you'd have to get things done which means you'd put the time in to do it.  

I hate being away from my family and I enjoy being involved in my kids activities, well the sports ones anyway.

Posted by Joew@webbtechsolutions.com on 24 March 2010

I definitely understand and respect your reasoning, Steve. It's for similar reasons that I'm no longer on the board. The time requirements can be quite significant.

I do think, though, that the PASS Board and the Community as a whole would benefit from the experience & perspective you'd bring to the Board. So when you're ready, you'll have my vote.

Posted by Dukagjin Maloku on 24 March 2010

It's not bad to be in PASS board, at least you can have one place there (I think agreed PASS Board members also), but as I can see it depends from your circumstances.

Posted by Anonymous on 24 March 2010

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Posted by Steve Jones on 24 March 2010

The board requires time, and I don't want to make it right now. I think I will at some point, but now it isn't something I want to do halfway.

Thanks for the votes of confidence.

Posted by Glenn Berry on 24 March 2010

Its hard for many men to subordinate their career to their wife's career, so kudos to you for being willing and able to do that. You would be a great PASS board member, but you reasoning for not doing it this year makes perfect sense.

Posted by Jason Brimhall on 24 March 2010

I Agree with the others.  I think it takes quite a bit of time to work with PASS, even at the local level.  At the national level would take a lot more.  Kudos to you and your family. When you do decide to run, you have my vote.

Posted by Andy Warren on 25 March 2010

Its a very valid reason. I'd like to see you on Board, though I'll want to hear your platform before voting for you:-)

It's a lot of time and not a small amount of stress, but it's worth doing if you can find the time. Until then, there are many ways of serving the community that are worth doing and you do most of them already.

Posted by Grant Fritchey on 10 June 2010

Right there with you Steve. You are absolutely making the right decision for the right reasons. You don't need to hear that from me, I know. But I'm saying it because it so perfectly matches the thoughts I've had recently regarding PASS and my career. It's nice to see my own internal struggle stated so clearly by another. Thanks. And thanks for everything you currently do for the community.

Posted by Grant Fritchey on 10 June 2010

Oh, and, you have my vote... unless it's the year I finally decide to run.

Posted by Steve Jones on 10 June 2010

Thanks for the comments, and my wife has supported me at times, so this is a fair trade. I keep evaluating every spring if I can make the commitment. One of these days I'll run and be on the board with Grant.

Posted by Andy Leonard on 21 June 2010

I think you and Grant will be great additions to the PASS Board, Steve. I hope to be more involved with nominations committee going forward, if they will have me.


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